The biggest automotive battle in the United States is the war between full-sized pickups. Part of the reason is due to the sheer volume of trucks sold, but also because for the automakers, their profit per vehicle is the highest.In recent years, Ford has completely redone their class-leading F150, the Ram has been redone, and the Tundra has been refreshed. The last time the GMC Sierra was changed, George W. Bush was in his second term.
This week I have the 2013 GMC Sierra Denali Crew Cab with all-wheel drive. It is virtually unchanged since my first review in 2007, yet the truck is eye-catching and visibly quite attractive. The 20” chrome wheels and big, chrome, in-your-face grill make the truck unmistakably a GMC. My tester is a new color for 2013 called Sonoma Red. The Denali version of the Sierra is the top-of-the-line and is intended to compete with the likes of the Ford F150 Platinum edition. The GMC has a terrific interior, with a well thought out dash and wide, comfortable seats. It is funny, the seats do not look comfortable because they look flat-not cushy-but somehow they surround you and make you feel all warm and fuzzy. This truck gives you a really good view of the road from the cockpit. Under the hood, we have the powerful 6.2-liter Vortec V8 hooked to a six-speed automatic transmission. This combination will give you 403-horses that has an amazing amount of acceleration. The transmission shifts quickly and smoothly. The all-wheel drive system is capable and feels like it could climb anything. The Denali has an impressive list of standard equipment like remote start, leather interior, rear park assist, dual-zone air conditioning, heated steering wheel, heated and cooled seats, Bose stereo, power adjustable pedals, and rearview camera. There is more, but those are the substantial standard features. Options on the truck I am driving include navigation system, power sunroof, chrome tubular running boards, and integrated trailer brake controller. This is an enjoyable truck to drive, make no mistake about it. The issues for this reviewer are that it doesn’t ride as smoothly, and it not as quiet inside as the F150. I also noticed the turning radius is not as tight as much of the competition. As a personal use truck, the GMC Denali is nice, but I can’t wait to see what GM does with the new Sierra which comes out in the spring of 2013. I hope for more options like some of the newer trucks, and I hope for more towing capacity. This GMC is rated to tow 9400-pounds in spite of the big engine. What I liked most: The comfort level and layout of the interior. What I would change: More towing capacity, tighter turning radius. MSRP: Base price $48,635. As tested, $53,694. Fuel Economy: Rated at 14 in town/18 Highway Warranty: 5 Year/100,000 mile powertrain, and 5 years of Roadside Assistance. 2013 GMC Denali 1500 in a few words: Comfortable truck needing an upgrade.