I spent the week of July 4th with what may be the ultimate tailgating rig: The 2020 GMC Sierra Denali, the top-of-the line model from the Professional Grade folks at General Motors. The truck I have is the 1500, or half-ton version.
Under the hood of this large crew cab is a 6.2-liter V8 that is producing 420-horses and a strong 460-pound feet of torque. It is mated to a 10-speed automatic that shifts very smoothly and runs up and down the gears without hesitation. This is the 4-wheel drive version.
Being this is the top trim level on the Sierra, the interior is very nice, but in my opinion, GMC is going to have to do some upgrades to try to keep pace with the exceptional interiors from Ram and the all-new 2021 F-150. I own a 2009 Sierra Denali myself (with 15,000 miles by the way) and I have to say, the interior is very similar. I would have expected that by now the gear shifter would be off the steering column and onto the big center console.
The gauges in the Sierra are bright, colorful, and easy to read. In the center of the dash is an 8” touchscreen that is fast and easy to navigate through. It houses all the Bose audio systems, navigation, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay, SiriusXM, and a host of apps. The center console is large and houses a wireless cell phone charger.
Headroom and legroom are exceptional for all seats, and built-in to the back seats are some really cool storage areas. Rear seat occupants get rear air conditioning vents, USB ports, a power supply and heated seats.
This truck has a huge list of standard equipment, including trailer tow package, remote start, keyless entry, dual exhaust, power sliding rear window, air conditioned and heated front 10-way power seats, Driver Alert package, front and rear park assist, safety alert seat, rear seat reminder, and heated power tilt steering wheel with controls.
You also get the extremely popular GMC MultiPro tailgate. This was my first experience with this tailgate and now I see what all the fuss is about, it’s brilliant. You can drop the tailgate from the keyless remote fob or there is a button on the dash.
The MultiPro drops flat, like a conventional tailgate, but it also has a smaller inner gate with its own hinge, so you can raise and lower the two tailgate panels in different combinations depending on the situation. Lower the main gate and then lower the inner gate to create a step for easy bed access; keep the main tailgate raised, but plunk down the inner gate to create a work station similar to a standing desk; knock down the main gate, but pop the inner gate halfway open to extend the truck bed by two feet. Take a look at how it operates:
If that isn’t enough to make this the ultimate tailgating truck, you can get an optional Kicker stereo system that you can operate manually or from your cell phone. Take a look at it:
As I mentioned earlier, my tester has the CarbonPro option. At first glance, the $8,995 MSRP price of this package might be a bit of a shocker. The pickup bed is made of carbon fiber and GMC says it is the strongest material available and it cuts out a lot of weight.
GMC did some testing at a hurricane facility and I will say the results are pretty amazing, take a look:
In addition to the carbon fiber bed, the CarbonPro package also includes: the Kicker tailgate audio, the rearview mirror that turns into a terrific wide view camera, a pickup bed camera view, a multi-color head-up display, forward collision alert, lane keep assist, forward emergency braking, front pedestrian braking, adaptive cruise control, power sunroof, deployable running boards, 22” high-gloss black wheels. For me, for what you get, that $8,995 package is a good buy and gives you a lot of content.
Ride, Drive and Fuel Economy
Being it was a holiday while I had this truck, I spent a lot of time with it on the highway. The Sierra rides great and is whisper quiet inside. Handling is really good, and acceleration is strong and determined.
Fuel economy is rated at 15 in town, 20 on the highway, and 17 combined. I was actually getting around 22 on the highway at 75 miles per hour.
In this world where truck prices keep getting higher and higher, this extremely loaded truck comes in at $71,250 and by today’s standards, is in line with the competition.
2020 GMC Sierra Denali CarbonPro Edition
- What I liked most: The ride, drive, and overall performance.
- What I would change: Some interior upgrades are needed.
- MSRP: Base price $58,200, as equipped $71,250.
- Fuel Economy: 15 City/20 Highway, 17 combined.
- Fuel Tank: 28 gallons with filler on the driver’s side.
- Dimensions: 231.7” long/81.2” wide/75.4” high.
- Weight: 5057 pounds.
- Trailer Towing: Up to 12,000 pounds properly equipped.
- Miles When Tested: 800 miles
- Official Color: Satin Steel Metallic.
- Spare tire: Full-sized spare with steel rim.
- Final Assembly Point: Roanoke, IN.
- 2020 Sierra Denali in a few words: A very comfortable truck with the best tailgate in the auto industry.
- Warranty: 3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and 5-year/60,000 mile power train warranty with roadside assistance, and first maintenance visit is free.
- Manufacturers website: www.GMC.com
- Up Next: 2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave