2014 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali: First Drive

GMC Denali front II

By Zach Berning

We recently had the chance to drive the 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali crew cab with the all-new EcoTec3 6.2-liter V-8 at a press event, and we can say this about the truck: although likely to be pricey, it will impress just about everyone who gets behind the wheel.

Walking around the exterior of the Sierra 1500 Denali crew cab, one can't help but notice its bold look. The truck's design is tough and rugged yet refined, just as the Denali name suggests. Specific to the Sierra Denali models are projector headlamps with signature LED daytime running lamps, body-color bumpers, 20-inch chrome wheels and the iconic Denali front grille.

The Denali interior features supple leather, and real wood and metal trim accents. GMC's design team decided to ditch the plastics and synthetics for the real thing. One of the first things you notice is the beautifully stitched leather steering wheel and dash. The heated and cooled front leather bucket seats are inviting and comfortable. Ample storage and power options are plentiful, and all are within easy reach of both the driver and front-seat passenger. The large 8-inch color touch-screen seems intuitive and quickly provides access to audio, navigation and GMC IntelliLink features.

However, you can't see the real star of this truck without popping the hood. New to the Sierras for 2014 is the EcoTec3 6.2-liter V-8 engine available on SLT models. Designed to maximize power, torque and fuel economy, the EcoTec3 engines feature a combination of active fuel management (cylinder deactivation), direct injection and continuously variable valve timing. The combination of these three features is not available on any of the competitors' trucks.

Producing 420 horsepower and 460 pounds-feet of torque, the EcoTec3 positions the Sierra as the class leader when compared to other light-duty truck engines. While EPA fuel economy numbers haven't been officially released, the GMC team seems confident that consumers will be pleased with the results. It is also worth pointing out that the new engine provides the Sierra with a maximum trailering capacity of a whopping class-leading 12,000 pounds.

GMC 6.2 engine II

The only way to really get a feel for the new EcoTec3 Sierra is to take it for a spin, which we journalists were allowed to do. Unfortunately, GMC provided us with a preset loop that featured both street and highway driving with a very tight timeline. The first thing you notice when driving the Denali is that the truck is very quiet — not hybrid quiet, but much quieter than previous Sierras we've driven. GMC's design team focused on improving cabin acoustics and reducing outside noise. This is evident in the triple-sealed doors and the abundant sound-deadening materials found throughout the truck's cab.

Accelerating and merging into highway traffic was a breeze as the engine and transmission were smooth and responsive. Visibility when changing lanes was surprisingly good given the fact this truck was a crew cab. The B-pillar location creates a visual challenge for the driver, but it's likely something owners can get used to.

When a stretch of road opened up in front of us, and after a quick glance to double-check the mirrors for black-and-whites, we hammered down and turned that big EcoTec3 V-8 loose. Using our backside dyno, we can say the power felt incredible. Acceleration seemed fluid, and the engine didn't seem pushed at all. Even at 85 mph, the EcoTec3 still had more horsepower on demand.

Merging in and out of highway traffic was easy. For as big as the Sierra Denali crew cab is, the truck still felt agile and nimble. Driving on surface streets was an enjoyable experience as the Denali provided plenty of ride comfort. We could easily carry on a conversation with our passenger. We especially liked the seats because they were firm yet supportive.

All in all, GMC has definitely stepped it up in the luxury pickup market with this latest Sierra Denali. With its comfortable ride, quiet cabin and the performance features of the new EcoTec3, the Sierra Denali has a lot of things going for it. We're eager to see the fuel economy numbers when they're released. If they're as exciting as GMC has led us to believe, there is no doubt the Denali will be a real contender with consumers.

For the GMC press release, click here. 

For a quick highlight sheet for the 2014 GMC Sierra Denali, click here. 

GMC Denali front high II

GMC Denali seams II

GMC Denali rear II



Very impressive, but if that 1/2 ton truck stickers for $55,000+ I'm going to pass out.

Considering the current Denali starts at just under $51,000 with no options you can bet this will easily be a $55,000 truck.

@NLP Some things just are not for the faint of heart. A strong V8 and opulent trim is just right for me. $10k down, finance the rest for 72 months. I'm headed over to the dealership this weekend. Financing is ok for those who can.

Does anybody else thing the dash is giving birth to the center stack? Good looking truck other than that.

Nice truck, I like the painted bumpers, it seems to make it come together. Plus it can tow 12,000 lb's Wow!

Would anybody tow 12K lbs with a 1/2 ton truck?
Does this truck require regular or premium fuel?

It may have a 12,000lb tow rating but the payload rating may not be enough. Hitch up a 10,000lb travel trailer and you need some serious payload capabilities for the tongue weight. Problem with those high end trim levels is they cut down the payload. Definitely has the HP/TQ, holy moly I think I'd be going thru tires like crazy. Never been a GM fan but that motor would certainly make me want a test drive.

12k towing, weak sauce, f150 will just add spring dust and voila, 12,500...

Too bad they're not J2807 certified..

@ Dale Milner: Good point about payload.
Some quick math:
15% tongue weight: 1800 lbs
Truck Weight: 5700 lbs
Towing something big and expensive: 12000 lbs
Scrawny driver and his scrawny buddy: 150 lbs + 150 lbs

GCVW: 18000 lbs

Not too far from a commerical drivers license, right?

What about the instrument cluster? Any reviews on it? I thought I read that it was going to be fully customizable? What about HUD? Available? We need more information! :)

Papajim, so is cocaine, drinking, smoking, and prostitution.
Like Dean Wormer said, "Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life." 90% of the citizens of the US are broke. Most have never even seen $25,000+ in a checking account, or $1,000,000+ in a 401K. In America you are free to make bad decisions and be a loser. Unfortunately in America, those who make bad decisions are the 1st one's to run to an unemployment line and stick their hands out for 99 weeks of unemployment benefits.
For me and my family, we refuse to participate!

If they allow the 6.2 in a stripper RCSB, I'll order it with a locking rear end and 4.27 gears. Chipped and one catback turbo later, it would be nutz

@LJC: That still puts the GVWR at 7800, which is under the "limit" of 8500 to make it a Class 2a truck.

I don't know, pretty soon there's going to have to be some reclassification if payloads and tow ratings keep increasing with every new model.

@nlp: [citation needed]

The new truck is an improvement over what GM has been offering for quite a number of years. What remains to be seen is whether it can stay out of the repair shop for significant periods of times. My GM ownership, and that includes quite a few vehicles, has not been at all pleasant in that regard. Maybe this time they'll figure it out and get it right for a change.

@jrt - I'm sure that you find yourself completely amusing and the very fact that I am answering one of your posts must have you firing a wad into your coloured underwear (yellow front, brown back). Ultimately, your cowardice hurts PUTC and if you do have a problem with GM and the repair sho then you should have the intestinal fortitude to debate me face to face without hiding behind your fat ass.

I was thinking the same thing as DenverMike.. if they put that engine into a regular cab truck with a decent axle ratio you'd have the makings of a sport truck that could hang in there with the Tremor and RumbleBee.

Any idea specifically when these trucks will hit the showroom floor?

It should be illegal to name a gas engine "eco"-anything especially a v-8. "Consumers please with the results"... Yeah right.

@jrt - I'm sure that you find yourself completely amusing and the very fact that I am answering one of your posts must have you firing a wad into your coloured underwear (yellow front, brown back). Ultimately, your cowardice hurts PUTC and if you do have a problem with GM and the repair sho then you should have the intestinal fortitude to debate me face to face without hiding behind your fat ass.

Posted by: Lou | Sep 20, 2013 11:24:26 AM

You're still in a bad mood there Lou? Is your bum still sore from your procedure?

Though I wouldn't buy a V8 gasser in a truck again, I'm curious about the new 6.2. Never liked the 5.3, it never felt as tough as the Vortec 5.7. Previous gen 6.2 half-tons just guzzled the gas, but if they can get away calling this "Eco," i'd be interested to see if that's justified in real-world results. Bring on the 2015 Duramax.

$55,000 is just under what my 2012 GMC 2500HD SLT Duramax/Allison crew cab stickered for which is a lot more capable truck and probably gets similar mileage.

That Denali is a nice looking truck but for the same price I would definately pick the more capable 2500HD and do without the Denali bells and whistles.

Sad part is, these people will buy this truck and then go to buy a 5th wheel that weighs 9600lbs, and the camper dealer will say buy a bigger truck cuz it has a 2K lb hitch rating and your payload won't handle it, then the consumer will say, but the dealer said it will tow 12K pounds,

not trying to sound harsh here, but I already heard this with the F150 ecoboost guys at the big camper show, sayin their truck can tow 11K pounds but can't buy anything over 7500lbs cuz of their toungue weight or hitch weight rating. These manufactures need to stop promoting half tons as towing vehicles, that they are not when we are talking weights like this

I don't consider any half-ton truck worth $50K, nor even a 1-ton model. You get to that price range and you don't have a truck any more, you have a luxury car that's not meant for work OR a truck that's meant for heavy work with no luxury.

I'll admit I like the look (minus the two back doors) but I wouldn't pay more than $30 K for it, and that's still pushing it.

It seems like quite an impressive vehicle. I still don't like those make believe Kenworth grilles.

Rather high tow capacity.

Is it me or is it becoming blurry the distinction between a HD and a 1/2 ton truck.

How many consumers will buy this over a HD? Especially when required for towing duties.

Still as a tow vehicle it will be interesting to see what the other manufacturers will come up with down the track.

The comment 'at 85mph it still had more horsepower on demand, we'll I haven't been in to many modern vehicles that don't have a lot more to go at 135kph.

135kph really doesn't stress a Corolla.

In person they are difficult to tell apart from the past gen. That said, they don't look too bad in white.

No info on instrument cluster..I heard its digital and customizable. ..

Awesome truck good job GM!

Looks like a really nice truck Since they are using the "Eco" name (I think I liked "Vortec" better) Maybe hwy fuel economy will be at least 20 mpg? I don't expect more than 14 mpg in the city, and maybe that is being optimistic. Still 20 hwy would be impressive. I agree with others who say this engine should be available in the lower trims as well.

@NLP please don't buy one. It just leaves more of them for ME

I don't know I think the leaser models look better, I guess its the grill its just a rectangle, the lesser models at least have some bars going across.

The URLs for "click here" are not click-able.

@BLang, agree about the Vortec bit.

I hate anything Green except for St Patricks Day. The whole EcoBoost riff is bad enough and then GM slaps it on a firebreathing 6.2 V8. Dumb.

FordTrUcks1 - "You're still in a bad mood there Lou? Is your bum still sore from your procedure?"

Yeah it still is thanks for asking FordTrUcks1. The worst part is that my wife made roasted corn last night for dinner. I didn’t know there was such a thing as explosive diarrhea until I woke up this morning. My doctor said it should get better soon, but it didn’t help when he shoved his finger up there (what the hell can you expect from socialized medicine here in Canada).

Anyway the best thing about this article is when Zach said that he “liked the seats because they were firm yet supportive.” With size of my hemorrhoids I’m picking up a Sierra as soon as they hit the showroom.

@The not so real 'Lou'
You are one $ucked up person.

I would think in real life you are gutless, dickless individual person. We're you bullied in school?

You hid behind a computer, just like a little boy would hide behind his mother's skirt.

I suppose people like you are in society, I'm really glad you aren't defending your country. You would turn tail and run or even give away secrets to the enemy, just to protect yourself. You would let others' suffer to save your ass, that's how I view you.

You are one gutless wonder of a human.

TYPICAL Bling Trash for the GovtMoCo Sierra. This POS Still ticks me off. NO Company NEEDS TWO TRUCKS! NOT on the Taxpayers Dime. Give the stupid Denali trim to the Silverado line and BE DONE.

See I told you so. Here's your specs with the 10 extra torque in the first drive review just like I said would happen. Notice nobody had anything to say after I exposed that the 6.2 specs were posted back in June and GM was rehashing old news. Those who said it was bias owes Mark Williams an apology.

Nice truck but would I pay 55K for it? No Would I ever try to tow 12K with a 1/2 ton truck? Absolutely Not!

Nice looking truck although after seeing the 2015 Yukon interior, I think that interior looks much nicer. All in all, I think this truck is nice. As for the towing ratings, there is still plenty of split in the LD and HD trucks to justify each. For people concerned with hitch weight you can correct with air bags in the rear suspension to help. Did it t my current truck and sure handles the load well. Also very nice to be able to adjust on the fly. As for the power I can see this truck returning very good mileage since it has sufficient power to stay in V4 mode. The hp and torque numbers that were "guessed" on in June based on 5.3 numbers were just that. It wasn't until recently that GM finally released them numbers which is more than rehash of old news. Look in the June article and there is asterisks on the numbers. The interesting info would be the hp and torque curves. If this engine is similar to the 5.3 it should have good power thought a wide range. Can't wait to see in person....

@Big Al from Oz "You would let others' suffer to save your ass, that's how I view you."

You are so right Al. Here in Canada our military is down to nothing. We quickly learned that no one would attack Canada because the US would run to our defence. So I'm happy to say that the American's would run to our defence. Why have our fine Canadian boys die at war.

I wouldn't hide behind my mother's skirt because she would get her ass kicked. Besides she died years ago. I'd much rather have the American's fight and die for Canada. Hey if Austrailia Ever gets a real army I would be happy to have some Austrailan boys die for my freedom!

Al baby you sound up-set and I getting under your skin?

51,000 is normal ,if ford don't sales is truck whit big rebate ,the price is the same but to have areal pickup you need to paid the price,or get somting very cheap in quality etc,etc get a ford:))


You are not all of the taxpayers or even an elected official most likely so that means like me you can only represent yourself and your dime which is your complete and total contribution.

The time has come for Ford and Ram to catch up if they can. But I doubt that they will even come close.

@greg "The time has come for Ford and Ram to CATCH UP if they can."

I'm sure that the boys at Ford and Fiat can make Ketch up. But just in case here is a recipe:

3 cans/jars of organic Tomato Paste (I order the jars by the case from here)
½ cup white vinegar or apple cider vinegar (this will leave a faint apple taste)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 tablespoons honey or cane sugar, or about ½ tsp stevia powder/tincture (or more to taste)
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon Himalayan or sea salt
1 teaspoon dried mustard powder
A pinch of each of the following (to taste): Cinnamon, cloves, all-spice, cayenne
1 cup of water

Put the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend well. Put in fridge to let flavors meld overnight or at least two hours.

It's not like Ford hasn't tried it before:


@Fake Lou, I genuinely feel sorry for you, given that your goal is to get online and get under people's skin. Wow, that's your biggest achievement? Cyber bullying is passive-aggressiveness, which is caused by an inferiority complex. Naturally, people try to over-compensate for this through anti-social behavior. Heck your inferiority complex is so apparent, you cannot even use your regular username, let alone your real name or identity. I'm sorry you don't have the confidence to confront your problems face-to-face, but you should get professional help instead of making it everyone else's problem.

Watch this: denial and defensiveness comes next.

@Mark Williams, will you please ban these trolls so the rest of us can talk about trucks?

@ALEX- thank you for the advice I feel extremely sorry for what I have done. I look up to you Al, I expect you to lead the way.

Why don’t you pass on your “real name and full identity” to all us losers on PUTC.

Come on Al put your money where your mouth is and show us what a real man can do.

@Fake Lou
You know, you might have caused the real Lou to not post on this site and you've tried the same tactics with me. But to no avail.

I really do support Alex on this one.

Like I told Lou, be careful or this guy will become a nuisance for you to manage.

So you admit that you are "fake Lou?" I did put my real name. I don't post under any other username. Thanks for using sarcasm as your defense mechanism, it proved my prediction.

Here's a little tip for you. If you're going to put something in quotation marks, make sure that it's a direct quote, not just something you made up. Unless you want to look like a fool... oh wait, you don't have to worry about that, you get to hide behind various usernames ;)

The fake Lou is at it again.

Letting others die for his freedom, wow...............

what a piece of sh-t.

I'm amazed that the usual red blooded Americans on this site aren't all over that remark.

That is probably because they've been chased away.

@Alex - good catch on the fake Lou.

@Big Al from Oz

He isn't for me to manage, he is PUTC's problem.

If they want to let these bottom feeders kill this site and its credibility, that is their problem not mine.

@Fake Lou - you can continue to piss all over the USA Constitution and all that it represents, or you can man up and go away. You hide behind the freedoms and liberties given to you by the USA's founding fathers and you turn that freedom into a mockery.
That is worse than anything that Japan did to the USA because you are mocking your own country's rights that people died to protect for you.

As I posted earlier and this is what you are mocking,
"Freedom of speech means nothing when that freedom is twisted into a perverse distorted form used to stifle free speech of others.
Ridiculing and defaming others while hiding under a veil of anonymity is cowardice in its lowest form.
Those people spit on the graves of the glorious dead who defended our freedoms.
Free speech is completely wasted when one no longer is able to discern what is true."

You said I sound like I was going to cry on another thread, well, it does bring a tear to my eye when I attend a Remembrance Day Ceremony (November 11) in the bitter cold to honour those who have died fighting our wars.

Troll this comment all you want and it will prove once again what a pathetic human being you are.

Back on topic.
Good looking truck even though I'm not a fan of any truck with the electric razor blade corrugated grill look.

If I were to find myself in the market for a new truck, the Sierra would be at the top of my list.
Good job GMC.

Nice to see my truck company building a great truck, I say that since the USA did their big stock sell off, the Canadian government owns more of GMC than the USA does..... LOL

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