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



Anyone can look at my typepad account to verify if I actually made a post.

The Fake Lou can copy my typepad link but if you look at the account posting history, the post he made does not show up on my list of posts.

anyone who is tired of the trolling can click the "contact us" link at the bottom of the page and file a complaint.

or click here.


This truck is awesome and I think GM did a great job with the new line of trucks. The report itself is not so great. Are the Denali's AWD again or selectable 4wd? PUTC finally reported on the new 6.2....finally. Only after C&D has had the info out there for a week or better now. I'll say it again....if this was a Ford test every detail including depth of carpet on the floor mats would be mentioned. I'm officially done with this anti anything by Ford website. Nice job Mark....way to slowly but surely kill off the site.

anyone who is tired of the trolling can click the link below and file a complaint.


Purchased an 07 Denali off of the showroom floor 11/07 with 39 miles on it, 78,000 miles later I bill be purchasing a 2014, with a 5.3 though. I don't tow anything, just my 2013 Victory Cross Country to Flagstaff or San Diego several times a year, to escape the heat of the PHX summer. I enjoy the creature comforts (ventilated seats mainly) and no other reasonably priced 1/2 ton, except the no longer produced EXT, can come close to the luxury of the Denali, in my opinion. I do like the Ford Limited, but I want V8 growl not V6 whine when I get on the gas. I wont even consider Japanese product. No vehicle is really better than the other today, its all a matter of personal preference, nothing more nothing less.

@mr_sds RET USAF - "I won’t even consider Japanese product."

That's great to hear bonehead, you might have studied up on where your great GM with all the "creature comforts is made".

According to NHTSA's 2012 ranking, 62% of the GM's (Sierra and Silverado) are made in the US or Canada. 70% of the RAM is made in the US (I think that is changed now and a lot more is made in Mexico); yet 75% of the Toyota Tundra is made in the US. Maybe you would like to apologize to your fellow American's in Texas and elsewhere that actually build that “Japanese product” that you would not consider.

However, using less American labour would explain why the quality on GM and RAM is improving.

@Alex - I didn't catch your real name and full identity can you please share that with us?

O, Beautiful,
For smoggy skies
Insecticided grains
For strip-mined mountains, majesty
Above the asphalt plains.
America, America,
Man sheds his waste on thee
And hides the pines
With billboard signs
From sea to oily sea!

@18- It's it great to have that option 18.

See ya

Looks like the fake Lou is a fan of George Carlin. They have similarities, both have spent too much time using mind altering substances.

@18 - freedom of speech only counts if you agree with the trolls and fanboys.

I'm not usually a fan of white trucks since I have to see white stuff on the ground for 5 months of the year, but the truck in the picture looks really good. I've always liked their white diamond tricoat colour.
It will be interesting to see a shootout with the 6.2 Chevy.

What PUTC should do is run a shootout with all of the available motors a company makes. That would help buyers decide which engine is best for them.

Someone has too much time on his hands and is a menace to society. Get a job and a life.

I can't believe some on said the f150 would just add springs. lol I own an f150. and I know just adding spring wouldn't help unless you beef up other componets like interal engine parts and also transmission. truck makers take all of that in account before they release tow ratings. but that truck sounds like a beast with that kind of numbers.

Thought this was a Truck site. Instead bunch of sissies calling each other names. :P

Invoice $46,746 / MSRP $50,265 for base GMC Sierra 1500 2014 Crew Cab Standard Box 4-Wheel Drive Denali.

Adding destination, the 6.2, integrated trailer controller, driver alert package and sunroof brings this to Invoice $51,071 / MSRP $55,030.

Not as bad as I expected.

Not looking for 4 wheel drive, I would want All-Wheel Drive! Does anybody know if All-Wheel Drive is available or not?

I just got one and I love it ! 0% lease rate, can't go wrong with that. It has the two tone brown interior, Onyx black exterior. I didn't need the 6.2L and got the 5.3L. Not that bad on gas, I mean it's still a truck and anyone who expects to get great fuel mileage can get something else. Anyone who comes up beside me at a light who has a sierra looks at mine and wishes they had one for sure. Awesome truck overall and I'm completely satisfied with it.

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