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2017 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali – 5 Things You Need to Know


2017 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali - 5 Things You Need to KnowOne of the most lusted after trucks on the market, the 2017 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali just has that right recipe of refinement with power. Here are 5 things you need to know about it.

1. Top GMC Trim Level

Quite often, people will say suggest they want to buy a “Denali.” This is a common misconception among consumers. The truth is there is no such thing as a Denali vehicle, however, it is trim level within GMC’s offerings. 

In fact, GMC has done such a good job building up the Denali name, their website offers a Denali only listing of vehicles split within each category. This is unique among other manufactures who put their trim levels together. 

The Denali trim, when it comes to the Sierra, encompasses everything from the grille to the interior finishes. A good way to think of it is as an upscale 1500.

2017 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali - 5 Things You Need to Know2. Denali Trim Dominates Sales

Another remarkable thing about the Denali trim is how much it dominates other trim levels. Consider this, “nearly 12 percent of all light-duty Sierra trucks sold have the Denali trim, and this number is rising” as of 2015. With the boom in luxury truck sales, this number is likely double. 

Considering the starting MSRP is $52,505, buying one isn’t a hasty decision. 

2017 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali - 5 Things You Need to Know3. Interior Comfort Unreal

Why do consumers opt for the Denali trim? Simple. The interior comfort is incredible. What’s truly amazing is that at this time, the competition for luxurious truck interiors is hotter than ever and yet the Denali trim doesn’t feel outdated. Instead, it feels different.

Walking around and climbing into a Sierra Denali it is clear what’s special about it. Where other makers are adding upgraded headliners or cowboy trim, the Denali trim is just refinement. Every touch and finish is really top-notch and the truck simply feels more relaxed than others. It is a funny thing to try to describe. It is just different.

Plus, GMC nailed the storage on the Sierra with ample space for all sorts of goodies throughout the cabin. 

2017 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali - 5 Things You Need to Know4. Well-Matched Powertrain

Our test model came with the 6.2L V8 mated to an 8-speed transmission. This is one of GMC’s new combinations with the 8-speed transmission. Like the interior, this powertrain is simply refined rather than boastful. 

I’ve driven this trucks with this kind of combination from other manufactures and they feel boastful. Loud. Extra powerful. Not with the GMC Sierra.

Instead, the GMC Sierra still feels refined off the line without little sound or seemingly effort. The truth is you know the engine is powerful, but it isn’t overwhelming at all. The 8-speed transmission does a wonderful job of sliding through the gears, it is hard to feel the truck shift. 

With the low-profile line of the body and large windows combined with the smooth powertrain and ride, this is an everybody truck. 

2017 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali - 5 Things You Need to Know5. Downside?

While it is hard to find an item to improve on, one does wonder where is the upgraded Denali edition? The fact is, like I said above, other manufactures are launching new luxury trims seemingly every few months. While these new trucks have interior descriptions similar to the latest advertisement of a Chanel handbag, GMC hasn’t been quick to offer another trim above the Denali. This is a mistake.

Sure, it may seem wasteful for the average truck consumer, but if they are going to buy it, why not offer it? It would make sense to this writer for GMC to offer a Denali Ultimate package with another level of leather, more unique finishes and even more luxury. 

At the end of the day, the 2017 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali is a truly great truck with its luxurious cabin, smooth ride and ease of use thanks to the rear bumper step. It just seems like with $100k pickups on the market these days, GMC can raise its game.

Tim Esterdahl

Automotive Journalist Tim Esterdahl has been a lover of trucks and SUVs for years. He has covered the industry since 2011 and has pieces in many national magazines and newspapers. In his spare time, he is often found tinkering on his '62 C10 pickup, playing golf, going hunting and hanging out with his wife and kids in Nebraska.

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