Prosperous times produce luxurious pickup trucks. When Americans are feeling good about their economic fortunes, truck makers load up on leather and chrome. Heck, back in the early 2000s, before the Great Recession, both Cadillac and Lincoln got into the pickup truck game, offering equity-rich homeowners the Escalade EXT and the Blackwood.
With the Cadillac discontinued (the woefully misguided Lincoln rightly lasted no more than a season), fanciful trim levels now denote premium trucks. At GMC, “Denali” is used to connote luxury, the name taken from the highest and recently renamed mountain peak in North America.
According to GMC’s data, the premium truck segment has grown ten times larger today than it was in 2013, and 25 percent of all GMC models sold carry the Denali designation. In fact, Denali has become so successful that in November of 2015, GMC announced a new Denali Ultimate version of the Sierra 1500, one boasting even more standard equipment and an even higher price tag.
For this review, we sampled the standard Sierra 1500 Denali, a chromed-up, crew cab, short box model with 4-wheel drive, a 6.2-liter V8 engine, Iridium Metallic paint, a Jet Black leather interior, and several options. The price came to $61,140, pushed over the $60,000 mark by a destination charge of $1,195. Notably, 51 percent of the parts are sourced from Mexico, where this truck is built in Silao in order to take maximum advantage of how great America already is.