Fans of the GMC Heavy Duty family of pickup trucks have a new luxury option to choose from when it comes time to order their next serious tow platform. GMC has elected to expand its premium Denali line to include the 2011 GMC Sierra 3500 series single rear wheel and dually pickup trucks. While the Denali luxury trim has long been available on GMC Sierra 1500 pickups, as well as a long list of sport-utility vehicles and crossovers, only recently have the workhorses of the GMC lineup been offered with the opportunity for the full Denali treatment. In fact, previous to this announcement the GMC Sierra 2500 four-wheel drive model was the only HD vehicle that could be could be decked out in Denali trim, an option that has now been expanded to include two-wheel drive models as well.
The 2011 GMC Sierra HD 3500 Denali - both two and four-wheel drive editions - comes exclusively in crew cab configuration, which provides four full-size doors to help make entry to the vehicle's rear passenger compartment that much easier. What makes a Denali different from the standard Sierra HD 3500? On the outside, the luxo-truck can be recognized through the addition of trim that is cued to the vehicle's body color, a healthy helping of chrome accents (door handles, four-bar Denali grille, step bar trim and side trim) as well as the option of wheels as large as 20-inches. Dually models are restricted to 17-inch polished aluminum rims, and the truck brand has decided to limit the paint hues available with the Denali package to just three: Black, Stealth Gray and White.
Inside, the GMC Sierra HD 3500 Denali maintains the same level of comfort equipment found in other GMC vehicles bearing the premium designation. Buyers can choose to install heated and cooled leather seats along with a heated steering wheel, which nicely complement standard features such as the brushed aluminum trim sprinkled throughout the interior and the truck's high end Bose stereo system.
When it comes to power, the Denali version of the HD 3500 pickup truck can be had with either a 360 horsepower, 6.0-liter V-8 or a 397 horsepower, 6.6-liter turbodiesel engine whose eight cylinders also produce a whopping 765 lb-ft of torque. This recently revised Duramax diesel unit can also run on B20 Bio-Diesel, which makes the truck far more environmentally friendly than it at first appears. Each of these engines is backed with a six-speed automatic transmission.
The GMC Denali family has long nipped at the heels of Cadillac when it comes to producing premium trucks that can also earn their keep at the job site. The decision to expand Denali offerings to include the most rugged GMC Sierra of them all, the 3500 HD, indicates that the company feels there are enough buyers out there who want to significantly upgrade the look and feel of their mobile office. While some GMC Sierra HD 3500s will undoubtedly be purchased by those who simply want the biggest, most comfortable toy on the block, it is safe to say that the truck builder is primarily targeting the demographic who will be putting this Heavy Duty rig to work towing tens of thousands of pounds or lugging a load of drywall. Given that the Denali HD sacrifices none of the rugged utility that has made the Sierra 3500 so popular, there is no reason to doubt that it will connect with its intended audience.