2007 GMC Sierra Denali
2007 GMC Sierra Denali. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Justin Pritchard

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Photo Gallery: 2007 GMC Sierra Denali

Sudbury, Ontario – Uptown, downtown or out of town, GMC’s Sierra Denali aims to please.

Full-size pickup trucks like the new GMC Sierra are powerful, strong and willing workers that aren’t afraid to throw on a hard-hat and roll up their sleeves. Then there are “trucks” like the Cadillac Escalade which have a lot of similar hardware but wear much nicer clothes. They’re like CEOs: well-dressed and commanding of tremendous respect, but they aren’t often seen on the job site. I hear their big chrome grilles wince at the sight of mud and dirt.

Truly, the working truck hierarchy is a unique one.

But what if you’re looking for something between a work-truck and a luxury “truck” – in between the worker and the CEO, so to speak? GMC’s Sierra Denali is just the ticket. It’s the pickup equivalent of a job-site foreman: not afraid to get dirty, but it has a higher degree of responsibility than a more simple machine. It’s intended to be just as comfortable on a long highway trip to the cottage as it is on a construction site, and it fits right in for a night out on the town, too.

The Denali’s most obvious visual is a fantastic set of 20-inch wheels. There are also chunky chrome door handles, rear-exit exhaust and a menacing, highly-reflective chrome grille treatment. The latter puts more sparkle up front than a jewellery store and collects stares without making as much of a statement as the higher-up Escalade model. It’s still a machine that makes nearby teenagers hike up their saggy jeans and say things like “sick” and “phat”.

2007 GMC Sierra Denali
2007 GMC Sierra Denali. Click image to enlarge

Loaded with amenities, the Sierra Denali seems more like a luxury sedan with a box. Hop aboard, and the rich smell of leather invades your nostrils. Settle in your seat and you’ll find yourself faced with wood-trim, metallic accents and plenty of features and gadgets. The overall sense of size to the Denali’s interior adds a sense of laid-back enjoyment to the cabin.

A multi-purpose color screen in the centre of the dashboard houses the optional navigation system which is detailed and precise with a very user friendly interface that provides snappy access to any function you might be looking for.

Bose audio and XM satellite radio are also included. The stereo system is powerful – tuned for frequency response over sound volume. Surprisingly, a six-CD changer wasn’t provided, though the XM satellite radio was a nice treat. If you love music and find yourself driving long hours, you ought to check it out. The selection of categorized music is unbelievable, and stations never go out of range – making it ideal for long-distance trips.

2007 GMC Sierra Denali
2007 GMC Sierra Denali. Click image to enlarge

The Denali features standard tire pressure monitoring, On-Star emergency assistance, traction/stability control, and full set of airbags. I can see the features such as remote start, heated seats, a washer fluid heater and automatic climate control cutting through the frigid winters of Northern Ontario with ease.

Throughout a week of driving, I’d found nothing to complain about inside. There is plenty of storage, a power outlet wherever you need one, power adjustments to everything, and a quality feel throughout. It’s a nice place to relax after work.

A fully automated all-wheel drive system works without any driver intervention to ensure traction is available whenever needed. Especially useful in winter, the AWD acts as a decent all-purpose 4×4 mode too.

2007 GMC Sierra Denali
2007 GMC Sierra Denali. Click image to enlarge

While traveling through some light off-road trails, the system worked well, though it occasionally spun the wrong tires for the situation. The AWD cannot be disengaged or locked, and no low-range is fitted.

The ride is comfortable where it needs to be, without sacrificing any precision. The engineers have struck a nice balance between comfort and sport.

Under the hood are 6.2 litres of furious Vortec V8 ready and waiting for any challenge. The mill utilizes variable valve timing to optimize performance and economy, and total output is 403 horsepower and 417 lb.-ft of torque. That’s more than enough to tackle even tough jobs. All the appropriate muscle-truck sound effects emanate from the muffler too, and starting the engine near any sort of crowd turns heads with its deep burble.

I was happy to see a six-speed automatic transmission fitted to harness the engine’s thrust: shifts at low rpms are imperceptible, and there are enough ratios to keep the mill rotating under 1500 revs when driven gently. There’s a manual mode, and a tow-haul setting to eliminate gear hunting while on towing duty.

2007 GMC Sierra Denali
2007 GMC Sierra Denali. Click image to enlarge

The only concern I noted with the transmission was a tendency to lag when shifting down. Planting your right foot seems to confuse it, and sometimes results in a deep bark from under the hood followed by a momentary pause before the gearbox decides which cog to select.

Drive gently, and you’ll average fuel consumption around 12.5 L/100 km (19 m.p.g.) on the highway and about 16.5 L/100 km (14 m.p.g.) in the city – a number which can easily climb if you aren’t mindful of your right foot. But those numbers aren’t terrible for a 400+ horsepower truck, and GM makes some of the most fuel-efficient V8 engines on the road. Be sure you really need the Denali’s power before choosing one though – as you’ll pay for it every day.

Pricing: 2007 GMC Sierra Denali


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