Though it can confuse the consumer, GMC has two versions of the 2022 GMC Sierra Denali; an updated version and an outgoing version. For this review, we’ll be looking at the outgoing model which is a carryover from the 2021 Denali. We’ll be comparing it to the mid-cycle refreshed model shortly. Our test vehicle is the range-topping 2022 GMC Sierra Denali CarbonPro in “half-ton” form.
The 2022 GMC Sierra Denali 1500 is powered by a 6.2-liter V8 engine, producing 420-horsepower and 460ft-lbs. of torque. The engine mates with a 10-speed automatic transmission which can send power to the rear wheels or all four wheels via a push-button control setup on the dashboard.
The engine and transmission combo are excellent, and power is always available whether cruising down the highway toward town for a night out or with a fully loaded bed of spring landscaping supplies. When equipped with the proper towing package, the GMC Sierra Denali can tow a solid 12,200 pounds and has a payload capacity of 2240lbs.
The EPA rates the Sierra Denali’s 6.2-liter V8’s fuel economy at 16mpg city and 20 mpg highway. We observed 16.8mpg after a week of mixed condition driving. GMC does recommend premium fuel for the Denali’s 6.2-liter V8.
Interior Comfort and Technology
The GMC Sierra Denali’s cabin is designed to feel spacious and provide owners with plenty of storage room for all the stuff a modern life requires. In addition, GMC was generous with the number of buttons found throughout the cabin to easily reach functions and features without relying entirely on a touch-screen interface. These buttons are a very underrated but extremely welcome touch. Trucks should value function over form, and the GMC Sierra Denali cabin is an excellent example of a functional interior.
Unfortunately, the form side of the GMC Sierra Denali’s interior falls far short of expectations for a vehicle positioned as the most upscale truck in the lineup. Materials are hard, cheap-looking, and entirely out of place in an upscale truck that costs over $70,000. Ram and Ford both have the GM truck interiors beat in this generation. Thankfully, GMC heard all the user feedback and is taking care of many of these complaints during the Sierra mid-cycle refresh.
Interior features include heated and ventilated power seats, a heads-up display, 8″ touchscreen, full Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility, a great Bose stereo, wireless phone charging, several USB and power ports, and Wi-Fi hotspot capability. Unfortunately, the touchscreen display is decidedly low-resolution and feels extremely outdated. The screen is another area that GMC has updated in the mid-cycle refresh.
Luxury features include incredibly comfortable leather seats, a heated steering wheel, remote start, white LED ambient lighting, power running boards, power tailgate, and folding mirrors. In addition, the Sierra Denali can enable the heated seats via remote start if the ambient temperature is below 55 degrees and ventilated seats if temperatures are over 75-degrees.
GMC has given the Sierra Denali a whole suite of cameras throughout the truck’s exterior, which can all be easily accessible via a button on the dashboard. These cameras can be beneficial when hooking up a trailer and turn the hookup process into a one-person job. In addition, trailering mode brings up information like transmission temperatures and brake pressure, trailer-length indicators, a rear camera view that can make the trailer invisible via some camera magic, and additional camera angles that are helpful during towing.
CarbonPro Package and MultiPro Tailgate
Our 2022 GMC Sierra Denali tester came equipped with the CarbonPro package, which means the 6.62-foot bed is made from a lightweight carbon fiber composite material. GM states that this material makes the bed impervious to damage that a truck owner might otherwise see through the ordinary course of using the bed as a truck owner might. In addition, the CarbonPro bed weighs 60-pounds less than the standard Sierra bed.
Another fantastic party trick the GMC Sierra Denali has is the MultiPro tailgate.
The clever GMC MultiPro Tailgate System is a power tailgate comprised of two separate tailgate sections. The upper section can operate independently of the larger lower tailgate section, which can be used as a load stop or as a surface to lay long loads on. As the diagram above shows, other uses of the MultiPro tailgate, such as reducing the length of the tailgate to get easier access to the bed or using the smaller section as a step up into the bed.
The GMC Sierra Denali is a competent truck with upscale ambitions, and it wants to be the tuxedo you put on for a night out at the Country Club after a long day of doing truck things. The exterior looks the upscale part, but the interior remains stuck in blue jeans. For nearly $75,000, the interior quality is what would send me to the nearest Ram or Ford dealer.
Thankfully, GMC has heard the feedback and has significantly improved the facelifted 2022 GMC Sierra lineup. More to come on that, but I suspect these upgrades might have the pendulum swinging more in Sierra’s favor.