Big Boys for Big Jobs – the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate

Check out our @Queer4Cars YouTube Channel for a video review of the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali in Ultimate Trim.

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The 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate pickup truck is for towing and hauling and doing so in style. Pickup trucks, once the workhorse of the carpenter or farmer, are now a mainstay for many consumers, especially those that tow recreational vehicles, be they campers, boats, or toy trailers. As well as trips to the home center or just out into the wild for recreational trips.

2022 GMC Denali Sierra 1500
The GMC Sierra is a work truck with lots of luxurious touches.

No longer are you in the bare-bones pickup of yesterday. You can almost not find a fleet-ready white 2-door work truck these days. Pickups are all fancier than many luxury cars and just as pricey. Today with the number of choices of well-turned-out pickup trucks from all the brands, be it GMC, Chevy, RAM, Toyota, or even Nissan, it is hard to decide which one is right for you. So choose one that fits your style, needs, and pocketbook. It is not an easy task in today’s crowded marketplace.

Size Matters

This Roanoke, Indiana-made truck contains 86% North American Parts, 42% from the good old USA, and 44% from Mexico, and the rest are sourced worldwide.

Bigger is Better, especially when towing and hauling. This GMC Sierra shows off its size with four doors, a full-size pickup bed, and a 6.2-liter Ecotech V8 with a ten-speed automatic transmission.

While many trucks try to get you on fuel economy, and thus with a six-cylinder engine. If you tow a trailer, you really need the 8-cylinder engine. As well as the full-size frame, which helps with sidewind sway. This GMC has the power. My experience on highway fuel economy without a trailer was 20 mpg on recommended premium fuel.

gmc Sierra 1500 fuel filler door
The GMC Sierra states premium fuel is preferable for the best economy and power from the 6.2-liter V8 engine.

Exterior

left side view of gmc sierra 1500 pickup
GMC makes a big statement as a full-size pickup

While not flashy, it is classic and will look great for years. Outside you get LED fog lamps and LED headlamps, tail lamps, and daytime running lamps. Folding rear mirrors power running boards with lamps.  A very sturdy appearance with a flat front grille and lots of sheet metal.

In classic GM style, it features two rectangular rear exhaust tips. While they are just for display, as the actual exhaust pipe is within those, they do harken back to GM’s designs of the 1960s and 70s.

The bed has a built-in cargo liner, LED area lighting, GMC’s MultiPro Tailgate, the Multipro Audio System by Kicker, and a 120v Power outlet.

Interior

This $80K rig is tricked out with its Denali package in ultimate trim, which means a nicely detailed interior with lots of bells and whistles. Including Super Cruise, GM’s automated driving program that works on certain mapped roadways.

The GMC had the option of Super Cruise, a self-driving feature that will help you on certain roads by driving for you.

Inside, you will find full-grain leather seats, a premium microsuede headliner, and dual-zone climate control. Power is plentiful with USB A and C outlets and a 120v household plug inside the center console box. I appreciate that the interior is all soft-touch materials, from the dash to the headliner.

Driver & Passenger front seats are 16-way adjustable with massage, yes massage. Heated and ventilated front seats. Inside is a 13.4 Diagonal color touchscreen GMC Premium infotainment system with google capability built-in – in other words, the center dash screen can interact with the web over the built-in modem. And the Sierra has wireless android auto, apple car play, and a wireless device charger. Though I found that I had to remove the pad for it to charge my Otterbox-protected android phone. The driver dash display is a 12.3 Diagonal driver info center with many sub-screens to delve into the vehicle’s operation. Plus, a decent heads-up display or HUD. The leather-wrapped heated steering wheel is a pleasure no matter the season. 

Large front power sunroof that opens both for ventilation and for the sun to come in.  The rear window slides to the side, not fully down like the Tundra.  And there is one button-down side-window switch on the dash, just in case you need fresh air. It was a bit of a shock when I activated that button, and all the windows lowered very quickly. While the sunroof covers the front seats, it does not impede on the headroom for those in the rear seats, which is good, especially if they are wearing hats.

GMC Sierra rear seatback storage
You will find small storage spaces on the back of each outboard rear seat. Not really big enough for anything other than maybe work gloves and charge cords.

The outboard rear seats are heated, and 60/40 folding bench seat bottoms with storage underneath. While the seat backs do not move, they have a door in each outboard rear seat to a small storage area. Not sure what you are going to put back there other than maybe a small iPad or other devices.

The rear seat has plenty of headroom with an elevated ceiling without a rear fixed or sliding glass roof. Plenty of leg and hip room, two USB outlets, one A and one C, and two center console air vents and switches for the outboard rear seat heaters. A fold-down center armrest provides more storage and cup holders, though it eliminates the option of a center or third passenger seat.

Is it the pickup bed that makes it a pickup truck?

While the bed is simple, without any sidewall storage bins, it is completely covered in an integral plastic material, not a liner, sprayed on or dropped in. The bed is going to be durable no matter what you load in there.

bed of the GMC Sierra 1500
GMC Sierra’s bed is plastic lined and has several cool features. Check out our YouTube Video to see those in action.

The bed of the pickup has several exciting features. A 120-volt power outlet and a retractable stick to help you climb into the bed via the built-in step on the rear bumper. The tailgate has a fold-down upper part not quite sure what you would use it for. Maybe as a bar for your next tailgate affair. I will say the tailgate is heavy, which surprised me, considering weight is always an issue in any vehicle these days.

Powertrain

The ECOTEC V8 engine is 6.2-litres large with a 10-speed automatic transmission, auto-locking rear differential with two-speed auto track transfer case. I found this to be not only quiet in operation but also quite smooth. I averaged just over 20 miles per gallon on premium fuel in my week of driving, highway as well as city driving.

Denali premium suspension with adaptive ride control makes the Sierra ride as quietly as it runs. It will make you question, are you riding in a luxury car or a rough and tough pickup truck?

Towing

The Class 3 hitch is accompanied by two different plugs,
Depending on your trailer’s connections, the Class 3 hitch is accompanied by two electric connector plugs.

Built for towing with trailer side blind zone alert, a trailering package StabiliTrak with trailer sway control, hill start assist, and a trailer brake controller. An in-vehicle trailering app. While this one was set up with a class 3 hitch and various electrical connections, it would be a great tow-haul vehicle due to the power of the V8 engine and, of course, all the built-in technology. The size of it is also good for towing, especially when you need the stability that a full-size pickup provides.

Overall Thoughts

This is a great pickup truck for the under $80K price tag. It gives you a lot of luxury, safety, and technology in one pickup truck. Today it is rare to find a V8 gasoline-powered truck, and this one has all of that in one package. If you are towing and want something that has all the features you will need and the luxury that we have all come to expect today, this GMC Sierra is a great choice. You may want to step down a notch in the GMC line-up if the price is too steep. Choosing the trim level that gives you what you want within your budget.

Would I buy this 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali? Yes, if I were in need of a pickup with the power to tow and the luxury, and I had the cash to spend. I still remember when pickup trucks were 2-door workhorses.

Words, images, and video by William West Hopper.

William West Hopper VIP Tour Guide at the Washington DC Auto Show
William West Hopper is a long-time VIP Tour Guide at the Washington DC Auto Show

Mr. Hopper has long been an auto enthusiast, writing articles for different publications on different vehicles. Growing up on a farm in Pennsylvania, he learned to drive a pickup at an early age. He is President Emeritus of the Washington Automotive Press Association and serves on their current Board of Directors. Mr. Hopper is also a member of the International Automotive Press Association out of New York.

You can find him leading VIP tours of the Washington DC Auto Show as well as presenting at various automotive conferences around the country.

You can connect with him on LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, and other social media platforms.


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