The Wall Street Journal recently reported on the understated success of GMC, and how that bolsters GM’s other initiatives like electrified and autonomous vehicles. Driving that growth is the Sierra line of pickups, in particular, the higher trim levels. Duncan Aldred, Global GMC Vice President notes that SLT and Denali models account for 87 percent of the brand’s total crew cab sales. With our love for premium and luxury trucks on the rise, GMC will hit the market later this year with the new Sierra Denali and SLT.
Power & Performance
If it’s one thing truck buyers are looking for, it’s grunt under the hood. New versions of GM’s evergreen 6.2 and 5.3 V8 engines will be joined by a new 3.0-liter inline-six turbo-diesel. GMC has not clarified horsepower or torque figures, but say the 5.3 and 6.2 will feature the new Dynamic Fuel Management system. This replaces the current Active Fuel Management and differs in the sense it can shut off any number of cylinders, in a variety of combinations, to boost performance and efficiency.
The 6.2 and diesel engines are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
Sierra Denali’s Adaptive Ride Control suspension should make rough roads more tolerable. On-board sensors monitor the road conditions and chassis responses in real time, enabling adjustments to the active dampers every two milliseconds. And you thought Jimmy Johns was fast.
The 2019 Sierra Denali will offer, not surprisingly, a full range of available safety features like Side Blind Zone Alert, Pedestrian Detection, and Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking.
The “MultiPro Tailgate” is of note here, which includes 6 different functions and positions to make the workday a bit easier. There are second-tier loading and load-stop solutions, a standing workstation mode, and integrated hand grips and bumper steps – the MultiPro Tailgate is standard on Denali and SLT trucks. Although cool and definitely useful, the MultiPro Tailgate underscores a totally new approach for the 2019 Sierra in a fundamental area.
Carbon Fiber Strategy
Since the F-150 got wrapped in aluminum, rumors abound about what GM was going to do material-wise, if anything. To wit, the 2019 GMC Sierra maintains its roll-formed, high-strength steel bed, although a revised alloy offers 50 percent more strength than the current model. What is new is “CarbonPro,” or essentially the industry’s first carbon fiber truck box, on offer for the 2019 Sierra Denali later in the model year.
CarbonPro replaces the steel inner panels and floor with a lighter carbon fiber composite that cuts 62 lbs. from the truck. According to GMC, CarbonPro offers best-in-class dent, scratch, and corrosion resistance, and is the most durable pickup box in the segment. GMC notes their material strategy includes aluminum for the doors, hood, and tailgate, while relying on steel for the fenders and roof. Overall, the 2019 Sierra is 360 lbs. lighter than the current model.
When you gotta tow, you gotta tow. Expect to see GMC’s new ProGrade Trailering feature with a compatible smartphone app on offer. The system includes a pre-departure checklist, trailer light test, tire pressure monitoring for the trailer, and maintenance reminders among others.
Hitch Guidance, Hitch View, and a birds-eye camera should minimize the amount of swear words uttered while backing up to a trailer. The available side view cameras and a trailer-mounted HD camera can provide additional assistance when traveling down the road, or while operating in reverse. Also cool is the Trailer Theft Detection feature, which provides a mobile alert via OnStar should the trailer ever be detached from the truck.
The available Rear Camera Mirror is something most truck buyers will find useful. It acts like a dual-function interior mirror, in the sense that it helps drivers see around potential obstructions, be it occupants or cargo. It expands the field of vision for the driver with a higher resolution camera and display and the ability to tilt or zoom the view.
Pricing & Availability
The 2019 GMC Sierra Denali and SLT go on sale this fall. GMC did not disclose pricing but said additional details will be released closer to the start of production.
Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan. He studies mechanical engineering at Wayne State University, serves on the Board of Directors for the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation, and is a loyal Detroit Lions fan.