2021 GMC Sierra HD Denali Diesel: Big Boys Only Good If They Work Every Day

2021 GMC Sierra 2500 HD Denali GMC Photo Credit

2021 GMC Sierra HD Denali Diesel Review

By Bill Owney

DALLAS – More than two years later, I was finally on my way to a favorite diversion, the Dallas Auto Show.

Yes, I love looking at things that are beautiful and shiny.

COVID changed so much. New cars cost more than $ 45,000, used more than $ 30,000, and people wait weeks to get them. The conclave of cars and pickups at the convention center on Griffin Street in downtown Dallas is now called the North Texas Auto Show, and a third of the cavernous hall was empty, the space filled with mini-rides in a handful of electric vehicles that looked charming. but far from ready to conquer the planet.

One thing remained the same, my turn. This was one of those weeks when I did not know what I was driving until I looked out the dining room window – much like a child on Christmas morning – to see what car the fairies had delivered.

Two days before my trip to Big D, a shiny and black, $ 70,000 plus, diesel-sucking, huge pickup, a 2021 GMC Sierra HD Denali 2500, popped into my driveway as Pillsbury Dough Boy trying to fit into a Little Ducky inner tube .

Powered by a 6.6L V-8 Duramax turbodiesel screwed to an industrial-grade 10-speed Allison automatic, this beast pulls out 445 hp, 910 lb.ft of torque and can pull 18,510 lbs. behind it.

Damn, and I left my cabin cruiser in my other garage.

But the diesel prices

As amazing as these numbers may seem, more importantly, from my perspective, this number was: $ 5,094. That was the price of a single gallon of diesel in Texarkana the day I traveled to Dallas.

A small case study showed that Black Behemoth received 12.2 mpg in the city. I dug a little deeper into the built-in fuel gauge and discovered that it had averaged 15.5 mpg over the previous 1,657 miles. It would have to go better than that if we were to put in 370 miles round trip and then get through the remaining five days a week.

Refilling a $ 5-liter 36-gallon fuel tank was NOT on Dad’s agenda. It is enough that he had to take a day off from work, eat on the road and pay for a hotel. (Sleep, one of these micro hotels is a quiet and clean place if you are comfortable sleeping in a walk-in closet. Price: $ 112, plus $ 12 parking.) Sigh – one assumes there are more expensive hobbies.

A radical experiment = 8.4% improvement

On the way back and forth I tried something radical. I drove Below the speed limit. Stop screaming. The world is not running out. It just stopped spinning for a day or two. No doubt the idea of ​​you really going 73 in a 75 had a negative cosmic pull and probably delayed spring by a week or so, but we all seem to have survived.

The net effect was that the fuel economy improved to 16.8 mpg – an increase of 8.4% – and I could drive back and forth to Dallas, get home, shop for food, go to work and even run a weekend out to the lake, and the little orange fuel light did not come on until the morning the kind man came to get his big old truck back.

Of course, it cost General Motors $ 180 to get him back to Dallas. Plus, DEF, that expensive liquid that has to go in diesel tanks with a few tanks, started to get low.

To be honest, that little voice in the back of my head tells me that I should have driven my Highlander Hybrid to big D. Not only would it have achieved twice as good fuel economy, albeit on my crown, but diesel engines also emit 25 to 400 times more mass of particulate black carbon and miscellaneous organic matter per mile; so there was a lot of pollution to pour into the atmosphere just for the benefit of sitting high up and acting like i was someone important.

Nice enough

2020 GMC Sierra HD Denali interior
2021 GMC Sierra HD Denali Photo Credit GMC

That leads to the only compelling point I am likely to make today. These powerful pickups only make sense if you are towing something solid daily and weekly, and not just because they are bouncy and uncomfortable but something heavy behind. Today’s quarter ton pickups have plenty of traction and much better fuel economy.

GMC’s Duramax diesel will pull 18,500 lbs. Ford’s F-2550 diesel will draw £ 22,800. and the Rams 6.7-L Cummins® Turbodiesel will pull 20,000. Those are big numbers. A trailer with four horses, on the other hand, weighs anywhere from 4,200-8,400 pounds. Add four horses up to 660 lbs. per, and the weight is still less than the capacity of a competent quarter-ton truck.

Surprisingly, GM’s 3.0-L Duramax pulls just 9,500 pounds, but both Ford and Ram offer quarter-tonne diesels that pull more than 12,500 pounds. Ford gives you about 27 mpg and Rams more than 30 mpg.

Is efficiency possible in this category …

Motor Trend has a nice repeat of these questions. I have been looking at payload and towing capacity tables for more than four decades and this year I found the biggest surprise so far. Both Ford and Toyota manage to haul more than 12,000 pounds. combine hybrid systems with twin-turbo V-6 arrays. My friend Tim Esterdahl, a pickup expert, believes that the new Tundra has the best fuel economy of a light pickup ever.

On top of that, GMC Denali still leaves a lot to be desired. Although it has lots of great features, including a camera system that finally competes with Ford’s, the interior still has a cheap and plastic feel. Still, it has plenty of storage space, holes for storage, drink holders and electrical outlets. Pickup drivers, who tend to prefer practicality and versatility over aesthetics, will find it sufficient.

An available 8-inch infotainment screen is remarkably smaller than the 12-inch screens available on the Ram for two years.

In addition, important parts of driver assistance technology are not available. I understand that pickup drivers tend to be conservative and therefore the demand is probably not high, but a truck’s ability to stay in its lane and a safe distance behind the vehicle in front seem more important when towing 10 tonnes from the stern.

Who buys a vehicle for $ 70,000? Financial advisers say that a car purchase should not be more than 35% of gross income. Let’s see … 0.35X = $ 70,000. Divide both sides by 0.35. Oh, that’s $ 200,000 a year, right? Less than 7% of the American public do so.

One would think that the top 7% would be more picky.

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