2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate Review: Big Price, Big Refinement

GMC builds on its Denali-branded lineup with a new truck for the 2022 model year that hits all the right notes for its target customer, delivering more luxury appeal than the GMC lineup has ever offered.

The full-size pickup was updated for ’22 and two new variants were introduced, the Denali Ultimate and the AT4X. The former is the company’s ultimate expression of luxury while the Sierra 1500 AT4X is the most capable off-roader.

Revisions included a new grille and revised headlight design. The Sierra Denali Ultimate wears a Vader chrome GMC logo, Vader chrome grille and unique front fenders featuring Mount Denali, the truck’s namesake. An illuminated lighting sequence is animated when the technology detects that the key fob is approaching or leaving the vehicle.

The truck rides on 22-inch wheels finished in low-gloss black with machined accents and has standard power assist steps.

The face of the 2022 GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate wears Vader Chrome accents.
General Motors

GMC equips the truck with the buyer’s choice of two engines: a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder diesel or a 6.2-liter V8. Both add plenty of power to the truck, but the diesel is more desirable from an off-the-line perspective.

The engines are each paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission that provides smooth shifts. All-wheel drive and a two-speed gearbox are standard.

GMC’s latest truck is big and responsible on the road, but the Denali Premium Suspension with Adaptive Ride Control helps keep occupants comfortable over bumps in the pavement.

The Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate’s bed features a CarbonPro composite box, which is durable. GMC’s MultiPro tailgate, which provides six options to manage bed availability and size, is standard.

2022 GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate rear
The GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate has a six-way MultiPro tailgate as standard equipment.
General Motors

GMC equips all Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate models with the same interior scheme: Alpine Umber. It has full-grain leather details and open-pore Paldao wood details.

The truck’s dashboard, door panels, console lid, and front and rear seats come wrapped in leather. Speaker grilles are made of etched stainless steel. A micro-suede headliner wraps around the visor and posts.

Laser etched images of Mount Denali can be found on the interior on the passenger side dashboard, front and rear of the front seats, rear seat and door panels. The look is better done than the Lincoln Central Park map in the 2022 Navigator.

2022 GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate interior
The interior of the 2022 GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate features images of Mount Denali.
General Motors

The truck has standard 16-way power adjustable and massaging front seats, a power sunroof, and a 12-speaker Bose Premium sound system.

GMC’s 2022 Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate comes standard with a responsive 13.4-inch infotainment touchscreen with built-in Google compatibility. That screen is paired with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 15-inch head-up display. This is as much screen space as there is in many new luxury cars.

A rear camera mirror is also included as standard. The view can be viewed on demand with the mirror operating in a traditional image reflecting sense when the driver chooses.

The biggest plus of the truck is its Super Cruise hands-free driver assistance technology. The pickup drives as well on the Sierra 1500 as it does on the Cadillac Escalade, taking full advantage of the technology and its fresh ability to be used while trailering. Super Cruise can be used on over 200,000 miles of roads in the US and Canada.

2022 GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate Super Cruiser
Super Cruise technology comes on the 2022 GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate and can be used when towing.
General Motors

Starting at over $81,000, GMC’s range-topping Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate isn’t cheap, but this is the first truck GMC has put out in a while that seems to fit the price tag. The Super Cruise and MultiPro tailgate put it over the top.

But if you want bells and whistles like flat seats, a built-in alternator, console table and folding shifter, the Ford F-150 Platinum is a better buy, at a nearly identical price.

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