The GMC Denali Ultimate is stylish and loaded with additional top-shelf features

PHOTO | GMC
2022 GMC Denali Ultimate adds new features.

When you’re the top dog in the lineup, what do you do to get better?

If you’re the GMC Sierra 1500 Denali, you just add more stuff—lots of stuff—and call yourself the Denali Ultimate.

So, what do you add? Well, GMC took the options list and made almost everything standard except color choices. It even includes the newfangled Super Cruise technology. Yes, the Denali Ultimate can drive itself in certain situations.

The Denali Ultimate is a very handsome truck. The chrome Vader grill is menacing, but the truck looks almost elegant. The 22-inch low-gloss black aluminum wheels with machined accents are striking. There is even LED lighting in the bed area.

The Ultimate’s interior is almost falling apart. All Sierras get a new interior this year, but this Ultimate certainly is. The digital driver display and the 13.4-inch touchscreen capture your attention. The full-grain leather seats are exceptionally comfortable. Have you had a bad day at work? Step into your Denali Ultimate and set either the driver or passenger seat to massage. Yep, you have that standard.

You can relax with the Bose counterpoint system with 12 speakers that sounds very good in this big truck. You can party with the Kicker tailgate speaker system (standard, of course) that is completely independent of the main system.

There is a pattern that repeats throughout the cabin which I found is the “topographic map pattern of Mt. Denali”, which is laser etched. OK. It used to be called Mt McKinley. The wood molding used is genuine Paldao with open pores.

There is plenty of room to stretch out front and back. Headroom is also good, even with the standard sunroof.

The Denali Ultimate is powered by the 6.2-liter Ecotec3 V8. It’s a powerful beast but if you want something more fuel-efficient there’s the 3.0-litre Duramax diesel.

The Ecotec3 V8 produces 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. It feels pretty quick when you floor it, clicking easily through its 10-speed transmission. There is no hesitation or hunting for gear. Whatever you ask of the combination, they deliver with little effort.

The Denali Ultimate doesn’t run as big as it looks. It’s easy to get in with the automatic side steps. Once inside, the view outside is fantastic. You have a clear view of the motorway. The huge, electrically adjustable and folding mirrors allow you to see to the side and behind you. There is also a rearview mirror with direct feed.

Ultimate has adaptive cruise control that gives the truck a car-like ride. It can get a little bumpy if you find some not-so-nice roads, but it takes pretty tough roads to do it. The interior remains quiet even at high speeds. There is some noise around the mirrors but not enough to ruin your ride.

Super Cruise allows you to drive hands-free on certain highways. The system will remind you to pay attention, but it drives you, even when making lane changes and cornering. A subscription is required for the system to work.

Is Denali Ultimate Necessary? Of course it isn’t but I’m glad this truck exists. It’s yet another excuse to pile lots of luxury materials and technology into a vehicle. If Cadillac made a pickup truck, this would be that truck.


Could Ultimate use something else? I would like a fridge in the massive center console, a rear seat entertainment system and back seats that offer massage. These additional features would add to the already high price. My test vehicle started at $78,700. The only option was $495 for the Titanium Rush color.

With destination, my as-tested price was $80,840. I checked GMC’s website and found the same vehicle is now around $83,000 after some price increases.

Advantages:

• Laps of luxurious sitting

• Lots of technology

• Spacious interior

• Powerful V8 engine

• Nicely tuned suspension

• Exclusive interior details

• Quiet, smooth ride

Disadvantages:

• High price

• So-so fuel economy

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