AmericanRoad Tests

2019 GMC 2500HD Sierra Roadtest Review (Base, SLE, SLT, Denali)

It’s way more than just the coolest tailgate ever!

By Cam Benty

GMC 2500HD Sierra Denali

If you tuned into Super Bowl LIII you were treated to what is to become a classic TV commercial. In this one, owners of current and classic pick up trucks traverse the hills and valleys of rural America carrying their truck tailgates under their arms on a trek of see the holy grail of tailgates. At the end of their travels the lay eyes upon the 2019 GMC 2500HD Sierra Denali (base price $56,600) and its MultiPro 9-way tailgate. While the commercial is way over the top, in reality the praise lauded on the GMC tailgate is actually well deserved.

GMC 2500HD Sierra Denali Multipro Tailgate

The MultiPro Tailgate should impress any one who has ever climbed into a truck bed. Sans the usual grip latch that releases the tailgate, the gate is activated with the touch of a button that slowly lowers the panel into a level-with-the-ground position. Depressing the second button at the top edge of the lowered gate releases a smaller section that drops another 90-degrees to the angle of the flat gate. Depress the button that is visible on the back edge of the lowered section and a step folds out. Using the grab handle that unsnaps from the inside of the bed and you have the perfect way to access the truck bed.

In addition to making an excellent step up system, the tail gate sections can be adjusted to create a handy rear plateau for tailgating or allow you to stack 4 x 8-inch plywood that rests 12-inches or so above the floor of the bed so you can create split level storage. GMC contends that the new tailgate can be configured eight different ways.

GMC 2500HD Sierra Denali

All New In Many Ways

But while the Multi-Pro tailgate may be getting all the headlines, the 2019 GMC Sierra Denali is all-new inside and out. The newest GMC has received an all-new exterior that includes a very clean and stylish front end with massive chrome grille. In our estimation it is much cleaner than its sister pickup, the Chevy Silverado, the GMC using efficient and elegant, C-Shaped LED headlight system. Even the fog lights benefit form the LED lighting internals, “Light Blade” technology creating a constant running light outline that tells surrounding traffic that you are there.

The GMC is far more than just a pretty face and high tech tailgate. The GMC uses active dampers that help with load leveling and ride quality. While the bed may be steel (as proclaimed loudly in their advertising) the hood, tailgate and doors are aluminum knocking off 360 pounds from the bodywork of the previous model. Also aiding the ride quality is the three-inch longer wheelbase for the crewcab version, which also features a six-inch wider bed design.

GMC 2500HD Sierra Denali Interior

In the power department, our test vehicle was fitted with the 6.2-liter V8 gasoline engine (420 horsepower/ 460 lb. ft. torque) that was more than up to the tasks we threw its way. With the mandated 10-speed automatic transmission we saw highway mileage in the 22-mpg range and city rating of 15 mpg. With this engine, Max Tow Rating is 9,300 lbs.

A 5.3liter V8, with or without the Dynamic Fuel Management system (which deactivates cylinders during cruise for increase mileage – mandatory on the 6.2Liter V8), is rated at 355 horsepower and 383 ft. lbs, (15 mpg city/ 21 mpg hwy) is a great choice and carries a Mas Tow rating of 9,400 lbs.

GMC 2500HD Sierra Denali Screen

GMC has refined the art of “trucking” with a number of accessories that make things easier than ever. The 360-degree view system allows you to see exactly everything near and far from your vehicle’s exterior by stitching together the camera views from strategic points of view. In addition to the standard rear view back up camera, an additional camera points downward to help with lining up the tow hitch to the trailer. No longer do you have to enlist a spotter to see exactly how to make a hook up the first time around. Add to that a hitch lighting lamp and you have everything you could image for one-person trailer connections.

GMC 2500HD Sierra Denali

While the above noted elements are a big deal, the GMC engineering team does not leave you stranded after you’ve hooked up. In addition to a tutorial video outlining just how to safely tow an assortment of “objects,” here’s a list of other GMC features listed on their site to keep you safe when rolling down the road:

Trailer Light Test: There’s no need to find a helper to run through an external light test on your truck and trailer – just press a button on the screen, and the truck and trailer will run through a specific lighting sequence (i.e. apply brake lights, turn signals, etc.), making this a quick, one-person job.
Customizable trailer profiles: Once a trailer is connected, it can be saved as a stored profile within the app itself. These profiles can help keep track of trailer mileage, provide reminders of trailer maintenance intervals, and recall trailer brake controller gain settings, among other features.
Trailer Tire Pressure Monitoring: After a set of wireless tire pressure sensors are installed on the trailer’s wheels, they can then relay tire pressure and tire temperature information to the app screen, allowing the driver to easily keep tabs on possible tire issues from the driver’s seat.
Theft Alert: To discourage trailer theft, Theft Alert extends Sierra’s theft alert capabilities to the trailer. If a trailer is disconnected while the Sierra is parked and locked, the truck’s lights and horn are triggered.
Mobile App Access: The Trailer Light test and Pre-Departure Checklists will be available for reference within the “myGMC” smartphone app allowing quick reference, even when working to connect the trailer at the hitch.

With the most advanced comfort, luxury appointments and the power to tow just about anything you can connect to its frame the new GMC Sierra Denali is truly an impressive machine. Whether you just want a big truck for the utility of hauling people and stuff where you want or a truck for towing the big stuff, this GMC is ready.If you just want to be able to step up in the bed without crawling up the tailgate to review your surroundings, well its fine for that too.