2016 GMC Sierra Denali 2500HD Pickup: Professional Grade Upgraded

A few months back I mentioned that it seemed as though I was receiving nothing but repeats from the press fleet of vehicles for review. This is one of those and it arrived in the form of the 2016 GMC Sierra Denali 2500HD 4×4, a nearly identical truck to the unit we reviewed last year.

GearDiary 2016 GMC Sierra Denali 2500HD Pickup: Professional Grade Upgraded

2016 GMC Sierra Denail 2500HD/Images courtesy GMC

Nearly every impression is identical year-over-year for the big Denali pickup with a few new additions for MY2016. These include standard GMC signature LED front lighting across the board along with a few new exterior colors (our testers were both Iridium Metallic with jet black Denali interiors). GMC also adds some technology upgrades this year including a new 7-inch color touchscreen display and integrated Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities. There is also the new wireless device charging in the top of the center console armrest.

GearDiary 2016 GMC Sierra Denali 2500HD Pickup: Professional Grade Upgraded

On the mechanical side of things the 2016 GMC Sierra 2500HDs receive available remote locking tailgate and gooseneck/fifth wheel trailering prep package and the automaker has adopted the SAE J2807 trailering rating standards.

Perhaps the biggest upgrade for 2016 is the new Active Steering Assist technology that enhances road holding and stability on the highway (whether the truck is loaded or not) while offering greater steering responsiveness and improved steering feel thanks to new electronic controls.

GearDiary 2016 GMC Sierra Denali 2500HD Pickup: Professional Grade Upgraded

Denali is the high end of the model segment at GMC and as such final sticker prices may cause folks to take a step back. The tester sent to us this year came with a pricetag of $67,655 when it was all said and done but for that I don’t think there is another option GMC could have thrown on the truck. It arrived with the Duramax 6.6-liter V-8 turbodiesel engine (397hp and 765 lb. ft. torque) with integrated exhaust brake system mated to the Allison six-speed automatic gearbox and auto locking rear differential.

What one gets in return for all that hard-earned outlay is a truck that is ever-so-easy to drive in town and on the road that brings every comfort and convenience feature you would want. Not only is the driver bathed in luxury but the occupants as well. This truck does not feel like a big truck and thanks to all the new safety technology is surprisingly easy to drive. It is quiet, comfortable, and very stable and the ride quality for a Heavy Duty pickup is exceptional.

GearDiary 2016 GMC Sierra Denali 2500HD Pickup: Professional Grade Upgraded

The Duramax engine is among the quietest of all new diesel engines available to consumers and does not have to be shut off to order your Big Mac and fries. Assist steps and grab handles make it easy to get in and out of and the interior is almost the size of a New York City starter apartment.

GearDiary 2016 GMC Sierra Denali 2500HD Pickup: Professional Grade Upgraded

Image by David Goodspeed

Professional Grade for sure, but I don’t know how many owners are going to push their new Denali pickup to its limits. This is the truck you use for hauling your prize show horses, not a trailer loaded with round bales of hay (even though it could).


About the Author

David Goodspeed
David was editor of AutoworldToday at Today Newspapers in the Dallas suburbs until its closing in 2009. He was also webmaster and photographer/videographer. He got started doing photography for the newspaper while working as a firefighter/paramedic in one of his towns, and began working for the newspaper group full-time in 1992. David entered automotive journalism in 1998 and became AutoworldToday editor in 2002. On the average, he drives some 100 new vehicles each year. He enjoys the great outdoors and as an avid fly fisherman, as is his spouse Tish. He especially enjoys nature photography and is inspired by the works of Ansel Adams.