Trucks built as if the designers were thinking about you. Oh, wait, they were.
And that is the meaning of Denali: trucks that go the limit of all they do, from power and muscle to pampered, bespoke luxury interiors to offering assistance in places you might not expect it.
You might remember that recently Mt. McKinley was renamed Mt. Denali, formalizing what locals had called the peak for practically forever. GMC took the name Denali, the highest mountain peak in North America, to identify its ultimate trim level which is strong but also, luxurious.
But not your regular old pandering type of luxury that is luxe for the sake of being luxurious (and expensive). What Denali really means is “we designed this with you in mind.” Or at least that was the message I got behind the wheel and in the back seat of the Sienna and the Canyon, GMC’s full sized and mid sized pick up trucks.
Sampling some of Denali’s delights
I had an afternoon to take some short drives and poke around in the trucks. Here are the things I found fun, interesting and notable about the Denali Sierra and Canyon:
The running board can be set to automatically pop out when you open the doors, or tuck in when you close the door. Then, it can slide over to the truck bed, making the back of the truck bed much more accessible.
Theres a a button on the end of the running board that, with a tap of the foot, shifts it so it aligns with the back of the truck bed (where I’m standing in the photo above this one).
Another way to easily access the truck bed is via these ‘steps’ that are cut into the bumper of the truck, which makes climbing up in the Sierra much easier (and you can do this in a skirt and flip flops.)
How’s this for space? The center console has cupholders, a cubby to hold things and four chargers including two household plugs. Under the arm rest is a cubby large enough to hold a handbag, laptop and other items.
The sun roof in the Sierra makes the cab feel open and airy; here, Kim and I take a ride and enjoy the sunshine. If you didn’t know we were in a truck, you wouldn’t know we were in a truck.
The Sierra Denali’s sun roof let us open up for a better look at the underside of this colorful bridge.
The 2016 GMC Canyon we drove from Manhattan to Beacon, NY. We made a pit stop at Stew Leonard’s in Yonkers because, well, when in Yonkers…
Four of us made the drive to Beacon and I was delighted to find that the back seat of the Canyon is comfortable and has plenty of leg room; I rode in back while Helen Emsley, who is charged with designing all the details inside these vehicles, rode up front and told us all about the trucks.
The GMC Canyon Diesel got almost 32 MPG on our drive.
The Canyon diesel’s 21 gallon tank means you can drive quite a long way between fill ups.
Um… what does this button do? It allows the GMC truck to tell the trailer how much braking to use. The trailer ‘gain’ setting allows you to connect a trailer that has its own braking system and the truck tells it how much braking to use when you apply the truck’s brakes; this keeps your trailer’s brakes from locking up or the trailer from ramming into the back of the truck when you hit the brakes.
Another feature for trailer-haulers: the exhaust brake assist lets the Canyon’s engine regulate trailer braking, especially on downhill grades; it automatically slows the trailer by using braking and downshifting the engine; this is especially great when using cruise control.
To test out the Canyon’s towing capacity, we towed this jet ski around town for a while; I learned to accommodate the trailer when making turns–which needed to be wider– and when thinking about where to park.
When it came to parking, I learned how to back the trailer into its parking space using the mirrors, rear view camera and a lot of caution. The truck’s bed could make it hard to see, so I was glad for the assistance of technology.
The trailer as I saw it in the rear view camera, which helped me to back it into place
Disclosure: I was GMC’s guest for this drive event; all opinions expressed here are my own.