Find a Car

Is GMC Really Serious About the Denali XT?

Follow Marty

Our story on the Toyota A-Bat concept got you talking -- so while you're thinking about small trucks with hybrid powertrains, help us figure out how serious GMC is about building that Denali XT concept that it unveiled at the Chicago auto show?

True to its pre-show buzz, the Denali XT's a pretty nifty idea that poses more questions than it answers. And boy, do we have a few. Start with the easy one: Are we really ready for more El Caminos and Caballeros? So dissed by the enthusiast mags in their day, the El Camino and its brother, el Caballero, have come full circle and have an honest, but small network of fans, just like the cliques that worship the ground old AMCs still run on. For the anti-establishment crowd wanting to make a statement--but still needing a utility bed to throw stuff in--a Denali XT might be a suitable ticket.

Another question: Will full-size truck buyers be willing to downsize like van buyers once did? CAFE changes are coming and trucks will have to get more efficient. It's a repeat of the scenarios that made the El Caminos a little more digestible in the 1970s--only now, with a four-seat body and a flexible bed (not to mention an upscale interior treatment), there's plenty of reason to figure that at least some buyers can be weaned off their big trucks. The virtual disappearance of true small trucks could help make the case too, as could the popularity of crew-cab mid-size trucks.

Say it gets the green light from GM. Will the Denali's flex-fuel, hybrid V-8 be enough to counter hundreds of thousands of big V-8 Sierras in the CAFE woodpile? The concept's V-8 is GM's first two-mode hybrid that also can run on E85 ethanol fuel. It's also 4.9 liters in displacement, versus the 5.3-liter flex-fuel V-8s found elsewhere in GM's lineup. And no doubt a V-6 version would end up in the lineup. But would it shift enough buyers into the higher-mileage category to matter?

No matter what the scenario, something so radical as a Denali XT will be a gamble. Maybe the right way to do it, is the way GM seems to be headed. Make the car-based truck part of a car lineup--wearing a Pontiac G8 badge, for example. That way, GMC builds real pickups, and this kind of truck experiment doesn't seriously damage a strong brand.

Tell us whether you think GMC should build the Denali XT in a comment below -- and keep your browsers pointed here for more GMC news from the New York auto show in March. In the meantime, here's some GM video from the Chicago auto show for your senses:
Follow Us

Comments (45)
  1. Why not? The american consumer is moving towards more fuel efficient vehicles due to financial or environmental concerns. Plus, it's not always easy trying to find a parking space for a big crewcab in a "compact" parking space world.

  2. I say build it, but does it have to have such a truckish exterior? A G8-themed ute from down under would look a lot better IMHO.

  3. I would not buy it. Why? I do not need a truck. If I need to move something heavy, I go to Home Depot and rent a truck for $19.99. And in all other cases a Saab 9-3 SportWagon is sufficient - a complete Ikea Bedroom + 3 people fit into it. And I do not undrestand people who buy trucks and then use their bed or towing capacity twice a year. Just get a regular car and rent a truck when you need it - you will save a fortune on fuel...

  4. I say gimme a G8-style Maloo. This comes from a former '05 GTO owner, a 3 time El Camino owner ('78, '79 & '84) and a current Envoy Denali owner. I love the idea of a car-based vehicle with truck bed - but I think it only needs 2 doors and/or maybe an extended cab. The 4-door design with the huge front grill just looks silly - and I love huge grills.

  5. Build it just as it is soon. Vehicles of this caliber would help GM to better compete with the opposition-especially if the cost is under $40,000.

  6. I loved my El Caminos. Only reason I quite buying them was they started to build them in Mexico. If you don't build them in the USA I don't want one at any cost.

  7. Will Denali XT a serious and desireable endeavor?
    Have sold my F-150 and now happily using my
    Subaru Baja...........The A-Bat would also be fine.

  8. Looks like my Pontiac Vibe on steroid wheels and tires.
    Lets talk milage, like 35 city 44 hwy.
    Now you have something that appeals to a whole lot of people.

  9. Build it under the Chevy brand and make it look like a truck (as the Denali XT). If it picks up, then, market it under GMC also. Also, make it look like a car and badge it under Pontiac. Then, you cover both worlds of Truck and Car lovers. GM needs special design products with limited competition and this is basically a rebaded car from the land down under. So, limited cost, move volume, and addressing a new market! What else can you ask for...

  10. Chrylser had huge success with the Magnum, why not GMC Danali, I think it is sleek looking car.

  11. They would be fools to NOT build it!

  12. GM keeps on showing blue sky proposals that have never turned a wheel under their own power I.E. the Volt.

    Yes, they are concepts; but GM even advertises them during the Super Bowl. They also quote MPG and performance figures even though they don't have a running vehicle.

    The Denali XT fits in that mold perfectly. They quote Horsepower figures for a direct injection 4.9 litre V8 engine/hybrid power train even though such an engine doesn't actually exist. Hmm, sounds like how far the volt can go on its Lithium Ion battery pack even though they don't actually have the batteries.

    In the computer business, we used to refer to this silliness as VAPORWARE. I for one am quite tired of GM trumpeting things that don't really exist.

    I noticed that Toyota avoided that with their A-Bat completely. It is a concept car. It is not a production car. They never intimated otherwise. They don't throw out Pie-in-the-sky horsepower figures or MPG readings, they simply show the car as an example of what could be.

    How about a little truth in advertising, GM?

  13. By the way, I also wonder where are all those people that made remarks saying the A-Bat was uggggly?

    The Denali XT looks like someone took an existing truck, combined it with some A-bat styling and then sat on it until it was squashed almost flat.

    Maybe they should have called it the A-butt.

  14. Yep the Denali IS an Aussie, I'm a bit embarrased for the two talented Oz designers responsible for the Denali........all they needed to do was freshen up the Holden Crewman and what happened? They ended up killing the Crewman and pulling out this whopping great turkey.

    ......of great relief is that likelihood that this turkey will never fly Down Under.

    Nor will the totally daft idea of a 4.9L V8 petrol so so so stupid. So so so unnecessary in every way except marketing. Better would be a 2.5 to 3.0L turbo diesel V6 that'd nail 25mpg with just the engine......add the hybrid option and you'll see 35mpg no worries....

    ....but it is still a fugly thing.

  15. I say build it. The really butt ugly Honda Ridgeline gets 15 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway.

    You are thinking truck, I am thinking Crossover with a bed.

    By the way, Toyota says the A-Bat may be a go for production.

  16. I say build it, and as a GM model, not a Pontiac. First, when I saw this 'truck' I didn't think of the old El Camino's, I thought it was GM's newest truck concept. Although the proportions may be similar to the Camino's overall, this is definitely styled as a truck. If GM keeps the styling 'truck-like' instead of making it like those ugly car-with-a-bed things, then this should be able to attract those wanting trucks, but not needing 100% full-fledged truck capability. This should also offer a great way to increase truck fuel economy, there are a lot of those consumers that need (and want) a truck but don't actually need it for the most rigorous applications, that a full-size would be required for.

  17. Build it and they will come...I know I would buy it...back to the 60's YES!

  18. I believe that this would be good selling vehicle given its utility and smaller size. The only thing that concerns me is the pre-disposition that the American public has demonstrated when it comes to buying foreing made cars based on a "better quality" perception.
    Where I live I hear the constant battle cry of "buy made in the USA" but when it comes to our individual commitment, we always defer to the other people.
    What a shame!!!!!!!

  19. The old El Caminos were NOT 'dissed' by the car mags at all, ever! Even 'holy' Car and Driver liked them. Do some real research before saying such inane things.

  20. IT LOOKS GREAT!! As an ex Subaru dealer we sold qite a few Bajas and people love it.
    This has beatiful styling and cosumes little gas. AWD would be wonderful up here in the North EAST. BUILD IT, PLEASE!!!!!

  21. I would be very interested to purchase a small hybrid truck. The better fuel mileage is enticing as well as using the 85 ethanol fuel. I think that the new styling is appealing and sleek. Hopefully the price will be attainable.


  23. As someone who works at a GMC dealership, I think this is a great idea for production. I'm not a big fan of the whole G8 "trucklet" idea that GM is doing, but it does keep down costs . I happen to like the looks of the Denali XT concept, and think that it could translate into production easily. Come on GM, you've been doing a whole lot better with your vehicles over the past few years, build this!

    But as far as the poster Chuck Hudson states: "Chrysler has had huge success with the Magnum....." Ummm check again, that car was a BOMB. It was/is a great idea, and I love a big wagon, I really like it with a HEMI, but it didn't sell, hence the reason Chrysler has decided to drop that car all together.

  24. I let my wife talk me into purchasing our first minivan. I call it a crossover because it sounds more "manly" I guess! It is a Chevy Uplander, We both LOVE IT! Awesome ride, not bad on fuel, and very peppy! She wanted this van for the space, I pushed for this one because of the looks of the front clip. (Aggressive looking grill) I would have to say that if GM built the Denali, we would once again be rid of the mid-life, family minivan, and surely buy this thing up!

    ps. Gm needs to sh*t or get off the pot! They advertise the hell out of a new prototype and if they don't get RAVING reviews, they can it and start from scratch! No wonder they can't make money, they are wasting it daily paying Engineers to build "one of's".

  25. The Baja is dead from low sales. The Magnum is dead from low sales. The only way they might get enough sales of this vehicle is pricing it in the 20's, and I don't think that is going to happen. I remember when the Aztec was a show car and everyone said "Build It..Build it". Where are they now?

  26. I think this is a done deal! As long as it is as wide and spacious interior as the current Denali truck it will do great. Do nobody buys a Denali to really use anyway. I would not be shocked if the next generation Avalanche looks very similiar.

  27. It will be produced, it will replace the traditional 1/2 ton truck. If you want a real truck you will need to pony up for a 3/4 ton truck which weighs enough that it is not counted towards CAFE.

  28. Go for it and send to the UK as something different to the run of the mill pickup.

  29. What's with all these ugly cars. Why do cars need to look like pit bulls. Fortunately, GM will be bankrupt before this goes into production.

  30. yes i think it should be built but if they are as slow as the camaro has been in coming then toyota will have a 3 year lead with the abat truck which i wouldnt buy anyway because its not american !

  31. I LOVE IT. LOOKS SO COOL. BUILD IT WITH HYBRID MOTOR AND YOU WILL HAVE WINNER> SO COOL. Would like to see a bed cover like the Avalanche. Please.
    Good Luck.

  32. I like it a lot. I had a new 64 and a new 70 Camino. I have a 2000 sierra now. I would buy an XT if a 2 door was offered. Hybrid also would be nice.

  33. please build it, because I will purchase one now.

  34. not wanting only a truck, I think a car concept stationwagon type would be great for the family car, but either way GET Started! We need a REAL environmental change! Our planet needs it people. it's TIME! I would buy!

  35. I think GMC should build it, but with a few changes. I'd love to see all-wheel drive. Some of us need to deal with snow for part of the year, plus it would reinforce the more truck-like image of GMC. I'm not looking for off-road mudpit 4WD, just a car-like AWD setup for the winter. Most people, even those with SUVs or pickups don't really need true offroad capability, just to be able to deal with winter weather and the occasional gravel driveway.
    I drive a Chevy Avalanche now and the utility is fantastic. Yes, I really do use it as a truck pretty often and the midgte flexibility really sold me (this is my second Avalanche). But I really don't need a truck this big most of the time. Something like the Denali XT combines most of the best features of the Avalanche in a more realistic platform. I think GMC should build it, or let Chevy take it as a realistic and practical replacement for the Avalanche.

  36. I love this concept vehicle, I wish GM it would put it in production this year so that I could purchase it next year are as soon as possible. This is the type truck I have been waiting for since the 1970's El Camino.

  37. i like the style and everything about it, id buy it in a minute

  38. I was just searching on when it was going to be produced and how soon I can purchase it. I have a 2005 Denali XL now, and it is completely killing me on gas. And not for nothing, I love the thing, its a great truck; but the style and functionality of this vehicle would encourage me to make the just from a full size truck this beauty. I say produce the thing and throw me a set of keys...GMC till death do us part

  39. I love the looks of the xl denalli...and if it is good on gas then......I will be purchasing one.......LOOKS GREAT!!! The sooner the better......!!!

  40. I like it very much. would buy right away as soon as it would come out. I am a fan of pickups

  41. yes build it w/out any question. If you don't build it how can I buy the consept. It's the best looking truck. How about a 572 engine in one.

  42. build it, build it I want one. I know gmc has built some proto-types please call me (619)571-6551 or e-mail me at I'm intrested in buying one.I will sign a waiver of any liability to your Co. It needs a gmc 572 crate engine at my expense.

  43. any 1 know when it will be for sale ?

  44. when the GMC denali XT will be for sale any 1 know ?

  45. I would love to have this truck. The style alone sells me not to mention the rest.LOL Where can I buy one???

Commenting is closed for old articles.
Try My Showroom
Save cars, write notes, and comparison shop with hi-res photos.
Add your first car
Take Us With You!
Related Used Listings

© 2015 The Car Connection. All Rights Reserved. The Car Connection is published by High Gear Media. Stock photography by izmo, Inc. Send us feedback.