ST. LOUIS--Heavy-duty haulers looking for luxury will be glad to know that the new 2011 GMC Sierra HD offers a Denali model for the first time.
Yes, that's right, you can have your tough truck with a side order of upscale features. Crew bosses will be pleased--rank has its privileges.
As we speculated Monday, the 2011 GMC Sierra HD shares a lot with the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD. It's set apart from the Silverado by styling and feature content.
On sale this summer, the 2011 GMC Sierra HD will be available with a 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel that makes 397 horsepower and 765 lb-ft of torque. No, that's not a typo, GM is really promising that much torque.
Denali models are only available on 2500HD platforms with a four-wheel drive Crew Cab/standard box configuration. A 6.0-liter gasoline V-8 that makes 360 horsepower is standard and the turbodiesel is optional. Both engines mate to six-speed automatic transmissions, with the diesel hooking up to an Allison unit.
Denalis are identifiable by their unique four-bar chrome grilles, body-color bumpers, chrome door handles, chrome accents, and standard 18-inch wheels (20-inch wheels are optional). Available interior features include aluminum trim, power-adjustable pedals, heated and cooled seats, and a heated steering wheel. Denali models can tow up to 15,600 lbs and are available in three exterior colors: Black, gray, and white.
The rest of the line-up has a three-bar grille, a louvered hood, a chrome/steel front bumper, and a choice of 17-, 18-, or 20-inch wheels.
Maximum towing capacity on non-Denali models is 20,000 lbs with a fifth wheel and 16,000 lbs without, and payload maxes out at 6,335 lbs.
Duramax models will have 11-percent better fuel economy than before, according to GM (the EPA does not currently rate fuel economy on heavy-duty trucks) and they will be B20 biodiesel compatible. A larger fuel tank will allow a highway range of up to 680 bladder-busting miles.
Like its Silverado twin, the 2011 GMC Sierra HD will offer a "smart" exhaust brake that will help save on brake wear while traveling downhill on grades, and it will offer features like trailer sway control, integrated trailer sway control, hill start assist, automatic grade braking, intelligent brake assist, and larger brakes.
Creature comforts will include a USB port, mobile wireless Internet, a wireless cell phone link, satellite radio, and OnStar.
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating now maxes out at 13,000 lbs, and all four-wheel drive cab configurations are snow-plow capable. Because there are myriad configurations available, there are 11 separate frame assemblies. The independent front suspension is completely redesigned, and it now offers a 25-percent stronger front-axle weight rating, which is up to 6,000 lbs. The rear suspension is an asymmetrical leaf-spring set up.
After seeing a black Sierra Denali HD in the flesh (or sheetmetal, as the case may be) here in St. Louis, all we can say is "Lord Vader, your truck is here."