Denali is the upscale trim level GMC offers on most of its trucks and SUVs, but because there’s apparently no limit to how much buyers will pay for a truck provided it has enough bling, the carmaker is taking things further. In addition to a longer name, the Denali Ultimate gets even more glitz than the regular Sierra Denali.
Like the non-Ultimate 2016 Denali, the new model is distinguished by a massive chrome grille, LED headlights, body-color bumpers, and a polished stainless-steel exhaust tip. The Ultimate also gets model-specific 22-inch alloy wheels, chrome tow hooks, and a standard sunroof. Also standard are GMC’s clever Tri-Mode Power Steps, which slide out to serve as standard running boards, and slide back to provide a cargo-bed step.
The interior doesn’t appear to be much of an upgrade over what GMC previously offered on the Denali. There’s leather seating with contrast stitching, and aluminum and soft-touch trim on areas that aren’t covered by leather. A Bose premium audio system, wireless phone charging, and GMC’s IntelliLink infotainment system are all standard. Apple CarPlay will be available at launch, followed by Android Auto. GM’s OnStar 4G LTE and built-in Wi-Fi hotspot are standard as well, although data must be purchased separately.
Powertrains for the Denali Ultimate mirror those of the regular Denali. The standard offering is a 5.3-liter V8 with 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. There’s also a 6.2-liter V8, producing 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are mated to eight-speed automatic transmissions, and GMC’s magnetic ride control adaptive suspension is standard. The Denali Ultimate trim is only offered in four-wheel drive Sierra 1500 models with the four-door crew cab.
If you’re interested in the latest version of the Sierra line, the 2018 Sierra 1500 is a beautiful update with a variety of improvements that may make it well worth its price tag.