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2020 GMC Sierra: Denali Trim Deep Dive

Chris Kaiser

We love high trim pickups and the 2020 GMC Sierra Denali certainly counts. We dive deep into all the details on this chromed out behemoth.

Fancy Truck and Other Oxymorons

It might seem counterintuitive but the perennial automotive workhorse of America, the good old pickup has been getting nicer, more refined, more comfortable with each successive generation. As their popularity has soared, so have the expectations of the average truck buyer. Even base versions of today’s trucks are unimaginably comfortable compared to pickups of yore. High trim versions like the F-150 King Ranch, RAM 1500 Laramie Longhorn, and GMC Sierra Denali combine supreme capability with modern luxury and a touch of style.

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali - gmc.com

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali – gmc.com  |  Shop 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali on Carsforsale.com

Today we’re going to dive deep into the details on the Denali to answer one simple question. Why on earth should you shell out the extra dough for the highest trim Sierra? (Spoiler, cause it’s awesome.)

Looking the Part

The first thing you notice about the GMC Sierra Denali is the chrome, because there’s a lot of it. Most prominent is the Denali’s huge chrome grille. Which is where we get the phrase, in a world of gigantic grille’s, the chrome grille is king (I think that’s how it goes, right?). The Denali also gets chrome accenting atop the side mirrors, on the front fender, and on the dual exhaust tips.

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali - gmc.com
2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali - gmc.com

The visual flourishes don’t stop there either. The Denali also gets humongous 22” wheels, as well as wood accenting in the cabin to compliment the leather seats.

CarbonPro Edition

If chrome isn’t enough on your Denali, there’s the CarbonPro Edition. This isn’t just an appearance package though. The CarbonPro Edition comes with a carbon fiber bed designed to be lighter (a full 60lbs. lighter) and more durable than a traditional bed and liner. The carbon fiber material also allowed GMC to stretch the bed capacity slightly.

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali CarbonPro bedliner - gmc.com
2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali CarbonPro bedliner - gmc.com

In addition to the new bed, CarbonPro Edition also automatically adds the MultiPro six-function tailgate, a 15” heads-up display, rear camera mirror, and some nifty black wheels. You also get a few extra paint options, including Onyx Black, Carbon Black Metallic, Satin Steel Metallic, and White Frost Tricoat. The CarbonPro Edition is available with either the 6.2-liter V8 or 3.0-liter Duramax turbodiesel engine.

Practical Specs

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali hauling motocross bikes - gmc.com
2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali hauling motocross bikes - gmc.com

Speaking of engines, in addition to the diesel and 6.2-liter, you can also get your Denali with a 5.3-liter V8. The Denali also has a max tow rating of 9,600lbs. and a payload rating 2,260lbs. There are full LED head and taillights, adaptive suspension dampers for a smooth ride, and options for either a short or standard bed.

Piling On the Extras

The reason you spend the extra cash on the top trim of any vehicle is to max out on all the doodads, gizmos, and luxury gimcracks you can. There is a heap of them in the Denali.

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2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali MultiPro tailgate - gmc.com
2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali MultiPro tailgate - gmc.com

Starting in that bed, carbon or not, you get a 12-volt plug-in, multiple utility hooks, a fold-out grab handle, and the awesome (no exaggeration) MultiPro tailgate. Another standout feature is the hitch view and hitch guidance system which is just part of the Denali’s wide array of cameras. Trailering is easily the most stressful thing you’ll do with your truck, so all the extra technological help is much appreciated.

You’ll also find a lot of other cool features from behind the wheel. First are the seats, which are heated and ventilates, with 10-way power adjustment. Oh, and the rear seats get heating too, for bonus points. The steering wheel is heated as well.

A couple of new tricks from the Denali include the power running boards, a power rear window, and the digital rearview camera mirror. This last one is of a piece with all the other visibility aids, like the aforementioned hitch camera, front and rear cameras, a 360° view mode. The rearview camera mirror is activated by just flicking a switch on the rearview mirror. Then you’ll have an unobstructed view from behind the vehicle that virtually eliminates blind spots.

But What About the Tech?

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali dash and infotainment systems - gmc.com
2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali dash and infotainment systems - gmc.com

Additional bells and whistles on the Denali include an 8-speaker Bose stereo system, adaptive cruise control, navigation, and keyless entry. The 12” heads-up display is complimented by an optional 8” infotainment touchscreen, which might be adequate in other smaller vehicles but in the context of a big truck like the Sierra looks small (plus RAM’s is a 12” display which the 2021 F-150 is rumored to match). Even if it isn’t the biggest screen, GM’s infotainment software more than makes up for it with its responsive and intuitive interface.

Worth It?

The Denali “starts” at $54,700 but the CarbonPro Edition, or really any Denali tricked out as you’d expect, will be heading north of $70,000 depending on the options. That puts it right in line with the top trims from Ford and RAM. While the Denali has a lot of great features, like that rearview mirror camera and the MultiPro tailgate, it lacks some of the extra character and flair that you find with the King Ranch or Laramie Longhorn. But, if you like your fancy truck (somewhat) understated, the Denali is an excellent choice.

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali - gmc.com

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali – gmc.com  |  Shop GMC Sierra 1500 Denali on Carsforsale.com

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Chris Kaiser
Chris Kaiser

Chris’ greatest passions include topiary, spelunking, and pushing aging compact cars well past 200,000 miles on cross-country road trips. His taste in cars runs from the classic and esoteric to the deeply practical with an abiding affection for VW Things, old Studebakers, and all things hybrid-crossover.

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