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2014 GMC Sierra Denali 1500 4WD Crew Cab Update 3

Air Sierra -- The Only Way to Fly

Frank Markus
Sep 10, 2014
Photographers: Motor Trend Staff, Sandon Voelker
Have you priced Detroit-NYC airfare? It's crazy high. So when four of us needed a late June Broadway fix, we piled in the Sierra and drove the 10 hours each way, spending $308 in gas, another $20-$30 in tolls, and $120 for parking. The airfare savings easily covered our down-front seats for "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder," and we were way more comfortable than in a commuter coach seat. With 5708 pounds of truck plus 700 worth of people and gear to crush any road imperfections, the freeway ride is commuter-jet smooth, and you can use phones and Wi-Fi modems to your heart's content the whole way.
There were a few minor complaints registered, however. The rear-seat headrests adjust up, clicking through three detents, but rest your head on a raised headrest and it collapses to the fully down position. Pitiful. We love the vast number of USB and 12-volt outlets. But we noted that, as on older airplanes, while the 110-volt plug in back will run a full-size laptop, it can't simultaneously charge the battery.
Photo 2/10   |   Three laptops, two AirCards, and plenty of space mean no lost productivity on the 20-hour commute to NYC.
In my last update, I noted that the infotainment system didn't quite know what to make of my new iPhone 5S, but a recent stop at the dealer solved that problem and (hopefully) cured the intermittent screen blanking issue with flash-system upgrade #2810345. Sadly, there's no way to upgrade the hardware in a 2014 GM vehicle to the new-for-2015 4G LTE connectivity with Wi-Fi. That would make this the ultimate rolling office. During this visit, the dealer also performed campaign 14192 to prevent "unwanted transfer-case shifts to neutral." There was no charge, of course.
Big Jim has shouldered plenty of loads lately, helping move whole households, oversized couches, and rummage-sale items. He's accumulating quite a collection of come-along straps, nylon ropes, and the like as various users endeavor to lash things to the array of well-placed tie-down hooks. The under-rail LED lighting makes tying the knots that much easier in the dark too.
And finally, I think we've accumulated enough mileage to determine that our Extang eMAX Tonno is saving us fuel. Our average over the 2000 miles of warm weather immediately before the installation was 15.7 mpg, and during the 7100 miles with the Tonno we're hitting 16.6 -- a 6-percent improvement. The Detroit office has recently acquired a tailgate-party barbecue/TV trailer, so watch this space for trailer-towing comments next time.
More on our long-term GMC Sierra Denali 1500 4WD Crew Cab:
Photo 3/10   |   Ever the willing photo assistant, Big Jim pitches in on the ’69 Saturday Night Special shoot (Motor Trend Classic Summer 2014).
Photo 4/10   |   Big Jim dropped us off in NYC and hibernated for the weekend in garage near the Great White Way.

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