Subscribe to the Free
Newsletter

2016 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Long Term Report 2 of 4

Long-Term Update 2 of 4

Feb 15, 2017
Photographers: Jason Gonderman
We’re having a difficult time believing that we’ve already logged more than 10,000 miles on our 2016 Pickup Truck of the Year winning GMC Sierra 1500 Denali. That’s truly a testament to just how easy and comfortable this pickup is to drive. During this second quarter we’ve logged several extensive highway runs, which afforded us plenty of uninterrupted seat time. Aside from the seat comfort and ride quality, it’s the Denali’s available technology that has made it easy to spend such long amounts of time on the road.
Our biggest surprise thus far has been just how useful the standard OnStar 4GLTE Wi-Fi has been. Suddenly the Denali has become a mobile office anywhere there’s AT&T cellular service. While one person is driving, passengers can easily be cranking away on office tasks while connected to the Wi-Fi. And it’s not just a basic connection either; the system is legitimately fast. Downloading large files takes no time at all. We’ve also found it useful for streaming music as well. By connecting our iPhone to the Wi-Fi and to the infotainment system through CarPlay, we’ve opened up an entire world of entertainment options. The only downside to the 4GLTE WiFi through OnStar is the cost, but that’s just the nature of the beast.
Photo 2/4   |   Despite having 420 hp on tap, the Sierra 1500 Denali is extremely surefooted when the road gets slushy. Wide tires, good traction control, and the GMC’s auto-4WD setting make for pleasant winter driving.
Speaking of CarPlay, we’ve spent a decent amount of time this period experimenting with this function. While we appreciate GMC adding it to the Intellilink system, we’ve got to think Apple has a way to go with it before it can replace traditional radio and navigation systems. While CarPlay is novel, we feel that Intellilink has one of the best and most intuitive navigation systems currently available and the audio system and Bluetooth phone connectivity is right up there as well. Generally speaking, we’re not huge fans of Bose audio, but our Sierra’s equipped stereo sounds pretty decent, even at volumes not appreciated by our elder passengers.
While we logged a pile of miles this quarter, the Sierra also spent a considerable amount of time in the shop. The first was for an airbag software recall that affected 3.6 million GM vehicles. A computer reflash fixed this issue. While the truck was in for the airbag fix, we also had them look into the transmission shifting issue that we mentioned in our previous report. Two reflashes later and the issues seem to have been resolved. We still get the occasional firm shift but nothing like it was before. Lastly, after the transmission was fixed, the system that controls the Forward Collision Alert and Lane Keep Assist features quit working. It took two weeks to get a replacement part, but all is well now.
Photo 3/4   |   2016 Sierra Denali Long Term Report 2 Rear
As we hit the midway point in our time with the ’16 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali, it continues to prove that it deserved the title of Pickup Truck of the Year by being both comfortable and capable. We look forward to learning more about what the Sierra has to offer in the coming months and really aren’t looking forward the day when it has to return to its home.

Report: 2 of 4

Previous report(s): Jan./Feb. ’17
Base price: $54,240
Price as tested: $62,060
Long-Term Numbers
Miles to date: 10,521
Miles since last report: 5,224
Average mpg (this report): 17.41
Test best tank (mpg): 21.86
Test worst tank (mpg): 13.67 (towing)
Test Maintenance:
Airbag recall (Sept 2016)
Oil Change (Sept 2016)
Transmission calibration updates (Oct 2016)
Lane Keep Assist and Forward Collision Alert system repair (Nov 2016)
Test Problem Areas:
The transmission has occasional hard shifting issues (fixed with calibration update).
Photo 4/4   |   We love the Sierra’s LED head and fog lights. The output is among the best we’ve ever driven, and the styling is second to none.
Logbook Quotes:
“Truck’s too low for the power steps to really be useful, which is unfortunate because they are so cool!”
“The 4GLTE Wi-Fi is amazing! It’s so fast and works very well in most places.”
“Why do the fog lights default to off every time I shut the truck off? Can’t we just leave them on?”
“Seat heaters are definitely Arctic-rated—my buns are warm!”

POPULAR TRUCKS

Subscribe Today and Save up to 83%!

Subscribe Truck Trend Magazine

Subscribe to:

Truck Trend
Magazine

PRINT DIGITAL
Subscribe Diesel Power Magazine

Subscribe to:

Diesel Power
Magazine

PRINT DIGITAL
Subscribe Truckin Magazine

Subscribe to:

Truckin
Magazine

PRINT DIGITAL
SUBSCRIBE TO A MAGAZINE
CLOSE X
BUYER'S GUIDE
SEE THE ALL NEW
NEWS, REVIEWS & SPECS
TO TOP