2016 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Long Term Report 3 of 4
Long-Term Update 3 of 4
Our third quarter with the 2016 Pickup Truck of the Year–winning GMC Sierra Denali has been relatively uneventful, which is exactly what you would expect from a pickup of this caliber. The only maintenance required this time around was an oil change. We’ve been using the truck’s built-in oil life monitor to judge oil change intervals and noticed that we’re running at about 7,000 miles between changes. We took the truck to Penske GMC in Cerritos, California, and were treated to some of the best customer service we’ve experienced in a long time. Kudos to everyone in the service department!
We ran up against one minor annoyance during the period, and it involved replacing the windshield wipers. California has had an unusually wet winter this year, and we’ve taken the truck to the snow on several occasions. Being Californians, we use wipers with reckless abandon no matter the condition, so to say they lived a hard, short life would be an understatement. When we went to replace them we were shocked to find out they were a dealer-only item and cost twice as much as even premium parts-store blades.
Fuel economy is remaining pretty steady, with no unexpected surprises. The EPA rates our truck at 15 mpg in the city, 21 on the highway, and 17 combined. We hit all of these ratings with regularity, having a combined average of 16.40 mpg for the test period to date. We’ve got one more quarter to break through the 22 mpg mark, and we’re confident that we can do it. We’re still forced to take a bit of a punch each time we fill up at the pump since the Denali has a thirst for premium fuel.
Halfway through our test period we began using the OnStar RemoteLink app from our iPhone. The app lets us control and monitor our Sierra from anywhere in the world. We can lock, unlock, and start the truck remotely, along with being able to trigger the horn and lights, much like the panic button would. We can also pull up a diagnostic screen that shows how much fuel, in gallons and miles, we have left. It also shows oil life remaining, tire pressure, and fuel economy. If you have the 4G LTE Wi-Fi active, then you can use the app to monitor usage, and if you’ve forgotten where you parked you can also pull up a map that shows the truck’s current location. While we don’t use the app too frequently, we have found it to be useful.
To date, we’ve eclipsed the 15,000-mile mark, which is more than the average person does in a year. Our complaints have been few and relatively minor, aside from the transmission clunk. The Denali remains the truck of choice for road trips thanks to its comfortable suspension and quiet cabin. We’ve had a few annoying moments with the automatic high beams and automatic A/C recirculation, but those came down to us not hitting the right buttons.
We’re not ready to see the Sierra Denali leave the fleet, so the next couple months are going to be bittersweet.
Report: 3 of 4Previous report(s): Jan./Feb. ’17, May/June ’17, July/Aug. ’17
Base price: $54,240
Price as tested: $62,060
Long-Term NumbersMiles to date: 15,350
Miles since last report: 4,829
Average mpg (this report): 16.47
Test best tank (mpg): 21.86
Test worst tank (mpg): 13.03
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)
Oil Change (February 2017)
Test Problem Areas:The transmission has occasional hard shifting issues (mostly fixed with calibration update).
Logbook Quotes:“The dealer-installed tonneau cover has been a lifesaver during the wettest winter we’ve had in years!”
“This engine sounds so incredibly good when running wide open.”
“Auto high beams were on, now they are not. Oh wait, yes they are. Nope, gone again.”
“The lane keep assist system gets grabby!”
“The boss let me take his truck home for the night, and immediately after getting out of the parking lot, I heard a loud crash. I thought I’d managed to smash the boss’ ride, but it was just that funky (occasional) transmission glitch.”