One In A Million: Playing With The 2017 GMC Sierra HD Denali Duramax TrucksPosted in Features on May 4, 2017
Since 1908, GMC has been providing customers with products intended to do work. Namely, trucks and sport/utility vehicles, and in those 109 years the end goal hasn’t changed much, although the product has evolved significantly. GMC is poised as General Motor’s high-end luxury truck name with the Denali as its premium level trim package. GMC Denali trucks sell with the highest average transaction price and high levels of brand loyalty (so for a more discriminating consumer who prefers GM products).
The figurative elephant in the room, and the main focus of this article, is the new-for-’17 Duramax diesel found in the Sierra HD 3/4 and 1-ton trucks. Data shows that 90 percent of Sierra HDs are sold with a Duramax and 60 percent of ’17 Sierra HDs sold are Denali models. The Denali trim package wraps you in leather and the finest interior options, and we’ll get back to that later. For now let’s get back to the Duramax. This new engine ups the game, keeping GMC relevant in the diesel truck power war. The big three OEMs bring to battle tow ratings, horsepower, and torque numbers and we, the consumers, all win. After all, who can’t use more power, torque, and towing capacity?
The ’17 Duramax is all new although the bore and stroke remain the same. The 90 degree V-8, known as the L5P, has new key upgrades to the block, a new cylinder head design, new pistons and piston pins, a new forged crankshaft, new connecting rods, a new variable valve turbo, new fuel system and more, all to help it deal with more pressure (more boost) and higher EGTs. The end result is a class leading 445 hp and 910 lb-ft of torque at 1,600 rpm, right where you want it. The upgrades help deliver more power, more torque, and better emissions. Also, the upgrades don’t end there: there are improvements to the Allison 1000 transmission’s torque converter and added beef to the yokes and drivelines. This helps deal with the higher torque and horsepower numbers as well as a more efficient exhaust brake.
We recently got a chance to drive and ride in several GMC Sierra HD Denali trucks with the new Duramax Diesel, and the experience allowed us to get a good idea of what the average GMC Sierra HD Denali owner does with their trucks. We were able to experience towing trailers (even really big ones), as well as driving loaded and unloaded trucks through various scenic areas of Utah and Colorado, up and down grades, and even spend a little time with the trucks off the road. That’s how GMC thinks its vehicle owners use their trucks, and we agree. Check it out.
Specifications (as tested)Vehicle: ’17 GMC Sierra HD Denali 3500 4x4 DRW
Vehicle type: Crew Cab
Base price: $56,965
Price as tested: $68,940
Engine: 6.6L Duramax turbodiesel
Transmission: Allison 1000 six-spd automatic
Horsepower @ rpm (hp): 445 @ 2,800
Torque @ rpm (lb-ft): 910 @1,600
Curb weight (lb): 6,689
Payload (lb): 4,930
Towing capacity (lb): 23,300 when properly equipped
EPA mileage rating: N/A
What’s Hot: That horsepower and torque!
What’s Not: The DEF tank hangs low and looks like an afterthought.