Just because pickup trucks are capable of dirty work doesn't mean comfort has to take a back seat. For 2005, GMC is adding a crew cab Denali to its Sierra lineup.

Denali is the name GMC uses for its luxury models. The crew cab Sierra Denali has all-wheel drive and a distinctive front end that includes projector-beam headlights, chrome grille and fog lamps. The door handles, outside mirrors, rear bumper and tailgate handle are all painted body color. A canvas tonneau over the bed is standard. The Denali has chrome running boards with integral mud guards.

The Denali's exterior may be distinctive, but it's the inside, with luxurious leather seats and a long list of creature comforts, that I like the most. The Sierra Denali has all the features of a top SUV without sacrificing the hauling ability of a truck. This is not a work truck in the sense that folks will use it to haul boulders or gravel, but it is aimed at the personal-use buyer who will use it to haul home sheetrock from the local do-it-yourself store. Light hauling is the Denali's forte. It can, however, tow up to 8,100 pounds.

The crew cab has a 143.5-inch wheelbase, which gives a nearly full-size back seat. The pickup box, at 5 feet, 8 inches long, is slightly undersized for hauling large items, but suitable for most recreational uses. The Denali's soft canvas tonneau bed cover keeps junk out of the bed, but it has to be removed for hauling. Even though I took it off fairly easily, putting it back was harder. I would rather the bed remain open.

The 6.0-liter V-8 with 345 horsepower is more powerful than the Denali's previous engine. This engine's electronic throttle results in crisper, more direct response to prods on the gas pedal.

The Denali has a four-speed automatic transmission and locking rear differential. A full-time four-wheel-drive system splits power between the front and rear wheels. Approximately 60 percent of the torque is directed to the rear.

The Denali has GMC's standard Z71 suspension. The ride is firm without being overly choppy, thanks to gas-charged shocks.

There's room for five inside the Sierra Denali's cabin. The leather seats are among the best in any pickup. The gauges are specific to this truck. Options include a power sunroof, a six-disc CD player, a Bose stereo system with a noise reduction system and a rear-seat DVD player with wireless headphones. XM satellite radio is optional, as is GM's sixth-generation OnStar system.

The split-folding rear seat gives room for a considerable amount of gear when it's folded.


The base price of the Sierra Denali is $41,735. Options included XM satellite radio and the rear-seat entertainment system. The sticker price was $43,205.


Three years or 36,000 miles.

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