Wednesday, May 9, 2012
2012 GMC Sierra Denali 2500 HD test drive review. All compromises; no compromises
It had a price tag of $62,859.
That’s the power of a truck like this. Even my wife, a scrapbooker and the president of the PTA, received a testosterone infusion when she sat in this baby. The idea that you are in the biggest, most badass truck in sight really does play on your subconscious. Honestly, I felt a little cooler jumping in and out of it. And it’s not just a big truck—it’s a Denali. It’s the one Cadillac would build if they carried big pickups. How do you like me now?!
I took BHo to the new Legoland in Crown Center with this truck, and it was just inches from the roof of the underground parking garage. I was creeping through there, with the nagging feeling that I was going to have to stop and let some air out of the tires. I think if I would have cracked open the sunroof, I may have busted it off. And I had to pass up several spots because they were too small. When I finally did find a place, it was all I could do to contort the thing in there. The message here is that you should leave the Sierra 2500 Crew Cab at home if you’re going to be in a tight parking garage full of kids and minivans.
And then there’s the fuel mileage. Or should I say, lack of fuel mileage? Now, it did have range. The guy who delivered it to me said he drove all the way from Dallas to Kansas City on one tank of diesel fuel. That 36-gallon fuel tank comes in handy. But even after all that highway driving, the on-board computer said it was getting a 16.3-mpg average. I reset it when I took over, and could only achieve about 12-mpg during my adventures for the week. But again, all of this misses the point of this vehicle.
And so, I made arrangements with Lakeside Speedway owner Marc Olson to drive the big GMC into the pit area Friday night, and see what the guys that actually buy these trucks had to say. Lakeside is one of the premiere dirt ovals in the country. They run four classes of stock cars, and none of them are junk. The night I was there, there were more than 100 race cars in the pits. Every one of them was towed into the track with some kind of truck. This was where the 2500 Denali could really be in the spotlight.
One thing I learned was that these guys already know what this truck is all about. If they didn’t have a 6.6-liter Duramax in their truck, they knew what it was like. They knew how well the 6-speed Allison transmission handled towing duties. They knew where the trailer brake controls were, and that it had a 3.73 rear axle ratio.
Photos were taken in the infield of Lakeside Speedway, of course, and also at a couple of local construction sites. It didn’t seem appropriate to go take them at the golf course. Take a look at the slideshow below.