18. June 2014
For years, people have demonstrated that they’ve “arrived” through the purchase of an automobile, which makes the notion of having reached where they are going somewhat odd, given that presumably they’ve purchased the car because they need it to travel somewhere.
Anyway, generally the person who has “arrived” buys a Cadillac or some other luxury car that is loaded with amenities and comfort, technology and gadgets galore. The total package.
“See me one and all and know that I have arrived.”
But that’s not for everyone, especially those who have “made it,” but still know that they have plenty of places to go and plenty of things to do. They don’t want any less in the way of heated and cooled leather seats or 8-in. color touch screen technology or exterior chrome that is blinding bright in the sun. They want something that has design cues that indicate they’re up there on the Success Scale.
But they want something even more. They want capability.
That’s something you’re not going to get in a car. That’s something you can only get in a truck.
And there are trucks. And then there is the Sierra Denali 2500 4WD Crew Cab. The “Denali” trim takes it up several notches. And then in order to power it up even more, rather than merely having the 6.2-liter V8 that delivers 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque, you get the “Duramax Plus” package that means a Duramax 6.6-liter V8 turbodiesel that provides 397-hp, but a whopping 765 lb-ft of torque. The standard version has a 9,500-lb. towing capacity. But with this version, that’s 13,000 lb. if you’re using a ball hitch; 17,000 fifth wheel. The maximum payload goes from 1,805 lb. to 2,793 lb.; the GVWR from 7,200 lb. to 10,000 lb. As a crew cab, there is seating for five—five large people—and there is a 6-ft, 6-in. box back there—in this case. Should that be insufficient, an 8-ft box is available, too.
When you’re rolling on 20-in. forged and polished aluminum wheels, you have the sense—and seating position—that puts you way above most everyone else, with the exception of those, perhaps, who are in Class 8 trucks, and chances are excellent that their environment isn’t nearly as swank as they are in the Sierra Denali. And while there is the clever rear bumper corner step to climb into the bed of the truck with comparative ease, what is more regularly used (and appreciated) are the six tubular chrome assist steps along the side of the truck.
So this is the truck for people who work hard and are rewarded for it, whose playtime might include having a horse trailer or an Airstream on back.
One thing that I discovered when I was driving it without the bed full of gravel or boulders and without my house attached to the hitch was that this is a real Clydesdale, a work horse, something that wants to pull its weight, not something that necessarily is what you drive to Kroger in to pick up a few things. It’s not that the vehicle isn’t comfortable—some luxury car interior designers and engineers would be well advised to take some notes (though while I am positively disposed toward most of the interior execution, the “wood-grain accents,” which are accents executed in plastic, are a demerit in my notebook—but that the ride is one that is setup to get work done.
The drivers of this vehicle haven’t “arrived.” They’ve still got a lot to do. Successful, yes. Done? Reached their final destination?
Not by a long shot.
Engine: Duramax 6.6-liter V8 turbodiesel
Horsepower: 397 @ 3,000 rpm
Torque: 765 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm
Materials: Cast iron block and aluminum heads
Transmission: Allison 1000 six-speed automatic
Steering: Integral power-assisted recirculating ball
Wheelbase (Crew cab, 6-ft, 6-in. box): 153.7 in.
Length: 239.4 in.
Width: 80.5 in.
Height: 78.2 in.
Curb weight: 7,384 lb.