I get to drive a lot of cool cars and trucks. The bar is set pretty high, especially when it comes to Okies and trucks. There are the standard, run of the mill work trucks, and then there are the high-end fancy trucks that the boss drives. The Sierra Denali is the bosses truck, and it is the epitome of luxury.
I should provide a caveat for this- the truck costs over $50K, so it is not cheap. There are many more affordable trucks on the market, but if you want to drive around in the absolute lap of luxury and be able to haul a load of bricks to the worksite, this is the truck for you. Did I mention that this is the Corvette of trucks as well? Yeah, I said it, and I meant it. the 6.2 liter V8 simply knocks any other truck out there in the dirt. I have not driven a more powerful truck, including the Ford SVT Raptor. I actually cried a little when they came and took this one away.
Interior- Leather as far as the eye can see, as you would expect from a Denali, yet this is a different Denali from years past. The build quality is right up there with the C7 Stingray. French stitching on the suede inserts, high quality panels that don’t feel like cheap plastic, not rattles or clunky components, all the good stuff. Plus, there is a ton of storage for cups, pens, phones, etc. The Sierra Denali was not designed just for hauling gear, it was designed for business.
Exterior- While many trucks just look like a truck, this one is different. The “Denali” badges and grill make a statement. It screams “I am successful, but I work my ass off”. The one thing I would change is the side steps. They are either too narrow or tucked under the truck too far. If you are going to have side steps, they need to be fully useful. They get in the way when trying to get out of the truck and NOT using the step, but they don’t stick out far enough to give you the confidence that you won’t slip off, especially when wet or icy.
Performance- I mentioned that this is the Corvette of trucks, and it is. Tons of power make this rig very fun to drive, while the direct injection and variable cylinders allows the truck to get passenger car economy. I was getting 20+ on the highway, and that was cruising well above 80. The truck sits high on the road, giving you a commanding view of the road and it handles very well. The one issue is that it is quite wide, so the lane warnings go off frequently, especially if you are driving in high winds. That can certainly be altered by turning the system off. I would prefer that the lane warning system use the seat vibrations like the Cadillac ATS, but other than that, the Sierra Denali rides like a car.
Electronics- I love the center dash. The OEL display is incredible looking and can display just about anything you want. Having an analog speedo and tach allows you to view extra info at your discretion. I like that. The one thing that I expected the truck to have that it didn’t was push to start. This may be an optional item, but I expect that to be standard on this level of vehicle.
I had the opportunity to drive the Sierra Denali in winter conditions as well as spring temps, so I got a good dose of it’s character. The AC and heat work quite nice, especially the steering wheel heater. The seat cooling left a little to be desired, I prefer a stronger cooling effect in seats (first world problems, right), but they worked. We had some snow in the last days of my drive, and I had the opportunity to use the truck to get a neighbor out of a snow bank. The truck switched to 4-low and pulled the lowered Mustang out of the snow and to their house a block away without even breaking the tires loose once. For the record, the neighbor’s husband could barely his H2 Hummer to drive up the hill to do the job. The Denali handled the snowpack with ease.
If I had the cash, I would own a Sierra Denali, it is that simple. I wouldn’t buy a Raptor, an F150, or a Ram. This is hands down the best 1/2-ton truck I have ever driven. Period.
When I started project Buttered Toast, we knew it was going to be a cool custom wagon. The headliner was trashed, so 1 decided to make a new one. You can see that story here-
In order to add the last extra touch, I built a custom domelight from wood, bondo and a billet alumnium light pod from Autoloc.com, then I wrapped it with some pearlescent vinyl. If you have ever wanted to know how to work with vinyl, here is the how-to video:
This is one my favorite cars from SEMA. I Had the opportunity to sit down with builder Troy Trepanier for an interview on the build of this ultra-cool 1954 Buick. See the full story on PowerTV.
Wednesday, I had the opportunity to get in Tanner Foust’s Fiesta and take a couple of laps around the SEMA proving grounds. WOW. I had so much fun with this, Tanner is one hell of a driver and other than trying to buckle the anti-submarine belt (the crotch strap) being sucked into a race seat that is half the width of my posterior, it was incredible. I have a video that I will load up soon, but that got left in the rental…
I also saw one of the coolest new cleaning products I have come across in a long time. It is called the Tornador and is basically an air gun that shoots air mixed with a little water to remove stains, dirt, dust, etc from upholstery, paint and even tires. I have some more video of this in action, but again- it’s sitting in the rental and I am hungry, it will have to wait till later.
Update- Youtube finally loaded my drift video! Enjoy watching me make silly faces.
Till then, here are some pics-
A couple of weeks ago, I was in Detroit for the Ford Technology forum. I was able to get an extra day in the Motor City to hang out with the guys from Ford Racing.com and the Mustang marketing group. Part of that meant I got to take one of the 752 Laguna Seca Boss 302s out on the town. I shot great pics at a drive-in theatre and shot some video while driving.
One of the key features of the Boss 302 is the Quad Exhaust. This is a series of 4 exhaust outlets, 2 under the car and two in the back. The under-car outlets open up just enough to let that classic Mustang V8 growl get out while being just this side of street legal. It sounds so good. Check out this video I made while driving the 2012 Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca.
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