Should You Buy a 2018 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali?

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2018 GMC Denali

There’s an enormous elephant in the room…and it’s the 2019 GMC Sierra which is about to take over from the 2018. The question should include “or wait for the 2019?” Fact of the matter is that the new Sierra addresses much of the old one’s shortcoming, especially in the technology department.

And by technology, I’m referring to revised powertrains which should trips at the pumps a little less frequent, a new advanced camera system for easier trailer hook-ups, an in-vehicle trailering app with helpful tips and a new multi-color head-up display. Oh, and push-button start! The big news piece is the Multi-Pro tailgate which offers six different configurations and is not found on any other truck including the Silverado.

Now that the elephant’s been tackled, let’s move on shall we? I think everyone secretly longs for a pickup. This is a North American thing – power, road presence, safety and the impression of being ready for Armageddon are somehow all important. There are few better tools than a full-size pickup to face all of this. Best of all, all of these trucks can now be equipped with luxury-car levels of kit.

GMC’s Denali trim almost took on a life of its own in the last few years given its popularity and desirability. Denali separates the mundane from the exceptional giving the product on which the badge is present serious notoriety. On a Sierra, it means almost everything. There’s always a price to pay to get “everything” but many truck-lovers are ready and willing to pay.

Should you be a consumer ready to pay? Let’s look into it:

Why you should buy a 2018 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali:

  • This is one of the smoothest most refined trucks you’ll ever drive
  • The Denali trim sets the Sierra apart from the Silverado. The word “Denali” carries more clout than any Platinum, Titanium or Limited trim from the other OEMs
  • As tested, the 6.2-litre V8 and 8-speed automatic transmission are creamier than Ford’s 5.0-litre V8 and 10-speed autobox
  • So handsome is the 2018 Sierra 1500 Denali that it barely looks dated compared to the 2019 Sierra. It will age well
  • GM has always managed to match power and capabilities with decent fuel economy numbers. My tester managed 13L/100km, which is impressive

Why you should not buy a 2018 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali:

  • It lags behind the competition severely when it comes to basic technologies like intelligent key, push-start button and more that we’ve come to expect in vehicles that are less than half the price of this truck
  • Serious incentives and rebates are the only real reasons to opt for a 2018 Sierra over a 2019. And by serious, I mean that a $10,000 credit is not enough
  • Compared to both RAM and Ford, the Sierra’s cabin lacks luxury touches and attention to detail. This should not be the case in a $75k Denali ($68k without options)
  • Although the Denali badge brings much to the table, GMC offers numerous very interesting trims, such as the All Terrain that, with a few choice options, is as tempting and visually enticing as the Denali yet retails for nearly $15,000 less

Conclusion:

The 2018 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali is a superb truck. Little has really changed for the 2019 model which adds to the 2018’s appeal. The absence of certain basic technologies is irksome but if you’re currently driving a 10-year old truck, the 2018 will seem light years ahead.

The current Sierra’s cabin lags behind that of the 2018 RAM 1500 and Ford F-150. Sadly, the 2019’s cabin fails to even match what the competition offers, as outlined by Charles in his review. Although the GM might be more capable in many respects, FCA offers rebates of over $12,000 on all trims. 2019 RAMs are already discounted by $7,500, which makes the 2018 Sierra Denali’s $8,500 deal far less appealing. There are no details yet on the 2019’s incentive program.

Buying a truck is a true numbers game unless you’re a diehard fan of one specific brand. Bottom line, negotiating with your GMC dealer for a heftier discount on your 2018 Denali will make you happy for a very long time.

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