For years, GMC has offered some of the most rugged and impressive trucks and SUVs on the road, but even they know how to step up their own game. They do this with a single word: “Denali.” This is the indicator that you’re looking at something special, something with power that can’t be beaten and unparalleled luxury and technology features. Not every truck or SUV can be a Denali, but when you see it, then you know you’re in the presence of greatness.
In the model year 2019, there are five major Denali models coming out that build upon the baseline versions to create a vehicle that truly masters the road. The numbers don’t lie, and all the numbers are in favor of choosing a Denali over the baseline model of any particular truck or SUV that GMC offers. It’s not just about the Denali having standard options that are available on the baseline models – they have options you cannot find on other models. Need proof? Just keep reading and you’ll see that Denali is not only worth the addition to the price tag, but also worth your attention.
Reason #1: The 2019 Terrain
The 2019 GMC Terrain is a great place to start when looking at the Denali trim level and what it brings to the table. Let’s look at the engine: the Terrain SLE comes with a 1.5L Turbo 4-cylinder engine standard, while the Denali features a 2.0L Turbo 4-cylinder engine standard. So, you might wonder, what’s the difference here? The SLE offers 170-hp and up to 203 lb.-ft. of torque, while the Denali gives you 252-hp and 260 lb.-ft. of torque, which means you get more impressive performance and more power, including towing capacity.
The SLE has a 7-inch screen on its Infotainment system, while the Denali’s is 8 inches. And while the SLE has a number of available options, the Denali comes with remote start, heated driver and front passenger seats, and rear parking assist all standard. You get more options with the Denali too, such as available automatic braking at low speeds, while the SLE doesn’t even have that available. Although both the SLE and Denali have rear LED lights, the SLE has high-intensity discharge headlamps, while the Denali features matching LED headlamps.
Reason #2: The 2019 Acadia
The Terrain is GMC’s entry-level SUV, while the Acadia is generally a step up in most ways with a larger body and a more powerful engine. But even with that in mind, the 2019 GMC Acadia Denali is an even greater step up, with better features across the board. For example, the Acadia SLT includes a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine that offers 193-hp and 188 lb.-ft. of torque. By comparison, the 2019 Acadia Denali has a beastly 3.6L V6 engine that provides up to 310-hp and 271 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s more power, which translates to greater cargo weight limits and greater towing capacity than the non-Denali models.
It goes beyond the power, however, and into the very cabin of the 2019 Acadia. While the SLT has a 4-inch driver information screen, the Denali blows that away with an 8-inch reconfigurable driver information screen that’s not even available on the SLT. Both models have an 8-inch Infotainment system, but the Denali comes with navigation features standard. Other features like adaptive cruise control are only available on the Denali, which also has standard safety features including forward collision alert, front and rear park assist, and front pedestrian braking – all of which are not even available on the Acadia SLT.
Reason #3: The 2019 Yukon
You can’t consider GMC SUVs without looking at the Yukon, which is the ultimate powerhouse of GMC’s lineup. And yet, even here, the Denali blows away the standard edition, even if the baseline is far superior to so many other vehicles on the road. Again, it starts with the engine and what comes standard on each version. The 2019 GMC Yukon SLE comes with a standard 5.3L EcoTec3 V8 engine that provides 355-hp and up to 383 lb.-ft. of torque, which is certainly impressive. However, the Denali steps in with a massive 6.2L V8 engine that offers up 420-hp and 460 lb.-ft. of torque. The numbers speak for themselves.
The Yukon is the upper class of GMC’s SUV offerings, so it’s no surprise a lot of the standard Denali features are still available on the SLE. This includes things like lane assist with lane departure warning and power-adjustable pedals – while both have standard front and rear park assist and rear vision cameras. The Denali still races ahead, however, with standard features like keyless open and start, a Bose Centerpoint surround sound system, and a wireless charging pad that isn’t even options for the Yukon SLE.
Reason #4: The 2019 Canyon
Prefer trucks to SUVs? No problem – even when it comes to GMC’s impressive line of trucks, the Denali models just can’t be beaten. Consider the 2019 GMC Canyon, which is an industry leader for midsize trucks. In fairness to the Canyon, here you find that both the SLT and Denali models include the same engine: a 3.6L V6 that offers 308-hp and 275 lb.-ft. of torque. In general, the Canyon SLT and Denali models are pretty comparable in terms of mechanics, so long as you compare similar builds like two 4-wheel drive crew cab, short box trucks.
The interior of the Canyon is where the Denali really shines, with standard and available features you just can’t get on other models. Both have an 8-inch screen on the Infotainment system, the Denali comes with navigation standard, while it’s an available option for the SLT. The Canyon SLT has a standard sound system, while the Denali comes with a Bose Premium audio system. The Denali also features a more robust standard safety system with forward collision alert and lane departure warning.
Reason #5: The 2019 Sierra 1500
Now we come to the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500, not GMCs most powerful truck, but pretty close to it. The other versions of the Sierra also have Denali models available, but you’ll get the idea just with this comparison. When looking at similar builds, once again the Denali difference in trucks is not as huge as it is in SUVs when it comes to performance. Both the Sierra 1500 SLT and Denali feature a 6.2L EcoTec3 V8 engine that offers 420-hp and 460 lb.-ft. of torque. There are some differences, however, like the Denali comes with adaptive ride control standard, which is not available for the SLT at all.
Interior and tech features are once again where the Denali really sets itself apart. The Sierra 1500 SLT has a 4-inch driver information screen and an 8-inch Infotainment system. By contrast, the Denali features an 8-inch driver information screen, and while it also has an 8-inch Infotainment system, the Denali system comes with navigation standard. The Denali’s Bose premium sound system is far richer than the standard audio package in the SLT, though both have Bluetooth and a built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. The Sierra 1500 Denali also includes heated second-row seats, more USB ports than the SLT, and a wireless charging pad.