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Entry price: $31,645
Price as tested: $71,460

This week, we’re behind the wheel of a 2021 GMC Sierra, delivered in top class Denali trim and full size four-door crew cab dimensions. With 4WD mechanicals and an optional engine upgrade, our tester retailed for $71,460. However it is important to stress that not every GMC pickup costs this much as nearly every one of my test drive vehicles comes fully loaded with options for the sake of written evaluations. Considering a full-size 2021 GMC Sierra starts at $31,645, there’s a lot of room for a configuration to fit a buyer’s wallet size.
For 2021, numerous GMC pickup trims and drive trains are available. Engines include a 310-horse 2.7-liter turbo 4-cylinder, 285-horse 4.3-liter V6, 355-horse 5.3-liter V8, 277-horse 3.0-liter Duramax turbo diesel and the 420-horse 6.2-liter V8. All of these engines connect either to an eight-speed or 10-speed automatic, both reliable gear changers. Trims start with the entry Sierra, then moves upward to SLE, Elevation, SLT, AT4 and top tier Denali. Cab offerings include a two-door regular cab, four-door double-cab and four-door crew cab with either short or long box cargo arrangements.
Our Denali included the $2,495 optional 6.2-liter, 420 horsepower V8, which replaces the standard 355-horse 5.3-liter V8. Hooked to the 10-speed automatic, it delivers an outstanding 20 MPG highway that, considering Sierra’s overall mass, is an impressive EPA estimate. Thus, thanks to the excellent gear ratios available and the variable valve timing cylinder deactivation while cruising, this new GMC Sierra is a fine highway cruiser while still delivering an acceptable 16 MPG in the city. The 4WD system features a two-speed transfer case with a low and high range locking differential to assist in inclement weather and/or off road excursions.
With a base price of $58,700 in the 4WD Short Box trim, our Denali tester then adds an expensive and highly recommended Ultimate Denali Package that upgrades trailer towing safety. For $4,910 you receive HD Surround Vision with trailer camera provisions, rear camera mirror, bed view camera, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking, front pedestrian braking, auto high beam, adaptive cruise control, following distance indicator, power sunroof and GMC’s multi-pro power step-in steps. There is also a $500 discount if effect, bringing this option down to $4,410. If you plan to tow with your Denali, this option is a must.
Speaking of towing, standard fare on our Denali is premium suspension with adaptive ride control and Stabilitrak with trailer sway control. A trailering package with trailer brake control is also standard and reemphasizes the importance of the above mentioned Ultimate Package.   With a towing capacity of 9,200 pounds with a 3.23 rear, our Denali was a pleasure to drive during our weeklong test. With 420 ponies available and 460 lb. ft. of torque at the tap of the right foot, it was clear from the moment we hit the highway that not only did Denali deliver a comfortable ride, it also has gobs of acceleration ability thanks to the 10-speed automatic.
Signature appointments include a Denali specific chrome grille with prominent GMC badge, polished stainless steel dual exhaust (including mufflers), body colored bumpers with chrome insert, rear step bumper and Denali 20-inch alloy wheels on Bridgestone tires.
The heated/cooled leather bucket seats help augment Denali’s impressive full-size crew cab interior, as does heated outboard rear seats. Our Denali came with 22-inch special high gloss black wheels for $2,995 more. I personally can’t see spending $3,000 for this dealer-installed wheel option, as to me it does nothing to enhance the looks of an otherwise great-looking truck.

Auto Bits

2021 Ford Ranger Tremor
has lower base price
than competitors
The off-road trails will be a bit more crowded this spring, because the 2021 Ford Ranger Tremor pickup is about to hit the road.
Boasting more ride height, Fox off-road shocks and more, the Ranger is Ford’s answer to off-road pickup models like the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, Jeep Gladiator Mojave, Nissan Frontier Pro-4X and Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro.
The Ranger Tremor’s claim to space in that crowded market stems from a lower base price than competitors and features like:
• 17-inch magnetic gray painted aluminum wheels
• 32-inch General Grabber A/TX all-terrain tires
• 9.7 inches of ground clearance
• Electronic locking rear differential
• Fox off-road shocks
• 10-speed automatic transmission
• 7,500-pound towing capacity
• 1,430-pound payload
• Hoop steps for easy access
• Seats with contrast stitching and suede inserts
“Tremor” is a package of features. It costs $4,290, and is available on XLT and Lariat models. That means Ranger Tremor prices start around $40,000. That’s a couple of thousand dollars lower than competing midsize pickups’ off-road models.

MCN/Detroit Free Press

did you know

Silent film star Florence Lawrence is often credited
with designing the first “auto signaling arm,” a
predecessor to the modern turn signal, along with
the first mechanical brake signal.