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The Broadest-Shouldered Butler Since Lurch.
Motor Trend
By: Frank Markus
November 28, 2014

All done up in black and chrome, the new Sierra Denali HD looks like it's wearing a tuxedo, but its burly stance and jacked suspension suggest it plans to work whatever formal event you have in mind. Indeed, when it arrived at our shop, we put it right to work. Its first task was to make a 360-mile run that included ascending the Davis Dam's 12-mile, 6-percent grade while carrying a ton of horse-stall mats in the bed. (Our Duramax crew cab 4x4 truck's 10,000-pound gross vehicle weight left 271 pounds for payload, so our lone driver and his social-media connectivity gear weighed in well within spec.) Our test equipment kept a watchful eye out for signs of laziness during the hill-climb event. We then hitched a 5-ton trailer to its Class IV receiver hitch and gave it another workout. (It's rated to tow 13,000 pounds off the back, 17,100 with a gooseneck or fifth-wheel hitch.).

As with all heavy-duty pickup trucks, this one feels a bit jittery and uncomfortable riding around empty. It jounces with the nervous energy of a track star who longs to be running. L.A.'s infamous tilted slabs turn freeway rides into a hobbyhorse experience when a truck is empty, but stick a ton in the back, and this giant manservant gets right to work pummeling the road into submission. Beyond the ride improvement, the drivability, acceleration, and braking performance didn't feel noticeably degraded by the burden, though it must be noted that the Allison transmission is programmed to favor the highest possible gear selection, which can make the truck feel a bit lethargic compared with certain competitors (cough, F-Series SuperDuty).

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