2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate Review: Big Price, Big Refinement

GMC builds on its Denali brand lineup with a new truck for the 2022 model year that hits all the right notes for its target customer, delivering more luxury appeal than the GMC lineup has ever offered.

The full-size pickup was refreshed for '22 and two new variants were introduced, Denali Ultimate and AT4X. The former is the company's ultimate expression of luxury while the Sierra 1500 AT4X is the most capable off-road.

Revisions included a new grille and revised headlamp design. The Sierra Denali Ultimate wears a Vader chrome GMC logo, Vader chrome grille and unique front fender trim that features Mount Denali, the truck's namesake. A lighted illumination sequence animates when technology detects that the key fob is nearing or leaving the vehicle.

The truck rides on 22-inch wheels that are finished in Low Gloss Black with machined accents and has standard power assist steps.

2022 GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate exterior front
The face of the 2022 GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate wears Vader Chrome accents. General Motors

GMC equips the truck with the buyer's choice of two engines: a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder diesel or a 6.2-liter V8. Both provide plenty of power for the truck, but the diesel is more desirable from an off-the-line perspective.

The engines are each paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission that delivers smooth shifts. Four-wheel drive and a two-speed transfer case are standard.

GMC's newest truck is large and in charge on the road, but the Denali Premium Suspension with Adaptive Ride Control helps keep passengers comfortable over bumps in the pavement.

Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate's bed features a CarbonPro composite box, which is hard-wearing. GMC's MultiPro tailgate, which provides six options for managing bed access and size, comes standard.

2022 GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate rear back
The GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate has a six-way MultiPro tailgate as standard equipment. General Motors

GMC equips all Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate models with the same interior scheme: Alpine Umber. It features full-grain leather appointments and open-pore Paldao wood trim.

The truck's instrument panel, door panels, console lid and front and rear seats come wrapped in leather. Speakers grilles are made of etched stainless steel. A microsuede headliner wraps around to the visors and pillar trim.

Laser etched images of Mount Denali feature on the interior on the passenger side dashboard, front and back of the front seats, rear seat and door panels. The look is better executed than Lincoln's Central Park map in the 2022 Navigator.

2022 GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate interior
The interior of the 2022 GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate features images of Mount Denali. General Motors

The truck has standard 16-way power-adjustable and massaging front seats, a power sunroof and a 12-speaker Bose Premium sound system.

GMC's 2022 Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate comes standard with a responsive 13.4-inch infotainment touch screen with Google build-in compatibility. That screen is paired with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 15-inch head-up display. This is as much screen space as there is in many new luxury cars.

A rear camera mirror also comes standard. The view can be seen on demand with the mirror operating in a traditional image reflective sense when the driver chooses.

The biggest plus of the truck is its Super Cruise hands-free driver assist technology. Executed as well on the Sierra 1500 as it is on the Cadillac Escalade, the pickup makes full use of the technology and its fresh ability to be used while trailering. Super Cruise can be used on over 200,000 miles of roads in the U.S. and Canada.

2022 GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate Super Cruise
Super Cruise technology comes on the 2022 GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate and can be used when trailering. General Motors

At over $81,000 to start, GMC's top-of-the-line Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate isn't cheap, but this is the first truck GMC has put out in a while that seems befitting of its price tag. Super Cruise and the MultiPro tailgate put it over the top.

However, if you want bells and whistles like lay flat seats, an on-board generator, console table and fold flat shifter, the Ford F-150 Platinum is a better buy, at nearly an identical price.