Sierra Denali HD A "Premium Tool"
In a move to put some distance brand-wise between itself and Chevrolet, GMC announced that its new Sierra HD pickup truck will be available for the first time in a high-line Denali model. Lisa Hutchinson, GMC's product marketing director, called the new truck "a premium tool that offers many comfort and infotainment features, along with a maximum towing capacity of 15,600 pounds with the segment's most powerful diesel."
The Denali version of the Sierra HD will be available just on the 2500HD chassis as a 4WD crew-cab standard-box model. GMC will also offer 2500HD and 3500HD Sierra HD pickups in other trim levels and cab/box configurations.
All the GMC HD pickups will be available with either the 6.0L Vortec gas V-8 (now rated at 360 hp and 380 lb-ft) or the new 397hp, 765 lb-ft 6.6L Duramax turbodiesel. As with the Chevy heavy-duty trucks, the new Duramax in the GMC is mated to an Allison 1000 six-speed automatic transmission.
Luxe features aboard the Denali HD include brushed aluminum trim, power-adjustable pedals, a Bose premium surround audio system, and 12-way power seats. A heated steering wheel and heated and cooled leather seats are options.
The 15,600-pound tow capacity cited by Hutchinson is for a Denali HD equipped with a fifth-wheel hitch. The max tow rating for the Denali with a ball hitch is 13,000 pounds for either the gas or diesel engine. Step up to the Sierra 3500HD and the tow rating for a diesel dualie 4x4 with a fifth-wheel hitch maxes out at 19,600 pounds (16,000 with a ball hitch), matching the rating for a similarly equipped Chevy 3500 HD.
•According to our government watchdogs at SEMA, a U.S. Department of the Interior document indicates that the agency plans to designate 14 new or expanded national monuments in the West. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar provided assurances that the plans were preliminary and that the Obama Administration would not bypass input from the local communities, governors, and Congress if the plans move forward. Unlike wilderness designations, motorized recreation is permitted within national monuments. However, OHV roads and trails are frequently closed as a byproduct when land receives the national monument designation. The potential monuments comprise nearly 13 million acres and include such popular OHV areas as the San Rafael Swell and Cedar Mesa (Utah), the Berryessa Snow Mountains and Bodie Hills (Calif.), parts of the Great Basin (Nev.), the Otero Mesa (N.Mex.), and the northwest Sonoran Desert (Ariz.).
•SEMA reports that it defeated a Utah bill to ban most aftermarket exhaust systems. All vehicles would have been required to be equipped with an exhaust system that is "installed by the original manufacturer of the vehicle and is not modified; or meets specifications equivalent to the muffler installed by the original manufacturer of the vehicle and is not modified." Among other things, the bill ignored the fact that aftermarket exhaust systems are designed to make vehicles run more efficiently without increasing emissions, and did not supply law enforcement with a clear standard to enforce, allowing them to make subjective judgments on whether or not a modified exhaust system is in violation.
Mopar Readies for Moab
In the weeks leading up to the Easter Jeep Safari, Chrysler's performance arm released several sketches to tease us about the "truck-load of 'Moparized' vehicles" it was bringing to Moab. These are the two we found most interesting, the Jeep Wrangler J7 and Ram Power Wagon. We'll have photos and more details once we're back from Moab.