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2019 GMC Sierra Denali Drops with a Split-Folding Tailgate

And a carbon-fiber bed, too

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DETROIT, Michigan — The 2019 GMC Sierra comes standard with the requisite semi-truck-size grille, gets a unique six-position, two-piece "MultiPro" tailgate on SLT and Denali, and will offer an optional carbon-fiber bed on the high-zoot Denali version. The new GMC Sierra unveiled here today is the most distinct version of the full-size pickup compared with its platform mate, the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado, that General Motors has produced.

The optional Denali CarbonPro box is 62 pounds lighter than the standard roll-formed high-strength steel box. As with the new Silverado, the Sierra box features nearly seven inches in added width. Both standard and short-box configurations have been redesigned for minimal wheel-well intrusion.

GM's product chief, Mark Reuss, announced just three of the engines to be available in the '19 GMC Sierra, the same that he announced for the '19 Chevy Silverado in January: the 6.2-liter V-8, 5.3-liter V-8 and a new 3.0-liter inline-six turbodiesel. GM is expected to offer a new 2.7-liter turbocharged four, and a V-6 as well. Both the '19 Sierra and Silverado go on sale this fall.

The new diesel and the 6.2 V-8 are combined with GM's new 10-speed automatic transmission, and both gas engines will come with start/stop technology, and a new Dynamic Fuel Management system that can shut down any combination of one to seven of the cylinders, for fuel efficiency.

The carbon-fiber bed option in the Sierra Denali will come a bit later in the product roll-out cadence. GMC has not issued any pricing on the new Sierra yet, including the option price for the carbon-fiber bed, though Reuss said the new model would be in-line with the current Sierra. GMC says the average transaction price of its current Sierra Denali is $55,656, more than most mainstream luxury car brands. GM has gotten some positive attention from Wall Street analysts for the value of GMC's business, said to be worth $65 billion.

Standard bed material is steel, welded to aluminum body pieces as part of the new GM trucks' "mixed materials" strategy. The new GMC Sierra loses up to 360 pounds versus the outgoing model, depending on configuration, compared with a max diet of 450 pounds for the Chevy Silverado. Reuss attributes the difference in weight loss to different trim levels and equipment. The Silverado will come in lower base models compared with the Sierra.

Other available innovations include a new ProGrade Trailering System with Trailering App that gives, for example, the driver pressure and temperature readouts for the trailer's tires, a multi-color three-by-seven-inch head-up display that GMC claims to be first in the segment, and a multi-view camera rearview mirror with tilt and zoom features, also first-in-segment. Other new features include Surround-Vision 'birds-eye' camera, and such available safety features as blind-spot warning, pedestrian detection and low-speed automatic forward braking.

Viewed in the sheetmetal - er, sheet-mixed-materials - the 2019 GMC Sierra Denali seems a more conservative redesign from the exterior, compared with its Chevy sibling. Exterior design chief Matt Noone pointed to the truck's horizontal bone-line extending from the top of the taillamp, across the profile, to the front fenders. The new Denali's interior features real aluminum and open-pore wood trim, and some two-tone leather and vinyl themes.

GMC promises more news on the '19 Sierra at the 2018 New York auto show late this month.