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Unpacking The 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate: A Comprehensive Review

The 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate is the epitome of luxury truck, featuring heated and ventilated 16-way power front seats with massage features and an expansive 18-speaker Bose Premium Series audio system with Centerpoint surround sound. This week Torque News is reviewing the 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate version and liked it very much.


The year 2022 has seen a major shift in the landscape of full-size pickups, with all major US manufacturers releasing their heavy-duty models. Chevrolet led the charge with its Silverado HD, followed by Ford with the F-Series Super Duty and RAM with its 2500 and 3500 HD. Now, it's GMC's turn to showcase its latest and greatest in the form of the 2023 Sierra series.

This year, GMC introduced two exciting new variants, the high-flyer Denali and the off-road AT4X, both offering advanced features and cutting-edge technology. While the Sierra models are technically identical to the Chevrolet Silverado, GMC has long been known for offering more upscale equipment and features, making the new 2023 models a must-see for any full-size pickup enthusiast.

The 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate is an upscale truck that offers a fantastic driving experience. One of the things I loved about this truck was the massive selection of cabs, boxes, and engines. Whatever your needs are, you're sure to find a configuration that fits them perfectly. Plus, the available touchscreen is huge and easy to use, making it easy to control all of the truck's features. Earlier this year, Torque News senior automotive reporter John Goreham also reviewed the 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate Duramax, which I highly recommend to look as well.

When it comes to towing, the Sierra 1500 is among the best in its class. Whether you're hauling a trailer or a boat, this truck can handle it with ease. However, if you're looking for the absolute maximum towing capacity, you may want to consider a Chevy Silverado instead. That being said, I found that the Sierra 1500's slightly lower towing capacity was more than enough for my needs.

One of the things that sets the Sierra 1500 apart from the Silverado is its more attractive sheet metal. The Denali Ultimate trim adds a touch of luxury to the already impressive truck, with features such as heated and ventilated leather seats, a Bose audio system, and a panoramic sunroof. Overall, the Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate is a fantastic truck that offers the perfect balance of capability and luxury. If you're in the market for a new truck, I highly recommend checking it out.

Changes in 2023 Sierra 1500

For the 2023 model year, GMC has boosted the Sierra 1500's off-road capability with the introduction of the new AT4X AEV Edition. This special edition pickup features equipment from American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) and is designed specifically for off-road use.

The AT4X AEV Edition boasts steel front and rear bumpers with recovery points and a winch up front, as well as steel skid plates to protect the underside of the front end, steering components, transfer case, fuel tank, and rear differential. Gloss-black 18-inch AEV Salta wheels wrapped in 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory MT tires complete the rugged look. This package is only available on the off-road-focused AT4X trim level, which was added to the lineup in 2022.

Trims and Pricing of the 2023 GMC Sierra 1500

The 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 comes in several different trims, each offering unique features and capabilities. The base model is the Pro, which starts at a reasonable $37,445. Moving up the ladder, there's the SLE and Elevation, which offer more amenities and come in at $50,545 and $52,245, respectively. The SLT trim brings even more luxury and performance, with a starting price of $57,745.

For those who want the ultimate in luxury, there's the Denali, which starts at $67,545. The off-road-focused AT4 starts at $68,545, while the new AT4X with AEV equipment is the priciest of the bunch, with a starting price of $83,545. Finally, at the top of the range is the Denali Ultimate, which starts at $84,440 and comes loaded with premium features and technology. With such a wide range of trims and prices, there's a Sierra 1500 for every budget and need.

Engine and Power

The 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 offers an impressive range of powertrains that cater to a variety of preferences. The base model comes equipped with a turbocharged 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 310 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. It is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Sierra also offers two V-8 options: a 5.3-liter engine that produces 355 horsepower and a 6.2-liter engine that delivers 420 horsepower. For those who prioritize fuel efficiency, there is also a diesel six-cylinder engine that generates 460 pound-feet of torque. All three engines are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission that provides smooth and efficient shifting.

2023 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate engine

In our tests, the Sierra 1500 with the 6.2-liter V-8 engine was able to accelerate robustly and yet provided a smooth and pleasant drive. The Sierra 1500 also boasts impressive off-road capabilities, especially with the AT4 and AT4X trims. The AT4 model comes with a 2.0-inch suspension lift and other off-road equipment, while the AT4X shares features with the Silverado ZR2 and comes with advanced spool-valve dampers, electronic-locking front and rear diffs, extra skid plates, and off-road tires.

Additionally, the Sierra 1500 handles remarkably well with responsive steering and restrained body roll.

Fuel Economy and Towing

The 2023 Sierra 1500 offers a range of powertrain options, with varying fuel efficiency ratings. The diesel engine is the most efficient option, with an impressive rating of up to 23 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. However, the standard 6.2-liter V-8 engine, which comes with the Denali model, is probably the most popular option. It has an estimated fuel economy of up to 15 mpg city and 19 mpg highway when paired with four-wheel drive. In our real-world highway test, the Sierra 1500 Denali achieved an average of 18 mpg. Those interested in learning more about the Sierra's fuel economy can visit the EPA's website for further details.

In addition to its impressive fuel economy, the 2023 Sierra 1500 also boasts impressive towing and payload capacities. With the right equipment, it can tow up to 13,200 pounds, making it one of the strongest half-ton pickups on the market. The truck can also handle a payload of up to 2,240 pounds, which is plenty for hauling heavy equipment or materials. The Sierra 1500's advanced trailering system includes features like a trailer app that provides step-by-step hitch guidance, as well as a rear camera mirror that shows a clear view of what's behind the trailer. These features make towing safer and more convenient for drivers. The 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 is an excellent choice for those who need a truck that can handle tough jobs with ease.


The 2023 GMC Sierra 1500's exterior design remains unchanged from the previous model.

The front part of the truck features a large glossy black grille with nickel inserts that adds to its aggressive appearance. The grille design is a highlight of the front, and along with the front LED lights, adds to the overall look of the truck. The front LED lights are part of the classic animated lighting that turns on automatically when the driver approaches the truck, starts the engine, or moves away from the truck using the sensors combined with the digital key.

2023 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate side view

Additionally, the Sierra 1500 comes with bright red tow hooks at the bottom of the front end.

Note that the AT4X model has exclusive badging that differentiates it from other trim levels of the Sierra, and it is available in Cayenne Red.

2023 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate trunk bed

Another feature worth mentioning is the MultiPro cargo bed tailgate that comes standard on the AT4X. This innovative tailgate has six different modes, including regular, load stop, second-level load, standing work station, easy load access, and raise/lower bed access through steps.


The Sierra 1500's interior is designed with comfort and convenience in mind. The driver-oriented design is evident in the placement of the controls and the high-quality materials used throughout the cabin. The SLE trim level features a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel as standard, which is a welcome upgrade from the traditional analog gauges. The upper trims offer even more desirable features, such as a heads-up display and a power-adjustable steering column.

2023 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate front interior

The Denali Ultimate takes luxury to the next level with open-pore wood trim and leather-covered surfaces. The front seats feature 16-way power adjustments and massage functions for maximum comfort during long drives.

Interior storage in the 2023 Sierra 1500 is more than adequate, with numerous cubbies and compartments for storing small items and personal belongings. While the Sierra 1500 doesn't offer any particularly innovative storage features, it does come with a trick tailgate that has multiple configurations, making it easier to load and unload cargo.

Additionally, the carbon-fiber-reinforced cargo bed is lighter and stronger than traditional steel beds, making it ideal for hauling heavy loads.

The Sierra 1500 features a large 13.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which is easy to use and features wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. The system also includes built-in Google software, allowing users to access an app store, maps, and a voice assistant. The available 12-speaker Bose audio system provides excellent sound quality, while the wireless phone charging and additional power points ensure that everyone in the cabin can stay connected.

In terms of safety, the Sierra 1500 comes equipped with a host of standard driver-assistance technology, including automatic emergency braking, forward-collision warning, and lane-departure warning. The off-road assists, such as the Terrain Mode, enable one-pedal driving in low-speed situations. The Sierra 1500 can also be fitted with a multicamera system that provides the driver with a 360-degree view of the surroundings, and even has views where the driver can virtually see through a trailer if they're pulling one.

The Denali trim level can be equipped with GM's Super Cruise hands-free-driving tech, which operates on a vast network of roads across the country and can even be put to use with a trailer attached. However, it should be noted that the system will only change lanes on its own if there's nothing hooked up to the truck. Overall, the Sierra 1500's interior is spacious, comfortable, and packed with features that make it an excellent choice for both work and play.

The Drive

The 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 is a versatile truck that offers a smooth and comfortable ride, both in the city and on the highway. It handles well and feels stable even at high speeds, with a solid and composed ride that instills confidence in the driver. The cabin is also very quiet, with minimal wind and road noise, adding to the overall comfort of the driving experience. The seats, both in the front and rear, are supportive and comfortable, making long journeys a breeze.

2023 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate rear seat

The truck's suspension is well-tuned, providing a smooth ride even over rough roads and uneven terrain. The off-road capabilities are impressive as well, with an optimized suspension that filters out ground imperfections effectively, making it a great choice for those who like to take their trucks off the beaten path.

Despite its size and weight, the Sierra 1500 feels agile and responsive, with precise steering and good handling characteristics. The brakes are strong and capable, bringing the truck to a stop quickly and smoothly. The engine options offer plenty of power and torque, with the diesel engine being especially impressive in terms of fuel efficiency and towing capacity.

Overall, the 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 is a well-rounded truck that delivers a smooth and comfortable driving experience, both on and off the road. Its capable suspension, powerful engine options, and comfortable cabin make it a great choice for those in the market for a versatile and capable truck.

Armen Hareyan is the founder and the Editor in Chief of Torque News. He founded in 2010, which since then has been publishing expert news and analysis about the automotive industry. He can be reached at Torque News Twitter, Facebok, Linkedin and Youtube.

Reference: Car and Driver, Geek's Room.