Why the 2018 GMC Sierra Denali kills it at towing

This pickup truck is powerful enough to haul a trailer without breaking a sweat

Photo by Isaac Brekken for GMC

Towing is one of those things that can be awfully intimidating for a typical driver. Can the vehicle handle the weight it’s hauling? Can the driver handle the intensity of driving with a massive load being hauled at the back? These are all things that come to mind, and they probably make many drivers think twice about towing altogether.

That’s why we were so pleasantly surprised to discover just how easy it is to tow with the 2018 GMC Sierra Denali. The Sierra Denali can handle a hauling capacity of up to 23,000 lbs! And it turns out that most drivers can tow while driving it – all without breaking a sweat.

We took the 2018 GMC Sierra Denali for a test drive around scenic St. George, Utah and nearby Arizona. But this wasn’t a typical test drive – at the back of the truck we were hauling – not one – but two Polaris ATVs with a combined weight of 6,000 lbs. It’s worth noting that the Sierra Denali is powerful enough to haul a trailer too, and just about anything you can throw at it.

We watched drivers who had never towed before hesitantly step into the driver’s seat with this large load at the back. Five minutes later they were cruising along the highway without breaking a sweat. One driver described their experience behind the wheel as “surprisingly easy”.

We ourselves tried towing with the 5.3v Sierra Denali model, which was super smooth, but drivers towing with the 6.2v model should experience an even smoother and more powerful drive while towing.

GMC Tow Like a Pro
(Photo by Isaac Brekken for GMC)

We also went towing with an experienced driver who has been hauling loads for 12 years. He said that towing with the Sierra Denali is so easy, that just about any driver can do it, and that towing has certainly come a long way since he first tried his first haul.

“It’s remarkable in its unremarkableness. I can even drive and tow with one hand on the wheel.”

The Sierra Denali is a premium pickup truck and that means that it also comes with plenty of tech to enhance the towing experience. To that effect, the Sierra Denali features a trailer brake controller, rear vision camera system, trailer sway control, a tow/haul mode, hill start assist (helps hold the brakes momentarily to help prevent rolling back), auto grade breaking, tap shift, trans temp gauge and blind spot monitoring – which all contribute to making the truck optimized for towing.

The base price for the 2018 GMC Sierra Denali retails starting at $53,900 and it goes up to about $65k for the Ultimate package, which includes all the bells and whistles, including a 6.2v engine and chrome accents.

But it’s not just the GMC Sierra Denali that can tow – the entire GMC lineup is designed for trailering too. That includes GMC’s crossovers, SUVs and vans.

Here’s a handy chart which includes details about how much each GMC vehicle can haul.

GMC Trailering Lineup
Maximum trailering weight by GMC vehicle

With all of that said – yes, there is a new 2019 GMC Sierra Denali that was announced just a few months ago, and it’s only a couple of months away from launch. And yes – it brings with it a slew of cool new features. But in the meanwhile, you can’t go wrong with the 2018 model – especially if you need a capable trucking vehicle for towing.

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