GMC Sierra Denali

Navigation systems, cooled seats, and Bluetooth are features you might expect to find on a luxury sedan but more and more they're showing up on pickups. Newest to the party is the GMC Sierra HD, which expands the availability of its Denali trim level for 2011, providing high-end features to an even wider range of buyers.

Already a popular upscale trim on other GMC models – including the Sierra HD 2500 – the Denali line is newly available on the brawny Sierra HD 3500, and can be selected for two-wheel drive Sierra HD models for the first time. Standard equipment for the truck, which starts at $43,650, includes high-end appointments like XM satellite radio, a Bose audio system, remote start, power-adjustable pedals, and an in-dash 6-disc CD changer.

Optional features include a navigation system, MP3 compatibility, and even a DVD entertainment system for rear seat passengers. Two different V8 engines are offered: a gas-powered 6.0-liter or a muscular 6.6-liter turbodiesel producing 397 horsepower and a monstrous 765 pound-feet of torque.

"Our Denali line sets the premium standard for the industry," said Lisa Hutchinson, GMC product marketing director. "We received such an overwhelming response to the new Sierra Denali 2500HD, that we worked quickly and decided to extend the model into the 3500HD series so those GMC buyers can also benefit from blending capability with premium features and styling."

Although the Sierra Denali has been popular since its inception in 2002, not all luxury trucks have met the same warm reception.  After market research found that many Lincoln owners also owned a pickup, Lincoln debuted a truck of its own dubbed the Blackwood in 2002. Sales were poor, and the model was dropped the following year. But that didn't stop Lincoln from trying again, with the F-150-based Mark LT, which was released in 2006 with a base price of just under $39,000.

"We believe there is growing market appeal for a truck with luxury and elegance but with absolutely uncompromised truck capability," said Darryl Hazel, president of Lincoln-Mercury at the Mark LT's launch.

Indeed, there is appeal for such trucks – and the Sierra Denali proves it. And with more Denali models joining the fray, buyers now have a few more options when picking a truck that would look right at home whether at a construction site or a country club.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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