I’ve been holding this secret for quite a while now, as I wasn’t sure how to break the news without looking like a total hypocrite. I still haven’t figured out how, but I’m going to do it anyway. I don’t just depend on a fleet of hoopties to get me around: A few months back, I purchased this 2017 GMC Sierra Denali as a “work truck” for the burger business company I work for. It may seem like embezzlement for someone to purchase a $63,000 luxury truck for work purposes — but the company actually saves money doing this, versus paying mileage on the Prius I owned before.
This might sound like total nonsense, but it’s absolutely true. This is my second GMC truck I’ve had as a company car, the first being a 2015 Sierra 1500 SLT 4×4. The sticker price was $48,000 — but it didn’t take much bartering at the dealer to get $10,000 off that price. After nearly 3 years and 68,000 miles, I traded it in for $31,000 toward the Denali. That’s only $7,000 in depreciation — even though I put tons of miles on it. Before the first Sierra, I owned a 2010 Toyota Prius, and I would turn in my mileage for the standard reimbursement of 50 cents per mile. If my soul could have somehow survived driving that Prius for the last 3 years and 68,000 miles, at 50 cents per-mile, the company would have paid out $34,000 during that time. Since the Sierra only depreciated $7,000, when you add that with the taxes on that value lost, along maintenance, fuel and tags/insurance, my fuzzy math calculation comes to $21,500 for the total ownership cost of the Sierra.
Now, you may be thinking this ridiculously high trade-in value was given just to make me feel better about the Sierra Denali purchase — but they also discounted the new truck almost $12,000. Once again, this was a fairly normal model-year-end discount that didn’t take much negotiation to achieve — and my old truck quickly hit their pre-owned inventory with an asking price of $35,000. I’m not sure what they sold it for, but I imagine it was a decent profit, as it was gone within a few weeks. This isn’t an unusual case, as demand for used trucks is ridiculously high. Currently on Autotrader, the average asking price for a 3-year-old Sierra Denali 4×4 is $39,000 — and even the decade-old 2008 models still have an average asking price of nearly $20,000.
For comparison, the base-model BMW 5 Series retails for $52,650 — a little more than what I paid for the Sierra Denali Ultimate Package with discounts. BMW dealers don’t have the margins to even offer half as much of a discount — and after 3 years, the average asking price of a used base-model 5 Series is only $27,000. After a decade, used BMWs are worth about the same as a used copy of “Battlefield Earth” on VHS — though this is pretty normal depreciation for just about every other foreign or domestic luxury car on the market.
Of course, these calculations would be cheaper with a Camry in comparison — but not by a crazy amount, and I really do need the truck to haul product and equipment regularly. This Sierra Denali is also faster and way better equipped than the Camry, obviously, as well as the base-model 5 Series — and some of the more expensive top-tier luxury models, too. The 425-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 sends this giant truck to 60 in only 5.5 seconds, and it’s the first General Motors pickup truck to be offered with magnetic ride control. This fantastic suspension system gives a superb ride, while keeping the body roll at a minimum when cornering. Plus, the chiseled, blocky styling of this truck is very attractive in my opinion — and the standard equipment on the Denali is also impressive.
Along with the normal luxury features, it has a few little surprises, such as a steering assist that drives more like a drunk. Rather than holding your lane like the more advanced systems, it’s programmed only to react when you’re about to depart your lane. With zero steering input from the driver, it weaves back and forth while endlessly sounding an alert chime to put your hands back on the wheel. This may not sound as impressive as the Tesla autopilot, but the Sierra certainly has a much higher-quality interior feel and, mercifully, real buttons that you can push to operate almost everything — and door handles that don’t try to eat your hand.
So maybe the next time someone pulls up next to you in their bro-dozer, you won’t laugh quite as hard, as they may have made a fairly smart financial decision. In my case, I actually use it for a truck with my work — as well as hauling all the broken hoopties up to The Car Wizard. So even with the financial benefits, purchasing this ridiculous truck was easy to justify. Find a GMC Sierra for sale
Tyler Hoover went broke after 10 years in the car business and now sells hamburgers to support his fleet of needy cars. He lives in Wichita, Kansas.