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Leather appointments give GMC Sierra Denali interior warm durable feel
<p><strong>Leather appointments give GMC Sierra Denali interior warm, durable feel.</strong></p>

Polar Vortex No Match for Sierra Denali

The latest installment in our series on 2014 Ward&rsquo;s 10 Best Interiors highlights the GMC Sierra Denali, a truck that survived the Polar Vortex and promises to make job sites a lot less like work.

The ’14 GMC Sierra Denali had the good fortune of arriving at the WardsAuto offices in Southfield, MI, when we needed it most.

It was the first vehicle rolling in for Ward’s 10 Best Interiors testing, and the day was Jan. 24, when the temperature dipped to -2º F (-19º C) and the term “Polar Vortex” was going viral. A week later, metro Detroit would set an all-time record for snowfall in January – a back-breaking 39.1 ins. (1 m).

The Sierra Denali held up like a champ during an 11-day loan that resembled winter testing at the Arctic Circle.

You’re darn right the heated steering wheel and heated seats – all trimmed in leather – helped the truck earn higher scores, as did the remote-start capability.

And while howling winds and blowing snow forced the driver to keep a steady hand on the tiller, the cabin, itself, remained quiet, comfortable and sealed off from the elements.

A pickup truck must thrive in the harshest of environments because contractors, plumbers and carpenters can’t stay home when the weather is bad. Likewise, in the sweltering heat of August, landscapers and tree trimmers can’t skip out to the beach.

Which explains why the new Sierra Denali is the truck that makes job sites seem a lot less like work.

Forgot to charge your phone before collapsing in bed after an exhausting day? The Sierra Denali has five USB jacks, three 12V power points and a 110V standard electrical outlet. While you’re at it, sync your smartphone with Bluetooth for hands-free talking and dialing.

Need entertainment options beyond classic rock? Satellite radio offers hundreds of stations, and Pandora Internet radio allows a customized playlist.

Need a place to stash papers, envelopes and blueprints to keep the interior space uncluttered? There are cubbies everywhere.

Premium trucks are all the rage right now as automakers wonder whether any price is too high for certain well-heeled pickup buyers. The Sierra Denali 4x4 crew cab, which stickers at $56,685, plays well to this audience.

General Motors might be taking heat for conservative exterior styling of the Sierra and its platform mate, the Chevrolet Silverado, as reflected by subdued sales growth for these all-new models. But the interiors are not at fault.

Editor Jim Irwin likes the sturdy materials and conveniently placed door handle that can be reached without leaning out of the cabin.

“Rear headroom and legroom are extravagantly spacious, and it’s quiet as midnight, except when the sunroof is open,” he writes on his score sheet. “It’s the best GMC product I’ve ever been in. I felt invincible in this truck.”

Editors also praise the Sierra Denali for its comfortable seats, perforated leather, chunky knobs and controls, spot-on ergonomics and the warm glow of the reconfigurable instrument cluster and high-definition display screen.

And even with hats, boots, heavy coats and gloves on, the truck delivers ample elbow room.

Yes, the brutal weather was no match for the Sierra Denali, although excessive temperatures and rock-salt stains seemed to turn the floormats into permafrost. Our apologies.

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