Steering was surprisingly light from the 2500HD, which made directional inputs when towing a simple and minimal process. The exhaust brake was one of our favorite features, as it made a huge difference when slowing while driving up and down hills, and it translates a sense of extra safety and confidence—a key benefit when towing. With a 12-way driver seat, powered tilt-column, and adjustable pedals, finding the perfect driving position was as easy as pushing several buttons. Comfort is always on tap with dual-zone automatic climate control, cooled seats, and power door locks, windows, and remote start.

After dozens of energy drinks, several fast-food stops, and a few 36-gallon diesel fill-ups, we arrived in Bowling Green and unloaded. Without a trailer attached, the Sierra Denali 2500HD instantly turned into a hot-rod pickup with 0- to 60-mph times of 7.7 seconds. Impressive for a truck weighing in at 6,300 pounds. Five adults cruised around in comfort, although it does seem the Super Duty and Ram have more rear seat room. One of our biggest disappointments was the navigation radio, as it proved slow, looked antiquated, and the Bose audio system didn't return the premium sound we expected.

On our return drive home, the only hiccup we experienced was the diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) light coming on with a range of 50 miles. We quickly located a GM dealer and paid $43.00 for enough fluid to top off the tank. All in all, the Sierra Denali 2500HD proved a formidable daily driver, tow rig, and great way to make an entrance. For an as-tested price of $63,000, the Denali HD is not cheap, but then again, arriving in comfort, style, and luxury never is.

2012 GMC Sierra Denali 2500HD

Base Price: $47,480
Price as Tested: $63,000

Type: 6.6L OHV V-8 turbodiesel
Displacement: 403ci
Compression Ratio: 16.0:1
Horsepower: 377 @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 765 @ 4300 rpm
Recommended Fuel: Ultra-low sulphur diesel

Layout: Front engine, 4WD
Transmission: Six-speed Auto Allison 1000
Brakes: 13.8-inch front/ 14.17 rear disc
Wheels: 20x10-inch forged
Tires: LT265/60R20 all-terrain

Tow Capacity: 13,000 lbs
0-60: 7.7 seconds
¼-mile: 16.8 @ 88 mph
60-0: 155 feet
Observed Gas Mileage: 13.1