GMC Sierra SLT vs. Denali: Which is Best for You?

GMC Sierra SLT vs. Denali

Deciding to buy a new vehicle is not a decision that you should enter into quickly or lightly. It’s an expensive investment and one that has to serve your needs for years. This is especially true when it comes to trucks.

When you buy a truck, you’re looking for more than just a smooth drive in cities or on highways. Trucks are heavy-duty performance vehicles that are designed to work, tow, or carry heavy loads and, if necessary, go off-road when work or play takes place in remote areas. With those kinds of demands, you may have already narrowed your choices down to the GMC Sierra SLT vs. GMC Sierra Denali. But what makes these vehicles differ from each other? Which one meets your needs? Let’s take a closer look.

The Engine

While both the SLT and Denali are "trims" within the Sierra family, they are configured very differently to provide some different results. One of the most noticeable differences is in the engine. The SLT comes equipped with a 5.3L EcoTec3 V8 Engine. The SLT engine outputs 355 hp at 4100 rpm, with 300 lb-ft of torque at 2000-5600 rpm.

The Denali has a few options for the engine, depending on what you need. You can get a 5.3L EcoTec3 V8 engine with similar performance, or you can opt for the 6.2L EcoTec 3 V8 Engine. This one comes with a boost of 420 hp at 5600 rpm, 420 lb-ft of torque at 4100 rpm. A final option is the 3.0L Duramax Turbo-Diesel Engine at  277 hp and 3750 rpm, with 460 ft-lb of torque at 1500 rpm.

The Engine

The Tailgate

One thing truck owners make heavy use of is the cargo and bed space. Both models provide ample assistance in this regard. The SLT comes equipped with the standard EZ Lift and Lower Tailgate that makes moving things in and out of the bed more convenient.

The Denali has the Multi-Pro Tailgate, which has all the convenience of the standard EZ Lift and adds six additional functions. For example, the tailgate has additional components that let an extra step fold out, for people who need to step up into the bed. It can fold “away” if people need to get closer to an object in the bed, and it can even extend and provide a lower barrier for longer cargo.

The Tailgate


In terms of towing, you can’t go wrong with either GMC Sierra, SLT vs. Denali. Under optimal conditions, both vehicles are capable of towing up to 4262 kg of weight. However, there are differences in performance that come with a difference in the engine.

The 6.2L EcoTec 3 option for the Denali means an increase in horsepower and rpm, and this can potentially translate to differences in fuel efficiency on the road. The 5.3L EcoTec consumes 15.6 L in the city and 10.9 L on highways for every 100 km. The 6.2L EcoTec consumes 15.3 L in the city, and 11.2 L on highways for every 100 km, so the power difference does result in some fuel efficiency differences as well.


Both the SLT and the Denali come with a range of useful features that can add to the driving experience and even make it more convenient or safer. The SLT, for example, includes an OnStar Safety & Security feature that provides extras like an automatic crash response, emergency services, roadside assistance, and even stolen vehicle assistance.

The Denali has raised the standards for the user interface, with additional conveniences, like a multi-colour heads-up display that is projected right onto the lower end of the windshield. It can display critical driving information, so drivers don’t even have to take their eyes off the road to get an update on their driving data.

And of course, when it comes to towing and trailering, both the Denali and SLT provide a suite of digital assists to help make trailering an easier, more convenient experience. The SLT has features like Trailer Sway Control to make sure that trailers are properly aligned. The Denali makes hitching easier with an HD rear-view hitch guidance camera that helps drivers to back up and get connected properly.


So which one is right for you, GMC Sierra SLT vs. Denali? The answer depends on just how many features you need. For people who load a variety of different cargo in different ways, the Multi-Pro Tailgate on the Denali may make more sense. But for people who aren’t as work-oriented, the SLT makes more sense.

For a wide range of options and reliable advice on your GMC Sierra SLT vs. Denali dilemma, come to our dealership!