WardsAuto Names GMC Sierra Denali Top Interior – No Way

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WardsAuto recently named the GMC Sierra Denali as its top truck interior of 2014. While it is a good interior, it certainly isn’t great. With everyone else pushing high-quality leather and nice color contrasts, the black and grey interior isn’t really inviting. Here is our beef with WardsAuto.

Ward's Auto Names GMC Sierra Denali Top Interior - GMC Sierra Denali

This gray/black interior is the GMC Sierra Denali. Where is the interest factor?

The GMC Sierra Denali is GM’s top interior trim for the GMC pickup (the High Country is for Chevy). It is a premium grade interior and, as such, comes standard with many of the same features found throughout the segment like heated seats. Why do we point this out? WardsAuto says the heated seats and a heated steering wheel were big factors in making their choice. Huh? Isn’t the interior more about keeping your hands and rear warm?

In all fairness, WardsAuto received the truck during a particularly chilly time in Michigan. The term “Polar Vortex” was being used quite extensively when talking about sub-zero temperatures and the all-time record for snowfall. Yes, it was chilly and cold. We don’t blame WardsAuto for liking the heated seats/steering and remote start.

Ward's Auto Names GMC Sierra Denali Top Interior - Toyota Tundra 1794 Interior

Among premium interiors, everyone is using tan leathers with nice feel and contrast like this Toyota Tundra 1794.

WardsAuto does go further to point out all the storage in the new interior, the ergonomics and “sturdy materials.” Plus, they like all the rear headroom and legroom.

Lastly, they point out the quietness of the cabin and the colors of the reconfigurable instrument cluster.

What is our problem with their choice? Simple. Go sit in one. The leather may be “sturdy,” but it is lack luster. The controls may be easy to reach, but aren’t everyone’s controls easy to reach these days. The ergonomics are personal preference at best, yet these luxury trucks have so many seat adjustment options, you would be hard pressed to find a truck that isn’t ergonomic (save for older designs like the Nissan Titan).

Ward's Auto Names GMC Sierra Denali Top Interior - Ram Laramie Longhorn

The Ram Laramie Longhorn is a really nice interior with top quality leather and high quality stitching. It is far better than the GMC Sierra and would have been a better choice.

And they liked the rear headroom and legroom? Again, go sit in a few different trucks. The GMC Sierra feels like it has the least amount of rear headroom and legroom among the competitors. Personally, after sitting in them, it is a toss up between the Tundra and the Ram Megacab.

The chart below lays out all the specs.

ModelRear Head Room (inches)Rear Hip Room (inches)Rear Leg Room (inches)Rear Shoulder Room (inches)
Ford F-150 King Ranch40.3064.6043.565.5
GMC Sierra Denali40.5060.2740.9365.73
Ram Laramie Longhorn39.7062.9040.365.70
Toyota Tundra 179438.7062.6044.565.60

Now, let’s say the Tundra 1794 isn’t the best. However, the Lexus leather, it definitely has a better leather than the GMC. And with more headroom and legroom, it beats the GMC again.

Ward's Auto Names GMC Sierra Denali Top Interior - F-150 King Ranch

The interior of the F-150 King Ranch is a lot more interesting and has better materials than the GMC Sierra Denali.

Yes, the GMC has a heated steering wheel and remote start. Ok. If it wasn’t a Polar Vortex in Michigan during WardsAuto interior review, would those features have really mattered? Not really.

What do you think? Have you sat in the other trucks?

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Filed Under: TundraHeadquarters.com


RSSComments (14)

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  1. Randy says:

    I have spent a good deal of time in all of them. The GM products for me are the least supportive on long trips. Sure the seats are nice and soft when you first sit in them on the “showroom floor”; but when you go on longer trips over 2 hours the super softness becomes a real pain, literally.

    GM did nail down the quietness, but the ride and drive for longer trips is a killer. Overall the ride and drive in the other 3 brands is much better. The Tundra is of course the “most truck” like, so overall it rides more like a ¾ ton truck. To me the GM trucks have a “jello” ride and drive; like an old Buick with worn out shocks. The Tundra is a truck; it’s not a bucket of jello.

    The same goes for the ergonomics on the GM products, just not up to par. All three of the other trucks work for me just fine in that department.

    The back seats: No question the Tundra is the long distance king here for adults. It is the most comfortable seating for long distance; none of the other three brands are close. But the overall configuration and usage benefits would most likely go to Ford IMHO.

    When the automotive reviews are written by the automotive press one has to realize the authors seldom know very much about trucks. Only a few have owned trucks, fewer have owned them for a long time, fewer have owned several brands, fewer still have used them for real truck work in the real world long term. Even fewer still have used them for long term towing with heavy loads. And “none” of them that I am aware of have used them to the point that they are continually in the shop attempting to get warranty repairs for stuff that does not work….and if they did, they always receive special preferential treatment that ordinary owners cannot.

    So when WardsAuto writes about how great the interior is to a GM truck, I just laugh because I know it is not relative to me, nor anyone else that really uses a truck. I think it would be more important to be concerned about the fires, oil leaks, electronics that do not work, and all the delays in the shop waiting on parts. Or things like why does their “automatic” rear locker not work on a steep slimy boat ramp with a 8,000 lb. boat?

    There is one significant major advantage to the GM trucks. No one will ever have to worry about them going out of business even while building a vastly inferior product.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      Great comment!

      It is interesting that you bring up automotive journalists and their lack of knowledge of Pickups. I find that many of the events I go to, automotive journalists don’t know a lot about trucks. The fact is that trucks aren’t as “sexy” as sports cars. I get that. I really do. While it is fun to drive fast, I just happen to like the raw power, versatility and room of a full-size truck.

      Long-term towing testing is an interesting point as well. The reality is that without special permission from a manufacture, you can’t do that kind of testing.

      Ideally, every publication would own their own fleet, but that isn’t practical or financially feasible.

      You know, the more I talk about this, the more I think about writing a post on it.

      Let me know if you have any interest of seeing behind the “closed doors” of automotive journalism. Ok, that made me a laugh a bit. Haha!


      • Rick says:

        I agree with you Tim, Randy covered the topic well. I’ve been in all of these trucks and trying not to be partisan, my ’12 Tundra (and the ’14) is very comfortable. On long trips that my back pain is not an issue and the front seat is supportive. The ride in my truck is more car-like but firm and composed.

        My friend pulled up recently in his ’14 Ram Laramie Limited 1500. I was stunned by the quality of materials in his truck that far outweighed my Tundra. His 8spd helped him get 17mpg combined. But his Hemi 5.7 is short on power but the new gears help him. This is the interior I would vote for. Btw, my last tankful I got 17.3 combined!

        Aside front the GM truck fires, I don’t feel any of these trucks are poorly built and all benefit from modern electronics. So to me, it boils down to ergonomics. The 2014 Tundra has really improved on my truck but kept two simple features that keep me in my Toyota: The fully retractable rear window and the center console transmission selector. The ram has the horrible dash dial and the GM’s have the column shift. Even the RR has a dial! Hate it. The Ford has the console shifter, but it’s not as crisp as mine.

        Toyota has to keep the bar high and swathe their trucks in premium materials. That appears to be what this market is expecting.

        • Tim Esterdahl says:


          I agree that the differences between trucks are closing. In the past, you could argue about powertrains all day long. It seems we are shifting and will be arguing about interiors.

          Like I said, I think the Ram interior is pretty nice. Heck, everything these days seems really nice. I just don’t think the GM interior is the “best.”


  2. breathing borla says:


    The Ram already won it last year so maybe they can’t pick it two years in a row? not sure on that.

    I don’t think that denali is the best, but it is nice. I think my loaded Ram looks and works better though. Storage everywhere, nice touches everywhere, LEDs under the rear seats to light of the storage, fold flat floor extenders that double as under seat storage lids, etc. Very good attention to detail in the Ram and no space is wasted. Big reason I bought one.

    I just can’t like that orange basketball colored 1794, too many different colors and materials for me, it looks pieced together. I think the platinum looks better.

    Subjective coloring opinion aside, where the tundra falls short is function, no storage, no features, it’s just seats and a floor. I would really like to see toyota add some storage, etc.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      I agree. I think Toyota went a bit too far in taking away the variety of storage options they had in previous models. A friend of mine joked, the old Tundra had room for a sun glass “whore” with 7 spots to store them. The new one doesn’t have nearly enough.

      I’ll also say the pic of the 1794 interior does look really orange. It isn’t that way in person.

      And I’m with you. The Ram interior is really good. I think they deserved a chance to two-peat.


  3. DJ says:

    Just more big three media bias.

    I personally think the dash layout of the new Chevy/GMC trucks are AWFUL looking, worst in the class. All controls and vents jammed in circle and half cirle pods, hideous IMO.

    But leave it up to the big three media bias. When I first saw this I had to laugh, and imagined if Toyota put out this interior. Their comments would have been “odd design” “segmented in strange circular pods” “lacking behind the big three”.

  4. Brian says:

    Hey Tim u make very good points for sure. As far as the leg room numbers I think the tundra is for the dbl cab. Cause the crewmax is 44.5 inches in the back. The 1794 I think has the best overall interior if u take the size and quality its a no brainer in my opinion. The one thing I don’t get and im a 1794 owner being that its the highest trim why doesn’t it come with a remote start??? The heated steering wheel would be a perfect touch but why not the remote start? I just think its a simple thing the makes a big difference. thanks

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      Thanks for pointing out my error. I’m not sure why I didn’t catch it. My fault.


  5. ricqik says:

    I still can’t get over the fact that gm’s steering wheel offset to the right of the drivers seat.

  6. hemi lol says:

    UM i think you made a calculation error…… the rear legroom of a crew max tundra is much larger than 34.7…… its 44.5………

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      Thanks for pointing it out. I thought it was odd as I was typing it in. I must have just not noticed it was a double cab. To err is human. Thanks again.


  7. toyrulz says:

    Here (in Canada where we know what cold is), remote start is an option… but most around here don’t get the short range Toyota builds in to prevent accidental starts when button pressed far away in the mall when aftermarket units are a fraction of the price and start your truck from your office chair a mile away.

    I want one for the Toyota quality and integrated solution but the low range reduces it’s versatility and can’t justify the high price. I do now say no to aftermarket as I have seen gremlins come with all of them – well that and the teenager that mickey-moused it in there and spliced into major wires leaving half cut and exposed.

    What would be cool with that almost Redrock leather in the 1794 is that black stained wood Toyota once used in the Solara.

    I still would miss my driver grab handle and where a flat rear floor and flip up seats would be nice, the slide recline of my CM make putting kid seats in out a breeze and I can fit stuff behind the seat and still have double cab leg room. I don’t see why we can’t have both other than cost.

  8. mk says:

    interior ergos and comfort are all subjective one likes this and one likes that. I do know after test driving about 10 miles a new 2014 silverado 5.3L the interior is almost dead quiet and the ride is the smoothest almost cadillac-like, definitely not truck like such as the tundra being the most truck-like probably of all of them. The seats in the chevy were too skinny for my liking and a tad softer and over the long haul or longer trips as said, will break down and you will get sore and tired quicker.

    I do know that the new 2014 tundra could’ve done some things the same as past model year tundras like more storage inside and more than just dual gloveboxes and sunglass holders.

    The tundra is still, in my opinion, the most powerful and rides like a truck should plus has by far the better turning radius over the chevy silverado and is cheaper as well to purchase.

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