The new 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate is here. It’s a super premium pickup truck that is packed with luxury and technology. Not only does it offer massaging seats, but it has a Super Cruise semi-autonomous feature that can also be used while towing. There is only one thing left to do – test it on a crowded California highway.
While driving on around 200,000 miles of pre-mapped highways in North America, GM’s Super Cruise system offers semi-autonomous driving. It means the vehicle can accelerate, brake, change lanes, and stay in its lane by itself. It’s a full stop-and-go system. The system monitors the driver’s head and face because the driver is required to pay attention. In this new Sierra, the system can also do this while towing a trailer up to its maximum rating. The only exception is – Super Cruise will not change lanes by itself while towing.
In the case of this Sierra, it’s rated to tow up to 8,900 lbs. I try the system on Interstate 5 (I-5) just south of Oceanside, California. GMC prepared the truck and trailer. GMC team told me this large cargo trailer weighs around 5,000 lbs.
The Denali Ultimate can be had with either a 3.0L turbo-diesel I6 or a 6.2L gas V8. The truck I am driving is using turbocharged diesel power. The torque is plentiful (460 lb-ft) and the power is smooth (277 hp).
At first, I was not sure exactly how aggressive the semi-autonomous system would be when braking and accelerating. I quickly got used to it as it negotiated a very busy stretch of I-5. Since my cruise speed was set at 55 MPH, and the traffic speed was often between 15-20 MPH – the truck was a bit aggressive to decelerate and accelerate. Once I lowered the set speed to be closer to traffic conditions – the speed variation was much smoother.
The answer is yes – the new Super Cruise system in the Sierra 1500 can tow a large trailer hands-free. I cannot wait to go on a longer trip with a trailer and spend some more time with this system.
The Denali Ultimate truck starts at $82,795 including destination charges. These trucks should be arriving at dealers very soon.