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A grey 2021 GMC Sierra from a GMC dealer is driving on a winding road through pine trees.

The 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali: Everything We Know (And Hope For)

We’ve reached a very important stage in American automotive manufacturing, which is thrilling for drivers and GMC dealers across the country: The Innovation Era is upon us. Technology is opening the doors to more and more offerings than ever before, and automotive engineering is changing in a way that allows us to take advantage of these offerings. Some take the form of safety and driver assistance features. Others, such as in-vehicle Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, play on our desire for convenience. Others still, such as advanced adjustable lumbar support, make driving more comfortable than ever.

Among American automobile manufacturers, General Motors has quickly taken the lead when it comes to adding the most advanced, cutting edge technology to the vehicles under its umbrella. Recent announcements regarding the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali indicate that even light-duty trucks are given their due when it comes to keeping up with the times. Take a look at what drivers can look forward to in the coming years, from tech to convenience and more. The 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali promises to be an outstanding automobile.

The Addition of Super Cruise in the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali

SuperCruise is shown on the dashboard of a 2022 GMC Sierra Denali.

In December of 2020, GMC released an official statement that Super Cruise would be available in the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali. The statement released was brief and factual, detailing the fact that the Super Cruise would be launched in the late model year 2022. Super Cruise is a very recent technology that has been taking the automotive industry by storm.

General Motors initially offered Super Cruise on Cadillac models, such as the discontinued CT6 and the 2021 Escalade. Still, this technology is not offered on every Escalade, and not without a price. In the case of the Escalade, Super Cruise is not offered on all trims and is standard on none. The technology is available on upper trims at an additional charge and requires a subscription to the programming that gives vehicles access to the mapped roads.

The technology behind Super Cruise is fascinating, and many believe this is the next step towards the self-driving cars of science fiction fame. The Super Cruise relies on a system of cameras, infrared lights, LiDAR map data, sensors, and GPS to be able to work. Inside the cabin, a Driver Attention System tracks where the driver’s eyes are focused. As long as it’s towards the road, Super Cruise will continue automatically steering the vehicle along the over 200,000 miles of mapped and programmed roads in the United States and Canada. If the driver’s gaze wanders away from the road for too long, a light bar mounted within the steering wheel will flash, and the system will eventually decelerate the vehicle. It is not intended to be a fully autonomous technology, despite program settings for lane changes, automated speed, and passing other vehicles.

Interestingly enough, the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Super Cruise technology has already been cited as being towing compatible, meaning drivers can engage the system even when trailering long distances. This is a huge development for the technology and alludes to the fact that this may be a higher trim capability, perhaps relegated to the top Denali trim, which is known for pulling out all of the technological and convenience bells and whistles for drivers.

Adding Super Cruise technology to the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 will require a significant amount of technological updates within the structure of the cabin to accommodate the driver-focused cameras and infrared facial detection systems. The Sierra 1500 will need the light bar installed on the steering wheel and the related instruments to activate the system. However, these systems should integrate well into the stylish interior.

Updated Usability Features of the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali

GMC has released a view of the proposed 2022 Sierra 1500 cabin, which indicates these are not the only changes to the instrument panel and cabin functionality. The published images indicate a fully digital instrument cluster with a prominent central display. In fact, it’s these images that have led many experts to believe that we’re looking at the possible interior of the Denali trim of the 2022 Sierra 1500, given the materials used and other features that can be seen from the limited shots.

Additionally, in the corner of the photo, some well-trained expert eyes have detected the power button and outer edge of an infotainment system. Compared to the current placement of these features, it seems apparent that the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 will receive significant updates to the infotainment system, as well. Further proof is offered by the changes to the center stack and placement of HVAC vents, which lead experts to believe the infotainment system, at least in the Denali trim, will be bigger and more tricked-out than ever.

What We Know So Far About the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali

The X31 badge is shown on the bed side of a wet, grey 2021 GMC Sierra.

Given its placement in the current generation of Sierra 1500s, the 2022 version should be due for what General Motors terms a “mid-cycle enhancement.” That means a full slew of updates, including exterior redesigns, new storage features, and of course, updated technology.
Adding Super Cruise with autonomous towing to the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali is a huge draw, but it won’t be enough on its own. Plus, as the changes in the instrument cluster and infotainment system indicate, one change begets a series of updates out of sheer necessity.

Many experts believe that adding autonomous towing via Super Cruise means that the overall towing capabilities of the Sierra 1500 will be updated, including an increase in towing and payload capacity and rear suspension. This could mean a change to the current powertrain options. Currently, drivers have the choices of a 4.3L EcoTec V6, a 2.7L I4, a 5.3L EcoTec V8, a 6.2L EcoTec V8, or a 3.0L Duramax turbo-diesel I6. Transmission options vary, from a 6-speed automatic to a 10-speed automatic that’s available on the more powerful engines with four-wheel drive. If the 2022 Sierra 1500 is going to tow and stow even more, does that mean the engines will be more powerful?

The GMC Sierra shares General Motors’ T1 platform with the Chevy Silverado 1500, which shares engineering basics with other large vehicles under the manufacturer, including the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Yukon and Yukon XL, and Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV. Perhaps the new power source comes from engineering changes to this platform or updated axle ratios. The experts are continuing to debate where the enhancements will occur but remain confident that drivers will be looking at a fresh new Sierra 1500 in the 2022 model year.

The Denali Reigns Supreme

While the facts surrounding the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 and its eye-catching Denali trim are just beginning to trickle in, what we do know is enough to ignite driver excitement. Given the changes that will occur due to the addition of Super Cruise and autonomous trailering, it seems like a full host of driver assistance and safety features will be added or enhanced, making the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali a truck to keep on everyone’s radar. If it is anything like GMC’s other vehicles, the Denali trim will reign supreme with the most advanced features and luxury options that will leave everyone happy.

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