What Does Denali Stand for From the GMC Brand?

The Denali trim is usually one of the most luxurious trim levels for any GMC vehicle. These cars feature the latest GM technology, the best interiors, and upgraded seating materials. But what does Denali actually mean?

A GMC Acadia Denali SUV's interior.
2023 GMC Acadia Denali | GMC

The history of the Denali trim

According to The News Wheel, the Denali trim made its debut on the Yukon SUV for the 1999 model year. It was equipped with heated seats for the first two rows clad in leather upholstery, as well as a Bose stereo system and new wheels. 

Now Denali trims are available for almost all of GMC’s current lineup, with the exception of the Savana work van. You can tell a Denali apart from the rest of the trims thanks to its trademark honeycomb grille.

Here’s where the name Denali comes from

Autotrader tells us that GMC got this name from an Alaskan mountain. It’s the highest peak in North America, surrounded by the Denali National Park and Preserve. This park spans 6 million acres, attracting over 6 million visitors each year to enjoy outdoor activities and the local wildlife. 

What GMC Denali cars are available for 2022 and 2023?

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What’s New With the 2023 GMC SUV Lineup?

On the GMC website, we can see the Sierra 1500 Denali pickup comes standard with an upgraded 355-hp V8 engine. It also features a continuously damping suspension with adaptive ride control, riding on 20-in aluminum wheels. Luxurious standard features include a Bose stereo, ventilated front seats, and a convenient wireless charging pad.

This trim also features a bed-view camera and Super Cruise compatibility (when the feature is rolled out). The Denali Ultimate version, new for the 2022 model year, includes a head-up display and standard 4WD. 

Both the 2500 and 3500 heavy-duty models also have standard 4WD, plus a 401-hp engine. While most features carry over from the Sierra 1500 Denali, others will cost extra. 

Every Denali trim also features leather seats, brushed aluminum trim, and open-pore wood accents. That applies to both the pickup trucks and GMC’s current lineup of SUVs.

The GMC Terrain Denali is a small SUV featuring a 175-hp turbo-four engine with standard AWD. Heating for both rows of leather seats is standard, but only the cabin seats get ventilation. This fully-loaded model also comes with navigation and every available safety feature, plus 19-in wheels.

The GMC Acadia Denali can fit one extra passenger and both rows feature standard heating. This model also comes with a standard hands-free liftgate, wireless charging, and a head-up display.

The Acadia Denali also has the most powerful engine, a V6 with 310 hp and 271 lb-ft of torque. However, unlike other Denali models, you still have to pay extra for certain tech features and AWD. 

The GMC Yukon Denali has a standard 14-speaker Bose audio system, magnetic ride control, and a surround-view camera system. It also has a power-sliding center console with several built-in USB ports. There’s a Yukon XL Denali (plus an Ultimate version) available that provides nearly 145 cu-ft of storage capacity.

The GMC Canyon Denali has a comfy crew cab with heated and ventilated front seats. It also features a lot of the technology present in other Denali trims. The cargo box is enhanced with side steps, LED lighting, and a protective spray-on bed liner.

GMC recently unveiled the GMC Sierra EV Denali Edition 1. It features GMC’s latest quilted seating upholstery, chrome finishes, and rich bass wood adorning the dashboard. It also has a panoramic glass roof and an optional adaptive suspension.

Standard technology includes a three-year trial of Super Cruise and a massive 16.8-inch center touchscreen. With more EVs on the way, it’s likely that GMC Denali trims will continue to become more extravagant.