“Well, hell’s bells,” let me mutter.
My longed-for time in the SRT Hellcat version of the Dodge Charger in reality lasted five hours. The ‘Cat is the beast with a 707-horsepower, 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V-8 engine and 8-speed transmission.
I walked from my garden one afternoon last week to welcome the Hellcat into my driveway. That evening, four of us were aboard when I drove away from a small-town restaurant for a short run of the powerfully built Dodge. Along the way, prompted by the Charger’s driver info center, we detected an oil leak. The big four-door was quickly parked, Chrysler execs soon reclaimed possession and it is in Detroit getting a once-over and retuning.
It will be back; I’ll drive it again, and I look forward to it. What a potentially awesome sedan.
In the meantime, let’s talk of my week with the 2015 GMC Sierra Denali 1500 Crew Cab.
Setting the review model apart from the already likeable Sierra pickup were the dazzling and cushy Denali trim and a $2,500 package adding the 6.2-liter V-8 power and an 8-speed automatic transmission. The engine/tranny option is a step above in performance and smoothness over the standard 5.3 V-8 and 6-speed automatic.
A new magnetic ride control suspension adds increased containment of body motion by instantly changing damping to meet the demands of the roadway.
With Jan along, I got to test the four-wheel-drive capability when we drove the Sierra into Big Thompson Canyon, west of Loveland, during a mid-April snowstorm. The switch of grip controls – from two-wheel to automatic all-wheel to four-wheel-high to four-low is as simple as turning a dial at the extreme left side of the dashboard.
GMC’s Denali, named for the vast national park in Alaska, offers bright chrome honeycomb grille, easy-lift and lower tailgate, heated and cooled front bucket leather seating, wood trim, Bose surround sound and navigation with Bluetooth/USB and rearview camera. Big, roomy bins are a highlight in the front center console. The ease of entering and exiting the four doors of the Sierra are aided by 6-inch-wide step rails. Rear bumper cornersteps lend access to the pickup box.
Horsepower for the 6.2 engine is 420, with 460 lb.-ft. of torque. The 8-speed smooths shift points and the driver gains more direct control with use of paddle shifters at the steering wheel. Overall fuel mileage for my drives was 17.7 miles per gallon; EPA estimate is 15/21.
Options not aforementioned in the $57,820 sticker price were power sunroof, trailer brake controller, lane-departure warning, forward-collision alert and safety-alert seat. Some other standard equipment features were spray-on bedliner, power sliding rear window, remote vehicle start, power-adjustable pedals, heated steering wheel and dual-zone climate control.
Here are the specifications for the 2015 GMC Sierra Denali 1500 Crew Cab:
- Capacity 5-passenger pickup
- Wheelbase 143.5 inches
- Length 229.5 inches
- Width 80 inches
- Height 74 inches
- Curb Weight 5,750 pounds
- Track 68.7 inches front, 67.6 rear
- Ground Clearance 8.9 inches
- Turn Circle 47.2 feet
- Drivetrain Four-wheel-drive
- Engine 6.2-liter V-8
- Horsepower/Torque 420/460
- Transmission 8-speed automatic
- Steering electric power rack-and-pinion
- Suspension Magnetic ride control
- Fuel mileage estimate 15/21
- Fuel mileage average 17.7
- Fuel Tank 26 gallons, premium recommended (not required)
- Wheels 20-inch
- Tires Goodyear Wrangler LT 265/60R20
- Cargo Volume 5-foot-8 bed
- Warranty 3years/36,000 miles basic, 5/100,000 powertrain
Competitors Ford F-150 King Ranch, Ram 1500 Laramie Limited
Assembly Plant Silao, Mexico
Parts Content U.S./Canadian 45%, Mexico 52%
Base Price of Lowest Model $41,115; Base Price of Review Model $52,155; Destination Charge $1,195; Sticker Price $57,820.