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2019 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali crowned Canada’s Truck King

December 3, 2018 | By Mario Cywinski

The Canadian Truck King Challenge (CTKC) recently celebrated its 12th anniversary by crowning the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali its new champion.

The Sierra beat out five other challengers, marking the first time General Motors (GM) has won in the half-ton category. (GM won the title in the heavy-duty (HD) category in 2018 with the Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD.)

CTKC is unique in that trucks are test-driven empty, with payloads and with trailers, the way they would be used in the real world. Also, an off-road course is used to test each truck’s capabilities.

“Unlike typical road tests and reviews, this event provides the rare experience of evaluating each entry as a working truck, with a hefty payload and significant towing load,” says judge Clare Dear of Autofile.ca. “This year, the format helped reveal characteristics that might otherwise have gone unnoticed, such as the towing capabilities of Ford’s new 3-L diesel engine and the Ram’s unique load-levelling air suspension. For anyone considering the purchase of a new truck, the findings of the challenge are a must-see resource.”


All in all, the two days of testing allowed for more than 4,000 km of total seat time for five judges from the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), who scored each truck using 20 subjective categories.

OEMs that took part this year included GM with the Sierra 1500 Denali and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ, Ford with the F-150 Diesel Lariat, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) with the Ram 1500 Limited, Nissan with the Titan Pro-4X and Toyota with the Tundra TRD Pro. All were 4×4 models.

“The field of 2019 half-ton pickups was as competitive as ever this year, but the raw horsepower of GM’s 6.2-L V8 engine is hard to ignore,” says judge Stephen Elmer of The Fast Lane Truck. “In the end, the Sierra came out on top. The honours are well deserved for such a smooth-riding, comfortable, quiet pickup.”

Meanwhile, a third-party company, FleetCarma, used data recorders on each of the six vehicles to measure their fuel economy in real-world conditions. The winner in this category for 2019 was the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 with 6.2-L V-8.

That said, the judges explain the results overall were very close, as the differences between trucks become smaller and smaller.

“This had to be the most difficult Truck King Challenge ever,” says judge judge Éric Descarries of Auto 123. “I could not find a favourite at first glance. Each vehicle is really a modern piece of equipment.”

Mario Cywinski is editor of Machinery and Equipment MRO magazine, a member of AJAC and a judge for CTKC. He has more than 15 years’ automobile industry experience. He can be reached at mcywinski@mromagazine.com.   

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