A Budget Sleeper Truck That Packs Corvette Power Under The Hood



  • The 2014 GMC Sierra Denali is equipped with a powerful 6.2-liter V-8 engine that shares a platform with the Corvette LT1 engine, allowing for impressive performance and acceleration.
  • The Sierra Denali is a versatile and reliable pickup truck, with a towing capacity of up to 12,000 pounds and the ability to switch to a V-4 engine mode to save fuel and increase efficiency.
  • The 2014 Sierra Denali offers a solid package of amenities and perks, including a comfortable interior with modern conveniences, plenty of storage, and optional upgrades like a premium Bose sound system. It is an affordable option compared to newer performance pickups like the F-150 Raptor or Ram TRX.

The term sleeper is widely used, in the automotive world, to describe an unassuming vehicle hiding incredible performance potential. Think of that rusted bucket that has a Hemi V-8 or the town car with a supercharged engine. It takes you by surprise to see a seemingly docile machine explode with as many as 500 horses carrying it, often more!

The term can also be applied to the bigger classes such as SUVs and pickups -just think of the F-150 Sleeper by T&C Customs. And while the F-150 Sleeper is an aftermarket upgrade, there is a way to obtain sportscar-level power in a big, and well-equipped, pickup all from the factory. What if I told you that it is possible, and relatively cheap, to drive a pickup with a Corvette engine… Well, kind of.

GM’s constant tinkering with their small block design has built a family tree of engines that share much of the same design; one being the renowned LT1 V-8 found in the C7 Corvette as well as the fifth-gen Camaro. This particular generation had a cousin, the EcoTec3 L86 V-8, the very same V-8 that powered the GMC Sierra Denali, as well as a few other GMCs, from 2014 up until the 2019 model year. Built from the LT1 platform, the L86 6.2-liter allowed the brawny pickup to accelerate with sportscar-like ability. And luckily for buyers, it doesn’t carry the Corvette’s price tag.

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In order to give you the most up-to-date and accurate information possible, the data used to compile this article was sourced from various manufacturer websites and other authoritative sources, including GMC, GM Authority, Ford, KBB, and Cars.com.

2014 GMC Sierra’s Engine Shares Platform With C7 Corvette’s LT1

Though the 2014 Sierra Denali doesn’t have the exact LT1 found in the C7 Corvette, that doesn’t stop Sierra buffs from referring to the Denali’s 6.2-liter V-8 as the “Corvette engine”. They are from the same family of engines and share many specs, but the Corvette’s LT1 took a performance-first approach to the small block, whereas the Sierra took the working route. That said, the GMC Sierra definitely identifies as a true member of GM’s small-block performance heritage, boasting the stats to prove it.

2014 GMC Sierra Denali Performance


Ecotec 6.2-liter V-8 (L86)


420 HP


460 LB-FT


6-Speed automatic transmission


Front-engine, RWD/4WD


5.7-seconds / 5.4-seconds(Car And Driver test)

Top Speed

110 (gov. limit)

Max. Towing Capacity

12,000 LBS

Max. Payload Capacity

1,958 LBS

Curb Weight


(Source: GMC)

The 2014 GMC Sierra offered three solid engine options. Those being the base 285-horsepower 4.3-liter V-6, a middle-of-the-road 5.3-liter V-8 that produced a respectable 355 horses, and at the top of the tier list, as well as trim options, the Sierra Denali stowed a 6.2-liter L86 V-8 that produced 420-horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. The V-8 is noted for having quite a satisfying harmony of deep and assertive engine notes as well as being able to leave most would-be challengers in the dust if they’re not careful.

GM’s Small Block Excellence

The 2014 LT1 marked the most significant redesign of General Motor’s small block V-8 recipe in its nearly 60-year existence. Active fuel management, direct fuel injection, and variable valve timing resulted in a powerful and efficient variant, the EcoTec3 L86 6.2-liter V-8. The all-aluminum construction and classic push-rod configuration proved to be so impressive that it earned GM a 10 Best Engines Award from Ward for the power it produced as well as the fuel economy boasted by the models that utilized it.

The Sierra Denali’s Sturdy Composition And Hardworking Attitude

The Corvette-related engine isn’t the only thing holding up the Sierra, as its entire construction is one of reliability, hard work, and an added dose of excitement. That theory is on no better display than when the Sierra is hauling some tonnage. With variable tow modes and an impressive 12,000-pound max capacity, the V-8-equipped Sierra Denali is the jack of all trades. And if you thought it couldn’t get any more versatile, just wait until the V-8 turns into a V-4 to save fuel and increase economy.

Cylinder deactivation allows the pickup to use fewer cylinders while under smaller loads and during casual driving, saving fuel and allowing the GMC Sierra to clock impressive MPG for a 1500 series pickup. The 2014 GMC Sierra Denali received an EPA fuel economy of 17 highway and 21 combined MPG, which is a solid number, even for brand-new pickups. This can greatly contribute to the longevity of the tough L86 V-8 engine as well, making sure the Sierra is kicking around long after the hard work is done.

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The Small Block GM Engine Isn’t This Pickup’s Only Trick

2014 GMC Sierra Denali

Now, to be fair, most modern trucks pack the same, or better, features and functions as the 2014 Sierra. However, the 2014 GMC Sierra Denali won’t cost you “modern pickup” money. According to multiple sources, the 2014 Sierra Denali’s average price range is anywhere from $15,000 to just under $25,000 for the top-spec V-8 Denali.

This price isn’t universal, as there are instances where a fully loaded vehicle can cost double what was advertised. Still, if you’re in the market for a Sierra Denali with the 6.2-liter V-8, you can absolutely find one for a lot less than a 2024 Sierra, or even an older model performance pickup like the Gen-1 F-150 Raptor or Ram TRX. Better even, the Denali, even the 2014 model, features a comfortable package of amenities and perks. It is, after all, the top Sierra trim.

The Interior Features Modern Comforts And Plenty Of Storage

2014 GMC Sierra Denali

When you step into the 2014 Sierra, you’re greeted by a streamlined layout across the entire cabin that feels both inviting and trustworthy. Simple and easy-to-operate knobs and controls eliminate confusing components and accidental activations.

An 8.0-inch touchscreen crowns the center of the dash with dual-zone climate controls below. The straightforward center and infotainment setup is flanked by a semi-digital gauge cluster on the driver’s side, as well as some additional driver controls. The front passenger side features adjustable air vents and a dual split glove box.

Between the two front passengers rests the large center console. The deep, cavernous console is large enough to store enough snacks to feed a family of five on a road trip. With multiple outlets and charger cord jacks, the GMC Sierra Denali is prepared for just about any scenario. That includes towing, hauling, occasional off-roading, road trips, and straight-line shenanigans.

Used GMC Sierra Denali Climate

The interior can be as luxurious as your checkbook allows. Luckily, the Denali offers the best in its package as advertised. The leather-wrapped heated steering wheel is a neat perk, but the heated and ventilated seats are more on par with the modern amenity checklists.

Most 2014 Sierra Denali examples feature GPS and premium Bose sound system upgrades, as this was originally standard on all 2014 Denali models upon release. If you are hunting for a truck of this nature, there is a chance you’ll find a fully loaded 2014 Sierra Denali, as it’s had plenty of time to be popularized and affected by changing trends.

Many 2014 Sierra Denali models for sale right now not only boast a lower-than-most price tag, but they also feature extra amenities and perks, including an upgraded sound system, upgraded cosmetic elements, and added driver assist functions. To make the offer even sweeter, these perk-filled used examples harbor the 6.2-liter L86 V-8. It wouldn’t be unlikely to find a well-kept 2014 GMC Sierra Denali with the L86 V-8 and extra amenities for under $30,000.

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How The Muscular, Clean-Cut Sleeper Compares To Modern Performance

2014 GMC Sierra Denali

The brawny, square-jawed Sierra doesn’t check every box for being a certified “sleeper” on account of its obvious dominant nature. However, for a big boy such as a GMC Sierra to move around as fast and easily as it can, well, that certainly warrants a second look. Once you delve into its capabilities, including performance, towing/hauling, comforts, and price, it’s hard not to place it on a short list of compelling options, as it’s simply a solid package.

Modern Performance Pickup Prices (Latest Model Years)

F-150 Raptor

$72,350 – $109,000

F-150 Tremor

$40,000 – $43,350

Ram 1500 TRX

$98,335 – 119,620

Toyota Tundra TRD

$40,000 – $43,000

(Source: Ford, RAM, Toyota)

Modern pickups that could even compare to the ability of the 2014 Sierra Denali carry a considerably higher price tag than the 2014 Sierra Denali. Options include the F-150 Raptor, F-150 Tremor, Ram 1500 TRX, and Toyota Tundra TRD, all of which will cost more than the 2014 V-8 Sierra Denali, and that’s before dealer mark-ups and additional features.

This isn’t to say those aforementioned models aren’t worth a second look. There is no doubt more of a power difference between the Ram 1500 TRX and the 2014 Sierra Denali, but as far as budget-friendly options go, there aren’t many that will satisfy the wallet quite like this composed and muscular model will. Plus, as far as sleepers go, the Ram 1500 TRX isn’t sneaking up on anyone any time soon.

Hardworking Nature Is Built To Last, Though A Good Warranty Helps

There are plenty of sellers, both in-person and online, that offer quality extended warranties on 2014 GMC Sierras of varying quality, including GM’s very own certified pre-owned warranty for qualifying models. Not every model will be the golden goose of pickup trucks, but the current market for the 2014 Sierra Denali offers options with enough variation to get a good idea of what the Sierra Denali could be. Some may even feature aftermarket upgrades, both cosmetic and function-wise, that put them at a level above the factory models.

An important note to those looking into purchasing a used pickup, always do your own due diligence in terms of vehicle history. For every good example on the market, there are as many bad examples. This can include false car history and/or unmentioned damage/repairs. These errors could mean the difference between avoiding accidents and injury, so always be sure you do business with trusted and accredited institutions.


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