A powerful, yet overpriced package by the aftermarket manufacturer that has skyrocketed the price of the GMC Sierra 1500

There’s no denying that the auto industry is witnessing a paradigm shift. Sedans are dying, EVs are taking over, etc. While this shakedown has affected almost all the segments, trucks have been left unaffected. Their sales are growing every year, and this has given a strong niche for after-market companies to capitalize on. One of them is Callaway, a company that rebuilds these trucks in Connecticut and California. Callaway has been building vehicles for brands like Mazda, Aston Martin, and GM, to name a few. One of the company’s creations has been the GMC Sierra. Callaway has worked on the GMC Sierra 1500 to make it an interesting truck. Are the changes merely cosmetic?

Exterior

  • Huge chrome grille upfront
  • C-shaped LED DRLs
  • Front parking sensors
  • The fantastic MultiPro Tailgate
  • Callaway SC480/SC560 badges
  • No telescopic mirrors
2019 GMC Sierra by Callaway
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Callaway has based this truck on the Denali trim. Unlike its competitors, especially the Hennessey, Callaway does not have the Black obsession. It has retained the factory colors and most of the other things as well. Upfront, there is a huge chrome grille with the three horizontal, rectangular boxes that come with waffle-like design within, and a thick chrome border. Personally, I detest chrome grilles, especially when overdone. The center is slapped with the GMC logo, while the Callaway variant badge is placed at the right side bottom. The smaller engine truck comes with the SC480 badge, while the bigger one comes with the SC560 badge. Since this is a limited number production truck, the aftermarket manufacturer has installed Callaway build plaque with Vehicle Identification Number under the hood.

The headlights surround the chrome grille and come with C-shaped LED Daytime Running Lights.

Fog lamps are placed above the bumper and are surrounded with chrome. The design, however, blends well with the overall shape of the face, and that gives the Sierra a very clean look. Since it’s based on the top-of-the-line trim, it features parking sensors on the bumper. The lower part of the bumper comes with the two tow hooks and three horizontal slats surrounded with a chrome border. Why, GMC, why? I guess have the curb weight of the truck is because of chrome. And, even Callaway has left it as it is.

2019 GMC Sierra by Callaway
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The side profile also remains intact. It is quite simple in terms of shape and design. The square wheel arches house the 20-inch wheels. Engine spec badge is placed on the fender, and the ’Denali’ sticker on the front door is replaced a ’Callaway’ sticker. The window sill and door handles are finished in chrome to break the monotony of the plain-Jane side profile. A black plastic runs all across the side board, even on the wheel arches. GMC does not offer telescopic wing mirrors like the Ford trucks; even on the Denali trim. Telescopic mirrors are the ones that can be stretched out to get a clearer view of all the action behind. It is immensely helpful when you have trailer, or a camper hitched to the truck. Hope GMC starts offering this soon.

My favorite angle to view the truck is from the back. It is easily one of the best derrieres in the segment.

The bumper features a big step placed in the middle and one each on either corner.

These are placed at the right angles, thus making ingress and egress a lot more easier. The vertically stacked taillights, just like the front, features thin C-shaped LED strips. The Callaway Sierra features integrated dual exhaust. The tailgate looks sculpted with cut lines and creases. No, this is not just the design. They are present because the Sierra Denali features the company’s trademark MultiPro tailgate.

2019 GMC Sierra by Callaway
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This six-mode tailgate can be used as a standing desk or can be folded down to create a step into the bed. It is basically two tailgates - inception of sorts - wherein a fold-out stopper can be deployed from the inner tailgate. It can be operated at a push of a button or the key fob.

The MultiPro tailgate can support up to 375 pounds and has two buttons for operation.

This rivals the Ram’s Multifunction tailgate, but we’ll not be talking about it here and digressing from the topic. GMC will also be lending its MultiPro tailgate to the upcoming Chevy Silverado. With everything said, Callaway did not do much to the truck in terms of aesthetics. Only the Callaway stickers and SC480/SC560 badges make the difference. This is very much, unlike the aftermarket manufacturers. Even the branding is quite subtle.

Interior

  • Callaway-branded floor mats and door sills
  • Limited edition build plaque
  • 15-inch Head-up Display
  • Leather seats
  • Best-in-class Legroom and Headroom
  • Touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
  • Optional 15-Camera Setup
2019 GMC Sierra Denali Interior
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Just like the exterior, Callaway has not made many changes inside the cabin as well. That said, the GMC Sierra Denali’s cabin is as rich as it can get. Automakers have upped the ante to an extent where even the most luxurious sedans in the same price range don’t stand a chance. Perhaps, it’s because trucks are much more than just cargo haulers today.

The Denali cabin is filled with goodies and reeks of quality all around.

It has the best-in-class front headroom and legroom in the Crew Cab models. Seats are wrapped in hide, and the cabin is finished in dark aluminum decor. The fact that more than half the models of Sierra that GMC sells are Denali is why Callaway chose to work on this trim even if that meant the price soaring higher a Ruppell’s Vulture!

2019 GMC Sierra Denali Interior
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The truck also comes with smart storage designs inside the cabin. The automaker has equipped an iN∙Command control system that provides the ability to monitor and control select functions of equipped trailers through the myGMC mobile app. For instance, if you have a camper hitched to your truck, you can use the app to turn on the air-conditioner, or the water heater, or check the water level, check the generator’s fuel level, etc.

Another app called "Trailering" helps owners verify the trailer’s tire pressure, whether the lights work, and access a pre-departure checklist.

A 15-camera setup is optional, which I’m sure, would help you even if you are getting your truck through Callaway. This setup is helpful for people who tend to hitch their rides often. How it works is that the setup lets the driver see right through a trailer by stitching together a footage from a camera mounted on the tailgate and a footage from an accessory camera that needs to be installed on the back of the trailer. This helps navigating the truck in parking lots, merging into traffic, and making tight turns a breeze.

2019 GMC Sierra Denali Interior
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Callaway obviously couldn’t have added much to this, but it still included exclusive Callaway-branded floor mats, door sills, interior badging, Callaway key fobs, and an authenticity documentation package. Apart from this, the Sierra comes with features such as:

  • Infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay Compatibility
  • 15-inch-diagonal head-up display
  • Park Grade Hold Assist
  • Auto Electric Park Brake
  • Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control
  • Trailer Sway Control

Drivetrain

  • 5.3-liter, V-8 engine
  • 480 Horsepower
  • 477 Pound-feet of torque
  • 6.2-liter, V-8 engine
  • 560 Horsepower
  • 553 Pound-feet of torque
  • Callaway GenThree Supercharger System
  • TripleCooled Intercooler System
  • Towing capacity up to 12,500 pounds
  • Payload capacity up to 2,030 pounds
2019 GMC Sierra by Callaway
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This is the department where Callaway has made the difference.

The standard GMC Sierra 1500 Denali trim is offered with a choice of two engine options.

The first is a 5.3-liter, V-8 engine that churns out 355 ponies and 383 pound-feet of twist Power is sent to the wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The other one is a bigger 6.2-liter, V-8 mill that produces 420 horses and 460 pound-feet of torque. This engine is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. The highlight of the Callaway rebuild is the twin-Vortex supercharger that Callaway likes to call the ’GenThree Supercharger System,’ and a huge cold air charger intake system that bumps up the power significantly. Being a supercharger, Callaway has installed an intercooler system for it to keep it cool when the engine is put to test.

The smaller engine is pumped up to produce 480 horses and 477 pound-feet of torque, whereas the bigger 6.2-liter mill now churns out 560 horses and 553 pound-feet of torque. That’s nearly a 25-percent increase in power in each of the engines. As for the drive configurations, both these engines can be paired to either a two-wheel or four-wheel drive setup. Callaway has also installed its Low Restriction Exhaust System I’m curious to know what the figures would have been like if the truck was equipped with the 6.6-liter engine that makes 445 horses and a massive 910 pound-feet of torque. Can you answer that, Callaway?

2019 GMC Sierra by Callaway
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In the stock form, the Denali trim features an exclusive Adaptive Ride Control that helps keep the suspension composed over all types of pavement. It also monitors the road and adjusts the damping rates within milliseconds, so even rough roads don’t feel very bad. To improve the ride and handling even more, the truck comes with four different drive modes - Tour, Sport, Off-Road and Tow/Haul - and additional modes called Snow and Terrain, depending on your configuration. Despite all these shenanigans, the ride is nowhere as smooth and refined as the competition. However, the steering is responsive in general, so the ride with extra power is only going to feel better.

Do you want to know the fuel economy? Callaway has released the official figures, but even the standard GMC Sierra Denali is a fuel guzzler.

The smaller engine deliver 19 miles per gallon, whereas the 6.2-liter mill consumer a gallon for every 17 miles.

So, you can expect the SC480 and SC560 to be even more thirsty. Speaking of the towing and payload capacities, there are no changes when compared to the standard GMC Sierra 1500. It can tow up to 12,500 pounds and comes with a payload rating of 2,030 pounds.

GMC Sierra Denali - standard vs tuned versions
GMC Sierra Denali GMC Sierra Denali GMC Sierra Denali by Callaway GMC Sierra Denali by Callaway
Engine 5.3L V-8 VVT DI with Dynamic Fuel Management and Stop/Start 6.2L V-8 VVT DI with Dynamic Fuel Management and Stop/Start 5.3-Liter, V-8 6.2-Liter, V-8
Horsepower 355 / 265 @ 5600 (SAE certified) 420 / 313 @ 5600 (SAE certified) 480 HP 560 HP
Torque 383 / 519 @ 4100 (SAE certified) 460 / 623 @ 4100 (SAE certified) 477 LB-FT 553 LB-FT

Pricing

2019 GMC Sierra by Callaway
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The Callaway package will make you lighter by $17,000 - $28,000 depending on the engine you choose. This is over and above the cost of the Denali trim Sierra, which starts at $54,500. So, you should see yourself spending around $80,000 for a Callaway Sierra 1500. This also includes the 3 year/36,000 mile warranty.

Final Thoughts

2019 GMC Sierra by Callaway
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The Callaway Sierra 1500 is simply overpriced, not worth the money. If you want exclusivity, this is a good choice. But if you are looking at what you’re getting for $80,000, there are better options out there. And, by better, I mean from the carmakers directly. Look into the Heavy Duty and Super Duty models from GMC, Chevy, Ram, and Ford that give you a better bang for the buck. The Callaway Sierra relies more on the Denali trim features, and that is its selling point more than its own engine specs. So, unless you’re a hardcore Sierra fan looking for a power upgrade, it would make sense to look elsewhere.

  • Leave it
    • The outrageous, exorbitant price
    • Why hasn’t Callaway worked on the exterior to make it more exclusive?
    • Better options from aftermarket manufacturers like Hennessey and Tuscany

Further reading

2019 GMC Sierra Denali Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 GMC Sierra Denali.

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