2019 GMC Sierra pickup comes with industry-first 15-inch head-up display in the windshield. Photo: GM

I spent a week in the 2019 GMC Sierra Denali pickup truck, one of three finalists in the truck category for the North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year (NACTOY) awards.

The big picture: There's an escalating race as pickups get more luxurious and more high-tech — and more expensive. The Sierra Denali Ultimate I drove had all the bells and whistles along with a $68,235 price tag.

What's new: The most innovative feature on the Sierra might be its Swiss Army-knife split-folding tailgate that can serve as a temporary bed extender, a stand for your laptop or a step up to the cargo bed.

My favorite feature — and arguably the most important one — is the huge, 15-inch color head-up display that projects whatever data you choose on the windshield. By keeping your eyes up on the road ahead, it helps reduce distracted driving.

  • The rear-view mirror can be converted to a camera screen allowing a wider, less-obstructed field of view.
  • Standard features provide front and rear parking assistance along with alerts for lane changes, blind zones and crossing rear traffic.
  • An array of safety options can be added, including forward collision warning, lane-keeping assistance, low-speed automatic braking and a system that brakes if it detects a pedestrian.

The bottom line: Active safety features are even more important in a pickup truck, where visibility can be difficult, and Sierra buyers should appreciate how much this truck can do to keep them safe.

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