Highlight: The Yukon Denali is packaged with a standard in-vehicle wireless charging system for one’s cell phone.
Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $78,725 (base model $64,520)
Seating Capacity: 8
Standard Safety Features: air bags; Daytime Running Lights; HID projector headlamps; power adjustable heated folding outside mirrors; parking assist (front and rear);rear wiper; 17-inch spare tire; ABS; brakes hill-start assist system; a traction control system; a rain sensing front wiper system; a trailer sway control system; OnStar Concierge/Safety system; a forward collision braking system; a side blind zone alert system; a lane departure warning system; a rear traffic cross alert system; a safety alert seat system; assist exit/entry handles for all seats; and a tire pressure monitoring system
Standard Equipment: 20-inch wheels; an 8-speed automatic transmission; a rear wheel drive system; power liftgate; a luggage rack with side rails; a trailer brake controller; an 8-inch infotainment screen; a navigation system; a push-button keyless starter system; a magnetic ride control system; a tri-zone automatic climate control system; a heated steering wheel; a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel; leather seats; heated/ventilated front buckets; heated second row seats; memory setting for driver’s seat, outside mirrors, steering column and pedals; second-row power folding seats; a wireless charging system; and a remote vehicle start system
Optional Features On Test Vehicle: a Denali Premium Package, which includes a head-up windshield display system, power retractable running boards, and a radar-activated cruise control system; an open road package, which includes a power sunroof and a rear seat entertainment system; 22-inch wheels; a theft deterrent system which includes a self-powered horn, a vehicle inclination sensor and interior vehicle movement sensors
Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 10-speaker AM/FM/HD with satellite radio
Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes
iPod connectivity/USB Port: Yes
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 100,000 miles
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 6.2-liter, 8-cylinder/420-hp
Recommended Fuel: Premium
Standard Fuel Mileage:
Towing Capacity: 8,300 lbs
What’s New: The 2015 Yukon Denali, which is luxury version of the Yukon, wears an all-new edgy exterior, offers a refined ride and includes numerous premium comfort (and high-tech) features.
Pros: The GMC Yukon Denali, which is the premium version of the Yukon, is available in a rear-wheel drive or a four- wheel drive configuration in either a short-wheel base or a long-wheel base model. The spacious people-cargo mover has been restyled for the 2015 model year. The Yukon Denali offers a number of new features, one being the fold flat second-row and third-row row seats which increases cargo carrying capabilities.
In addition to a flexible interior, the premium class Yukon offers a number of must-have creature comfort features. The Yukon Denali takes a page from its little sibling, the Acadia, offering a power rear liftgate with multiple programmable height settings – making the large SUV garage-friendly. Also a heads up system is available, multiple USB ports, a conversation mirror for the driver to connect with both the second-row and third-row passengers and a user friendly 8-inch infotainment screen.
Moreover, the all-new Yukon Denali is flanked by a front center console that can store an iPad, a laptop or hanging files. Oh yes, an the infotainment system has a hidden remote storage door to store one’s smartphone, while it’s charging. This mobile office on wheels can also be equipped with GM’s the optional in-car hotspot system. The 2015 Yukon Denali also replaces its hard plastic instrument panel, with a soft-touch, hand-stitched instrument panel, console and door panels.
Lastly, the new Yukon Denali can be optioned out with a number of autonomous driving features to power this vehicle. Some of those features include a side blind zone alert, a lane change alert system, a rear cross traffic alert system, a forward collision alert system, a lane departure warning system, a radar-activated cruise control system and a crash imminent braking system.
Cons: The mammoth fullsize SUV is not the most politically-correct to drive. Conversely, in light of the record-low gas prices, large trucks and SUVs have hit a sweet spot with American car buyers, again. And with this being a premium-class SUV, GM should add more comfort and back support to the driver’s seat. It’s just too firm for our taste. GM’s seat engineers should consider benchmarking the Lincoln Navigator, as it relates to seat comfort.
Lastly, GMC also runs the risk of buyers who want an upscale luxury SUV could opt for the iconic Cadillac Escalade, since pricing slightly bumps up against the Yukon Denali.
Verdict: While we’ve been smitten the Yukon Denali since its arrival in the late nineties, the 2015 model is leap years over the model it replaced. This is the best one to date as it relates to premium features, fit-and-finish, high-tech features, towing capabilities and drivability. For those buyers, who are not quite ready for the prestige that is associated with the Escalade, this is the perfect alternative. The Yukon Denali is definitely a worth contender in the fullsize luxury SUV segment.
Competition: Cadillac Escalade; Infiniti QX80; Lexus GX 460; and Lincoln Navigator