GM’s 2018 Yukon Denali Raises the Bar Yet Again
By Isaac Bouchard
Generals Motors has basically owned the fullsize SUV class for over a decade with varied versions of its big rigs. But fresh competition has urged them to update, and in Yukon Denali form this behemoth is still very compelling. 6.2-liters of V8 muscle makes for refined and musical progress. Its 420 horses and 460lb-ft of torque are channeled through a new 10-speed automatic, meaning it no longer hunts for the right gear and gets better economy. In theory, the all-new Ford Expedition, with its twin-turbo V6, might get better EPA ratings, but in the real world the GMC has all the grunt needed to rip right over the Continental Divide and tow up to 8,400lbs without plummeting to the 5-6mpg the Ford’s engine does when running full boost.
Where the Expedition beats it though is in roominess, since it uses an independent rear suspension. The Denali’s live axle limits cargo room and rear seat comfort, and the Ford also deals with some bumps better. But in general the GMC rides very nicely—credit its magnetic ride control damping (which GM’s Delphi division invented)—and is extremely refined and quiet. It also handles well for something that weights almost three tons and has accurate steering, making it easier to place. Inside, the Denali has slightly better quality materials; its infotainment interface is about industry average. Where it is a bit off the pace is in its semi-autonomous systems. For instance, the adaptive cruise control cannot slow down to a stop and start again in rush hour traffic. By and large, though, GMC has done a terrific job keeping this money-minting machine bang up to date.
EPA ratings: 14/22mpg; 17mpg combined
Price as tested: $77,785
Here is what GMC has to say.
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