Big and bold with a touch of American opulence thrown in for good measure, the 2018 GMC Yukon Denali is one of the last of its kind. This is a big machine that rides on a 116.00-inch wheelbase and has the capacity to tow up to 8,400 pounds. It also pumps out 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque from its 6.2-liter V8 and it’ll rip to 60 mph in just 5.5-seconds. Many might think such a vehicle is a dinosaur. Yet where most dinosaurs have gone the way of the dodo bird, the Denali simply pushes through time with the force of an NFL linebacker with no plans of ever slowing down.
For the full 2018 GMC Yukon Denali review, specs, pricing and data read on…
2018 GMC Yukon Denali Exterior
The Denali is one of the most recognizable SUVs on the road and over time, has become an automotive icon. The GMC Yukon Denali and its Chevrolet Tahoe sibling are used by everyone from government agencies to cool soccer Moms that know what’s up. From a styling perspective not much has changed since a redesign occurred back in 2015. Still very much a truck, the GMC Yukon is one of the last body-on-frame SUVs sold and employs bodylines that are just at home on Rodeo Drive as they would be tackling your favorite off-road trail.
For 2018 the Denali features a beautifully sculpted grille along with nicely integrated chrome details. The grille itself is the size of a barn door, but works with the ultra-high beltline. The projector beam headlamps with outlying LED running lights extend nicely into the front fenders, while the lower front fascia houses chrome-trimmed and recessed driving lamps. Large 22-inch ultra-bright aluminum wheels and power running boards come as part of the Denali Ultimate Package (a $7,390.00 option), and while they may seem a excessive at first, take note that they work perfectly for a vehicle with such large proportions. The chrome trim also helps make the Denali feel less slab-sided and fools the eye into thinking it’s a bit smaller than it actually is. The rear of the Denali is quite simplistic with a large rear tailgate that can be opened with the touch of a button or accessed via the rear window. A rear trailer-tow hitch is also hidden beneath a body-color concealer panel.
2018 GMC Yukon Denali Interior
To design a competent and luxurious interior one needs to combine the rugged feel of a truck with the luxury elements of a refined automobile. This is not an easy task, especially on a vehicle with a base price of $69,165.* But by going with softly painted plastics, wood, soft-touch surfaces and double-stitched leather, the cabin of the 2018 Yukon Denali feels comfortable from the moment you open the door. Features like adaptive cruise control, an easy to read cluster that utilizes both analog and digital gauges, and navigation with an 8-inch color touchscreen mean that as a driver, one is never searching for information. There are also heated and ventilated power seats and a rear entertainment system that’s worthy of ones living room. The ten-speaker Bose audio system and tri-zone active climate controls help to keep occupants happy as well.
Power outlets, charging ports and cup holders are available for as many people as you can squeeze into the cabin (that would be seven) and outward visibility is also fantastic, thanks to large rearview mirrors and a greenhouse-like interior. The cabin is also quiet at speed, with little in the way of wind or road noise. Cargo volumes range from 15.3 cubic-feet of space, to a whopping 94.7 cubic-feet with the seats folded flat.
2018 GMC Yukon Denali Performance
Under the hood is a 6.2-liter V8 EcoTec3 that produces 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque through a new ten-speed automatic transmission. Shifts are seamless and smooth, and thanks to a long wheelbase and a curb weight of just under 5,500-pounds the Denali floats over road imperfections with ease. It’s very quick for a vehicle of its size, with 60 mph coming up in just 5.5 seconds. It will also blitz the quarter mile in a time of just 14.4 seconds, which means that the Denali is just as quick as many of the big block muscle cars of yesteryear. While the mass of the Yukon Denali becomes apparent when the road gets twisty, but this vehicle was not designed to be a canyon carver. By incorporating GMs magnetic ride controlled suspension, however, the Yukon is far more composed than you’d ever think a vehicle of this size could be. Mileage is EPA rated at 14-mpg city, 22 mpg highway and 14 mpg** in combined driving.
Our particular test unit was equipped with adaptive cruise control, which is one of the vehicles best features. Just set your speed and distance and let the computers do the rest. Not only did the system work flawlessly, but I was able to obtain the best fuel economy when traveling with it active. Braking performance was on par with other vehicles of this size and weight, which meant performance was decent at best. For those looking for enhanced braking performance, a six-piston Brembo caliper on massive 16.1-inch front rotors is offered, something to consider if utilizing the Yukon’s 8,400-pound towing capacity. Lastly, the 4×4 system can also be adjusted manually between 2wd, Auto, and full-time mode.
2018 GMC Yukon Denali Safety
GMC understands that safety is paramount and as such has equipped the Denali with a variety of features to ensure a safe journey, including features like available lane keep assist, forward collision Alert, intelligent brake Assist, front and rear park assist, a rear vision camera, rear cross traffic alert, and anti-lock brakes. Of course, airbags can be found throughout the cabin.
Head on over to GMC.com to find out more information about the safety features of the 2018 GMC Yukon Denali.
2018 GMC Yukon Denali Overall
With commanding styling and one of the best engines currently available, the 2018 GMC Yukon Denali provides all the power and utility most people will ever need. It’s also well built, reliable and believe it or not, quite fun to drive. Thus, if you’re in the market for a full-size SUV that offers American styling and a proven pedigree, the 2018 GMC Yukon Denali is definitely worth a look.
Drop by your local AutoNation GMC dealer today to check one out!
*Fuel economy values (mpg) are EPA estimates. Actual mileage will vary and depends on several factors including driving habits and vehicle condition.
**Vehicle MSRP of $77,785.00 excludes taxes, title, transportation, options, and dealer fees.