It's like driving a Cadillac Escalade but without the paparazzi.
GMC’s Yukon – and particularly the upscale Denali – holds a curious place in the General Motors body-on-frame sport utility lineup. Technically it’s positioned midway between the family-grade Chevrolet Tahoe and the Hollywood-spec Cadillac Escalade, but add just a few optional items and the Denali enters Escalade pricing territory. Perhaps that’s why GMC will be spiffing up the 2018 model with a new grille, interior trim, and a new Hydra-Matic 10-speed automatic.
"The new grille, which is flanked by HID headlamps and LED Signature Lighting, advances the design legacy established with the very first Yukon Denali in 1999," said GMC Global Exterior Design Director Matt Noone. "It’s a more exciting and sophisticated design, while remaining instantly recognizable as part of the GMC Denali family."
GMC says the new grille is an evolution of the Denali’s existing design, featuring a multidimensional, layered arrangement similar to what’s found on the manufacturer’s other SUV / crossover offerings, the Acadia and Terrain. The fresh design also delivers better airflow to the radiator, and features active aero shutters that can close to improve aerodynamics at speed.
Inside, the Yukon Denali will receive new Mastique Ash wood trim to better fit its high-end luxury price point. More importantly, the automatic transmission will receive two extra gears over the standard Yukon’s box. GMC says the new 10-speed automatic delivers a wider 7.39 overall gear ratio spread to improve efficiency, which could certainly benefit the big hauler. The current Yukon Denali features a 6.2-liter V8 making 420 horsepower, which in four-wheel drive trim manages 15 miles per gallon in the city and 20 on the highway.
The refreshed 2018 GMC Yukon Denali will hit dealerships this fall.
Gallery: 2018 GMC Yukon Denali
2018 GMC Yukon Denali Elevates Style, Refinement
The ultimate expression of Professional Grade gets bold refresh on GMC Yukon models
DETROIT – GMC is elevating the 2018 Yukon Denali lineup with styling and trim enhancements,
as well as a new, advanced 10-speed automatic transmission.
A new, sculpted grille design distinguishes the Yukon Denali, while new Mastique Ash real wood
trim adds depth and richness to the interior.
The new Hydra-Matic 10-speed transmission — paired with Yukon Denali’s 6.2L V-8 engine —
enhances refinement with world-class shift smoothness and quietness response.
“Yukon Denali has always matched style with substance, and the enhancements for 2018
advance that legacy,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Global GMC. “The foundational
elements of exclusive design, premium touches and uncompromising capability have made
Yukon Denali an icon for nearly 20 years.”
Multi-Dimensional Grille Design
GMC designers evolved the iconic Denali grille with a multidimensional, sculpted interpretation
that, like other contemporary GMC elements, was designed in a layered manner. It’s a theme
seen in other new GMC models such as the Acadia and Terrain.
“The new grille, which is flanked by HID headlamps and LED Signature Lighting, advances the
design legacy established with the very first Yukon Denali in 1999,” said Matt Noone, director,
Global GMC Exterior Design. “It’s a more exciting and sophisticated design, while remaining
instantly recognizable as part of the GMC Denali family.”
In addition to a more sophisticated appearance, the new grille offers greater airflow to the
radiator. Active aero shutters behind the grille close in certain conditions on the highway to
reduce aerodynamic drag and enhance efficiency.
10 Speeds, Refined Performance
The Yukon Denali’s new 10-speed automatic leverages the engineering experience of General
Motors’ multispeed transmissions to deliver improved performance.
A wider, 7.39 overall gear ratio spread, compared to the Yukon Denali’s previous eight-speed
automatic, enables a lower numerical top gear ratio and contributes to greater efficiency.
The transmission’s optimized gearing and proprietary controls allow the 6.2L V-8 engine to
deliver a winning combination smooth operation and aggressive response.
Standard and available features include:
- 420-hp 6.2L V-8 engine with direct injection and Active Fuel Management
- StabiliTrak electronic stability control, tow/haul mode, trailer sway control, auto grade
braking and hill start assist
- Magnetic Ride Control for improved body motion control
- Standard 20-inch wheels and available 22-inch wheels
- Automatic locking rear differential
- Four-wheel-disc brakes with Duralife™ brake rotors
- Active Noise Cancellation for a quieter interior
- 8-inch diagonal GMC Infotainment system with Navigation includes Apple CarPlay and
Android Auto capability
- Standard 8-inch diagonal customizable driver display with head-up display
- Multiple USB ports and accessory power outlets, including a 110-volt three-prong outlet,
to support electronic devices
- OnStar Basic Plan1 is standard for five years and includes access to an in-vehicle 4G LTE
Wi-Fi hotspot2 and select features via the myGMC mobile app3
- Wireless phone charging
- Heated and ventilated driver and passenger seats, heated second-row seats
- Hands-free programmable power liftgate
The Denali trim accounts for well more than half of all Yukon sales. It is offered in Yukon and
Yukon XL models, with the XL featuring a 14-inch-longer wheelbase (20 inches longer overall),
for increased third-row legroom and more than double the cargo room behind the third-row seat.
The 2018 Yukon Denali goes on sale this fall.