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.