2015 GMC Yukon Denali

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Full-size news this week in the world of truck-based SUVs: the new Tahoe , Suburban and GMC Yukons have all gone public with a bold revamp ahead of an on-sale date in early February. Remember this moment, because such drastic changes to these lovable family haulers only happen about once a decade.

Such a long model cycle makes sense once you live a few weeks in the life of one of these luxury trucks. For most of the Tahoe ’s and Sub’s out there, the key mantra really is Like a Rock. Just get the basics so right that buyers will forgive the shiny and nasty leathers, previous purple-power colored plastic interiors, and a thirst for fuel like a Nascar fan slamming morning beers in the infield.

The Yukon Denali and its siblings will soldier forward over almost any obstacle, tow any ski boat, and - usually - become part of the family identity itself after years of reliable service.

In a segment they once owned all to themselves, there are now far more premium entries to choose from than ever before. Bringing these buyers back into the fold is part of the GMC Yukon Denali’s mission: match or best the Mercedes-Benz GL and Range Rover not just on all-weather ability, but also on technology, performance and style.

Even a quick glimpse at the Yukon Denali’s glamour shots will give you a good idea of the refinements on the table for this generation of GM full-size models. The Yukon Denali gets the pick of all the best new tech, like third-gen magnetic shocks, blue-ray players and more USB ports than an Apple store.

Click past the jump for a detailed look at the 2015 GMC Yukon Denali, with info on its new EcoTec3 direct-injection V-8 engines that increase power and mileage significantly.

Exterior

GMC Yukon Denali

It was expected that the Silverado and GMC Sierra noses would be grafted onto the Sub and Yukon almost unaltered (as they have been for generations of models.) A surprise, then, that these SUVs are actually much more of a next-generation platform than this year’s new pickup trucks.

The familiar profile outline and styling details for the Yukon Denali are all that continues unchanged versus the current model. A huge chrome grille with "GMC" letters starts things off right, and the grille mesh is now rectangular and has some creasing in its shape. The vertically aligned headlights are so much nicer than the current GMC lights that it is hard to even think about the wide-awake look of the current generation.

Those ugly and dim old lights were a reason buyers needed to go the Escalade route. The new model brings a far classier shape all around, xenon projector beams, and a tasteful LED accent forming a socket-wrench C-shape in each corner. Seems tough and classy, but also functional and modern.

The lower bumper aspect is marked by a deep front air dam — previously only this extreme on the Tahoe Hybrid and Chevrolet Volt. The aerodynamic benefits of this piece are big, and it is design to scrape the ground and be okay.

2015 GMC Yukon Denali - Exterior Comparison vs. Current Model

GMC Yukon Denali

2015 GMC Yukon Denali - LED and Headlight Detail

GMC Yukon Denali

2015 GMC Yukon Denali - Exterior Updates

  • New inlaid doors fit into the body side openings instead of over the top of the body, significantly reducing wind noise and contributing to improved aerodynamics
  • Laminated windshield and front door glass to enhance quietness
  • Lightweight aluminum hood and liftgate panels enhance efficiency through reduced overall mass
  • A standard rear spoiler on the liftgate houses a relocated rear window wiper that is hidden when not in use
  • New worm screw-style liftgate arms take up less interior space than the previous gooseneck arms
  • Illuminated, power-retractable assist steps available on Denali
  • New family of 18-, 20- and 22-inch wheels, including standard 20-inch wheels on Denali.

Interior

GMC Yukon Denali

The interior looks worlds better than ever before. A smooth new dash shape has flow, and interesting layered wood for the armrests and center console decor. The comfy large central armrest is now even softer and better aligned for comfortable driving. The seats are also totally new designs for the internal comfort and support structures. They look much better than the previous perches, which were marked out by spongy cushions, and a super-short seat base that felt like a bar stool.

The new model is much more of a lean-back and enveloped driving positon. Visibility is still not great out back, but all the active safety tech in the GM arsenal is included to keep you safe.

The dimensions inside bring an extra 2.5 inches of front headroom, and an extra 4 inches of from legroom. Very impressive and roomy.

2015 GMC Yukon Denali - Cargo Area Comparison vs. Current Model

GMC Yukon Denali

The loading area of the new Yukon Denali is one of its most improved features. The 2015 model year trucks will be the first with a third row that can tumble into the floor (versus being unclamped and dragged into garage for storage.)

A totally flat second row creates a much more versatile cabin than any truck-based SUV to date. As huge as all Tahoe s, Yukons and Suburbans are: the old back seats basically had to come out for any hauling duty.

Not light and not a one-man job, taking out those old seats was a back-breaking task. The seating solution for the new model is far superior, with the Denali and other posh trims including a power-folding third row as standard equipment.

The other big change is a new dual hinge setup for the power tailgate. The old hinge was inside, slow, loud, and took up too much space. The new system mounts the components outside the car so there is no impact on cargo space.

2015 GMC Yukon Denali - Interior Updates

  • Fold-flat second- and third-row seats that enhance cargo capability and convenience – including an available power-folding feature
  • Approximately two inches more legroom for second-row passengers and easier entry/exit
  • All-new cargo management system
  • Available power rear liftgate with multiple programmable height settings
  • Standard eight-inch-diagonal color touch screen radio with enhanced IntelliLink and available navigation
  • Eight-inch-diagonal customizable driver display with three available user themes and available head-up display (Denali models)
  • Multiple USB ports, SD slots and accessory power outlets – including a 110-volt three-prong outlet – to support electronic devices of all kinds
  • Available Blu-ray/DVD rear-seat entertainment system with dual screens on Yukon XL
  • Conversation mirror in the overhead console that provides a panoramic view of the rear seats
  • Keyless entry and push-button start.

2015 GMC Yukon Denali - Interior Dimensions

Interior Roominess Change Vs. Current Yukon First RowSecond RowThird Row
2015 Change in Headroom (In.) 2.5-0.50.2
2015 Change in Legroom (In.) 40-0.8
2015 Yukon Denali First RowSecond RowThird Row
2015 Headroom (In.) 42.838.738.1
2015 Legroom (In.) 45.33924.8
2015 Max cargo room – seats folded (cubic-feet): 94.751.715.3
2013 Yukon Denali First RowSecond RowThird Row
2013 Headroom (In.): 40.339.237.9
2013 Legroom (In.): 41.33925.6

Drivetrain, Suspension and Brakes

GMC Yukon Denali

The 2015 Yukon Denali enjoys the same new engines that are the top choice for Chevy buyers as well. Two large V-8 engines are available, in the familiar 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter sizes. This is the trusty GM small-block engine that might be the most durable and mass-produced design of any internal combustion machine. (Or at least the only one that can make big power versus an econocar four-banger.)

The engines are thoroughly redesigned for 2015. The amount of time spent upgrading the small-block for new emission laws every decade might also be the top versus all other automotive engine development programs. Keep the good throttle response, endless torque and lazy highway revs, but now add direct injection, cylinder cut-off and an EcoTec3 badge.

Power is up by about 30 horsepower and pound-feet of torque for both engines. The smaller V-8 now produces 355 horsepower, while the larger offers 420 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. A new six-speed auto is part of the new mileage goals, which aim to improve all the previous scores by up to 3 mpg each.

The Denali benefits greatly from the Magna-Ride magnetic damper system that is able to keep the shocks soft and smooth over bumps, or rigid and firm going around corners. In addition to faster reaction times than electronically-adjustable dampers, the magnetic invention is also a godsend on huge wheels. The huge range of plushness or firmness is critical with the standard 20-inch wheels, and especially the optional 22-inch set.

2015 GMC Yukon Denali - Mechanical Details

Engine 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V-8 With Direct Injection and Active Fuel Management6.2-liter EcoTec3 V-8 With Direct Injection and Active Fuel Management
Fuel GasolineGasoline
Transmission 6-Speed Automatic6-Speed Automatic
Powertrain Layout Front-engine, Rear-wheel-drive (4WD Opt)Front-engine, Rear-wheel-drive (4WD Opt)
Power (Horsepower) 355420
Torque (Torque) 383450
0-60 mph (Seconds) 7.4, est6.8, est
Top Speed (MPH) 108, est108, est
EPA Fuel Economy (City/Highway/Combined) 16/22/27, est16/20/27, est

Safety

GMC Yukon Denali

2015 GMC Yukon Denali - Safety Features

  • Forward collision alert
  • Front park assist
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane change assist
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Front and rear automatic braking
  • Safety Alert Seat
  • Standard head curtain side air bags with rollover protection for both seating rows.
  • Standard seat-mounted side-impact air bags for driver and right-front passenger provide thorax and pelvic protection.
  • StabiliTrak electronic stability control system helps reduce the risk of rollover crashes by keeping the vehicle in the driver’s intended path by applying throttle, braking or a combination of both.
  • Available Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist that can detect certain stationary objects in the rearward path of the vehicle and send an audible warning sound.
  • Rearview camera system is standard on Denali and SLT models and available on SLE. It is designed to provide the driver with a view of people or objects in the rearward path of the vehicle.
  • Side blind zone alert is standard on Denali and available on SLT.
  • Standard four-wheel-disc brake system with ABS featuring smooth, quiet operation, longer pad life and more resistance to brake pulsation.
  • Pretensioners minimize forward movement during a collision, and are standard on the front safety belts. Load-limiting retractors cinch the belt more tightly.
  • LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child seat attachment system, which is included in all second-row seating positions.
  • Tire pressure monitoring system, standard on all models.
  • Standard remote keyless entry (RKE) system provides a second function for the red panic button. Drivers can it to locate their cars without sounding the panic alarm.
  • Strong body structure to absorb crash energy and provide a protective “safety cage” around occupants.

Pricing

GMC Yukon Denali

Pricing for the 2015 Yukon Denali is not yet available from GMC, but will remain very close to the current model’s $56,820 base price.

Competition

Chevrolet Tahoe

Chevrolet Tahoe

The Tahoe looks quite different from the Denali shown here. While the Yukon is also offered in less-equipped base models that are priced within $200 of the Chevy, the Denali package brings upgraded seals, a trunk full of extra insulation, and the highest-performing suspensions. The MagnaRide is a Denali-only feature not offered on the Tahoe.

Lincoln Navigator

Lincoln Navigator

Wearing the "bold new Lincoln face" from three styling themes ago, the Navigator is hopelessly outclassed by anything designed with a year starting in 2 versus 1. A swanky dashboard cannot hide the appalling refinement and performance problems, ergonomic and tech gaps, and just all-around ancient relic status.

Conclusion

GMC Yukon Denali

One issue for the GMC Denali line is that it can, at times, feel very tacky next to a real luxury car like the Mercedes-Benz GL . It seems the current Denali is only a chrome-tastic Tahoe with some of the ugliest lighting imaginable. The gaping headlights and a three-pod of round/clear lights in back sent all the wrong signals.

The new model maintains a more refined aesthetic, and also makes these styling changes for critical safety, comfort and packaging reasons. Getting fold-flat seats on GM’s body-on-frame SUVs is rumored to have required a totally new and next-gen platform versus the Silverado facelift.

This change from having the pickup trucks lead off any major updates is smart. As much as pickup trucks are volume leaders and great sellers, real profit margins come from any GM SUV with a sale price above $40,000. Buyers in this segment are generally much more demanding, also.

The new Denali looks sharp, has much better cabin and safety tech and is much faster than ever before. The smart mix of Escalade power, cabin refinement and standard equipment makes the Denali quite appealing.

LOVE IT
  • From Fallujah to Fayetteville, the GMC Yukon Denali owns the road
  • New cabin design hugely improves comfort, quietness and tech integration
  • LED headlight accent looks good, but hopefully not blue tinted in real life
LEAVE IT
  • Fuel economy is still a concern, but V-8 engines still smooth and potent
  • If you can fit the XL version in your garage, the bigger one is best for serious family duties
  • Might want to check your garage before you sign any papers

Press Release

GMC Yukon Denali

Chevrolet, GMC Reveal All-New 2015 SUVs - New versions of segment leaders go on sale in first quarter of 2014

2013-09-12 DETROIT – Chevrolet and GMC today revealed all-new versions of their segment-leading full-size SUVs – the Tahoe and Suburban and Yukon and Yukon XL. Thanks to a new family of advanced EcoTec3 engines, the four new SUVS are expected to deliver the segment’s best V-8 fuel economy.

The 2015 Tahoe and Suburban, revealed in New York, are designed to be more functional and refined while offering more safety features and a greater range of advanced technologies for today’s connected customers.

The all-new 2015 Yukon, Yukon XL and flagship Yukon Denali, models, shown in Los Angeles, will deliver greater capability and refinement, with more power, new fold-flat rear seats and a quieter interior.

Chevrolet and GMC together are responsible for three of every four vehicles sold. The sales and revenue generated would be equal to a Fortune 400 company. With a 74 percent market share through August this year, General Motors’ dominance in the segment is clear. So far in 2013, Chevrolet and GMC have sold 125,000 Chevrolet Tahoes and Suburbans and GMC Yukons and Yukon XLs.

GMC Yukon Denali

LOS ANGELES – GMC announced today the all-new 2015 Yukon, Yukon XL and flagship Yukon Denali models will deliver greater capability and refinement, with more power, new fold-flat rear seats and a quieter interior. And thanks to a new family of advanced EcoTec3 engines, the lineup is expected to deliver the segment’s best V-8 fuel economy.

Bold styling and advanced technologies – including new safety and security technologies – support Yukon’s greater capability, while a more comprehensive list of standard features and enhanced infotainment options are designed to broaden the appeal of one of the industry’s most-popular full-size SUV lineups. Combined Yukon/Yukon XL and Denali sales were up 24 percent for the eight months of 2013.

“We’ve engineered the Yukon and Yukon XL from the ground up, building on a strong legacy of capability to take them to the top of the segment with exceptional refinement and purposeful technology,” said Tony DiSalle, vice president of GMC Marketing. “And when it comes to the tasks people rely on a full-size SUV for, they do it better than ever – and with more style.”

Yukon and Yukon XL share design, architectural and powertrain elements, but Yukon XL has an approximately 14-inch longer wheelbase and is approximately 20 inches longer overall, providing greater legroom for third-row passengers and almost twice the cargo room behind the third-row seat.

“Although they are based on a similar architecture, Yukon and Yukon XL are distinctive products that appeal to different customers,” said DiSalle. “Versatility and spaciousness are valued by customers for both vehicles, but the Yukon XL is the choice for families with more children and those with lifestyles that require its unique combination of passenger- and cargo-hauling capabilities. In fact, Yukon XL owners are more than twice as likely to transport passengers daily in the third-row seat.”

New and enhanced product highlights of the 2015 Yukon lineup include:

GMC Yukon Denali
  • Fold-flat second- and third-row seats that enhance cargo capability and convenience – including an available power-folding feature
  • Approximately two inches more legroom for second-row passengers and easier entry/exit
  • All-new cargo management system
  • Available power rear liftgate with multiple programmable height settings
  • Standard eight-inch-diagonal color touch screen radio with enhanced IntelliLink and available navigation
  • Eight-inch-diagonal customizable driver display with three available user themes and available head-up display (Denali models)
  • Multiple USB ports, SD slots and accessory power outlets – including a 110-volt three-prong outlet – to support electronic devices of all kinds
  • Available Blu-ray/DVD rear-seat entertainment system with dual screens on Yukon XL
  • Conversation mirror in the overhead console that provides a panoramic view of the rear seats
  • Keyless entry and push-button start.

When it comes to safety, the Yukon lineup incorporates new technologies to help protect the driver and passengers before, during and after a collision. They include a forward radar system and the segment’s only front seat center-mounted air bag (models with bucket seats), which is engineered to provide additional protection to drivers and front passengers in far-side impact crashes, where the affected occupant is on the opposite, non-struck side of the vehicle.

Standard and available safety features, depending on the model, also include forward collision alert, front park assist, lane departure warning, lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, front and rear automatic braking, and GM’s Safety Alert Seat. It offers directional vibrations to alert the driver about potential crash threats.

Bold styling, enhanced refinement

GMC Yukon Denali

All-new exterior and interior designs advance GMC’s professional grade aesthetic with elements designed to be beautiful and functional. The exteriors are sleeker and more aerodynamic, enhancing efficiency on the highway and contributing to the new Yukon’s quiet ride.

Bold styling cues include highly detailed, chrome-accented grilles matched with GMC’s signature C-shaped light-emitting diode lighting motif, front and rear. Projector-beam headlamps are standard on Yukon and Yukon XL. The distinctive Denali models are instantly identifiable by their signature chrome grille and unique exterior appointments, including exclusive high-intensity discharge headlamps.

Additional exterior features include:

GMC Yukon Denali
  • New inlaid doors fit into the body side openings instead of over the top of the body, significantly reducing wind noise and contributing to improved aerodynamics
  • Laminated windshield and front door glass to enhance quietness
  • Lightweight aluminum hood and liftgate panels enhance efficiency through reduced overall mass
  • A standard rear spoiler on the liftgate houses a relocated rear window wiper that is hidden when not in use
  • New worm screw-style liftgate arms take up less interior space than the previous gooseneck arms
  • Illuminated, power-retractable assist steps available on Denali
  • New family of 18-, 20- and 22-inch wheels, including standard 20-inch wheels on Denali.

Inside, the all-new 2015 Yukon’s precisely crafted interior features a quiet cabin, authentic materials and premium infotainment choices. Examples include soft-touch instrument panel, console and door panel materials with live stitching and purposeful use of ambient lighting in functional areas, including first- and second-row foot wells and the center console. All models have a standard Bose sound system, seats with dual-firmness foam and an ambient air vent designed to enhance comfort for front-seat passengers.

Denali models feature active noise cancelation technology to make the interior quieter.

There are more storage options in the new Yukon lineup, including a compartmentalized center console that’s large enough to store a laptop or iPad and has provisions for hanging file folders and other organizational features, especially for customers whose vehicle also serves as a rolling office.

More capable, more comfortable

GMC Yukon Denali
GMC Yukon Denali

The 2015 Yukon lineup delivers greater capability and greater refinement through new and enhanced chassis and suspension systems. A fully boxed frame – composed of more than 75 percent high-strength steel – supports a quiet and controlled ride. New shear-style body mounts attached to the frame significantly improve stiffness and contribute to the Yukon’s smooth ride.

Compared with previous models, the driving experience of the new SUVs is further enhanced with:

  • Wider rear track that contributes to a more planted stance
  • Wheels that are a half-inch wider, reducing tire flex for improved cornering performance
  • New, electric variable-assist power steering system enhances fuel economy and tailors steering assist to vehicle speed
  • New 9.5-inch rear axle and standard automatic locking rear differential
  • Standard StabiliTrak electronic stability control, tow/haul mode, trailer sway control, auto grade braking and hill start assist
  • New four-wheel-disc brake system with Duralife™ brake rotors that offer up to double the service life, along with brake pedal revisions that improve pedal feel for stronger-feeling, more confident braking performance
  • Denali models include third-generation magnetic ride control, a real-time damping system that delivers more precise body motion control by “reading” the road every millisecond and changing damping in just five milliseconds.

Advanced engine technology

GMC Yukon Denali

The all-new Yukon family is more powerful and efficient than before, thanks to the new EcoTec3 engine family, which debuted earlier this year in the all-new 2014 Sierra. A 5.3L V-8 is standard in Yukon and Yukon XL models and an exclusive 6.2L engine is standard in Denali models, which is expected to deliver the segment’s best horsepower and torque.

The EcoTec3 engines feature state-of-the-art technologies, including direct injection, cylinder deactivation, continuously variable valve timing and an advanced combustion system, designed to make the most of power, torque and efficiency across a broad range of operating conditions. More precisely controlled combustion enables the new engines to run with a higher compression ratio, which delivers greater power and efficiency.

Hydraulic engine mounts, electronic throttle control, adaptive exhaust systems, improved aerodynamics and other technologies help the engines operate in four-cylinder mode for longer periods of time with Active Fuel Management, further increasing efficiency.

Both engines are matched with the Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission.

The new Yukon family will be built at GM’s Arlington, Texas assembly plant, and scheduled to begin arriving at GMC dealerships in the first quarter of 2014.


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