2018 GMC Yukon Denali Gets a New Grille and Two Extra Cogs
GM’s 10-speed auto arrives in range-topping Yukon modelsby Mark McNabb, on
The popular GMC Yukon and Yukon XL Denali are getting a few welcomed updates for 2018. General Motors’ new Hydra-Matic 10-speed automatic transmission makes its first appearance in a GM SUV, first appearing in the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Denoting the model-year changes are a new Denali “cheese grater” chrome grille and a new, real-wood interior trim called Mastique Ash. As before, the Denali comes standard with GM’s powerful 6.2-liter V-8 derived from the Corvette Stingray’s LT1 small-block V-8.
The remainder of the Yukon Denali remains unchanged. That’s not completely terrible, as the Yukon still feels fresh, having debuted for the 2015 model year. The new transmission features a wider, 7.39 overall gear ratio that offers a shorter first gear of 4.70:1 and taller 10th gear of 0.64:1. Combined, the result is better acceleration off the line and improved fuel economy at highway speeds over the outgoing eight-speed automatic’s 4.56 and 0.65 respective ratios. Helping the 420-horsepower V-8 keep cool are larger openings in the new Denali grille. As before, active grille shutters ahead of the radiator close when extra cooling airflow isn’t needed in order to improve aerodynamics for fuel efficiency.
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The Yukon Denali comes in a close second to the ‘Slade, sharing nearly all of its mechanical and structural underpinnings.
While it’s not surprising General Motors is installing its new 10-speed automatic into its SUVs, it is interesting why the Cadillac Escalade wasn’t chosen first. The Escalade is GM’s premier SUV and offers the most luxury and style of any GM SUV. Still, the Yukon Denali comes in a close second to the ‘Slade, sharing nearly all of its mechanical and structural underpinnings. Nevertheless, expect to see the 10-speed make its way to the Escalade and the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban in the very near future.
As for the Denali’s new grille, it requires an eagle eye to notice the difference when not paired directly beside the 2015-2017 Denali grille. Aside from the improved airflow, the minor change helps tell the different years apart. The rest of the front continues unaltered. The Yukon Denali comes standard with HID headlights and C-shaped LED daytime running lights.The GMC logo can be seen hiding within the clear headlight lens, adding an extra level of detailing never dreamed of in 1999, the year GMC debuted the Denali trim for the Yukon.
Pricing for the 2018 GMC Yukon Denali lineup shouldn’t change much over the 2017 numbers. This year, the Yukon Denali in 2WD starts at $67,260. Opting for the longer Yukon XL Denali pushes the starting price to $69,960. Adding 4WD to either version costs $3,000 to the bottom line. Sales will begin in the fall of 2017.
|EcoTec3 5.3L V-8 (L83)||EcoTec3 6.2L V-8 (L86)|
|Type||5.3L V-8||6.2L V-8|
|Displacement (cu in / cc)||325 / 5328||376 / 6162|
|Bore & stroke (in / mm)||3.78 x 3.62 / 96 x 92||4.06 x 3.62 / 103.25 x 92|
|Block material||cast aluminum||cast aluminum|
|Cylinder head material||cast aluminum||cast aluminum|
|Valvetrain||overhead valve, two valves per cylinder, variable valve timing||overhead valve, two valves per cylinder, variable valve timing|
|Ignition system||coil near plug, platinum-tipped spark plugs, low-resistance spark plug wires||coil near plug, platinum-tipped spark plugs, low-resistance spark plug wires|
|Fuel delivery||direct fuel injection with Active Fuel Management||direct fuel injection with Active Fuel Management|
|Horsepower||355 HP @ 5,600 RPM||420 HP @ 5,600 RPM|
|Torque||383 LB-FT @ 4,100 RPM||460 LB-FT @ 4,100 RPM|
|Recommended fuel||regular unleaded||premium recommended but not required|
|Maximum engine speed (rpm)||5800||6000|
|Estimated fuel economy (city / hwy)||16 / 23 (2WD)
16 / 22 (4WD)
|15 / 21 (2WD) |
14 / 21 (4WD)
Read our full review of the GMC Yukon here.