GM’s second largest brand has just unveiled its all-new 2015 GMC Yukon family, including the 2015 GMC Yukon Denali and the larger, extended Yukon XL. The Denali name itself has grown so large in stature that since the introduction of the 1999 GMC Yukon Denali, the automaker has sold more than 625,000 of its top-tier models. To get an idea of what that number means, the Denali trim level even outsells entire automakers, including Land Rover, Jaguar, and Porsche. In this era of ever-diminishing engines, with automakers scrambling to meet government fleet fuel-economy regulations, we were even surprised to find out GMC sells more full-size SUVs than Audi sells Audis in America, with the GMC Yukon family heavily complementing the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban. So, what can you expect when the 2015 GMC Yukon models hit showrooms?
GMC focused on making the 2015 Yukon more practical and functional, and we got a taste of that when we drove the Sierra Denali models on hand (GMC didn’t have the Yukon for us yet, but the Sierra gave us a great idea of what to expect). Highlighting that practicality are features like a three-prong power outlet, USB and auxiliary hookups, and lots of storage space. While the outside shows a gentle styling evolution, there are fine details—such as GMC badges in the headlights—that show an unexpected attention to detail. 18-inch wheels will come standard, with Denali models bumping those to 20-inch wheels, while 22-inch wheels are an option. There are two EcoTec3 engines to choose from, the standard 5.3-liter V-8, rated at 355 hp, and the new 6.2-liter V-8, that now makes the most power of any light duty truck at 420 hp. Both engines are mated to a standard six-speed automatic transmission.
EPA fuel economy ratings will soon be announced on the 6.2-liter V-8, and GMC is “expecting good things.” The engine uses cylinder-deactivation, which can disable four of the cylinders when not needed, to improve fuel economy. There are also quite a few niceties that were on the 2014 Sierra Crew Cab 4WD that we tested, such as heated and cooled front leather bucket seats, a heated steering wheel, and an 8-inch media screen. Most impressive however was the ride, which was whisper quiet and surprisingly smooth. Cruising through the streets of Long Beach, it was easy to forget you were in a large truck, which may have been in large part thanks to the Denali’s magnetic ride control. Our test was brief, but we look forward to giving the new range a thorough run-through in the coming months.