Given the stunning popularity of mid-size, car-based crossovers, it's a bit of a surprise that so many manufacturers still make full-size, truck-based SUVs. GM has been a player in this segment as long as anyone: its Surburban model dates back to the 1930s. We'd argue the Suburban began its journey to the luxurious and refined SUV we know today in the 1990s, when it spawned the smaller Tahoe, which, in turn, led to the creation of the GMC Yukon.
Last redesigned in 2015, the Yukon's most notable changes for 2018 apply to the upscale Denali model, which gets a new sculpted chrome grille and a new satin steel metallic paint colour, while the interior gains a new mastique ash wood trim. Technical updates include a 10-speed automatic transmission (replacing last year's eight-speed) and a tire fill alert function for the tire pressure monitoring system.
Standard grade trims carry over unchanged save for some new paint options.
Power options begin with a 5.3L V8 good for 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque, fed through a six-speed automatic to your choice of the rear wheels or all four. Denali models get a 6.2L V8 that makes 420 hp and 460 lb-ft and is matched with that new 10-speed and standard all-wheel drive.
For the most part, this is the same big, comfortable eight-seater SUV it was before. Its primary competition is from Ford's Expedition, but it also curiously goes up against GM sister brand Chevrolet's Tahoe, which differs only in styling and small trim distinctions. With the Denali, GMC seeks to compete with the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class, Audi Q7 and Land Rover Range Rover.
The lineup starts with the SLE trim, with a locking rear differential, 18-inch wheels, trailer hitch and trailer wiring, fog lights, rain-sensing front wipers, heated side mirrors, 4.2-inch driver information centre, eight-inch IntelliLink infotainment screen, leather-trimmed steering wheel with manual tilt steering column, 110-volt power outlet, remote engine start, cloth seats, satellite radio, three-zone automatic climate control, front and rear park assist, Bose premium stereo and a backup camera.
SLT models add passive keyless entry with push-button engine start, forward collision alert, lane keep assist, automatic high beams, safety alert driver's seat, wireless smartphone charging, power liftgate, power-folding side mirrors, auto-dimming rearview mirror, front bucket seats, heated steering wheel, power-adjustable pedals, heated and cooled front seats, power release second-row seats, power-folding third row, garage door opener, power tilt-and-telescopic steering and rear cross traffic alert.
Finally, Denali trim brings a heavy-duty trailering package, integrated trailer brake controller, transmission oil cooler, magnetic ride control suspension, 20-inch wheels, HID headlights, eight-inch customizable driver information display and active noise cancellation.
Fuel consumption ratings are 15.1/10.4 L/100 km (city/highway) with the 5.3L engine and RWD, and 15.2/10.8 with 4WD. The Denali's new 10-speed brings highway fuel consumption down a bit, to 10.7 L/100 km, but the city rating actually goes up 0.4 L/100 km to 16.4.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed