420 HP @ 5600
460 lb-ft @ 4100
16.8 / 11.7
1113 - 3429
The trio of trucks that GM released this year finds the GMC Yukon right in between the Chevrolet Tahoe and the Cadillac Escalade, or at least that is what pricing of the trio suggests. All three trucks are essentially the same thing with most differences being spotted at the front face and interiors, while the the least obvious ones are the engine options and 4WD systems.
The Denali is the posh version of the Yukon, the most luxurious trim level if you prefer, but there is also another secret out test vehicle was packing. It was the XL version which means, it is even bigger!
First things first, the XL wheelbase adds $3,050 to what ever trim level you pick, while the Denali trim level we spent a week with has a starting price of $78,400. As tested, it was $82,790 thanks to some extra toys added. Before you think that is a lot, let me tell you how much truck comes for the buck. First of all, you get the sweet low range transfer case you get in the Tahoe 4WD, but this time, it comes with the V8 engine found in the Escalade! That is the 6.2L V8 with active cylinder management. Also, as long as features go, you get tri-zone climate control, leather seats, two heated king chairs at the middle row, power fold and lift third row seating, rear entertainment system with two drop down screens (9”), wireless headphones, BluRay player, bluetooth connectivity, voice control, wireless phone charging, remote starter, keyless entry with start button, 110V outlet, power adjustable seats, pedals and steering column, tire pressure monitor, automatic lights and wipers, HID headlights, sunroof, cruise control, front and rear collision warning, blind spot monitors, lane departure warning, heads-up-display, rear view camera, heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, satellite radio, navigation, 4G OnStar LTE connectivity, a choice between 2WD, Auto, 4-High and 4-Low for the 4×4 system, trailer brake control, 22” wheels and a sweet sounding Bose sound system.
Visually, the Yukon looks like something in between the Tahoe and Escalade. Its massive front shiny grille and upright angular headlights look more like the Escalade (well, almost!), while beyond the front face it is almost identical with the Tahoe.
Noticeable difference, is the extra length of the XL, especially once you open the power lift gate. The size of that trunk is simply unheard of. With all the seats up, you get a mind blowing 1,113 L. Stow the third row away and your jaw will drop once you see the end result; 2173 L of space, which is astonishing. Folding the middle row away as well will get you 3,429 L of total space. Yes, your read the number correctly.
The 6.2L V8 is very quiet, refined but strong when you need it, punching out 420 HP and 460 lb-ft of torque. It is able to turn itself into a V4 when under light load and by doing that this monster of a truck can cruise on the highway scoring fuel economy numbers many would envy. In the city, it does get thirsty and an auto star/stop system would’ve been beneficial. Our week in the truck found us averaging 20.7 lt/100km, but given the size of this thing I wouldn’t expect anything less during the cold winter months. On the performance side, it does a terrific job making this 2,725 kg beast fly when it needs to, as 0-100km/h come in under seven seconds. The brakes are also strong but really suffer with the weight. Every time you ask this truck to stop, it feels like the brakes are moaning in pain. Despite the torture, they do deliver good stopping power.
Handling dynamics are similar to the Tahoe we tested a few weeks ago, but the magnetic ride control in the Denali XL seems a bit softer. Due to the even longer wheelbase, the dynamics are a little numb as it takes a lot of steering angle to alter this truck’s direction. When doing so, it feels sure footed and confident, but the weight being controlled is a lot to ask for anything more. If you do, it will try to cope but at the same time urge you to slow down. At low speeds and in the snow, it is very tail happy and some fun is possible, just remember not to gather much speed. Ride comfort is the main goal here, and at that, it is pretty good. Especially on the highway, it is remarkably silent and refined.
Towing and off-roading are of course part of the deal here, even though the extra weight of the XL truck is deducted from the towing capacity. The total of 3,583 kg (7500 lbs) is still impressive though. With the low range mode, there is little this thing won’t be able to push through and your real limitations are set by the approach and departure angles (15.3 / 20.9 ).
In a way, the Denali XL seems to be the best compromise between the three GM trucks, as it has the utility nature and 4×4 of the Tahoe with the power and (to a certain extent) the style of the Escalade. And funny enough, the price point seems to agree with that. The XL wheelbase is definitely worth having, it wont cause any real inconveniences and the extra space is all the money.
4L is awesome to have