2015 GMC Yukon Denali

By Tom Crosby

GMC’s full-size Yukon sport utility vehicle, and its twin sister, the Chevrolet Tahoe, dominate the market with General Motors’ other large family-sized vehicles. Both are all new for 2015 with fuel-saving traits that don’t diminish performance.

Our test-drive was the base Yukon Denali, the flagship Yukon and top-of-the-line above the Yukon and Yukon XL trims. Denali’s use an improved 6.2-liter, V8, EcoTec3 engine with 420 horsepower that GMC claims is most powerful in its segment.

Still, our two-wheel drive Denali still got excellent gas mileage – achieving 21.6 mpg while averaging 66 mph on a 350-mile interstate trip that included mountain climbs – slightly better than EPA mileage estimates. We used premium gasoline, recommended but not required by GMC.

Other changes include freshening the profile but still maintaining the box-like muscular look that rests on a truck platform with the virtue it allows ample space for 7 in the three seating rows and room for luggage in the cargo area.

Flat folding second and third rows create truck-like cargo area. Knick-knack storage spaces abound throughout the vehicle. Headlamps, signature honeycomb chrome grill, inlaid doors and standard rear spoiler received tweaking or were added for 2015.

Our Denali had several options, including $1,745 for illuminated retractable running boards, adaptive cruise control ($1,695), touring package ($4,110) that included 20–inch chrome wheels, heads up display and a rear seat entertainment system.

Total price was $72,215, softened by upscale interior materials; quilted heated/cooled leather seats; soft-touch dashboard, doors and center spine areas; Bluetooth and an accessible and easy to use GM’s new Intellilink 8-inch information dashboard screen with text alerts.

However, while the navigation system’s voice directions provided ample notices of upcoming turns, it was frightening to be told an Interstate exit was on the left and it was actually on the right four lanes over. We had to continue to the next exit for an alternate and correct rerouting. Warnings about accuracy are nice; it would be better if they were not needed.

There are, however, many safety features – forward collision alert, rear camera with cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and vibrating seat if you cross a lane marker with using your turn signal. Handling is responsive and the large wheels help keep the ride compliant. A conversation mirror helps monitor rear seat activity among children and the noise level is very well muted.

LIKES: Mileage, ride, quiet, interior comfort, versatility, handling
BOTTOM LINE: If you like size in your ride, you have to like the Yukon and its luxury


  • Base price w/destination fee $63,675
  • Curb weight 5,533 lbs.
  • Wheelbase 116 inches
  • Length 203.9 inches
  • Width 80.5 inches
  • Engine specs 6.2-liter, V-8, Ecotec3, direct injection
  • Horsepower 420-hp at 5,600 rpm
  • Torque 460 lbs.-ft. at 4,100 rpm
  • Transmission 6-speed Hydra-Matic (automatic)
  • EPA Rating 15 mpg city/21 mpg hwy
  • Range 26-gallon tank, premium recommended, not required
  • Performance 0-60 in just over 6 seconds