The 2015 GMC Yukon Denali XL strikes a balance between its platform-mates, the over-the-top Cadillac Escalade and the more modest Chevrolet Suburban; yet, it maintains an identity of its very own. Based on the lauded GMT K2XX platform, the 2015 GMC Yukon Denali XL is one of the largest SUVs on North American roads.
Aside from being one of the largest engines in its class, the 2015 GMC Yukon Denali XL’s 6.2-liter V8 is one of the more advanced as well. Active Fuel Management allows the engine to deactivate four cylinders for greater efficiency. It’s fully automatic and the engine will maintain maximum power when needed. Speaking of power, the 2015 GMC Yukon Denali XL makes 420 horsepower and 460 lbs-feet of torque.
Using the new eight-speed automatic transmission, (GM 8L90) the 2015 GMC Yukon Denali XL is rated at 14 MPG city and 20 MPG highway. Combining our stress-test mileage during our “Ike Gauntlet” test and a considerable amount of unloaded highway driving, we saw an impressive return of 18 mpg.
The interior is one area where GMC made few concessions. It is nearly as nice and feature-filled as the Cadillac Escalade without feeling overwrought. The new interior design of General Motors has been nothing short of a revelation. Components feel well made, switches have a slight resistance to them which makes them feel more substantial.
The HUD (Heads Up Display) truly makes for a more informed driver. Loved it in the Corvette, love it in this big GMC.
One of the best ways to immediately see GM’s interior improvements is by looking at the interior door panels. They are beautifully sculpted with a sweeping arm rest, large cup/bottle holders and nice integrated w od inserts. The rear doors have nifty arm-level cup holders too. The 2015 GMC Yukon Denali XL’s main competition (the Lincoln Navigator and Toyota Sequoia) lack its thoughtful touches and/or luxurious appointments.
Seating comfort in all three rows. The driver’s seat is fairly large and somewhat flat, but there’s just enough bolstering to keep you planted when you corner hard. Over a long haul, even that third row seat provides a comfortable perch – especially for kids.
The third row seat of the 2015 GMC Yukon Denali XL is all new this year. The old third row was removable, cumbersome and heavy to lift. These seats were popular with thieves as well. This year, the third row is fully integrated into the GMC Yukon and it’s powered to go up and down. The most notable detractor is slightly less cargo space and a higher lift-over due to the elevated floor.
The suspension uses Magnetic Ride Control™ and it has automatic rear air level control which helps when towing or when overloaded. Surprisingly, the 2015 GMC Yukon Denali XL was a very friendly daily driver, considering its size. Make no mistake, it’s bigger than some school buses, but it is very easy to drive. The magnetic ride suspension soaks up the largest bumps and, despite the ridiculous 22-inch wheels, the ride is never too harsh.
It can corner better than many might think. The big GMC only leans a bit and you never feel like the rear is pulling away from you in a hard turn (despite the solid rear axle). It can keep up with just about any luxury sedan, even in a canyon. It’s driving refinement overall is best in class.
While I’m not sold on the looks, I do acknowledge that the 2015 GMC Yukon Denali XL has its own identity. The entire front clip leading all the way to the front pillar is unique and shares very little metal with the Suburban or Escalade.
The 2015 GMC Yukon Denali XL can to a maximum of 7,900 lbs.
Just like its identity, the 2015 GMC Yukon Denali XL is priced in-between its platform-mates. The 2015 GMC Yukon Denali XL starts at $69,470 (a regular Yukon bases at $49,690). The tester we used was fully loaded and commanded a lofty price at $77,925.
Only after a few days, my family and I became pretty attached to the big brute. Well done GMC.
Check out this video featuring the 2015 GMC Yukon Denali XL against the 2015 Lincoln Navigator.
Here are a few additional numbers:
Curb Weight (lbs.)
Max Payload (lbs.)
Max Trailering (lbs.)