2018 GMC Yukon Denali: Should I Wait for the 10-Speed or Buy a 2017 8-Speed Now? Ask TFLtruck

2018 GMC Yukon Denali

We have received the following question at ask@tfltruck.com from Chad S about the new 10-speed automatic transmission that is coming to the 2018 Yukon Denali. GM co-developed this transmission with Ford. Both companies say that while some designs and components are shared, each company performed its own tuning, calibration, and parts to customize the transmission for use with different engines and vehicles.

Chad S. writes:

I have a question about the 2018 Yukon Denali. They are giving it a 10-speed transmission as opposed to the 8-speed that it currently has. My questions are:
– Are there massive benefits to the 10-speed? What about drawbacks?
– Would you buy the vehicle in its first year with the 10-speed tranny?
– As someone in the market for a Yukon Denali, Would you recommend waiting for the 2018 or shopping for a 2017 (given the changes)?

This is a classic question: “Should I get the very latest or existing technology?”. This is why we wanted to publish it to start the discussion. Unfortunately, we have not yet had a chance to test drive a GMC Yukon or a Chevy Tahoe with the 10-speed. At this point, we have to go on the experience we have between the 2016 Ford F-150 6-speed and the 2017 Ford F-150 10-speed.

The 10-speed in the Ford truck is seamless and smooth. It shifts gears very quickly and it’s hard to notice the shifting most of the time. The 10-speed in the F-150 delivered a small 7.5% improvement in towing fuel economy (7,000 lbs trailer), but that also included the updated 3.5L EcoBoost engine.

The 10-speed transmission design also allows for a smoother engine Auto start/stop function when the truck comes to a stop. In general, the benefits of the 10-speed transmission are a wider gear span for quicker acceleration and more efficient highway cruising. The choice of more gears means that the engine can run within it’s optimum operating range more often.  The downsides are the additional cost and complexity of the transmission.

Bottom line is – there will be two groups of people: those who must have the absolute latest cutting edge technology “early adopters”, and those who prefer technology that has been around longer and has a proven track record.

GMC Yukon Denali

We (at TFLtruck) know that the current GMC Yukon Denali 8-speed is a great full-size SUV. It’s powerful, big, and it did very well on our Ike Gauntlet™ extreme towing test.

Personally, I am an early adopter. I cannot wait to drive the 2018 model with the 10-speed. I would lean towards waiting a little longer for the 2018 version with the 10-speed and see how it performs.

Here is a first look at the 2018 Chevy Tahoe RST with the 10-speed automatic.

Andre Smirnov is an Automotive Enthusiast, Producer, Reviewer, Videographer, Writer, Software Engineer, Husband, Father, and Friend.