Fullsize SUV sales are on the rise. Despite what commercials depicting dinosaurs roaming city streets may want us to believe, large and in charge people movers continue to have a captive audience. Couples are still getting married, starting families, and looking for ways to transport all the things that come with kids, pets, and home remodels. Those kids require enough storage space for strollers, sports equipment, and luggage space for a weekend trip to grandma’s house. Avoiding the minivan stigma, successful professionals with young children are looking for stylish and powerful ways to fulfill their transportation needs. With the launch of the new 2015 GMC Yukon and Yukon Denali, GMC presents two high-end fullsize SUVs that are packed with new safety and convenience features, while also addressing the ever-important success status symbol.
Starting with the more affordable Yukon, the engineers scrapped the old looks and went with a more modern, sculpted look. But don’t let this fool you, the Yukon is still a brute of a vehicle and looks every bit of it. The bold front end features a detailed grille with chrome surround, projector beam headlights, and GMC-specific LED accent lights. Along with the distinctive lighting available, the Yukon comes with several new styles of 20-inch wheels to choose from. Even with all of these stylistic changes on the outside, GMC didn’t slouch when it came to the interior.
Opening up the four full-sized doors reveals a perfect blend of craftsmanship, sophistication, and functionality. Improved and softer-to-the-touch materials cover the seats, floor, doors, and dash to make you feel like you’re riding in a luxury car rather than a large family hauler. The refinement didn’t stop at the materials, the 2015 GM SUV lineup features top-of-the-line technology that the forefathers of the automotive industry never dreamt of. Filling the dash is an 8-inch Intellilink touch screen with a smartphone inspired user interface. All of the boxes are checked with this technology suite (Bluetooth, voice command, weather and traffic updates, etc.) and ensures you’re always connected. To keep the drivers attention on the road, GM integrated another 8-inch color screen between the gauges in the dash. This display is fully customizable, reconfigurable, and integrated with the touch screen display in the center stack. Storage is afforded by tucking the second and third row seats into the floor electronically, for a perfectly flat surface to load up anything from plywood and 2x4s to groceries and sports equipment.
At this point you are probably thinking that these changes are fine and dandy, but what about power. That, our friends, is handled by a choice of either the new EcoTec 5.3L V-8 delivering 350 horsepower and 375 lb-ft of torque, or the most-powerful V-8 in its class, the 6.2L EcoTec3, boasting an impressive 420 hp and stump-pulling 460 lb-ft. That should be enough power to slingshot you around any slow-moving grannies in the fast lane. Being one of the largest SUVs on the market didn’t convince the GM engineers that the ride could be anything less than stellar. A fully boxed frame improves stiffness and rigidity throughout the chassis, while new and improved powertrain and body mounts help to reduce noise and vibration. The optional Magnetic Ride Control monitors road conditions up to 1,000 times per second and adjusts the shocks to suit. This translates into a superbly smooth ride on even the roughest roads.
Finally, the GMC fullsize SUV lineup offers best-in-class safety features that were once only found in European luxury cars. Updated safety features include forward and rear collision alert, crash imminent braking, lane departure warning, side blind spot alert, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane change assist, among many others. These warnings are linked to an innovative safety alert seat system that vibrates the seat to alert the driver of potential warnings rather than audibly beeping, which also alerts the passengers. In the unfortunate event of an accident, the Yukon features front center airbags, dual-stage frontal airbags, seat-mounted side-impact airbags, and head curtain side-impact airbags to protect occupants from all sides. These advancements in safety have set precedent for other manufacturers to try and match.
Overall, the GMC team has upped the ante on fullsize SUVs, but if you are looking for a little more, the GMC Yukon Denali might be up your alley. The Denali features distinctive highlights like a signature chrome Denali grille, HID projector headlights, chrome body accents, power retractable illuminated assist steps, and 22-inch wheels options. Any challengers should heed warning; GMC has raised the bar with these improvements and intends to stay at the top of the game.
2015 GMC Yukon And Yukon Denali
Price (est.): Starting at $47,500 for the Yukon and $52,000 for the Yukon Denali
Type: 5.3L EcoTec3 or 6.2L EcoTec3
Displacement: 323 ci and 376 ci
Compression Ratio: 11:1 for both engines
Horsepower: 350 and 420 hp
Torque: 375 and 460 lb-ft
Recommended Fuel: Regular unleaded
Layout: Front engine, RWD
Transmission: Six-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
Wheels: 20- and 22-inch wheel options