By Mauricio Lezcano / carsntravel.com
The all new 2015 GMC Yukon XL Denali models deliver greater capability, performance, a new fold-flat rear seats and a quieter interior. In addition is also better connected, with the next-generation IntelliLink.
Bold styling and advanced technologies, including new safety and security technologies, support Yukon’s greater capability, while a more comprehensive list of standard features is designed to broaden the appeal of one of the industry’s most popular full size SUV. The distinctive Denali models deliver an exclusive package of design, performance and upscale interior amenities.
Under the hood Yukon Denali’s exclusive 6.2L engine is the most powerful in the segment, with 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. Denali models are also rated at 15 mpg city and 21 mpg highway on 2 wheel drive models and 14 mpg city and 20 mpg highway on 4 wheel drive models.
All new exterior and interior designs advance GMC’s professional grade credentials with elements designed to be beautiful and functional. The exteriors are sleeker and more aerodynamic, enhancing efficiency on the highway and contributing to the new Yukon’s quiet ride.
Bold styling cues include highly detailed, chrome-accented grilles matched with GMC’s signature C-shaped light-emitting diode lighting motif, front and rear. The distinctive Denali models are instantly identifiable by their signature chrome grille and unique exterior appointments, including exclusive high-intensity discharge headlamps.
Inside, the precisely crafted interior features a quiet cabin, authentic materials and premium infotainment choices. Examples include soft-touch instrument panel, console and door panel materials with French seam stitching and purposeful use of ambient lighting in functional areas, including first and second row foot wells and the center console. All models have a standard Bose sound system, seats with dual-firmness foam and an ambient air vent designed to enhance comfort for front seat passengers. Denali models feature active noise cancelation technology to make the interior quieter.
The next-generation IntelliLink infotainment system is better connected and offers passengers more choices for their increasingly plugged-in lifestyles. It provides easy, intuitive operation of basic functions, yet it is also highly customizable and capable of linking up to 10 devices such as smartphones, SD cards and MP3 players, giving customers more ways of staying connected.
Enhanced connectivity and convenience includes a new Text Messaging Alerts feature for smartphone users with Bluetooth profile, which reads incoming texts through the vehicle’s speakers, and Siri Eyes Free for iPhone iOS 6 and iOS 7 users to enhance connectivity and convenience. Each enables voice-controlled connectivity, to help keep phones safely stowed and hands on the wheel.
OnStar with 4G LTE and standard built-in Wi-Fi hotspot provides a mobile hub for drivers and passengers to stay connected. The hotspot is on whenever the vehicle is on and comes with a three-month/three-gigabyte data trial.
Five years of OnStar Basic Plan includes RemoteLink Key Fob Services, allowing owners to remotely start and lock/unlock a car, and activate the horn and lights from anywhere with a data connection. It also includes OnStar Vehicle Diagnostics, which runs monthly checks of a vehicle’s engine, transmission, anti-lock brakes and more, and Dealer Maintenance Notification, which sends diagnostic report directly to a preferred dealer simplify service scheduling.
The new, 2015 GMC Yukon models are equipped with new standard and available driver-alert technologies that add layers of crash-avoidance protection, as well as enhanced occupant protection in the event a crash occurs. They include the segment’s first Front Center Air Bag (front bucket seat models). This feature deploys from the inboard side of the driver’s seat and inflates between the driver and front passenger, providing added protection for both front occupants in side-impact crashes.
Active safety features use camera, radar and ultrasonic sensors to provide alerts and intervene when necessary to help avoid crashes, including an available safety alert seat that vibrates if the system determines the driver is at risk of colliding with another vehicle. Driver assistance begins with a standard rear vision camera that shows the area immediately behind the vehicle in the audio system screen. The camera is especially helpful when hooking up a trailer.
The manufacturer’s suggested starting retail price is $68,380.00; the one I drove included the Touring Package, Running Boards, Adaptive Cruise Control and 22” Aluminum Wheels with Painted Inserts, and it came in at $78,475.00 including destination charge. Key competitors Ford Expedition, Nissan Armada and Toyota Sequoia.