Words: Stephen Spyropoulos
Photography: Stephen Spyropoulos
Published: June 28, 2017
I favour modest cars, for the most part. I once owned a Volkswagen Rabbit and a Chevrolet Malibu. I’m also fortunate enough that I get to try out the occasional BMW or Lexus, but when push comes to shove I’d rather find myself living with a large SUV.
I recently got the chance to get behind the wheel of the GMC Yukon Denali once again, this time a 2017 iteration. This big boy is probably my favourite of the GM Holy Trinity of full-sized SUVs (Escalade, Tahoe, and the Yukon).
My pattern is that I marvel at one of these beasts while it’s sitting in my driveway, and imagine I’m some kind of big shot that can afford one of these things. Then at the end of the week I don’t want to give the monster truck back.
Unlike most modern SUVs, the 2017 GMC Yukon Denali is a truck-based vehicle that is capable of towing heavy loads and tackling off-road trails, all while doing it in style and luxury. The GMC I drove recently was among the toughest to say goodbye to because while I’ve always dug the Escalade and enjoyed the Tahoe, the Yukon Denali checks off all of the SUV boxes. In short, it’s nicer than the Tahoe and not as nice as the Caddy, which makes it the ideal middle-aged road yacht.
The tester came in at just under $90,000. The base Yukon SLE that starts at $59,000 is no slouch either. You get quite a lot of truck for your money. The Denali trim, by the way, starts at a hefty $20,000 over the base model.
This is a powerful set of wheels, propelled by the 6.2-litre V8 that’s yoked to an 8-speed automatic transmission. This updated old-school pushrod cranks out 420 horsepower with 460 lb-ft of torque, enabling it to convey seven or eight people in large-and-in-charge style and tow a tonne of weight.
Design-wise, the Yukon Denali is the short-wheelbase version of the Yukon XL, the Suburban, and the Escalade ESV. While interior space and cargo capacity are compromised over the XL version, the looks are more compact and sporty. Typical of GMC, the visuals are slick without taking matters too far. You do feel like a Secret Service agent at times, especially if you spec out your Yukon with black paint on black leather.
Changes for the Yukon in 2017 are mainly on the interior. Most notably, the red gauges are gone in favour for some ice blue coloured ones, and the rear entertainment system has been upgraded to interact better with passengers. You can also now wirelessly project your device on the in-vehicle screens via Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA), and the head-up display is now standard on the Denali. Exterior wise, a few colour choices are now gone, including that weird purple one, and front active aero shutters are now standard on all models.
Normally, I like to save my driving impressions until the end but with the Yukon Denali, you want to be aiming for one thing: long freeway excursions with a lot of people on board. While my endeavour was mainly from Oshawa to Toronto, the Denali handled the cruise with prowess.
The biggest positive with the seven-passenger setup: two captain’s chairs in the second row, meaning six people can all enjoy their own private space. The Yukon Denali comes with the aforementioned rear entertainment and headphones, so passengers can enjoy a movie as well. There are also plenty of charging options for everyone’s devices, which will see use as the GMC has OnStar and 4G LTE connectivity providing Wi-Fi for seven users.
Quiet and comfortable, the Yukon Denali gives the driver a commanding view of the road and power on demand, as well as driver-assist features such as lane-departure warning and forward-collision alert, along with an excellent adaptive cruise control system. Heated and ventilated (new for 2017) front seats, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel make the GMC a pleasure in Northeastern winter.
GM vehicles, in my view, have the best infotainment offering on the market. The Yukon Denali gets an eight-inch touchscreen with the easy-to-use IntelliLink system. Navigation is integrated with OnStar, so you can push the blue button and talk to a human operator about where you want to go. Then guidance will download to the vehicle.
Bluetooth pairing is a cinch and the 10-speaker Bose audio system gets along well with SiriusXM satellite radio and tunes piped in via AUX or USB ports. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also in the house, and the voice-recognition is superb.
Large SUVs are definitely not for everybody. The abysmal fuel economy ratings aren’t going to put a smile on your face if you're worried about $1.50/L gas price making a comeback. That being said, if you spend much of our time on the freeway you won't feel the bite as much as you would if you're using the Yukon Denali as a runabout. It’s a small sacrifice to be made for things that we love.
型号 Model: 2017 GMC Yukon Denali
顏色 Paint Type: White Frost Tricoat
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $79,265
試車售價 Price as Tested: $89,270
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,946
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 5,179 / 2,045 / 1,890
車重 Curb weight (kg): 2,605
引擎 Engine: 6.2L EcoTec3 V8
最大馬力 Horsepower: 420 hp @ 5,600 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 460 lb-ft @ 4,100 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, 4X4
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 15.9 / 11.1 / 13.8
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 17.0
輪胎尺碼 Tires: P285/45R22