By on January 14, 2015

2015 GMC Yukon DenaliOver the last decade, General Motors observed a dramatic reduction in full-size SUV sales. GMC Yukon U.S. sales volume, for instance, fell 52% from 86,571 in 2004 to 41,569 in 2014.

Yet these vehicles remain relevant in the U.S. automotive landscape. GM, the best-selling manufacturer in the U.S., generated 8.7% of its volume with six full-size SUV nameplates in 2014, up from 7.7% in 2013. At this point, they’re not vehicles built exclusively for the rich and famous, the Secret Service, owners of big boats and RVs, and families with five children.


• USD Base Price: $67,965
• Horsepower: 420 @ 5600 rpm
• Torque: 460 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm
• Observed Fuel Economy: 12.7 mpg


How well would one version fare when GM Canada sent a CAD $84,695 copy for a one-week stay to a family with one child, no security team, no Jayco, no riches, and no fame? Quite well. But the 2015 GMC Yukon Denali did a better job of making the case for another GM vehicle than it did for itself.

I AM JUST A POOR BOY
In Canada, the regular-wheelbase 4WD Yukon Denali starts at $75,290, an $18,345 jump from the cost of a base 4WD Yukon. Our Yukon Denali included a $5000 touring package: sunroof, rear seat DVD, head-up display, enhanced security package, and 20-inch chrome wheels. Those wheels were swapped out for $545 22-inch alloys. Power retractable running boards added $1920; adaptive cruise control rang in at $1780.

In the U.S., 4WD Yukon Denalis start at $67,965, a $16,780 jump from the base Yukon SLE. Equipped like the one pictured here, the U.S. price would rise to around $77,000.

2015 GMC Yukon Denali frontI SEEM TO LEAN ON OLD FAMILIAR WAYS
The Denali’s heated steering wheel and three-stage heated seats (which can warm both buns and backs or buns only) were more than a little appreciated, as was the remote start, as our winter kicked into high gear after Christmas. The two front seats are also cooled, a feature I did not dare test when the windchill fell below 0°F. Warmed or cooled or not, front seat comfort is where full-size SUVs excel. Space is abundant, storage is plentiful, an ideal seating position is easy to find, there’s a significant amount of bolstering for broader folk, and no control requires a long reach.

But let’s face it, this interior doesn’t scream money. As the guy who didn’t pay big bucks to actually own this Yukon, it wasn’t hard for me to enjoy the simplicity of GMC’s IntelliLink (certainly not after a week with Acura’s convoluted system) and the vehicle’s high feature load. Still, any time I was left waiting in the Denali, I remembered other interiors at this price point and was left balancing the lower-class ambience of the Denali’s interior with, “But I can tow 8100 pounds and the Audi A8 can’t!

2015 GMC Yukon Denali interiorMaking matters worse, standard-wheelbase models just aren’t that roomy in the back. Second row passengers have far less knee room than you’d expect in a vehicle that’s 17-feet long. (Key dimensions: 204 inches long; 80 inches wide; and 74 inches tall on a 116-inch wheelbase.) Third row space would be decent if not for a floor so high that it jacks up knees to chin height. Standard-wheelbase, full-size SUVs continue to have an issue with cargo space behind the third row, as well. 15.3 cubic feet is the official figure, but making the most of that space requires artful placement of very slim luggage. The 57.6 cubic feet of space behind the second row is box-shaped, but the load height has been elevated to make a flat floor possible. This reduces overall space and makes life a pain for dogs who don’t have extensive agility training.

SLOW DOWN, YOU MOVE TOO FAST
Criticism that’s been levied against lesser versions of GM’s latest K2XX SUV platform is dismissed by the Denali’s magnetic ride control. Not only does the Yukon Denali ignore the worst pavement, its cabin is also very quiet. Pair that smooth silence with a monstrous V8 and speed is generated with great haste. Fortunately, confidence-inspiring brakes, good visibility, and composed handling cause the speeds produced by the 6.2L V8 to seem far more normal than they should for a vehicle which weighs, according to GM, 5784 pounds.

Sure, there’s a truck-like momentary lapse in the steering on and just off centre, but modern pickup trucks (and offshoots such as this Yukon) continue to impress with deftness that belies their size. Car & Driver says the Yukon Denali accelerates to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, a shocking figure which will likely be reduced by a smarter 8-speed automatic. This outgoing 6-speed never shifts poorly, but it doesn’t manifest the intelligence of newer automatics.

2015 GMC Yukon Denali column shifterOfficially, the Yukon Denali’s forthcoming 8-speed doesn’t make a huge fuel economy difference, increasing the 6.2L’s city number from 14 to 15 mpg and leaving the 21 mpg highway figure unchanged. (The real-world gains are surely more meaningful.) In our 6-speed tester, we saw 12.7 mpg, a figure exacerbated by winter rolling stock (285/45R22 Bridgestone Blizzaks), cold weather, excessive idling, and city driving. The 4WD system was left in auto mode for the duration of its stay, save for a handful of RWD moments at the end of our cul-de-sac after a light snowfall. You can imagine why.

GOING TO THE CANDIDATES’ DEBATE
At this price point, there are countless ways to spend your money, not just in the wide-ranging automotive spectrum but in the SUV world and even the GM portfolio.

The Escalade’s CUE will improve upon the Denali’s interior style quotient, if not its usability. There are smaller vehicles which do a better job of squeezing in seven occupants. Although the Yukon Denali handles well for what it is, there are genuine track-capable utility vehicles in existence. I couldn’t help but value the vehicle’s surplus all-around capability, however, and the GMC’s knack for coming across as a pleasant vehicle to live with despite being built to do rugged things conventional crossovers can’t.

2015 GMC Yukon Denali seatsAs a three-row vehicle, it comes up short. As a luxury contender, I’m not sure it lives up to its MSRP. Nevertheless, the Yukon Denali convinces me that GM is at its best when GM is building their most profitable vehicles. It also convinces me that I’d prefer to pay less for more vehicle. Thankfully, that vehicle exists. It’s called the Chevrolet Suburban.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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123 Comments on “Capsule Review: 2015 GMC Yukon Denali...”


  • avatar
    crtfour

    Agree with your price assessment. Pushing 80k dollars for a GM SUV is bordering on insanity especially when vehicles that do “scream money” (Land Rover, Mercedes, BMW etc) are not that far off price-wise.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      They may be expensive but they sure are a better place to spend your time than any faux fullsize those brands make.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        The high dollar trucks effectively subsidize the faux fullsize cars and all of the other unwanted models GM is forced to produce (electric Spark, Volt to some degree I imagine, etc).

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Only if you enjoy a trucklike ride and materials more appropriate for a $30k Impala.

        GM really needs to up its luxury game if it wants to have a hope of being taken seriously in this price range by anyone other than people who tow big boats and people who love 26″ wheels.

        • 0 avatar
          jmo

          Trucklike ride?

          “Criticism that’s been levied against lesser versions of GM’s latest K2XX SUV platform is dismissed by the Denali’s magnetic ride control.”

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Have ridden in MRC Escalades. Still much bouncier and less settled than a comparable luxury car. MRC, which is nothing more or less than a way to adjust shock rates on the fly, can’t overcome the physics of a beefy solid axle.

        • 0 avatar
          Mike999

          Exactly.

          For everyone who hates themselves so badly as to buy this thing.
          You’re forgiven. Stop punishing yourself.

          Get yourself an Volt or at least an Impala.
          Enjoy life.

      • 0 avatar
        Hank

        “faux fullsize”

        That’s actually the rub, isn’t it? Both in my own experience, and in view of this post’s author, the Denali in short wheelbase form (and therefore the Tahoe as well) are full size only externally. Their interior packaging surprisingly inefficient. I’ve been in midsize cars with more room, and the third row is cruel and usual punishment to most adults…and then you’ll have to spend $$$ on a Thule luggage package if you’re going anywhere requiring more than a Ziploc bag’s worth of luggage space.

        I really like the new styling of the Yukon the best of the three GM triplets, however. Just disappointed every time I drive one by the deceptively tight interior compared to other vehicles designed to carry 6+ people.

        • 0 avatar

          The short-wheelbase GMT vehicles were never particularly roomy. I sat in the latest Yukon Denali, and it felt no roomier than my friend’s Lexus GX 460, which is a mid-sized SUV that has also been criticized for a lack of space.

        • 0 avatar
          duffman13

          Which really begins to beg the question – unless you really need to tow heavy stuff, what is the point of these vehicles?

          We just bought a lightly used 2014 Santa Fe Limited. It can tow 5k, is incredibly comfortable, has all the heated/cooled seats, and seats 6. The second row is more spacious than any 2nd row I’ve ever been in and while it leaves something to be desired (it always does) 3rd row passengers aren’t exactly in a penalty box either. The trunk is about the same with the rear seats up as well, and we’re averaging in the low 20s with mixed driving.

          We bought it because it’s supposed to be a 10-year vehicle for us, and while we don’t need the 3rd row yet (used it 3x in 3 months now), we’d like to have the capability as our family expands. A large crossover does everything these uber-SUVs do better unless you need to move heavy loads, and so far, I’m very impressed with it.

    • 0 avatar
      Speed3

      Keep in mind that a fully optioned Jeep Grand Cherokee goes for OVER 72K. Yes, its the SRT, but the point is that cars aren’t cheep.

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        No. Gas pigs like this are expensive. I can get a loaded GTI for about 1/3 the price of this and double how far I go on a gallon of gas. And by 2017 my car will be worth more than this on the used car market. Just saying.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Say what you will, living in a land of Range Rovers and GLs (BMW really needs to get the X7 here ASAP), the Denali has always been more popular than the Escalade (probably due to the fact the the Escalade was overchromed and the Denali looked better).

      But this has been changing with the current, more differentiated and less tacky/more upscale looking Escalade.

  • avatar

    My first SUV was a 2002 Ford Expedition XLT. The only options in those days were leather, moonroof and metal running board rails.

    $38,000 which bacame $40,000 with taxes.

    Great looking truck, fun to drive and since gas prices for regular were only $1.50 or so – relatively inexpensive – compared to the $50,000-plus Navigator and its premium fuel of the time.

    But back then – the only people buying SUV were people who absolutely didn’t need them beyond being able to say they had one…which was EVERYBODY.

    I remember the “arms race” which took us all the way up the EXCURSION – a personal armored school bus.

    Now – to see everyone being forced to downside to 4-cylinder driven crossovers in the price range I paid for the full-sized Expedtion XLT, and people actually spending “2003 ESCALADE EXT” money for a regular V8 SUV…or $90,000 “S-class” money) for a new Escalade…

    I’m simply shocked.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Same point of reference, bought my 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland HO for $36K out the door. Everything else you said about SUVs and who bought them and why is spot on. SUVs had equal status to just about anything from MB or BMW

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      US price is $77k, note.

      Want to compare with an MB, that’s “moderately optioned GL” money, not S money.

      KBB suggests a maximum-optioned one with $2k in upgraded wheels should retail for $75k around here; I suspect therefore that one with slightly more normal options would go for around $70K, competitive with the base GL.

      And less obnoxious bling than an MB. Remember also that the comparable GL is the 550, which starts at $90k. (To match the GM’s active cruise control in tht $75k model adds another $2k.)

      If I wanted something like that, and didn’t hate GM, I’d be thinking an awful lot about how much fun I could do with $20k doing, well, anything other than buying a GL.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      And now the Excursion commands incredibly high prices on the used market for what’s essentially an F-250 wagon, even with the 6.0.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        I saw one with nasty front end damage selling in the classifieds for 15 grand. Jesus.

        At least the front end is the easy to replace part! Rear end damage, if it doesn’t total the damned thing, has gotta cost a fortune! All that unique, long out of production sheetmetal…

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Front end-damaged Excursions are in high demand among conversion companies making “new” Excursions. You give them a new Super Duty (usually Lariat or higher) and about $50K, and they’ll give you a 2015 Excursion.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I’d honestly like to see that.

            Wonder how they get the interior to match front and rear.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            The only thing they keep from the Excursion is the rear sheet metal. Everything else is from the Super Duty or custom-made.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    The side view mirrors have gotten much too small, and the bumper needs to come up a good foot.

    The alignment of this truck is also construed, it’s hurting the escalade more than it’s helping GM, the price really needs a 10k drop, it’s not as if there isn’t 30k of profit on her.

    Still they do a great job of being one of those most comfortable user oriented vehicles availible, though I do agree with Cain, the cheaper Suburban is where it’s at.

  • avatar
    Vojta Dobeš

    Haha, those headlines! I see what you did there ;)

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Completely agreed with your assessment. These vehicles have their use cases, particularly the LWB ones. But they’re fish out of water when they start being priced like Benz GLs (and within a few bucks of full-size Range Rovers). To justify that sort of price you need luxury as well as capability, and even the Escalade really doesn’t have much luxury.

    • 0 avatar
      Master Baiter

      I agree, but I’ll bet you can buy this tarted-up pick up truck for $20K off sticker.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Sadly, no. TrueCar in my area is showing ATPs of about $1500 off sticker on Touring Package Denalis. People are actually paying $70k+ for these things.

        • 0 avatar
          philadlj

          If “people are actually paying $70k+ for these things,” than I’d say the price justifies itself, regardless of how much of this inscrutable “luxury” it has or doesn’t have.

          And a GL (that STARTS at 89,950 USD with the V8) doesn’t quite possess the sheer imposing PRESENCE of a Denali or Escalade. It’s a narrower and visually weaker looking vehicle, and presence matters.

          As a recent ad suggests, the Escalade is the elephant, the litter, the royal carriage of the present day. Are those vehicles comfortable? Not really! But they are powerful status symbols.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The GL with the turbo V6 (which starts in the high $60k range) is a more appropriate competitor for these trucks. The turbo V8 version is cartoonishly overpowered and will flat blow them away.

            And, in many places, an Escalade is only a status symbol to those who like 26″ rims. I recognize there are huge regional differences on that, but in the northwestern and northeastern cities where I’ve lived for most of my life, a GL would be thought of as “normal” at high-end establishments while an Escalade would attract snickers. People who actually need pickup-truck capabilities in their big SUV would buy a Suburban without a second thought but would be hesitant to be seen in a Slade. It’s very much seen as a rapper’s car.

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            Stats say the GL550 is about .2 seconds faster to 60; same horsepower and torque class as this thing, same curb weight class.

            I’m not seeing any “blow them away”.

            The GL63 starts at $120k.

        • 0 avatar
          VenomV12

          TrueCar is garbage, I simply don’t believe their prices. I have never not been able to get or find a lower price than their alleged best price for a vehicle. There are a ton of new Yukon Denalis in my neck of the woods and almost all have employee or supplier pricing or some sort of other discount or great lease deal.

        • 0 avatar
          mikeg216

          Give it a year, only people paying sticker are the ones that need the end of year tax deduction

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “And, in many places, an Escalade is only a status symbol to those who like 26″ rims.”

      @dal

      I can’t speak to your experiences and I believe that in some areas what you wrote is accurate but a car (or truck) can be different things to different people.

      Regardless of how you or I see something others may gaze upon it with a different eye. Most of the people I see driving Escalades are moms. Some are milfs while others aspire to be. Most are white, some are black and some hispanic. Hardly any Asians.

      Regardless of what you believe the trucks shortcomings are. Regardless of how you view it, it’s selling and making money. You can attribute that to 26″ wheel status symbols but I think you’d be wrong.

      • 0 avatar
        slance66

        Escalades are status symbols in the Tony Soprano set…but I don’t see many driving them here in New England, other than football players. Audis, MB, BMW, Lexus…plus Porsche Cayennes dominate. Lots of MDXs but nobody looks at them as status symbols.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    I’ll bet this would sell for $20K off sticker to a savvy buyer.

    Still, unless you plan to tow an Airstream, these BOF SUVs make no sense at all. Huge on the outside; surprisingly small on the inside. I was picked up once by an airport limo service in an Escalade. Despite its huge outer proportions, it was smaller inside than my Acura MDX.

  • avatar
    Vetteman

    I have owned many new GM trucks and Suburbans . I very much enjoyed my 3/4 ton 4×4 1999 and 2001 Big block Subs . This new generation of Gm full size SUV’s are pretty much just refreshes of over decade old technology at dramatically increased prices . Gm has really went down the price gougeing path in the last few years . I first saw this on GM factory replacement parts bought from the dealer . Common parts prices have went up by huge percentages . Now they openly brag about higher customer transaction prices on new vehicle sales . That means to me I get less vehicle for more money as a customer. As a former long time loyal GM customer I have moved on to other brands that for me offer better quality, technology and value. These were what GM used to offer . I went from Buying Cadillacs years ago to Lexus and will continue to Buy Lexus . Fantastic Car and great dealer service. . I just replaced my Silverado with a new Ram 2500 with the Cummins . Too bad Gm you won’t see any more of my Money .

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Love spending five minutes drafting a comment, hitting “submit” and having in not appear. Great.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      I always copy mine to a .txt file before I submit if it’s longer than a few sentences.
      And then I refresh the page before I submit to see if anyone else has something to which I’d like to reply. :P

      • 0 avatar
        bomberpete

        zoomzoom91 – You’re right, tires do matter and nobody seems to do it better than Michelin. Eagle RS-A tires have always been a “sporty” compromise that do everything OK and nothing especially well. Most cop cars have ’em.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I have RS-A’s, and they’re just plain compromise(d). Nothing good about them at all. Can’t wait til mine are worn enough to justify getting something else.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            If your tires don’t perform in a manner you consider acceptable, why not just buy new ones, regardless of their age.

            To me, new and sh1t performance == old and warn out and due for replacement.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Money, and because I drive 7 miles total per day. If I spent long commutes with them, I’d have done it already.

            Any car I own becomes a low mileage car if I have it long enough, lol. I have also never owned a car long enough to wear out the tires to the point it needs new ones.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Fair enough.

            I drive 19k miles a year and have always previously bought used cars, and have ditched “new” tires more than once.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Oy these things make the loaded Enclave, Acadia, and Traverse look like a bargain.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Yep. And the Lambdas have more interior volume than the SWB versions of these trucks by a considerable margin. They narrowly lose out to the LWB trucks on volume, but they are ALMOST TWO FEET shorter.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Comment eaten, so I’ll try again, more succinctly.

      Lambda CUVs have almost as much interior volume as the LWB versions of these trucks, while being nearly two feet shorter. They have way more volume than the SWB trucks. It’s not even close.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        But they cannot tow/haul the same amounts as these trucks in certain configurations nor do they offer true 4×4 capability. Personally if I am going to drop 50 large on a family “utility” type vehicle I’m keeping it a minimum of ten years through a variety of potential life changes. Lambada, Theta, and their ilk don’t even register to me more lease grade plastic fantastic consumer grade people haulers.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          The awd system on the Lambda’s is crap. I’ve first hand watched the back wheels on an Acadia twitch pathetically as the fronts spun freely, on an icy incline.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            No argument there. But if I need a good AWD system in a people carrier I’d much rather have a Q7 than a Tahoe or Yukon. The argument for the Tahoe/Yukon is really towing or hauling heavy loads.

          • 0 avatar
            GS 455

            I’m not impressed with the 2nd row in the Lambdas. When I do the “sit behind myself” test the amount of leg room isn’t great for a vehicle this size, the seats are too low and my knees are too high up. Also the door opening is tight making ingress and egress awkward. GM’s interior space to outside dimension ratio is poor for most of their cars and trucks. The Terrain is one exception, it’s back seat is roomy for it’s size.

          • 0 avatar
            86er

            @GS 455

            The Flex has it all over the Lambdas in the 2nd row. Plus most of the Lambdas look like amorphous blobs.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            At these prices, a few things can be assumed:

            You’re well-off.
            You want something large with three rows.
            Fuel economy is not a concern.
            You’re okay with medium prestige rather than luxury like RR or GL.

            The answer would seem to be Land Cruiser.

          • 0 avatar
            zoomzoom91

            I won’t dispute your story, but I’ve driven our Acadia through blizzards including hills without any issues. Tires seem to matter a lot. Michelin Latitudes on ours. Used to have Goodyear Eagle RS-As. Those were just ok.

            We went with a Lambda rather than a GMT900 truck due to fuel economy, price, and interior space. Was great until the engine threw a rod. Not a lot of confidence in GM’s transverse 3.6/6 speed powertrain here. We don’t tow (once, ever–light uhaul trailer) or abuse, either.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          How many of the buyers are towing, hauling, or going places where a truck-grade 4×4 system is relevant?

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Where I live these beasts are always towing something, boats, horse trailers, something. When you see them at the Mall on Tuesday empty, doesn’t mean they weren’t “on the job” last Saturday

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Based on the sales figures I’d say more than you’d think OR people like me who prefer the heavier duty setup for the long haul. Resale may also be a factor, I don’t think its there for the Lambdas but that may have changed.

          • 0 avatar
            VenomV12

            Where I am at these things always tow stuff. Boats or jet skis in the summer or car trailers and snowmobile trailers in the winter, hell when I was down at my house in Texas a month ago I saw a brand spanking new Escalade towing a horse trailer which to my knowledge might be the first time I think I have ever seen an Escalade towing anything.

            Years ago some buddies and I were launching our boats at a steep and slippery launch and one of the guys had a RWD only 2WD Yukon and a 25ft Baja and he could not get the boat and trailer out the water, tires kept spinning so we had to pull it out with one of our 4WD trucks.

          • 0 avatar
            duffman13

            It depends, and it also depends how much you need to tow. Most of the larger crossovers (Traverse, Acadia, Exploder, Pathfinder, Santa Fe) have a 5000lb tow rating themselves. Given their better interior form-factor and road manners, they really make the proper truck-based SUV irrelevant.

            Granted if I had to tow something every weekend I would probably buy something truck-based, but the 5000lb rating on the Santa Fe is enough for my S2000 on a trailer the 1-2 times a year I might decide to trailer it to the track.

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        Yep, I sat in my grandparents Buick enclave. I couldn’t hardly believe how huge it was inside compared to my tahoe.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Exactly. And you don’t need a tugboat to park them either.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Looks like it’s Paul Simon day here at TTAC (kind of amazed one of the paragraphs wasn’t titled “Slip Sliding Away”).

    Bad news: you might have to BE Paul Simon to afford one of these things.

    Good news: at least for now, you won’t have to take out a home equity loan to run it.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    As irrelevant of a criticism as this may be seeing as where these trucks are mostly driven, but holy hell that lower valence is as close to the ground as my Civic’s! Hate to see the massively wide and high center console as well, takes away a lot of what these trucks had going for them IMO which was excellent stretch out room. Apparently you can still order a Tahoe LS with a front bench seat.

    Lastly the raised rear floor in order to allow for a ‘fold-flat’ third row is just the laziest engineering ever. That 15.3 cu ft with third row up would be a significantly better figure if it weren’t for that ‘marvel’ of GM engineering genius. Having spent 2 hours each way in the back of a previous gen Tahoe in the third row, I will attest to how uncomfortable I was, with no place to put my feet. My old 1998 Mazda MPV was actually livable in the third row for adults and it too was a solid rear axle longitudinal-RWD layout, and a lot shorter actually (albeit unibody, that might be the key).

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Yep, LS models can come with a bench seat, although you have to wonder how comfortable it’d really be with the console jutting so far back. Mostly it’s an option to advertise 9-passenger seating.

      Although really, even though I say I’d never buy a full-size truck without a front bench, I’d only use it in a pinch. I’d like it more for the flip-down console.

      “Console goes up…console goes down! Console goes up…console goes down! Up…down! Up…down! Up-down! Up-down!”

  • avatar

    On one hand, there are far more luxurious choices at this price point, namely the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class. On the other hand, GM’s BOF SUV’s hold their resale value extremely well and will last a lot longer than anything from Germany or England.

    My verdict: I don’t think I’d buy one of these new, if at all.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I can’t get my head around the GL being listed up there with the Range Rover, as other people here have done. It’s always seemed so mediocre to me, with ridiculous options required to make it fully loaded.

      So why not Land Cruiser? Better resale, similar mpg, 3 rows seating.

  • avatar
    CreepyMayne

    Unless you REALLY need the towing capability, a Durango Citadel would be my choice. I haven’t driven the new GM trucks yet, but I had a rental Durango Limited and it was everything a family could want or need. Comfortable and composed ride, brisk acceleration (this was only the Pentastar/8 speed) and a really nice interior with Uconnect. All under $50k. Talk about imposing street presence, the Citadel in black is that biz-nas.

    • 0 avatar

      I, too, wonder why more people don’t pay attention to the Durango. I actually prefer RWD unibodies to BOF SUVs, so that’s a plus for the Durango in my book. It’s also a lot cheaper than the Expedition, Sequoia and Tahoe/Yukon. Especially given its Mercedes-Benz-sourced underpinnings, a Durango Citadel is quite like a budget GL-Class…

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      RWD unibody is a vastly better choice from a packaging standpoint, and also allows for more capability than something like a Lambda. I’d much rather have a Durango Citadel than any of the BOF SUVs out there.

      Unfortunately, the Durango doesn’t have the good reputation of its two-row platform-mate, the Grand Cherokee. The JGC may be the single vehicle in the entire vehicular universe that has a good reputation in the widest variety of settings. If you want everyone across the society to like your car, a JGC is the vehicle for you.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      2014 and newer Durango is a better vehicle all around than this overpriced Denali.

      The 2014 Durango, which received an upgraded interior & standard 8 speed transmission, has a better ride, is more solid in terms of chassis/body (it’s the most torsionally stiff SUV along with the MB ML350, its chassis mate), has better fit/finish, has a better powertrain, and gets better fuel economy with a V6 or V8 than the Denali-pig.

      At equal price, I’d take a Durango every day over the Denali without hesitation. Given that the Durango is likely to be 35% less, the Durango is not only the better vehicle, but the absolute sleeper in this segment.

    • 0 avatar
      klossfam

      Excellent point CreepyMayne – the Durango is a great platform with a lot of the capabilities of the gussied up Tahoe…I too rented one for a drive from Buffalo to Detroit (and back) and averaged over 26 mpg (3.6 PentaStar and AWD).

      I think people DO forget to look at the Durango…It is a far superior platform to the GM Lambdas or Ford Explorer. Basically a Jeep Grand Cherokee LWB…with great powertrain options…

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Once you get into the $70-80k range, that is LandCruiser turf. I’d MUCH rather have one of those than one of the fullsize GMs. Obviously the market disagrees! But the differential in quality and attention to details is immense I reckon, not to mention the huge gap in off road capability (as irrelevant as it is for the buyers of these things).

    • 0 avatar
      cartunez

      I have a 2013 Landcruiser that I love. For a poser like me it has all the power, room, reliability, and yes even good gas mileage (I get 18 mpg hwy and around 15 mpg city) and I drive like an idiot. The only thing Toyota is slow with is the toys like lane departure wireless charging etc etc. I do agree though the GM clones can’t touch my truck overall and the price is insanity. I went to drive the $90,000+ 2015 Caddy version and all I could think of was for this rig is about 40K over priced.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Also at this price is a fully loaded QX80.

      (Not saying it’s pretty.)

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      It’s probably a lot easier to buy a Yukon Denali than a Land Cruiser…Any GMC dealer will have Denalis of various models in stock, but I have a feeling only Toyota dealers in more affluent areas even carry Land Cruisers.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        This is surprisingly true. It’s really, really hard to buy low volume specialty cars.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          I didn’t think the Land Cruiser was a low volume specialty vehicle. I mean, it’s a Toyota. And a truck.

          But I suppose they probably only sell like 2000 a year tops, maybe not even that…

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            About 3000 in 2014. My experience is that it gets very tricky to buy anything (whether a model, trim level, or option combo) that sells in less than five figures nationally. This is why I want online direct sales with configure-to-order.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Yeah, me too. I like the sound of that, but I am the kind of guy who would option things in a slightly odd way. No bright neon green Audis, but probably not something Average Joe would want.

            Also, wow, the biggest Toyota dealership I’ve ever seen still only has a single 2014 Land Cruiser in stock. Now that’s exclusivity. Even the Lexus dealer owned by the same chain only has one LX.

  • avatar
    genuineleather

    America’s G-Wagen: objectively terrible at its designated role but succeeds as a fashion statement alone. Driving a car this big on the outside and so downmarket and cramped on the inside boggles the mind.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Here’s my theme song for anyone who pays anywhere near 60k, let alone 80k, for one of these (if you did, you are the exception that proves the general rule, so don’t take offense):

    Retards

    We’ve got retards

    We’ve got lots & lots of retards

    Retards!

  • avatar
    doktorno

    After decades of driving Suburbans, my 2007 Denali was my last GM as it was coming apart at 67,000 miles. I agree that they are just warming over older mechanical systems, and the interior fit and finish does not support the price tag. Worse is the $90,000 Escalade with 25 linear feet of LED lights and a side profile befitting a herse. New Land Cruisers are $74,xxx plus TTL out the door. Drive a LC for a decade or so and then hand it off to the kids for the next 100k miles.

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    review: if you buy one, you have more money than sense.

  • avatar
    LuciferV8

    The Denali’s have always been nice, but well overpriced.

  • avatar
    Sob93

    $77,000 and still with the dorky column mount shifter. Bloated and obsolete.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I bet it sounds like an old van column shifter when you shift it.

      There is just no luxury to a column shift. At least do a dial like RAM.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Ironically a column shifter on a RWD with a trans hump, but on FWDs they mount a floor shifter with an artificial trans hump. Sense? Nada.

      • 0 avatar
        mik101

        It made sense on FWD cars that used rods, and really to get the height up on any manual shifter. I can see what you’re saying with regards to vehicles that come as automatic only though.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Precisely, can you even get a K2XX in a stick? AFAIK no, so just mount the shifter on the floor. Can you get Delta II Cruze in AWD or a stick? Not AFAIK, so why not use a column shifter and get rid of the trans hump for more leg room?

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      The column shifter isn’t the problem; the problem is it’s the same shifter on a $90K Escalade as on a $25K Silverado work truck.

      • 0 avatar
        bomberpete

        Ah, columns shifters! Until the late Seventies and somewhat into the Eighties, each of GM’s five car divisions had distinctive column shifters. Must have made those vendors very rich. This was something Ford and Chrysler couldn’t brag about that – the column shifter on a Maverick was the same as a Lincoln Mark IV.

        Aside from all the other many problems that caused GM’s downfall, losing that particular interior distinction highlighted just how ridiculously alike each division’s turdmobiles had become.

        My personal favorite was the chrome groved piece with a black plastic top used in Buick’s big RWD cars from 1971 until the last Electra Estate Wagon in 1990.

  • avatar
    klossfam

    The net/net profit for GM on a rig like this must be OFF THE CHARTS! I imagine only pharmaceuticals would be more profitable…Agree with most of the B & B above > if I’m spending 70+ large on a SUV, it’s going to be something MUCH cooler and fun to drive…

    Even an Audi Q7 TDI loaded up makes more sense…I know it is smaller but geez…$70k plus for a ultra gussied up Tahoe…YIKES!

    • 0 avatar
      bomberpete

      In 2013, did a lot of chauffeuring in a brand-new Denali. Lots of power and fun to drive in its own way, but the fittings were standard GM awful. The sticker on that one was $63K. I was and remain shocked that GM gets $2OK more for its Escalade bretheren.

      This platform must keep GM’s whole North American operation afloat.

      • 0 avatar
        crtfour

        “This platform must keep GM’s whole North American operation afloat.”

        Apparently it was at one time. I’m currently reading “Crash Course: The American Auto Industry’s Road to Bankruptcy, Bailout and Beyond.” It appears that Rick Wagoner wanted nothing to do with developing small cars and truly thought that trucks & SUV’s would continue to fully sustain the entire GM North American operation as it had been. Good call Rick……

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I believe it, based on everything I’ve read (both anecdotal and published) GM could not make a small car profitably and the ones they did build was because they were forced too.

        • 0 avatar
          zoomzoom91

          Decent book. Listening to it on CD right now. Actually near the part where Wagoner pushes the full-size SUV program in 05-06ish. Try “Comeback” by the same author, Paul Ingrassia. More interesting IMHO.

        • 0 avatar
          zoomzoom91

          Decent book. Listening to it on CD right now. Actually near the part where Wagoner pushes the full-size SUV program in 05-06ish. Try “Comeback” by the same author, Paul Ingrassia. More interesting IMHO.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      More room and some people need the towing capacity.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    General Motors is one FUBAR company.

    Absolute, total incompetence across the management board (and corporate board).

    The only thing as equally FUBAR as GM’s level of gross incompetence is the fact there are non-GM employees NOT receiving 15k to 20k off on these dated Yukons (cosmetic refreshes) that would knowingly, voluntarily pay anywhere CLOSE to sticker for one of these shabby pigs.

  • avatar
    chiefmonkey

    I would think this is one of the best vehicles to tailgate Honda Civics in.

  • avatar
    Durask

    Since GM makes them, obviously they sell.
    To me the price is ridiculous, this is Mercedes GL territory and GL absolutely destroys these cars in every category except towing. Heck, even the Escalade is not as good as the GL in most categories. I guess there are many people who think otherwise.

    I used to rent Tahoes and Yukons a lot and I actually liked them for long trips (Suburban is the best), but for me to consider them they will have to be at least 20K below GL450.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      That’s b/c the Escalade is not the competitor to the GL.

      Cadillac will be bringing a 3-row CUV based on the Omega platform which will compete against the GL and the upcoming BMW 3-row (X7).

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    Can i get my tan…suv with a machine gun and a rocket launcher?

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