Changes Afoot for the 2018 GMC Yukon Denali

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
changes afoot for the 2018 gmc yukon denali

Some details aren’t likely to spur readers into dropping what they’re doing and taking the rest of the day off to plan their next big purchase, but one change planned for the 2018 GMC Yukon Denali does sweeten the pot.

Large, V8-powered SUVs seldom amaze with their fuel economy, so any improvement in thirstiness is a welcome addition to this mildly refreshed vehicle. While the Yukon Denali stands to gain unspecified MPGs, the brand is more interested in touting a less technological feature.

The grille. Yes, the big, bug-smacking chrome grate affixed to this Denali’s nose gets an upgrade for 2018, and GMC is very pleased with itself. But more on that later.

The real news is that the top-flight Yukon model will gain a 10-speed automatic to pair with its 420-horsepower, 6.2-liter V8. Gone is the former eight-speed automatic. Slowly trickling into high-torque General Motors and Ford vehicles, the jointly developed 10-speed boasts a wider gear ratio range for added low-end pull and greater fuel economy at highway speeds, as well as smoother shifting.

More than half of all Yukons sold in the U.S. leave the lot dressed in Denali threads, so updates for the top trim level are serious business at GM.

Up front, the previous egg-crate grille gives way to more thought-out ornamentation. The automaker claims designers gave the grille a “multidimensional, sculpted interpretation … designed in a layered manner.” Apparently, airflow to the radiator has increased, so it isn’t purely just a styling enhancement. Drag-reducing active aero shutters hidden behind that grille will continue to stifle airflow at speed.

Inside, GMC has decided to ratchet up the luxury just a bit with Mastique Ash real wood trim. As before, the Yukon Denali is offered in regular and XL wheelbases.

It’s a subtle update, for sure, but a meaningful one. As a near-luxury sub-brand (value luxury?) that serves as a cash cow for GM, Denali can’t take customers for granted.

[Image: General Motors]

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  • SuperCarEnthusiast SuperCarEnthusiast on May 25, 2017

    I am going to be buying the 2018 Tahoe RST model when it comes out! Full loaded it is $77K! Perfect for my budget! Don't need the status of a Yukon! With tax and fees; the sales guy estimates about $84K out the door!

  • Sgeffe Sgeffe on May 26, 2017

    The last generation looks better to me, inside and out. The curves on the rear side-door windows gave them a nice, upscale look. (And the regular versus "work truck" dash is superior to the current one, ancient steering-wheel controls aside.)

  • John On my 6th Saab now....always looking for another
  • 3SpeedAutomatic Thunderbird Production Numbers:1971 - 36,0551972 - 57,8141973 - 87,2691974 - 58,4431975 - 42,6851976 - 52,9351977 - 318,1401978 - 352,7511979 - 284,141 1980 - 156,803 1981 - 86,693 1982 - 45,142 1983 - 121,999 1984 - 170,533 1985 - 151,852 1986 - 163,965 Looks like the T'Birds on the Torino frame sold like gang busters ('77 thru '79).
  • Jeanbaptiste Any variant of “pizza” flavored combos. I only eat these on car trips and they are just my special gut wrenching treat.
  • Nrd515 Usually for me it's been Arby's for pretty much forever, except when the one near my house dosed me with food poisoning twice in about a year. Both times were horrible, but the second time was just so terrible it's up near the top of my medical horror stories, and I have a few of those. Obviously, I never went to that one again. I'm still pissed at Arby's for dropping Potato Cakes, and Culver's is truly better anyway. It will be Arby's fish for my "cheat day", when I eat what I want. No tartar sauce and no lettuce on mine, please. And if I get a fish and a French Dip & Swiss? Keep the Swiss, and the dip, too salty. Just the meat and the bread for me, thanks. The odds are about 25% that they will screw one or both of them up and I will have to drive through again to get replacement sandwiches. Culver's seems to get my order right many times in a row, but if I hurry and don't check my order, that's when it's screwed up and garbage to me. My best friend lives on Starbucks coffee. I don't understand coffee's appeal at all. Both my sister and I hate anything it's in. It's like green peppers, they ruin everything they touch. About the only things I hate more than coffee are most condiments, ranked from most hated to..who cares..[list=1][*]Tartar sauce. Just thinking about it makes me smell it in my head. A nod to Ranch here too. Disgusting. [/*][*]Mayo. JEEEEZUS! WTF?[/*][*]Ketchup. Sweet puke tasting sludge. On my fries? Salt. [/*][*]Mustard. Yikes. Brown, yellow, whatever, it's just awful.[/*][*]Pickles. Just ruin it from the pickle juice. No. [/*][*]Horsey, Secret, whatever sauce. Gross. [/*][*]American Cheese. American Sleeze. Any cheese, I don't want it.[/*][*]Shredded lettuce. I don't hate it, but it's warm and what's the point?[/*][*]Raw onion. Totally OK, but not something I really want. Grilled onions is a whole nother thing, I WANT those on a burger.[/*][*]Any of that "juice" that Subway and other sandwich places want to put on. NO, HELL NO! Actually, move this up to #5. [/*][/list=1]
  • SPPPP It seems like a really nice car that's just still trying to find its customer.