2019 GMC Yukon Graphite Edition: Reaching for That Elusive V8

Adam Tonge
by Adam Tonge

The current generation of General Motors’ full-sized SUVs has become the dominant force in the segment. The six nameplates offered up by GM own seventy-five percent of America’s full-sized, body-on-frame, truck-based SUV market. The GMC Yukon and GMC Yukon XL are a big part of that dominance. Their high average transaction prices and robust sales have helped build General Motors’ fastest growing brand into a sales powerhouse.

The Yukon has always been a luxurious, yet restrained, step above the Tahoe and Suburban, and the 2015 model boosted the upscale feel with the addition of better materials like real wood. A more powerful engine further differentiated the model from its Chevy sibling. Unfortunately, the 420 horsepower 6.2 liter V8 was only available on the Denali-trimmed Yukons.

That is, until the 2019 GMC Yukon hits dealer lots. But there’s a catch.

The Yukon twins have added around 175,000 units to GM’s sales totals the last two years. While that is significantly less than combined Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban sales, the Yukon and Yukon XL print money from the top of Truck Mountain. Fifty-four percent of Yukon and sixty-three percent of Yukon XL sales are Denali. That means that, in the last two years, General Motors has sold 100,000 or more Yukon and Yukon XL Denalis. The cheapest version of these trucks starts at an MSRP of $66,200.

For 2019, the GMC Yukon continues its recipe for success. There are no major changes to the Yukon Denali or the base trim level. There is, however, an interesting package added to the SLT trim level on both the Yukon and Yukon XL, according to the MY2019 GMC fleet order guide.

Enter the GMC Yukon Graphite Edition.

Following a similar formula to the Chevrolet Tahoe RST (seen above), the Graphite Edition Yukon strips away most of the chrome trim and replaces it with gloss black accents. The package includes 22-inch bright machined wheels with Carbon Flash Metallic pockets, black assist steps with Gloss Black accents, Black Chrome grille mesh inserts and fog lamp surround, body-color grille surround, Gloss Black beltline moldings, and the Z85 Suspension Package.

For those that demand the goodness that is General Motors’ 6.2-liter V8, you’ll have to step up to the Graphite Performance Edition. This package includes the aforementioned 6.2L V8 engine, a 10-speed automatic transmission, 22-inch six-spoke Black wheels, LPO, an 8-inch diagonal Driver Information Center, Head-Up Display, 8-inch diagonal Color Touch Screen Navigation with GMC Infotainment System, a trailer brake controller, 170-amp alternator, 3.23 axle ratio, two-speed active transfer case on 4WD models, and Magnetic Ride Control. The Graphite Edition is also a requirement of the Graphite Performance Edition.

Until now, if a Yukon buyer wanted the 6.2L V8, 10-speed automatic, and Magnetic Ride Control, they would have to check the Denali box. Now they have another option. However, without these packages, the MSRP of the 2018 Yukon SLT is $58,495. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but the Graphite and Graphite Performance Edition will surely close the gap between the SLT and Denali in terms of price.

Summed up, the 6.2L V8 and 10-speed transmission powertrain combination is available on a lower trimmed Yukon. It just won’t cost you much less.

[Images: General Motors, Matthew Guy/TTAC]

Adam Tonge
Adam Tonge

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  • Jack4x Jack4x on May 14, 2018

    I love the 6.2 and applaud any effort to spread availability. That said: We are entering the 6th model year for this engine. How is it still unavailable a la carte in the trucks and SUVs yet? Or more to the point, why can I not get it in anything approximating a work truck? No 8 foot bed available with the 6.2 for any price. No cloth seats or base SUV. Ford will happily sell me anything down to a 2WD RCSB F150 XL with either the 3.5TT or 5.0, so what gives GM?

    • See 2 previous
    • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on May 24, 2018

      @Maxb49 307 Chevy or 307 Oldsmobile? Can't comment on 307 Chevy but the 307 Olds was as eager to rev as an unbalanced washing machine. I always wanted to grab one, slap a TBI on it and see if that cured all the things I hated about the one I had.

  • Ernest Ernest on May 14, 2018

    "The current generation of General Motors’ full-sized SUVs has become the dominant force in the segment." No, they were the dominant force in the segment when I bought my '94. And when I bought my 2000. In fact, it's not only been the dominant force in this segment, it invented the segment back in the 30's. It's pretty clear many @ TTAC don't "get" this market at all. They don't live in the affluent "ex-urbs" where a Ford Super Duty and a (fill in your favorite big GM SUV here) grace more driveways than you can count. This isn't an urban hip-hop culture- that's where the used ones will be found. And it isn't rural- too much money floating around.

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    • Maxb49 Maxb49 on May 24, 2018

      @Adam Tonge GM created the full-size SUV segment in the 1930s.

  • Hermaphroditolog Good hybrid cars use ICE implosion mode.Mercedes-EQXX uses implosion turbines (turboexpanders) for regeneration from heat losses.
  • Kosmo I, for one, and maybe only one, would buy a 5.0 L, stickshift variant of the sedan/hatchback that is Ford's "Not A Mustang EV" tomorrow.I'd buy the sportwagon version yesterday.
  • Akear I am counting the days when Barra retires. She has been one long nightmare for GM. People don't realize the Malibu outsells all GM EVs combined.
  • Redapple2 you say; most car reviewers would place it behind the segment stalwarts from Honda and Toyota,........................... ME: Always so. Every single day since the Accord / Camry introduction.
  • Akear GM sells only 3000 Hummer EVs annually. It is probably the worst selling vehicle in GM history.