2015 GMC Yukon Denali: Did We Mention It’s Large?


The 2015 Yukon Denali SUV offers reassuring size and maximum passenger capacity.

The 2015 Yukon Denali is big. You probably knew that, but we’re talking large.

While the Land Rover lays claim to the top shelf of luxury for SUVs, the Denali opts to rule via sheer size and road presence. Not only does its ergonomics keep you sitting well above the puny commoners beneath you both on the road and in daily life, its length keeps your sad followed half a block away from you — even if you’re on their bumper.

It’s really about as large as any consumer passenger vehicle should be allowed to run. Its overall length is just shy of 204 inches. That’s exactly two inches than the Titanic. Actually, it’s not, but it feels like it when you’re driving a Denali. It has a 116 inch wheel base and an 80.5 inch width Fully kitted out, the Denali weighs just about 200 lbs. below 3 tons.

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You see? Large. It has its own zip code and the gravitational pull of the used-to-be-planet of Pluto. In fact, Pluto lost its fully fledged planet status because the Denali is bigger. The Alaskan mountain GMC named this SUV after is actually afraid of this vehicle. Helicopters could land on its roof, but you’d have to move the country of Luxembourg over to the hood first.

To move all of that mass, GMC turned to a 5.3 or 6.2 liter V8, depending on trim level — putting out 355 and 420 horsepower, respectively. Though bigger than the dinosaurs whose remains fuel it, the Denali does manage a highway MPG of 22.

A full suite of driver aides and safety features keeps the Denali squarely in the 21st century — and they’d come in handy if other lesser vehicles didn’t run squealing from its sheer brawn.

It’s big. The driver needs an intercom system to talk to the rear seat passengers. If you run out of gas in the Denali, you can pack an ATV in the cargo compartment and run for a refill. Its windshield wipers are visible from space. Families of Lithuanian refugees can hide in its cup holders. I don’t mean just the refugees themselves – I mean their entire extended families. It’s so large the number of “big” jokes I’d need to fill it would stretch to the bottom of the Mariana Trench if linked end to end.

However, before you wander off thinking the Denali’s bulk is a problem or a reason to ignore the car in this era of tinny, stale hybrids, you need to realize that buyers of this vehicle turn to it because it is so gigantic. It demands attention while transporting human cargo in airy comfort. While it lacks the buttery smoothness of the Land Rover, it also doesn’t feel as numb or separated from the road.

There’s one other key difference between the Denali and the Land Rover – price. The Yukon starts around $62,000. That’s not too vicious a price to pay for an SUV that can dominate the streets while providing surprising comfort.