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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 withÂ 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]