2023 GMC Yukon Denali Ultimate – The Ultimate Family Hauler

2023 GMC Yukon Denali Ultimate: Overview

2023 GMC Denali Ultimate

You cannot skip GM’s family of full-size trucks if you need a powerful, body-on-frame truck to carry a family of up to 7 and tow. GMC’s Yukon is positioned as a premium brand, between the more mainstream Chevrolet (Tahoe and Suburban) and the luxurious, high-end Cadillac (Escalade and ESV)  

GMC expanded the already luxurious Denali trim with Denali Ultimate with more features and a price tag approaching the Escalade territory.

Our tester, the 2023 Yukon Denali Ultimate (with a shorter wheelbase as the name suggests) is equipped with extra features, and some of them are not available even as optional for the regular Denali.

The Yukon model lineup starts at $68K, and the range-topping Denali Ultimate begins at just north of $114K including a $2K delivery fee. For another $3K, you can get the longer Yukon XL. With the dealer-installed illuminated door and liftgate sill plates, our tester had a sensational MSRP of $115,733. Ironically speaking, with a little more effort, for the price of the most expensive Yukon, you could buy two basic models. It is also worth noting how many options GM can offer just one of its three full-size SUVs.

2023 GMC Yukon Denali: Engine and Powertrain

As GM is gradually moving to an electrified future, the Yukon and its corporate cousins apparently will stick to the old ICE technology for a while. Our tester had a 6.3 V8 engine generating 420 horsepower and 460-pound feet of torque. The engine is mated to 10-speed transmission and the four-wheel drive is standard.

The maximum towing capacity of 2,629 kg (8000 pounds) is impressive but a capability you would expect from an expensive truck with a price tag well north of the 100K threshold.

2023 GMC Yukon Denali: Exterior and Interior

This powerful truck is equipped with Chrome all around. The boxy shape of the body guarantees optimal room economy even in the tested short-wheelbase model. The interior space is easily configurable thanks to the power folding of the second and third-row seats. You can open the upper glass section of the liftgate separately and can throw smaller items into the trunk. The Yukon has 722 L of cargo space with the third row up. With the second and third-row seats folded it increases to 3,480 L. The figures sound spacious, however, if all the seats are occupied and each passenger has even a piece of standard luggage, the trunk will not accommodate this cargo unless you already chose the longer Yukon XL. The Bose sound system with 18 speakers is a feast for the ears.  Even the head restraints of the front seats are equipped with speakers enhancing the luxury ambiance in the cabin. The 16-way, power-adjustable, heated and cooled front seats are very comfortable and Alpine leather for all seats is standard.

The middle armrest has a big storage box and you have a bigger storage bin under the box accessible by power sliding this box via a button in the overhead console. Physical buttons and dials in addition to screen controls for the HVAC are a smart feature. Using touch screen controls only would be distractive. The gear selector on the dashboard is probably not the best solution and requires some getting-used-to. On the upside, this design saves valuable space at the centre console.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.

The second-row captain seats are where you (especially kids) will want to be. They are spacious, adjustable and have a commanding view unless you focus on the 12-inch touch screen and bear wireless headphones. Second-row passengers can watch whatever they want without distracting the driver. This place should be heaven, especially for kids during long drives and a relief for the dad and mom who supposedly occupy the front seats.

2023 GMC Yukon Denali: Driving impressions

Yukon Denali Ultimate gives a superb driving experience, especially for a big, body-on-frame truck. The powerful engine mated to a 10-speed transmission provides a linear, never-too-tired acceleration. The gear changes are smooth and unnoticeable and, speaking subjectively, gives some kind of pride to its driver. The high-seating position, commanding view and good visibility make highway cruising and city driving enjoyable. The steering response and the turning radius make you feel driving a smaller vehicle than it is. And all this comes at a price. Apart from its MSRP of almost in the Escalade territory, the average fuel consumption during my test drive was around 16 litres. Realistically, any customer who was able to afford a 115K truck would not bother much about this figure, but we test drivers usually would.

2023 GMC Yukon Denali: Conclusion

GM’s rich and extensive lineup of full-size trucks with three different brands could make the choice of the right vehicle a difficult task. In my personal opinion, this model is attractive for customers who already run a fleet of GMC trucks and have a brand loyalty.

For more detailed information and updates, please visit: https://www.gmccanada.ca/en

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