Do you know why someone might spend a lot of money, about $100,000 to be specific, on a GMC Yukon instead of other types of luxury cars like the Cadillac Escalade or Lincoln Navigator? I figured it out after spending 24 hours in one – no one would even guess it costs so much! That’s why some buyers pick this particular SUV.
GMC has created a special series called the Denali Ultimate, which includes comfy front seats that massage in sixteen different ways, fancy leather materials, and advanced suspension tuning like you’d find on a Cadillac driving machine.
Spot the Difference
The Denali badge means that this Yukon is really high quality. The Denali Ultimate badge makes it even more special, with lots of little touches that all come together to make a great car.
It can be tricky to spot a Denali Ultimate in a crowded parking lot. The exterior styling is pretty muted, with some darkened chrome parts and a satin trim. There’s also two-tone 22-inch wheels, although they might be too boring for people who like flashy designs. The surprising thing is that the fender badges don’t actually have the outline of Mount Denali on them, which you’d find on the GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate.
Experience Luxury with the GMC Denali Ultimate
The Denali Ultimate is different from the regular Denali models, and it stands out in its cabin.
The GMC Denali Ultimate has really luxurious leather seats, like you wouldn’t find in a usual Chevy Tahoe! The center console, dashboard and doors all have beautiful Paldao wood trim. Plus, the details on the window panels and seat backs are embroidered perfectly. There’s also some pretty cool Mount Denali designs stamped onto the seat backs too – oh and to top it all off, these amazing leather seats even recline 16-ways with heating, cooling and massage settings! Who knew you could get so much luxury in a mass-produced car?!
The sound system in the car, which has 18 speakers and looks really nice with metal grilles on it, is not as good as the one found in a Cadillac Escalade. Even though it’s better than the other Bose systems in GM products, it still doesn’t compare to the AKG system. The bass is strong but overall the sound isn’t clear like it should be.
The Yukon Denali Ultimate has a cloth headliner that looks like the huge sunshade that covers the panoramic glass roof. However, the GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate has a different material, which creates an odd contrast in the roof. I would prefer if both models had matching roofs, just like on the Yukon Denali Ultimate.
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The standard model of the Yukon Denali Ultimate comes with a 3.0-liter engine that provides 277 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, but my tester had an optional 6.2-liter V8 engine that boosts performance to 420 horses and costs an extra $1,055. This powerful engine runs very smoothly without any hiccups in the shifting between 1st and 2nd or 2nd and 3rd gears. However, during a nearly 1000km winter road trip it consumed 17.1 mpg which is quite expensive compared to the turbodiesel version’s 26 mpg highway rating with 4WD.
The Yukon Denali Ultimate is a super nice luxury SUV with an air suspension and adjustable dampers that make the ride really smooth when hitting bumps and pot holes. However, it is still made of metal, so it can’t avoid all the movements you’d expect from such a big SUV like the Jeep Grand Wagoneer or Lincoln Navigator. But, don’t worry! It handles corners much better than them and doesn’t feel too heavy to drive with minimal body roll.
The Yukon Denali Ultimate I tested was equipped with GM’s Super Cruise hands-free driver-assist system. This extra feature, costing $2,200, recently got an upgrade that increased the map covered by it from 200,000 to 400,000 miles in both U.S. and Canada. It can now be used on non-divided highways as well. After my winter testing, I can say Super Cruise is the best hands-free driver-assist system out there and Ford BlueCruise and Lincoln ActiveGlide come in second. Also, Super Cruise can effectively detect its environment to know where it’s going accurately even if the lane marking isn’t visible due to snow; after which it warns you immediately before shutting down for safety reasons. It was also able to stay centered when driving around curves on two lane undivided highways.
“It’s the Ultimate–But is it Worth It?”
The Yukon Denali Ultimate can be really expensive, but should you get it? It depends.
For $97,300 (including a destination fee) this GMC is not good value compared to the Escalade or Navigator. If I’m going for the top-of-the-line Yukon, I want all the features included. Super Cruise should come as standard in this vehicle.
The 2023 GMC Yukon Denali Ultimate is an incredible car! It costs around $9,000 more than a regular Yukon Denali but comes with all the best features. It’s not as flashy as an Escalade, so it might not attract everyone’s attention – but if you want to blend in and still get a top-notch family car, then this is the one for you!