2018 GMC Yukon Denali: The Ultimate Family Wagon

Both the Yukon Denali and the Yukon XL Denali have multiple USB ports, accessory power outlets, and a 110V three-prong outlet. They also have a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot that comes with a 3GB 3-month data trial. There is active noise cancellation for a quieter ride, wireless phone charging on the top of the center console (so handy with my Samsung Galaxy Note8!), and remote vehicle start.

Both vehicles have a 10-speaker Bose Centerpoint surround sound audio system and an HD radio. They also have HID projector headlamps, LED daytime running lamps, front fog lamps, power heated outside mirrors, and a passive entry system which includes a remote keyless entry. They both are push-button keyless start, have heated steering wheels, controls on the steering wheel, and a customizable driver display. They also come with a 5-year basic plus OnStar plan with a limited trial of their guidance plan with automatic crash response and navigation.

GearDiary 2018 GMC Yukon Denali: The Ultimate Family Wagon

The trim is all aluminum, not metal-colored plastic.

Safety features on both models include standard front and side-impact airbags for the driver and front passenger, and front-center airbag and head curtain side-impact airbags for all rows. There is a standard enhanced driver alert package that includes forward collision alert, safety alert seat, IntelliBeam headlamps with automatic high-beam control (cool feature — no more accidentally bright lighting oncoming traffic), lane keep assist with lane departure warning, and low-speed forward automatic braking. There is also a standard rear vision camera, rear cross traffic alert and lane change alert with side blind zone alert. Adaptive Cruise Control is also available.

In other words, this full-size SUV is loaded with safety features.

Both the Yukon Denali and the Yukon XL Denali have a 6.2L V8 engine and the new 10-speed automatic transmission; they also have 420 horsepower at 5600 rpm, and 460 lb.-ft. torque at 4100 rpm.

I enjoyed driving both of the Yukon models — you want to talk about a vehicle that rides like a dream while comfortably carrying the entire family and all of our luggage? This is it. It handled the ups and downs on the road through the Colorado Rockies with no problem — even though we were dealing with snow and ice. The same descending hill outside of Vail that had caused our 2008 Denali to make a faint “duh-duh-duh-duh-duh” sounds while shifting (making me think there was an issue with our transmission or our brakes when I inevitably touched them) caused some hesitance in shifting on the 2018 model, but no other issues. Important and worth noting was that I had no issues maintaining my set cruise-control speed both on steep inclines and declines; the new 10-speed transmission is smooth and responsive overall.

GearDiary 2018 GMC Yukon Denali: The Ultimate Family Wagon

Photo courtesy of GMC – it was taken on our trip, but that’s not me driving. 😉

Kev and I call our 2008 Yukon XL Denali “the family wagon” or “the trip-mobile”, and there’s a reason for that. When faced with more than a 3-hour drive anywhere (or when more than just the two of us are going somewhere), the Denali is the vehicle we always chose over my 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. Even though the Jeep is newer, gets better gas mileage, and is easier to get around in and park, it’s also noisy, a bit crowded, and nowhere near as comfortable for our passengers.


About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
I've had a fascination with all types of gadgets and gizmos since I was a child, beginning with the toy robot that my grandmother gave my brother - which I promptly "relieved him of" in 1973. I'm a self-professed gadget magpie. I can't tell you how everything works, but I'm known world-wide for using a product until I have a full understanding of what it does, what its limitations are, and if it excels in any given area — or not.