2015 GMC Yukon Denali, Yukon XL Denali receive new 8-speed automatic transmission

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 10, 2014

With the addition of a new 8-speed automatic transmission, the updated 2015 Yukon XL Denali and Yukon Denali from GMC now lead the market in terms of fuel economy, horsepower and torque. The 6.2-liter EcoTec3 V-8 engines of the Yukon XL Denali and Yukon Denali are now paired with the Hydra-Matic 8L90 eight-speed automatic transmission. This addition makes the Denali more fuel-efficient than the 6-speed automatic.

The two-wheel drive Yukon Denali has an estimated EPA highway mileage of 22 mpg whereas the four-wheel drive now has an EPA city mileage estimate of 15 mpg. Within its category in the market, the Yukon Denali is unrivaled in delivering efficiency and power .The engine gives a peak of 420 horsepower with 460 lb-ft of maximum torque. This results in a highway fuel economy that is at par or even better than the 6-cylinder or 8-cylinder engines of its competitors.

The Yukon Denali’s new 8L90 transmission has smaller steps between its gears making the engine more efficiently leverage the peak power bands. With a wide gearing, this allows the use of a lower rear axle ratio of 3.23:1, reducing both fuel consumption and engine speed while cruising on the highway. The improvement in fuel economy has not compromised in any way the capability and comfort expected from a Yukon.

In addition, not only is the new transmission able to handle more torque but it makes the shift controls and the solenoids more responsive leading to quicker shift times. The new torque converter gives smoother performance at the Yukon’s low speeds especially when it is pulling trailers or carrying heavy loads. The new transmission does not affect the tow ratings, meaning the Yukon Denali stays at 8,400 pounds while for the Yukon XL Denali, it is at 8,100 pounds.

Aside from the new transmission, both the 2015 Yukon XL Denali and Yukon Denali continue to combine distinct design elements that have upscale amenities like premium materials for its interior. Other improvements to both the convenience and connectivity include a hands-free power liftgate that can be closed or opened by simply letting the foot pass under the rear bumper.

There is also a wireless charging surface that is compatible to most mobile devices and is already integrated in the design of the model’s console lid. Equipped with an OnStar with 4G LTE, in-car data connectivity is possible. A Wi-Fi hotspot allows for the connection of a maximum of 7 devices.

Another good feature is the enhanced GMC Intellilink system, that when paired with a compatible Bluetooth phone, sends alerts for incoming text messages. Learning about the different features is easy since it can now be downloaded as an application for smartphones or tablets. The updated 2015 Yukon XL Denali and Yukon Denali are priced from $64,965 and $67,665 respectively, and are available at dealers.

Press Release

2015 Yukon Denali Gains Eight Gears, Improved Highway Fuel Economy

Thanks to the addition of an all-new 8-speed automatic transmission, the updated 2015 GMC Yukon Denali and Yukon XL Denali models now lead several competitors in horsepower, torque and highway fuel economy ratings.

Both the Yukon Denali and Yukon XL Denali now pair their 6.2-liter EcoTec3 V-8 engines with a new Hydra-Matic 8L90 eight-speed automatic transmission,   designed to be more fuel-efficient than the Denali’s previous six-speed automatic. EPA highway mileage estimates for two-wheel drive Yukon Denali and Yukon XL Denali models increase to 22 mpg with the eight-speed automatic, while the EPA city mileage estimate for the four-wheel drive Yukon Denali model rises to 15 mpg.

Within its segment, the Yukon Denali continues to deliver unrivaled power and efficiency. Denali’s 6.2L EcoTec3 V8 delivers a segment-leading 420 hp and segment-leading 460 lb-ft of torque with highway fuel economy equal to or better than many 6- or 8-cylinder engines in competitive makes. 

Compared to the Yukon Denali’s previous six-speed transmission, the new 8L90 transmission offers smaller steps between gears, allowing the engine to efficiently leverage its peak power bands. The wider gearing spread also allows the use of a lower 3.23:1 rear axle ratio, which reduces engine speeds and fuel consumption, especially during highway cruising.

Comfort and capability are not compromised for fuel economy. Not only is the 8L90 transmission capable of handling more torque than the six-speed transmission it replaces, but its shift controls and solenoids are more responsive and provide quicker shift times. A new torque converter also delivers smoother performance at low speeds, especially when carrying heavy loads or pulling trailers. Tow ratings – up to 8,400 pounds for the Yukon Denali and 8,100 pounds for the Yukon XL Denali – are unaffected by the addition of the eight-speed transmission.

The 2015 Yukon Denali and Yukon XL Denali continue to blend unique design elements with upscale amenities, including premium interior materials.  Convenience and connectivity improvements include:

  • A new hands-free power liftgate, which can be opened and closed by simply passing a foot beneath the rear bumper
  • A wireless charging surface for WPC (Qi) or PMA (Powermat) compatible mobile devices integrated into the design of the center console lid. A list of compatible devices is located at gmtotalconnect.com
  • OnStar with 4G LTE, which provides in-car data connectivity and a Wi-Fi hotspot capable of connecting up to seven devices at one time
  • An enhanced GMC Intellilink system, which provides incoming ‘Text Message Alerts’ when paired to a compatible Bluetooth phone

Owners of 2015 Yukon and Yukon XL models can receive a tutorial on these new features through a new Yukon-specific application for tablet devices, which supplements the owner’s manual. The new Yukon app will be available for both Apple iOS and Android devices.

The updated 2015 Yukon Denali and Yukon XL Denali models are priced from $64,965 and $67,665 respectively, and are now available at dealers.


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