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.