Exterior Design: ***
The GMC Yukon Denali's front looks kind of like a Chevy Tahoe with the grille lopped off and replaced with a chrome chain-link fence. But don't worry, the back looks exactly like the Yukon's GMT-900 platformed sibling. Maybe it's because they share most of the body panels. And can it get any more chrome accents? Actually, no. Still, it's big and muscular. We like big and muscular. Of course so is the Tahoe.
Interior Design: ****
I feel as though I've seen this interior before — like on the GMC Sierra, the Chevy Silverado and the Chevy Tahoe. But no, that can't be — this interior says "GMC" on it — so it must be different, right? When will automakers learn that platform prostitution fools no one? Still, for the most part it's well-designed. Too bad Chrysler's got the patent on stow-and-go, as this heavy hauler could use the extra cargo space from a stowable flip-n-screw third row.
The big 6.2-liter Vortec V8 gives you as much power as you need, whenever you need it. While we didn't have the opportunity to try to mash the pedal to the floor while towing, the 380 horses let us dart through traffic better than we expected we should have been able to, given the sheer size of this beast.
Given the size, you'd expect long stopping distances, but the four-wheel disc brakes worked with aplomb, even when encountering the pressures of coffee-spilling stops that scared the bejeezus out of even our stony-faced road test editor. Seriously, we've just gotten those pants back from the cleaners — you know how many times it took for them to get the coffee stain out?
Like a pillow. What? You didn't know the Yukon is the new Serta mattress? OK, not really, but the Yukon Denali took a series of potholes on I-75 like they were sidewalk cracks. This Huge-UV has the ability to take just about any standard byway or highway, regardless of disrepair, and make you feel like you're on the latest re-surfaced MDOT road.
The GMC Yukon handles like a beached whale. But, despite the Gigantor-like proportions, the turning radius was better than we expected. Still had to do a turn-and-backup on the road outside the ol' apartment building, but at least we didn't have to do it twice. So we guess there's that.
The six-speed auto tranny may be good at helping the General wring that extra mpg out of the GMT-900's, but it's hopeless for feeling what gear you're in. Feel free to use the "+" and "-" buttons on the shift column to move up and down the gears. We didn't.
Bose surround sound, XM Satellite radio, six-disc CD changer and the premium acoustic package. Nothing more than what you'd expect on a uber-equipped SUV.
The power tailgate may be nice for the not-so-tall, but we wish it didn't force us to use it. Just another extra 15 seconds before we were comfortable pulling out of our parking spot. The rear DVD system would be great if we had kids in the back seat every day. But we don't and neither should anyone else buying this Giant-UV. Let's re-cap people — do not buy the GMC Yukon Denali as a soccer mom-mobile. And when are we going to get Xenon's GMC?
At $55,750.00 the 2008 GMC Yukon Denali is more than some people put down to buy a house. Most people who need the room and size will probably find a non-Denali trim version will work out just fine for them and fulfill all their needs. And do it for $10,000 cheaper. This Truck-UV is only a value proposition if you're hauling lots of people and all their equipment. Period.
It all comes down to what you're looking for. Frankly, although it works for us, there's very few folks it'll do the same for. And the Chevy Tahoe looks better, does the same thing, and costs much less money.
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