I decided to take a slightly different approach to this automotive review. For a week (which included a road trip down to LA to Disneyland), my family and I experienced the 2015 GMC Yukon Denali. We compiled our thoughts and came up with a list of about 15 features of the Yukon that we particularly enjoyed. For our trip, we wanted a larger vehicle (for passenger comfort) as well as something that would safely protect us on our long drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles and back. With 6+ hours each way, we really got to test out many of the features. Here is a highlight of the top features we discovered.
The following features are not in any type of order but do represent items that we felt should be highlighted. There were some things we did not test, like the towing capabilities or the 4-wheel drive – it’s a bit hard to test those on an interstate highway.
A Video Walkthrough of the Top 15+ Features
Written below are the features that my family and I enjoyed. However, if you want to sit back and watch a 10 minute video which shows many of these features in action, the video (also available on YouTube) is below:
Did we miss anything?
Top 15+ Features of the 2015 GMC Yukon Denali
#1 – Retractable Running Boards
The Yukon is a large SUV which means that getting into it involves some climbing. Getting in might be difficult if you have “short people” like children. Luckily, the 2015 GMC Yukon Denali has automatic retractable running boards. The boards magically unfold from under the vehicle when you open the door and then retract away, helping with the aerodynamics of the vehicle when not needed.
#2 – Auto Lift Gate & Window
While the 2015 GMC Yukon Denali is a large vehicle, that doesn’t always mean that you have a lot of storage space, especially if you have the 3rd row seat “enabled” for additional passengers (it seats 7 with the 3rd row bench seat up). So, you need to load up the rear cargo all of the way up. This is made easier via the automatic rear lift gate and flip up window. The back can hold suitcases and if you want to load all the way to the top, it’s easiest to use the flip up window. The lift gate and window can be opened via buttons on the back lift gate as well as on the key fob. A nice design choice is the “hidden” rear window wiper which is aerodynamically recessed.
#3 – Powerful Engine
The Yukon’s engine is BIG. It is a 6.2 liter EchoTec3 V8 which delivers 420 HP and 460 pounds of torque. You would think that a vehicle this large would not have great gas mileage. Our trip produced an average MPG of about 19 miles to the gallon. GMC lists the MPG as 14 City and 21 Highway. How is this achieved? When additional power is not needed, the engine shifts its consumption from using 8 cylinders to 4 cylinders to conserve fuel.
#4 – Adaptive Cruise Control
Most vehicles these days have cruise control. You set a desired speed that you want your vehicle to maintain and take your foot off the gas. Well, with the 2015 GMC Yukon Denali, you can take your foot off the brake as well because it has Adaptive Cruise Control. You set your speed AND the distance you want to maintain between the Yukon and the vehicle ahead of your and the Yukon does the rest – accelerating and braking to maintain the speed and distance.
#5 – Heads-up Display
Having critical driving information immediately available to you is good for distraction-free driving. The Yukon has a heads-up display which shows a variety of information projected on the windshield in front of the driver. I found it nice to see my current speed as well as navigation information present without having to look down at the speedometer or the navigation. And, there are easy controls (seen above) for where the display should appear on the windshield and what information should be displayed.
#6 – Vibration Alert in Seats
This was one of the most unexpected features that I discovered quite by accident. If you enable this feature for lane drifting or parking alerts, the driver gets notified of critical alerts via vibrations in the driver’s seat. If, for example, you start drifting out of your lane (to the left), the driver’s seat vibrates on the left side. If you are backing up and there is an obstruction behind you, the entire seat vibrates. I must say, it got my attention and was a great safety feature to have. Oh, and for the lane drift, there are cameras/sensors that monitor the lane markers in the road and they can detect when your stray from the path.
#7 – Touch-Screen Center Console
The 2015 GMC Yukon Denali adopts a smartphone-esque touchscreen interface with very large ion/buttons on the screen. It’s easy to navigate to different features like SiriusXM Radio, Pandora, Navigation, Phone and even Entertainment. The flipdown rear screen kept our kids quiet (had jacks to plug in headphones as well as had cordless headphones). And, a nice touch that had hadn’t seen before in an in-car entertainment system was the fact that the DVD player (slot loading in the front) was Blu-ray.
#8 – Lots of USB Ports
As more and more families have connected devices, they require power. When you go on a long road trip, these devices can run out of power and there is nothing worse than complaints coming from the rear seats saying “I need to charge my phone.” Luckily the 2015 GMC Yukon Denali has an abundance of USB ports, I counted 5 of them total.
#9 – Heated/Cooled Seats
Within any vehicle, the driver and passengers have different desires for temperature comfort. I tend to run “hot” which means that I like having a cooler environment (keeps you awake as well). Others may be a bit “cold-blooded” meaning they want more heat. Luckily the Yukon has heated and cooled front seats and dual climate controls for the front seat passengers. The middle row has heated seats as well.
#10 – OnStar
All GM vehicles have the option to subscribe to OnStar’s service. It’s an incredibly helpful service which can provide live operator support for directions. Also if you are in an accident, OnStar can automatically contact emergency response teams to help you. I was invited to visit OnStar’s call center back in November 2013 and you can read more about it here.
#11 – Back-up Camera
Vehicles will soon be required to have rear-view, back-up cameras. The Yukon has one that also includes object detection and turning path outlining.
#12 – Center Display Storage
I like pushing buttons. And I pushed one on the center console that had a surprising resulting action. Suddenly, the center display moved up revealing a larger, lit storage compartment, complete with a USB port that allows for storage of a multitude of devices. So, if you want to store all of your kids’ smartphones so that they don’t get car-sick using them on the drive, this is a great compartment to store them.
#13 – Huge Center Armrest Storage
This was one feature that my wife particularly called out as being great. The center storage between the driver and front passenger seat is huge. It has slots to hang folders or store a laptop. But, my wife said it is particularly great for women to store their purses. Many times, women put their purses on the passenger floor or on the seat, but with this compartment, it is very handily and securely stored directly next to the driver or passenger.
#14 – Easy Middle & Back-row Seating
The Yukon we test drove had 2 “captain chairs” in the middle row and a bench seat for 3 in the rear. To get easy access to the rear row from the middle row, the seats automatically fold out of the way. (It’s nice having separate middle row seats sometimes to keep kids apart from each other – grin.) You can also walk between the captains chairs to get to the back row.
#15 – Middle Row Controls
There is a nice mini-control console that also has a USB port AND a 110 volt plug for traditional plugs that can be easily accessed by passengers in the middle row. Climate controls, including the seat heating, are within reach. And there is an A/V input to plug in a game console, for example.
Bonus – Automatic Fold-down Seating
Each of middle and rear seats have buttons to control the motorized folding. From the rear, you can fold down and up the split bench seating using buttons. This makes configuring additional storage very easy by folding various seats flat.
The Bottom Line
The 2015 GMC Yukon Denali has an MSRP of $65,680. The price of the vehicle we drove with all of the various packages and upgrades topped out at $74,720 which included the Touring Package ($4110), Retractable Running Boards ($1745), Adaptive Cruise Control ($1695) and 22″ Aluminum Wheels ($495).
Do you own a GMC Yukon? What are your favorite features?
Disclosure Text: Apart from the 7-day loan of the 2015 GMC Yukon Denali, I have not received any compensation for writing this content and I have no material connection to the brands, topics and/or products that are mentioned herein. More information can be found in my About page.
HTD says: My family and I felt safe and pampered in the 2015 GMC Yukon Denali!