GMC Denali
Manufacturer GMC
Parent company General Motors
GMC Denali

2005 GMC Yukon Denali


2007 GMC Yukon Denali

The GMC Denali nameplate is used by General Motors' heavy truck division, GMC, on its top-of-the-line luxury models. The name applies to the luxury version of all SUVs as well as pick-up trucks in the GMC line-up. Vehicles with the Denali trim option carry MSRPs (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price) up to 43% higher than those of the regular models. Prices range from $37,145 for Envoy Denali to $64,615 for a top-of-the-line Yukon XL Denali. The Denali nameplate is often used as an insignias or status symbol. The Yukon Denali in particular is a popular vehicle among popular culture along with the Cadillac Escalade. The Yukon Denali typically makes up for 40% of Yukon Sales.


The Denali nameplate started as the luxury version of the GMC Yukon for the 1999 model year. It was also GM's first attempt to steal sales from the new-for-1998 Lincoln Navigator. At the time of its introduction General Motors decided to give Cadillac its own luxury SUV so the Denali's exterior was shared with the 1999 Cadillac Escalade, with only the front fascia and lower side body panels differing from the standard Yukon. Even though the Yukon was redesigned alongside the Chevrolet Suburban and Chevrolet Tahoe in 2000, the Denali and Escalade retained their 1990s base design.

The "Denali" moniker is derived from the native name for Mount McKinley in State of Alaska, and is also the name of the national park that surrounds the mountain, as well as a Denali State Park.


In 1998 at the time of its introduction, the Yukon Denali's exterior, which it later shared with the 1999 Cadillac Escalade, differed from the standard Yukon in the front fascia and lower side body panels as well as having unique 16" polished aluminum wheels and a special exhaust cutout for a right side-exiting cast exhaust tip. The interior of the Denali also featured several luxury upgrades not available on the mainstream Yukon. These standard features included an upgraded Nuance leather interior, driver and passenger 6-way power seats with power lumbar support, front and rear heated seats, a Delco/Bose 7 speaker (including subwoofer) audio system, an in-dash cassette, single CD player and an in-console 6-disc CD changer. Zebrano woodgrain accents decorated the front doors and center console. The front and rear doors featured unique "Yukon Denali" stitching in the panels.

The 350 cubic inch 5.7-litre 255 horsepower (L31) V8 was the only engine offered. RPO ZM9 was standard which included Bilstein 46mm shock absorbers and 3.73 front and rear axle ratios as well as a locking rear differential. Separate coolers for the transmission and engine oil were also standard. The Denali upgrade also included GM's automatic transfer case which allowed for push button transitions from 2-wheel high to 4-wheel high to 4 wheel low or fully automatic switching from 2 wheel drive to 4 wheel drive.


Even though the GMC Yukon was redesigned alongside the Chevrolet Suburban and Chevrolet Tahoe in 2000, the Denali and Escalade retained their 1990s base design. It was not until 2001 that the Denali was redesigned. GMC also introduced the extended-length (Suburban-based) Yukon XL Denali. Embossed side body panels and chrome surrounding the headlights differentiate the Yukon Denali from the regular Yukon. 2001 also saw the introduction of the honeycomb pattern grille which now has become the hallmark of the Denali nameplate. Also in 2001 it saw the introduction of the 6.0L V8 application in the standard-size Yukon in the Denali trim, which it also shared with the Cadillac Escalade. The engine produced 320 hp upon its introduction, then was upgraded to 325 hp in 2003. The same year it also introduced a new upgraded interior and new options such as 20-inch wheels.

The previous (for 2001 only) C3 model of the GMC Sierra pickup truck was also renamed Denali in late 2001 as a 2002 model. The 2002–2004 Sierra Denali was equipped standard with a 325 hp 6.0L V8, All Wheel Drive and Quadrasteer, the 4-wheel steering system developed by General Motors.

For 2005-2006 and 2007 "Classic Body Style" Sierra Denali's were equipped with a 6.0L 345 HP V8. Also the trucks from 2005-2007 (2007 being classic body style) Were changed to a crew cab with a 5'8" bed and did not have quadrasteer as the 2002-2004 Sierra Denali's had.


In 2007 the GMC Yukon and Sierra lines were completely revamped with the Denali included, now with a 6.2L V8 (producing 380 HP in the Yukon Denali and 403 HP in the Sierra Denali), six-speed automatic transmissions, and many new features and options such as power folding second row seats and rear backup camera. Styling was also changed, particularly the controversial grill and headlights, which made the Yukon look much less aggressive than any previous models. The MSRP of the 2007 models have not changed.

GMC Denali XT concept (2008)Edit

It is a concept hybrid pickup truck with unibody design using Zeta platform. It included 4.9L SIDI V-8 with Active Fuel Management engine rated 326 horsepower (243 kW) with E85 ethanol-capability and direct-injection, two-mode hybrid propulsion system, 23-inch aluminum wheels with Kumho 255/35/R23 front and Kumho 285/35/R23 tires, height-adjustable suspension, 1,100 pounds (500 kg) payload and 3,500 pounds (1,600 kg) towing capacities.[1] The vehicle was designed by GM's Australian design studios.

The vehicle was unveiled in 2008 Chicago Auto Show.[2]

Although General Motors planned for a production version based on Epsilon II platform, it was reported the company cancelled the plan because the unibody design would not give much of an efficiency boost while losing capability that buyers were willing to pay a premium for.[3][4]


In 2009, minor changes were made to the Yukon Denali. These changes include 403HP instead of 380HP, Cooled and perforated leather seats (optional), Bluetooth Handsfree calling standard, and flat chrome insert/body colored bodyside moldings. Also a power tilt steering wheel is now standard. The Satellite Navigation System (optional) now has the added features of instant traffic updates, and re-routing options. Side Zone Blind Spot Alert is now optional.

Luxury features not included in Yukon trimEdit

  • 20 inch Chrome Aluminum Wheels
  • Denali Trade Mark Grille
  • Various Chrome Accents
  • 6.2L 403Hp (380Hp 2007-2008) Vortec Engine
  • Interior Features: Leather and Wood wrapped steering wheel including Denali logo, cooled seats and perforated leather (As of 2009), more wood accents


Model Type Model years offered
Yukon DenaliFull-size SUV1999–present
Yukon XL DenaliFull-size SUV2002–present
Sierra DenaliFull-size pickup truck2002–present
Envoy DenaliMid-size SUV2005–2009
Envoy XL DenaliMid-size SUV2005–2009
Yukon Denali HybridFull-size SUV2009–present
Acadia DenaliFull-size crossover SUV2011


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