2008 Yukon Denali: SUV Domination
When you think about sports dynasties over the years, the Bears, Bulls, Lakers, Pistons, Yankees, Patriots, are a few teams that come to mind. I’m talking teams that absolutely crushed their opponents and won championships year after year. General Motors has done the same in its league of competition with their trio of powerful Sport Utilities in the Escalade, Tahoe and Yukon. Neither Ford nor Chrysler stands a chance against the mighty brutes.
Our long-term all-wheel drive “Red Jewel Tint Coat” Denali was ordered from scratch. Since it was being customized, we didn’t upgrade the wheel package and stuck with the 18x8” polished aluminum rims. The new for 2008 exterior paint scheme was perfect for Automotive Rhythms’ logo and branding. The power surge in the 6.2-liter V8 is impeccable with 380-horsepower and 417 pound-feet of torque. Its six-speed “Hydra-Matic” electronically controlled automatic transmission shifts as smooth as sedans. However, with only 12 city miles to the gallon, frequent stops to Shell were needed to fill up the 26-gallon tank. Towing capacity is set at 7,900 pounds. During a recent festival in Washington, D.C., the Yukon experienced no power lag when we hitched our new BMW F800 S motorcycle to the back of the vehicle.
To enhance our Denali’s posture even further, we called our friends at STRUT for their latest and greatest. Yet, we at Automotive Rhythms keep it simple and safe. Rims on SUVs go no bigger than 22s. Hey we want the vehicle to do what it is intended to do and still be able to crawl over rough patches in the road. So we ordered the 22x9 black on chrome 7-Spoke “Icon” rims ($10,000 a set). The setup was perfect since the Yukon has black trim, black tint and black smoked tail lamps. The power retractable side steps ($1,095) are also black. Our Hankook “Ventus ST” rubber (305/45R22) didn’t arrive by customization time so we went with an old set of Goodyears, which still provided the needed traction and a robust stance. Hankook will make the next installation. Although the Denali grille is nice, it had to go for STRUT’s “Mammoth” grille collection ($6,000). The woven crimped mesh set comes with a full main grille and a secondary bumper grille and STRUT tailgate shield. Shop partner Big Boys Toys of Maryland did the work and ran into no challenges.
Inside, the Yukon Denali is very user friendly. An upgraded touchscreen nav system replaces the standard six-disc CD changer (screen could be bigger for an SUV), the rear entertainment system keeps my two daughters occupied and XM Satellite Radio and an auxiliary jack for MP3 players sustains my time. It also features the convenience of OnStar which can double as a phone. Our next review will detail the technology features thoroughly. We also added the removable third row captain chairs increasing passenger capacity to six. Keep in mind though that the additional row decreases cargo area for long trips. The Yukon XL, which is 20” longer, is perfect for such scenarios.
Safety is a blessing in this day in age where the highways and streets are cluttered like bees on a honeycomb. To adapt to real world circumstances, GMC blesses the Yukon with standard StabiliTrak stability control with rollover mitigation, head curtain side airbags for all rows, rain sensing windshield wipers, ultrasonic rear parking assist, and much more. After upgrades and options the Denali totaled $54,700 ($48,520 MSRP). Stay tuned for more as we put this red beauty through its paces.
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