2022 GMC Yukon XL Duramax Diesel First Drive: You Can’t Miss It

gmc yukon Full Overview


  • Sleek and showy
  • Refined driving experience
  • Smooth diesel power

The inconvenients

  • Latest software is buggy
  • New digital gauges don’t add much
  • Still needs better interior materials at this price

The 2022 GMC Yukon XL Denali Duramax is not easy to pass up. As big as a house and as heavy as the Gojira band, it’s equipped with wheels so huge and chrome trim so shiny, your Boomer neighbors will throw around words like “dubs” and “bling” to describe it, like it’s was still 2002 . Despite its larger-than-life personality, GMC has continued to improve the Yukon since its launch in 2021. While the main change this year is the new Yukon Denali Ultimate Edition, GMC has also made some changes as a result of Yukon Denali’s infotainment, and that, plus the fact that we had yet to test a rear-drive diesel Yukon XL, prompted us to the driver’s seat of this example.

What’s new with the 2022 Yukon XL Denali?

While it’s easy to boil down the changes to the 2022 Yukon XL Denali to “new screens and a few Googles,” they’re a little more extensive. Perhaps realizing that the everyday GM infotainment system left a little to be desired, the 2022 Yukon Denali now has the same Google-based infotainment system as the GMC Hummer EV pickup. This new suite includes the Google Maps functionality that we all already use via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as access to the Google App Store, and it allows you to sign in with your Google account to seamlessly switch from office to mobile and car. GMC also updated the Yukon Denali’s instrument cluster: it’s now a 12.0-inch reconfigurable digital display that pairs with a 15.0-inch head-up display.

The Yukon XL Denali is available with two engines; our GMC’s 3.0-liter I-6 turbodiesel engine is standard, and a 6.2-liter gasoline V8 is an extra $1,500. You’ll trade the scream of the 420-hp V-8 for the Duramax’s 277-hp, but the diesel’s V-8 matches 460 lb-ft of torque and the combined EPA rating of 23 mpg (compared to a paltry 16 mpg). /gal for the 6.2) makes it an easy sacrifice. All Yukons sport a 10-speed automatic transmission.

How does the Yukon XL Denali Duramax Drive work?

We’ve yet to meet a single human who doesn’t love the experience of a V-8—if such a person exists, we probably don’t want to meet them—but the Yukon XL Denali’s Duramax is such an engine. lovely that we don’t miss GM’s classic little eight-cylinder. The straight-six is ​​a smooth, torquey engine that doesn’t run out of steam like many other diesels. Were it not for the quick, decisive and almost imperceptible shifts of the 10-speed auto and the soothing purr of the Duramax, it would be easy to call the experience electric.

The rear-drive diesel Yukon XL Denali is, however, slower than the gasoline version. We clocked it at a respectable 8.0 seconds at 60 mph and 16.2 seconds over the quarter-mile at 85.4 mph. We didn’t test a 6.2-powered Yukon XL Denali, but a mechanically identical Cadillac Escalade ESV hit 60 mph in 6.2 seconds and completed the quarter-mile in 14.7 seconds at 95.2 mph. In the real world, the differences are bound to be so small that they are irrelevant. You don’t buy a Yukon Denali to go fast, you buy it for the comfortable and luxurious experience.

Inside the Yukon XL Denali

And thereupon, the GMC begins to falter somewhat. The fundamentals are good, as the Yukon steers well and its ride quality is firm but forgiving—credit the MagneRide shocks and air springs for taming the 22-inch “dubs.” Interior material quality is on the wrong side of the luxury ledger, however, which is especially hard to ignore given this Yukon’s $84,420 sticker price.

As for the new software, well, that’s also a coincidence. The good news is that Google’s integration into the main center infotainment screen is generally successful. It’s easy to sign in with your Google account, and the Maps feature accurately replicates the phone app. The screen can be a little slow to respond at times, but provided GMC stays on top of software updates, this can probably be improved in the future.

The new digital instrument cluster is also a nice addition, but its main flaw is that it doesn’t add any new functionality – it just digitally replicates the analog gauges. There are a handful of layouts available, but they simply present the same data differently. We also had a few software bugs with the display, including it not loading data such as drive mode or tire pressure when exercising what little customization there is in the system. GMC missed a huge opportunity to leverage its new Google integration into an experience that rivals Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital dashboard display.


The new technologies of the GMC Yukon XL Denali are promising if incomplete; however, they are unlikely to be a major purchase consideration in the first place, so there is some wiggle room to be given. And while GMC (and GM as a whole) still needs to improve the quality of its interior materials in premium vehicles, the Yukon XL Denali Duramax largely succeeds in being a comfortable, spacious and fun-to-drive SUV that can’t be ignored. .

This seems good! More details?

Specifications of the 2022 GMC Yukon XL Denali Duramax
VEHICLE UPFIT Front Engine, RWD, 7 Pass, 4-Door SUV
ENGINE 3.0L DOHC 24-valve direct injection turbodiesel inline-6
POWER (SAE NET) 277 hp at 3,750 rpm
TORQUE (NET SAE) 460 lb-ft at 1,500 rpm
TRANSMISSION 10-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (DIST FWD/REW) 6,036 pounds (51/49%)
WHEELBASE 134.1 inches
Length x Width x Height 225.2 x 81.0 x 76.5 inches
0-60MPH 8.0s
QUARTER MILE 16.2 sec at 85.4 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 125 feet
MT FIGURE EIGHT 29.1 sec @ 0.55 g (average)
EPA RANGE, COMB 644 miles

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