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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The saga continues in my quest to find something that is stong enough to pull heavy loads and yet still be interesting enough to put myself into debt for. Tonight a well placed phone call and my car salesman charm netted me a test drive in a $51.000 GMC Yukon Denali.
Is it worth it? That really depends on what you value. Like the Silverado SS, I think its worth it becuase it works so well as a whole while providing the strength required in this class.
Many people detest this kind of vehicle. All I ask is that you listen with an open mind.
My modus operandi is this: My boating hobby is not going away. Therefore, my next vehicle purchase needs to take into mind my needs not only now, but potentially in the future. I plan on trading my 18 foot Bayliner in on something large, and trailerable. Something in the 23 to 28 foot range. To that end, I am shopping maximum trailered loads of 6,000 lbs and up.

Alright, a walkaround, shall we?

My test vehicle was this exact color. Despite moanings that GM produces vehicles with subpar finish, the exterior fit and finish was quite nice. The taillamps for 2004 have blackout frames, the headlamps are projector, and when I popped the hood I saw tons of room to work, yet everything was VERY buttoned down. The trailering package and all associated heavy duty assemblies are STANDARD, not options on other trucks.
The interior is very nice as well. Its obvious its a pickup interior, but its not the blatant guilding that the Escalada is. In fact, thats why I like this vehicle. It is an Escalade without the big price tag. The big red GMC letters on the grille are comforting to me. They tell me "Don't worry. I can handle anything you have the balls to throw at me". Like the Jimmy.
The interior is well finished, but not perhaps to the standard of a $50,000 vehicle. The leather is first rate and it smells fantastic, and there are all kinds of epuipment and conveniences. In fact, there is so MUCH stuff on this vehicle (heated seats, power folding camper mirrors, OnStar, rear heat, ad naseum) that its easy to get quite confused with all the buttons. Bottom line: Supremely comfy interior, not QUITE where it should be materials wise, but considering everything ELSE this thing can do, I can more than overlook it. The interior had a nice gray shade of faux wood that, while not entirely convicing, at least made the interior look a little nicer.

Driving: This vehicle can tow 8,000 lbs. Thats a very large cabin cruiser. Most people cannot FATHOM how much this thing can bring with you. I think many Vortexers denounce this vehicle without taking into mind that its not the off roading that makes this thing great, its the luxury, comfort, and capability that it brings to the table. There really is nothing else like it. Its like a 5 star penthouse suite at the Peterbuilt plant. The torque this thing puts out is AWESOME. Its unstoppable. It feels like you can back up to a WalMart, chain it, and bring it with you while you listen to Sinatra on the CD stereo and luxuriating in heated leather comfort.
Handling: Suprisingly nimble. Steering is too light compared to a car, but for a truck its just about right. You don't want darty Miata steering on a truck, especially an off0roadable and towing vehicle like this. Its accurate, deliberate, and easy to drive. The ride is fantastic, and very comfortable. Outright grip is no Miata, but here is the Yukon's trump card: its predictable, and higher than you might think.
Overall? If I could use one word to describe this vehicle its versatility, and capability. This vehicle empowers you to be able to do things 98% of other vehicles cannot do.
Do you need that? For most of you, no, you don't. But when I am towing a boat, the capability can be directly translated into another, far more important word: "safety". You can't put a price on that.
I drove the TItan. I drove the Ram. I drove the F series. In my humble opinion, ESPECIALLY with the financing deals out there and the value these vehicles represent, there is no better value for the money. These are still the overall best trucks you can buy.
Now, the big question.....Silverado SS versus Yukon Denali/Sierra Denali.
I think the Silverado wins on sportiness and all around usefullness. I think the Denalis have crossed the line where they are almost too expensive for their own good. Yeah you give up the sunroof, and power pedals, and a lot of the hedonistic crap in the Denalis. But the truck is 98% of the equipment, 98% of the capability, and 150% of the sportiness of the Denalis.
Hard to argue with that. Looks like I am still buying a Silverado SS when the time comes.
Enjoy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re: Test drive: GMC Yukon Denali (vw_ev73)

How about unreliable electronics, questionable integrity, smaller overall footprint, and a 7,000 lb rating thats been decribed by some as "optimistic".

The GMC and the Chevys are rated at 8,000 lbs becuase of their axle ratio. The same truck with 4.10 gears can haul *10,000* lbs.
Weight means a lot too...I LIKE that these trucks are heavy. It helps them tow more serenely.
Sorry, your hearts in the right place, but there will never again be a VW in my garage no matter how good it is. I drove the V8 'Reg, and its damn nice. But I am not driving an SUV to pose in. I am driving one cause it needs to carry its weight in my household.

Modified by mtrainVR6 at 10:47 PM 2-16-2004


Modified by mtrainVR6 at 10:48 PM 2-16-2004
 

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Re: Test drive: GMC Yukon Denali (mtrainVR6)

why not save yourself a boat-load (groan) of money and rent something for the 10-12 times a year you actually need something to tow 8000lbs?
 

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Re: Test drive: GMC Yukon Denali (mtrainVR6)

I have to agree with your opinions on the whole denali/silverado thing.
I wish I could have optioned out a sport package on a 2500HD though

GM makes really nice trucks. I have a few thousand clicks on my odometer now and I'm VERY impressed with it so far gas mileage wise. I'm shocked that I'm averaging around 23 miles per gallon with half a ton of crap in the bed

Eventually I may do a full writeup, but suffice it to say, I love my Chevy http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
 

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Re: Test drive: GMC Yukon Denali (mtrainVR6)

Did the Denali have the navigation screen?
If so, how cool is the GMC sign when it first pops on?

BTW, how much is the Silverado SS?
 

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Re: Test drive: GMC Yukon Denali (dwx4)

Quote, originally posted by dwx4 »
why not save yourself a boat-load (groan) of money and rent something for the 10-12 times a year you actually need something to tow 8000lbs?



Why go through the hassle of renting something everytime he wants to take the boat out? I'm sure there will be times when he just up and decides to take the boat out (well, within reason...
)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Re: Test drive: GMC Yukon Denali (dwx4)

Quote, originally posted by dwx4 »
why not save yourself a boat-load (groan) of money and rent something for the 10-12 times a year you actually need something to tow 8000lbs?


Simple. Its a lot of money to rent a vehicle capable of towing that load, and thats assuming you can even FIND a place that does (the only place I know of us U Haul, and to do it you need to rent a large Box truck, 2 wheel drive. THAT is JUST the thing you need on a launch ramp.
The peace of mind and convenience of having something like this far outweighs the negatives. My GMC Jimmy has already pulled lifesaver duty when bgluckman's Dodge Lancer crapped the bed halfway to Iowa. I towed that thing to Milwaukee without blinking.
And besides, i am not going to saddle myself with the headache of arranging rentals EVERY FREAKING WEEKEND. Been there, done that, next caller.
 

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Re: Test drive: GMC Yukon Denali (mtrainVR6)

Quote, originally posted by mtrainVR6 »
. But I am not driving an SUV to pose in. I am driving one cause it needs to carry its weight in my household.

But the Denali is the ultimate poser truck. Luxo SUVs are retarded, no matter how much they can tow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Re: Test drive: GMC Yukon Denali (ogmius)

Quote, originally posted by ogmius »

But the Denali is the ultimate poser truck. Luxo SUVs are retarded, no matter how much they can tow.

You missed my first post. I want something I actually WANT to buy, which is not a stripper vinyl-seat special. This thing needs to pull daily driver duty too, as it will be replacing the Jimmy.
Obviously you don't see how I use my vehicles, but there is another reason:
To get the really big 6.0 in the SWB full size SUV (that would be the Yukon, the Tahoe, and the 'Lade), you need to buy the Denali or the Escalade. SO the Denali is the cheapest way to get a smaller full size SUV of maximum hauling capability.

Modified by mtrainVR6 at 11:06 PM 2-16-2004


Modified by mtrainVR6 at 11:08 PM 2-16-2004
 

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Re: Test drive: GMC Yukon Denali (00silvergls)

Quote, originally posted by 00silvergls »
Why go through the hassle of renting something everytime he wants to take the boat out? I'm sure there will be times when he just up and decides to take the boat out (well, within reason...
)

just offering up a suggestion.
he lives in chicago and I for one wouldn't want to drive a denali in chicago the other 300 days of the year. when the 8000lb towing wasn't needed. I also have a sister that has a new 3500 gmc sierra, when I need soething towed. Its always nice to borrow and not have to meet the payments /or gas for the next 60 months...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Re: Test drive: GMC Yukon Denali (dwx4)

Thats why I posted my driving impression. It drives like a much smaller and more integrated vehicle. Rather than take on the collective opinion, I wanted to see for myself how it drove. It drives far nicer and better than...well, just about everyone on this board thinks it does.
Funny that I can modify a turbo minivan (with absolutely no need for a van whatsoever, and it also gets milage in the low teens) and get raves, but the instant I post about a genuinely needed vehicle like this I get flamed.


Modified by mtrainVR6 at 11:13 PM 2-16-2004
 

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Re: Test drive: GMC Yukon Denali (ogmius)

Quote, originally posted by ogmius »

But the Denali is the ultimate poser truck. Luxo SUVs are retarded, no matter how much they can tow.


HAHA.... denali is the poser truck for SOCCER MOM'S who don't USE the capabilities..
for someone who fully intends to drive the vechicle, and keep in mind it's size and hindered on-road ability, and USE it to it's fullest capacity, i think it's only far that you $tfu.
 

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Re: Test drive: GMC Yukon Denali (mtrainVR6)

yup, but what did you expect? this is the car lounge...
my default answer is always...buy what you want...
 

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Re: Test drive: GMC Yukon Denali (dwx4)

I daily drive a 2500HD crew cab S/B in chicago with no problems. It just takes more planing and avoiding parking structures with less than 7 feet of clearance.

They're not bad at all to use for daily duty, just take getting used to. Most of the people I work with use either the same setup I have, but a few have crew cab duallys and manage just fine. You just have to plan your route a little bit better.
However for Matt that's a bit of a mute point, as if it's replacing the jimmy that still leaves the van for chicago traffic, if he so chooses. http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
 

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Re: Test drive: GMC Yukon Denali (mtrainVR6)

no, I understand how you want to use your vehicles, but I personally wouldn't spend the extra dough for the somewhat pussified version of a car that I'm gonna be using to haul a boat around. Sorry, I just don't get turned on by the luxury and leather of the Denali.
But it's your decision. http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
Edit: didn't read this part before I responded:
Quote »
To get the really big 6.0 in the SWB full size SUV (that would be the Yukon, the Tahoe, and the 'Lade), you need to buy the Denali or the Escalade. SO the Denali is the cheapest way to get a smaller full size SUV of maximum hauling capability.

If that's true, then go for it, I guess. What about the new F-150 though? It's got a decent interior.


Modified by ogmius at 5:18 AM 2-17-2004
 

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Re: Test drive: GMC Yukon Denali (mtrainVR6)

Hey Matt,
My mother's parents have a 23 foot Carver they've been thinking about selling for a while. I know it's got an inboard Volvo Penta V8 and some other goodies, and he keeps it in pretty nice shape. Want me to see if they're selling?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Re: Test drive: GMC Yukon Denali (ogmius)

Quote, originally posted by ogmius »
no, I understand how you want to use your vehicles, but I personally wouldn't spend the extra dough for the somewhat pussified version of a car that I'm gonna be using to haul a boat around. Sorry, I just don't get turned on by the luxury and leather of the Denali.
But it's your decision. http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif

And thats a fair reaction. Had you read my post, however, you would see I came to the same conclusion and I had decided that the performance Silverado SS - which offers many of the same comforts but adds genuine performance - seems to be the vehicle for me.
I just want to show people what some of these large truck buyers actually think about when trying to justify a purchase such as this. This truck will be with me for a very long time, so its not like I will flip it in 3 years.

Hey Pseudo! Let me get the truck first, okay?
But thanks for the offer...had they waited a few more years I might be interested.



Modified by mtrainVR6 at 11:22 PM 2-16-2004
 

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Re: Test drive: GMC Yukon Denali (mtrainVR6)

While most of your comments on the Touareg above are nothing but baseless, pessamistic and qualitative opinions on a brand you refuse to take another look at because you had lemon Jetta, I'm going to agree and back you up on the Denali here.

Remember that deer my Dad hit with his Yukon XL a couple weeks ago that I posted here? Well, he has a 2002 Denali loaner at the moment and I got to spend a little time in it when the parental units were in the area last weekend and dropped in to visit.
I've always loved Denalis. When the time comes to buy an SUV several years down the road, much as I love the Touareg, I am definitely giving one of these serious consideration- black on black, XL. While I wasn't able to drive Dad's loaner Denali, I have driven both Yukon XLs he's had recently, a 2001 and 2003. Mechanically, they are the same as the Denali. These vehicles can move and have amazing amounts of torque for a NA small block V8. They are very comfortable, smooth, quiet, rattle-free (in my experience), luxurious where it counts, reliable and have gobs of space to haul stuff inside, behind it, and on the roof. For our family of five plus a kitty, it's the perfect vehicle to go dashing through the snow to grandma's house for Christmas whenever my sister and I go home for the holidays.
The dashboard alltogether is questionable, and I'm really not a fan of it. Such bits on the Denali like the wierd faux/flat chrome plastic cheap-o door handle openers are just as laughable as the dash for a vehicle of this price. Others, like the heated rear seats, are awesome. The leather isn't first rate or as nice as the hides in my Passat, but they do the job without feeling too cheap. The headrests are sweet. The embroidered 'Denali' and logo in the seats and doors is a nice touch. The grille is handsome, the headlights are cool and the body kit dresses the truck up nicely. There is an awful lot of plastic of awkward fit and finish here, but even I remind myself, "this is a luxury truck, not a luxury car." It's supposed to be just a bit unrefined here and there. If it wasn't, my Dad wouldn't feel comfortable engaging the four-wheel-drive and driving it through the muddy oil fields every week. It's still a hard worker, but with a clean haircut, fresh shave and a swank outfit from the Gap.
It has credible presence, but not obnoxious bling 'appeal' like the Escalade has. It says, "I'm smart money, but let's change the subject- you like fishing?" The GMC name is familiar and 'homey'. It just seems like a more reasonable choice.
If it was up to me, I'd pick one over a Silverado SS- you can haul more stuff inside one of these without exposure to the elements, which can be a boon for moving large quantities of stuff. Stuffing things under toaneu covers for a pickup or your boat don't cut it. Also, these are reliable trucks that depreciate badly but are easily and cheaply maintained... why buy new? Furthermore if you buy pre-owned, you can afford an XL!



Handsome, handsome stuff... http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif


Modified by StattlichPassat at 11:18 PM 2-16-2004
 

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Re: Test drive: GMC Yukon Denali (mtrainVR6)

These trucks have push rod engines, and coil packs mounted on the underside of the block, when they get wet they go out.
No independent rear suspension, leather that does not wear well, and poor fuel economy.
I would keep looking if I was you.
 
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