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There seems to be no limit to the luxury features automakers add to their vehicles in the expectation that well-heeled customers will gladly shell out to own and drive ‘the best’ that’s out there. What used to be utilitarian, bought to transport the brood to school and after-school soccer practice has been transformed into an expensive behemoth festooned with tech and entertainment features to hold everyone’s attention. It’s a market that the automakers have uncovered – and it’s a market that (presumably) will continue to grow. I’d like to think someone took one of the most stressful chores of everyday life and tried to change it to a truly relaxing, almost spa-like adventure. 

A couple of weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to test drive a Titanium Rush Metallic 2024 GMC Yukon 4WD Denali Ultimate, which arrived with a stunning $101,245.00 MSRP price tag.  Just for comparison purposes, you can pick up a base Yukon for an MSRP of $58,200 at your local GMC dealership  

The Yukon Denali Ultimate is powered by a 420 hp, 6.2 liter Ecotec3 V8 mated to a ten-speed transmission.  EPA estimated fuel economy ratings are a dismal 14 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway.  The Ultimate Yukon is also available with the 277 hp, 3.0 liter Duramax TurboDiesel for about $1,000 less.  The Duramax engine gets remarkably better fuel economy with ratings of 20 mpg city and 26 mpg highway.  

GMC advertises the new 2024 Yukon Denali Ultimate as the most premium Yukon ever offered, distinguished with exterior and interior details, next-level materials, innovative available technologies and impressive capability.  It is certainly all of those things.  

As you would expect with any Yukon, the Denali Ultimate is super roomy, capable of taking everyone for a comfortable long drive on or off-road.  Yukon Denali Ultimate is the first to introduce the available General Motor’s hands-free Super Cruise driver assistance technology to Yukon.  It’s truly a game-changing feature (once you become comfortable using it) since it includes the capability to automatically change lanes or tow while driving hands-free on compatible roads.  Taking a long drive becomes a very different experience while removing a great deal of stress. Once the Yukon changes lanes and passes a slower vehicle in front of you then changes back into the left lane, it’s a bit freaky.  And, yes, you can tow while using Super Cruise.  I’m a committed fan of this futuristic feature.

And, of course, any long drive is more comfortable with 16-way power front seats with massage.  The new Yukon Denali Ultimate also introduces an advanced 18-speaker Bose Performance Series audio system to GMC for the first time, including head restraint-based speakers for front-row passengers.  A rear seat media system is standard with video screens built in the rear of the front passenger head restraints.

Don’t dismiss this Denali Ultimate as being soft; it’s still as tough as they come.  Capability remains important as ever with standard Magnetic Ride Control, standard Air Ride Adaptive Suspension, standard Active Response 4WD system with electronic limited-slip differential and Auto Track two-speed transfer case.

I’ve learned over the years that GMC Denali owners are highly loyal to the Denali sub-brand, often referring to their vehicle as a Denali and leaving out the GMC.  I have no doubt that the Denali Ultimate will create its own sub-brand with an equally loyal tribe of owners. With this new tribe in mind, I find it telling that both times my wife was pulled over for exceeding the speed limit the officer only issued a warning – along with the aside that their wives drove Denalis as well.

Steve is a veteran automotive journalist and former head of Ford Public Relations in its South Central region. He’s a native New Yorker who fell in love with a Texan (and Texas) over 20 years ago. Steve’s been living here happily ever since. His current automotive ‘want’ is an early 3-Series convertible, while his daily driver is a 2006 Toyota Tacoma.

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