Denali Won’t Do: GMC Crafts a Fancier Yukon

Yesterday, GMC unveiled the 2018 Yukon Denali Ultimate Black Edition, billed as an “exciting new package” featuring the very best in premium GMC styling and attributes.

That’s excellent marketing-speak, but we all know why there is suddenly an uber-Denali: the regular one just isn’t good enough for the school drop-off line anymore.

Coach purses were once held behind glass cases in the finest of department stores. After awhile, they were the de rigeur standard equipment for undergrads on college campuses. Once the brand was picked up by the masses, those looking for exclusivity moved on to something else. In a similar way, now that the Denali has enjoyed several years of popularity, it is almost too popular for those who just gotta have something better than their neighbor.

Enter the Ultimate Black Edition. It offers all the options available on the Yukon Denali, plus unique black-painted 22-inch wheels with chrome inserts, shiny exhaust tip and mirror caps, and is only available on Yukons painted Onyx Black. It has just enough visual differentiation, then, for the guy across the street with a Denali to know you have something just a little bit better.

This, naturally, will lead to that guy across the street either putting his Yukon into a wood chipper or heading down to the dealer to trade his now-useless Denali on the same one you have. Actually, both those options would be equally painful, given the trade-in value, he’ll probably get for his six-month-old SUV.Available on 2WD or 4WD models (that this package is available on rear-drive Yukons is telling in and of itself), Ultimate Black Edition includes the Open Road Package, consisting of a power sunroof for the parents and rear-seat entertainment system to placate the kiddos. Power-Retractable Assist Steps are standard, as are Adaptive Cruise Control and Forward Automatic Braking.

The Denali sub-brand sells like proverbial hotcakes, with 2017 being strongest year ever for Denali sales. Yukon and Yukon XL lead the portfolio with Denali sales of 50.7 percent and 61.2 percent, respectively, so far this year. These achievements were led earlier in 2017 with the one-millionth Denali sold since the premium-lux trim launched with the GMC Yukon in 1999.

Under the hood is the excellent 6.2-liter V8 engine, making 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque while sounding like Chewbacca on a bad fur day. It is wonderful. Starting this year, GMC started plugging the new 10-speed automatic into the Yukon. It makes for a compelling power team.Anyway, GM is far from stupid. They’ll sell approximately as many of these high-profit machines they can possibly make and will probably create a Hyper Ultimate Black Edition for 2019, starting the cycle of self-one-upmanship all over again.