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2023 GMC Yukon Denali Ultimate Turns a Package Into a Trim

Denali Ultimate used to be an add-on for Denali vehicles, but now, it's becoming the pinnacle of GMC's luxury sub-brand.

Andrew Krok Reviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
Andrew Krok
3 min read
2023 GMC Yukon Denali Ultimate, a massive three-row SUV in grey, shown from the front passenger three-quarter, displaying a whole lot of chrome
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2023 GMC Yukon Denali Ultimate, a massive three-row SUV in grey, shown from the front passenger three-quarter, displaying a whole lot of chrome

The Yukon Denali Ultimate throws a whole bunch of chrome into the mix, so make sure you opt for a paint color that lets it all pop.

Andrew Krok/CNET

GMC is getting ready to spice things up a bit. Its Denali trim has long stood as the brand's pinnacle, shoehorning as many luxurious trimmings as possible into its vehicles, and its Denali Ultimate upgrade package expanded on that idea even further. But now, it's time for Denali Ultimate to become its own thing, and we're seeing it for the second time on the 2023 GMC Yukon.

Following in the footsteps of the recently revamped Sierra pickup truck, GMC will add the Denali Ultimate trim to the tippy-top of the lineup for the Yukon, its honkin' three-row SUV offering. It's not going to uproot your expectations of luxury, but it definitely gives people more to enjoy.

On the outside, GMC relies on two different kinds of chrome to help the Yukon Denali Ultimate stand apart from more pedestrian variants. Galvano and Vader chrome are spread around the body, with the darker chrome doing a good job of adding some aesthetic variety in the badge and grille surround. The windows are trimmed in chrome, as well. The wheels have the shiny stuff, too, but they also get dashes of dark paint for some variety.

The interior takes things a step further. The aluminum trim is pleasing to look at and even more pleasing to touch, with some interesting knurling across the surface. The leather seats are as soft as can be, and while a GMC representative told me they're investigating vegan replacements, the interior continues to rely on animal products. The Alpine Umber color seen here is also found on the Sierra Denali Ultimate, and both the color and its contrast stitching play well against the open-pore wood trim that features a laser etching of Denali -- the mountain, not the trim level.

The 2023 GMC Yukon Denali Ultimate also picks up some new tech. This is the first GMC vehicle to sport the Bose Performance Series audio system. 18 speakers are hidden behind stainless-steel grilles, and the goal is to provide even more immersive sound than usual. Part of that will come from Bose's UltraNearfield speakers, which are embedded in the headrest. I guess the GMC Yukon and Mazda Miata have something in common now.

2023 GMC Yukon Denali Ultimate Adds Even More Chrome

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GMC is also boosting the Yukon's safety-system prowess. The Denali Ultimate will come with the latest iteration of GM's Super Cruise driver assist suite, which allows handsfree vehicle operation on certain pre-mapped stretches of highway. Its newest version incorporates automatic lane changes and handsfree towing, features its competitors have not yet unveiled. We tested this version last summer, and we loved it. That said, it's worth noting that Super Cruise availability is limited at the start of production, so if you're not fast out of the gate to scoop one up, you may have to wait a spell.

The 2023 GMC Yukon Denali Ultimate will reach dealerships later this year. It'll be available with GM's 6.2-liter V8 as standard, but buyers can opt for the 3.0-liter inline-6 diesel engine if they prefer. Pricing should be available closer to its introduction, but for context, a 2022 GMC Yukon Denali starts a hair over $70,000.