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STYLING | 8 out of 10
A number of features that distinguish them from other models, including a chrome grille and 20-inch wheels
All but antiquates the previous generation, which seems light years apart in styling
Kelley Blue Book
Optional navigation system absorbs, but doesn't complicate, audio functions
The GMC Yukon Denali and its corporate cousin, the Chevy Tahoe, are perhaps best known for their roles as the go-to SUV for government motorcades, but these ubiquitous domestic SUVs are also quite popular with consumers.
The 2009 GMC Yukon Denali and GMC Yukon Denali XL are the top-of-the-line versions of the family, but they still share largely the same styling as the rest of the lineup. Road & Track reviewers report that the GMC Yukon Denali 2009 "model gets updated exterior trim" and optional "new 20-in. aluminum wheels," while Cars.com notes distinguishing features include "a chrome grille." In addition to the standard GMC Yukon Denali 2009, GMC offers the Yukon Denali XL, which Cars.com says "measures about 20 inches longer than the regular Yukon, at 222.4 inches long, with a width of 79.1 inches." These dimensions make it "nearly identical to the [Ford] Expedition EL," which is the vehicle that TheCarConnection.com finds to be most frequently compared to the Yukon Denali XL. Reviewers generally approve of the generic SUV shape, and although Jalopnik feels the "GMC Yukon Denali's front looks kind of like a Chevy Tahoe with the grille lopped off and replaced with a chrome chain-link fence," they proclaim "it's big and muscular. We like big and muscular." Edmunds reviewers also praise the "handsome styling" on display with the 2009 GMC Yukon Denali. ConsumerGuide observes that the Yukon Denali 2009 "is positioned just below Cadillac's Escalade," although it doesn't look quite so flashy.
The interior of the 2009 GMC Yukon Denali wins praise for its modern, functional styling. Edmunds reviewers once again refer to the styling as "handsome," while also reporting that "the control layout is simple and straightforward." ConsumerGuide reviewers approve of the fact that the 2009 GMC Yukon Denali's "optional navigation system absorbs, but doesn't complicate, audio functions." The one major criticism of the overall appearance comes from Jalopnik, where reviewers "feel as though [they've] seen this interior before—like on the GMC Sierra, the Chevy Silverado and the Chevy Tahoe," although they concede that "for the most part it's well-designed."
Badge engineering is clearly on display with the 2009 GMC Yukon Denali, but there are enough unique pieces to keep things interesting.