2018 GMC Yukon Denali gets the mother of all grilles, 10-speed auto

GMC’s top dog SUV receives a fair share of enhancements for 2018

The biggest, most luxurious SUV in GMC's lineup has received styling, trim, and equipment updates for the 2018 model year.

From the outside, the 2018 GMC Yukon Denali is easier to recognize thanks to the new sculpted grille design that looks similar to the Denali-spec Acadia and Terrain, while the interior gets Mastique Ash real wood trim for a more luxurious look and feel.

Flanked by HID headlamps and LED Signature Lighting, the monumental grille features "a multidimensional, sculpted interpretation that, like other contemporary GMC elements, was designed in a layered manner," reads the release. It looks similar to the grilles on the new Acadia and Terrain.

It also improves its functional purpose, offering greater airflow to the radiator. In addition, the active aero shutters located behind the grille reduce aerodynamic drag and enhance efficiency in certain conditions on the highway.

But the main addition on the 2018 Yukon Denali is GM's new Hydra-Matic 10-speed transmission, linked to the luxury SUV's 420-hp 6.2-liter V8 engine. GMC says the new transmission enhances refinement with "world-class shift smoothness, responsiveness, and quietness."

Compared to the eight-speed automatic it replaces, the new gearbox has a wider, 7.39 overall gear ratio spread that enables a lower numerical top gear ratio for greater efficiency — no mpg figures were released, though.

Available in two body lengths (Yukon and Yukon XL), the 2018 GMC Yukon Denali goes on sale this fall across the United States. The range-topping Denali trim accounts for more than half of all Yukon sales.