- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 18, 2005

Even as gasoline hovers near the $2.60 per gallon mark in many parts of the country, the nation’s infatuation with super-sized vehicles has only slightly diminished. Witness another salvo in the war of who is biggest and baddest — the 2005 GMC Yukon Denali AWD. In the case of the Yukon Denali, it’s where performance meets luxury, as the Denali is outfitted with luxury amenities, a standard Vortec 6000 engine, a tow rating of a whopping 8,100 pounds, and no-fuss all-wheel drive.

The AWD feature means no fumbling with switches or levers to engage four-wheel-drive traction in any type of weather. This AWD system is not meant for the diehard off-road enthusiast, but how many SUVs ever see dirt and gravel?

The Yukon Denali AWD also comes standard with “Autoride” and “StabiliTrak.” “Autoride” is a suspension system that automatically senses and reacts to different driving conditions. Translated, the “Autoride” system gives the Yukon enhanced control, contributes to the 8,100-pound towing capacity, and gives it a remarkably comfortable ride. This truck is so smooth and quiet, you’ll check yourself to make sure you’re not driving a Cadillac sedan.

“StabiliTrak” helps the Denali respond more accurately to your intentions, using onboard computers to adjust steering, engine speed and brake pressure to help keep you in control of your vehicle.

The Denali is chock full of luxury, performance and convenience features, including:

• The most horsepower in its class — 335 — and 375 foot-pounds of torque, from the standard Vortec 6000 V-8 engine.

• Heated front-row seat cushions and backs, plus the only heated second-row cushions in its class.

• A Bose audio system including AM/FM stereo with cassette player, six-disc CD changer, nine speakers and independent rear-seat audio controls. It sounds incredibly good.

• Standard 17-inch polished aluminum or available 20-inch seven-spoke chrome wheels.

• Available Sun, Entertainment, and Destinations Package, which includes a power-sliding sunroof, DVD player, and a navigation radio system, including OnStar and XM Satellite Radio.

The 2005 Yukon Denali has a base price of $50,885 before any applicable GM discounts. A larger XL version is available for $52,525. Price as tested was $54,990 (included a $1,000 package discount). The Denali is a good buy. It’s luxurious and a terrific value in the large SUV class.

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