Yukon Denali vs Escalade

Apr 01, 2024 - 3 minute read

GMC Yukon Denali Ultimate

GMC’s Denali luxury sub-brand was first introduced 25 years ago, and the first model it was applied to was the Yukon. Named after the tallest mountain in North America, Denali now adorns several other GMC models, and the Yukon Denali is as luxurious and desirable as ever. Luxury isn’t free, of course, so with a starting price of $77,300 for a rear-wheel drive model, a shopper might wonder if they should consider a version of the model from GM’s complete luxury brand, Cadillac. In other words, a Cadillac Escalade. Krusen Motors offers this quick comparison.

There is still a significant gap as the starting MSRP for an Escalade with rear-wheel drive is $83,890. The standard engine is the 6.2-liter V8, producing 420 hp @5600 rpm and 460 lb-ft of torque @ 4100 rpm. The Yukon Denali comes standard with the 3.0-liter Duramax turbodiesel, which has some fuel efficiency advantages. The same 6.2-liter engine is available, and equipping the Yukon Denali as such brings its price up to $78,800. That results in a $5,090 difference between the models when similarly powered. Opting for 4-wheel drive in either the Yukon or Escalade costs $3,000, so the cost difference here and in the examples below will not change.

If you intend to tow, you will want to add the $465 Max Trailering Package and the $750 Enhanced Trailering Package to the Yukon Denali. Combined, these packages add several features to assist in towing, including:

  • Hitch Guidance with Hitch View

  • Trailer brake controller

  • Smart Trailer Integration Indicator

  • Trailer Side Blind Zone Alert

  • ProGrade Trailering System content

  • Enhanced cooling radiator

  • Trailer Tire Pressure and Temperature Sensors

  • Auxiliary Trailer Camera

  • Trailering assist guidelines

  • Inside/Rear Trailer Camera Input

The gap is almost enough for the Advanced Technology Package, which includes the award-winning hand-free highway Super Cruise system along with:

  • Rear Seat Media System

  • Enhanced Automatic Parking Assist

  • Reverse Automatic Braking

  • Rear camera mirror with camera washer

With all three packages, the Yukon Denali’s MSRP is $85,645, which is now over the cost of the base Escalade. Yet, with the exception of Hitch View, the base Escalade not only does not have any of the package features, but they are also not optionally available. To get the advanced towing features and Super Cruise on the Escalade, you have to move up to the Escalade Premium Luxury grade, which bumps up the price of entry to $95,815, and then add the $2,675 Heavy-Duty Trailering Package, brings the price up to $98,490. So now the difference is almost up to $13K. To match that in the Denali, you can add LED-lit power-retractable assist steps, a panoramic sunroof, 22-inch wheels, and plenty more. Or you can opt for the $99,965 Yukon Denali Ultimate, which is standard with nearly everything.

The bottom line is no matter how you configure these models to your preference, the gap between the Escalade and Yukon will be substantial, and the more you add, the bigger the gap becomes.

Then there is the matter of appearances. As attractive as the Yukon Denali is, it will never appear as exclusive as the Cadillac. The Escalade signals luxury and exclusivity to anyone who sees it. The Yukon Denali is a very good-looking vehicle, but it will make its most significant impression on those who know trucks. 

If the Yukon Denali looks like the better deal for you, visit Krusen Motors and look at one up close. We doubt you will ever regret your choice to go with GMC.

More from Krusen Motors