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GMC Yukon Denali gets up to 22 mpg with new eight-speed automatic

by Justin King

GM continues to add its eight-speed transmission to more models to improve fuel efficiency.

As promised, General Motors has upgraded the 2015 GMC Yukon Denali and XL Denali with an eight-speed transmission.

After making its debut in the Corvette Stingray, the Hydra-Matic 8L90 gearbox has continued to spread across GM's lineup. The extra gears help the Yukon Denali achieve an EPA highway estimate of 22 mpg for the two-wheel-drive variant or 21 mpg for the four-wheel-drive edition.

The 6.2-liter EcoTec V8 remains unchanged, delivering 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, however the new transmission has been paired with a lower 3.23:1 rear axle ratio. The gearbox provides quicker shifts than the outgoing six-speed unit, with a new torque converter that promises smoother performance at low speeds -- particularly when towing or carrying heavy loads.

Aside from the new transmission, the Yukon Denali also gains a hands-free power liftgate, a wireless charging surface for Qi- or Powermat-compatible devices, and a Wi-Fi hotspot that provides 4G LTE connectivity for up to seven devices.

The 2015 Yukon Denali and XL Denali are now available at showrooms across the country, with respective prices of $64,965 and $67,665 (both including freight).