GMC Yukon Denali Vs. Cadillac Escalade: Haul Passengers and Cargo, and Do it in Style

By Justin Cupler | March 1st, 2019

SUVs have come a long way from their off-roading, cargo-hauling past. Now, they not only haul people and cargo, but they do so with luxury and serious style. Two key examples of this are the 2019 Cadillac Escalade and 2019 GMC Yukon Denali. Which of these decked-out people haulers is best for our Delray Beach, Florida area buyers? Keep reading to find out.

Exterior

On the outside, the GMC Yukon Denali and Cadillac Escalade share a ton of hard parts, so their shared lineage is obvious. From the front of the rear door and through the rear quarter panels, the GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade are virtually identical, save for a few trim pieces and the mirrors.

Where these models stray from each other are in their front and rear ends. The GMC Yukon Denali features a more traditional SUV front end with a bold grill, tame headlights, and a relatively flat hood. The Escalade grabs more attention with its big, chrome grille with larger slats, sweeping LED headlights, and razor-sharp ridges on the hood.

In the rear, the GMC Yukon Denali features a straightforward design that anyone would expect from a full-size SUV. The 2019 Escalade, however, boasts a backside that demands just as much attention as its front end with its long, vertical LED taillights.

 

Being based on the same platform, the 2019 GMC Yukon Denali and Cadillac Escalade share many of their measurements. In their standard length, these two SUVs are the same size at 203.9 inches long, 80.5 inches wide, and 74.4 inches high. They both ride on a 116-inch wheelbase.

 

Once you move to the extended-length models — Yukon XL and Escalade ESV — they vary slightly in some measurements. They both ride on a 130-inch wheelbase and are 80.5 inches wide, but the Yukon XL Denali is 224.4 inches long and 74.4 inches high, while the Escalade ESV is 224.3 inches long and 74 inches tall.

 

As go the features, so goes the weight in these SUVs. The lesser-equipped Yukon Denali is no athlete at 5,482 to 5,965 pounds, but the decked-out Escalade is a whale at 5,578 to 6,088 pounds.

Advantage: 2019 GMC Yukon Denali

  • Tone-down styling
  • Still looks luxurious with huge savings

Advantage: 2019 Cadillac Escalade

  • Stands out in a crowd
  • Extra luxury goodies and chrome
  • LED headlights and taillights

Interior

On the inside, the General Motors lineage is still noticeable between the 2019 Cadillac Escalade and the 2019 GMC Tahoe, but it is far less obvious. The GMC Yukon Denali’s interior is plenty luxurious and wrapped in high-end leather, but the Cadillac Escalade has much more cow hide on its dash. Plus, the Escalade’s wood trim is more convincing, and its center stack is more stylish with its gloss-black bezel and sleek buttons compared to the Yukon’s simpler segregated buttons and knobs.

 

The Yukon Denali and Cadillac Escalade share many interior measurements, but there are small variations between them. Up front, the 2019 GMC Yukon Denali offers 42.8 inches of headroom, 45.3 inches of legroom, 64.8 inches of shoulder room, and 60.8 inches of hip room. The Escalade has the same headroom and legroom, but it has an extra 0.1 inches of shoulder and hip room.

In its second row, the Yukon Denali has 38.7 inches of headroom, 39 inches of legroom, 65.1 inches of shoulder room, and 60.3 inches of hip room. The Escalade shares the Yukon’s headroom and legroom, but its seats are 0.7 inches tighter in shoulder room and 0.1 inches tighter in hip room.

 

The Yukon XL Denali’s second row has 39.1 inches of headroom, 39.7 inches of legroom, 65.1 inches of shoulder room, and 60.3 inches of hip room. The Escalade ESV’s second-row shoulder room is 0.7 inches tighter and its hip room is 0.1 inches narrower.

 

In the third row, the 2019 Yukon Denali and 2019 Cadillac Escalade are equally tight with 38.1 inches of headroom, 24.8 inches of legroom, 62.6 inches of shoulder room, and 49.3 inches of hip room. In their respective extended-length models, the 2019 Yukon XL Denali and 2019 Escalade ESV, they share 38.5 inches of headroom, 34.5 inches of legroom, 62.6 inches of shoulder room, and 49.3 inches of hip room.

 

Folks buy full-size SUVs for their cargo room, and the Yukon Denali and Escalade have plenty of it. In its standard length, the Yukon Denali has 15.3 cubic feet of room behind its third row, 51.7 cubes behind its second row, and 94.7 cubes with all the seats folded. The Escalade is a little tighter with 15.2 cubic feet of room behind its third row, 51.6 cubes behind its second row, and 94.2 cubes with all the seats folded.

The extended-length Yukon XL Denali offers 39.3 cubic feet of room behind its third row, 76.7 cubes behind its second row, and 121.1 cubes with all the seats folded. The Escalade ESV has the same measurements with its seats upright, but its max cargo capacity is tighter at 120.9 cubes.

Advantage: 2019 GMC Yukon

  • Slight advantage in seat and cargo room
  • Plenty of luxury with a huge price advantage

Advantage: 2019 Cadillac Escalade

  • Huge advantage in standard luxury

Performance

Being based on the same platform means the 2019 GMC Yukon Denali and 2019 Cadillac Escalade share many of their greasy bits too. Both models come standard with a 6.2-liter V-8 engine that produces 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. They also share a 10-speed automatic transmission and have standard rear wheel drive. Optional four-wheel drive is available on both models.

Though they share a platform and powertrain, the 2019 GMC Yukon and 2019 Cadillac Escalade have varying towing capacities due to their differing curb weights. The 2019 Yukon Denali tows 8,100 to 8,400 pounds, while the Escalade can pull 8,100 to 8,300 pounds.

The heavier Yukon XL Denali and Escalade ESV share the same lower tow ratings of 7,900 to 8,100 pounds.

 

Fuel economy between these SUV is the same at up to 14 mpg city, 23 highway, and 17 combined.

Advantage: 2019 GMC Yukon Denali

  • Slight towing advantage

Advantage: 2019 Cadillac Escalade

  • Standard magnetic ride control

Pricing and Features

The 2019 GMC Yukon Denali comes is a trim in itself with prices starting from $66,200 for the standard-length model and $68,900 for the XL model.

 

The 2019 Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV come in three trims — base, Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Platinum — and their starting prices range from $76,490 to $95,590 in normal length and $79,490 to $98,590 for the ESV model.

GMC Yukon Denali Key Features and Pricing by Trim

Base: $66,200 ($68,900 XL)

  • 6.2-liter V-8 engine
  • 10-speed automatic transmission
  • Rear-wheel drive
  • High-capacity air filter
  • Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes
  • Hill-start assist
  • Automatic transmission cooler
  • External engine-oil cooler
  • Heavy-duty locking rear differential
  • Magnetic ride control
  • Trailer-brake controller
  • Heavy-duty trailering hitch
  • Seven-wire trailer-wiring harness
  • Grille shutters
  • Black assist steps with chrome strip
  • Bright body-side moldings
  • 20-inch bright machined-aluminum wheels
  • Solar-absorbing windshield
  • Acoustic windshield
  • Daytime running lights
  • Auto-on/off headlights
  • Fog lights with chrome surrounds
  • Deep-tinted glass
  • High-intensity-discharge projector headlights
  • Hands-free power liftgate
  • Luggage rack side rails
  • Heated, power-adjustable, power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors
  • Mirror-integrated turn signals
  • Power-adjustable pedals
  • Power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  • Two-position memory for driver seat, steering column, mirrors, and pedals
  • Chevrolet Infotainment System with 8-inch touchscreen
  • 10-speaker Bose Centerpoint Audio system
  • SiriusXM
  • SiriusXM NavTraffic
  • HD Radio
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
  • Navigation
  • Five USB ports
  • Bose active noise cancellation
  • Cargo net
  • Tri-zone climate control
  • Cruise control
  • Power door locks
  • Power windows with express-up/down
  • 8-inch multi-color driver-information center
  • Floor mats
  • Keyless entry and ignition
  • Remote vehicle start
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • OnStar and GMC connected services capable
  • 4G LTE Wi-Fi
  • GMC Connected Access
  • 110-volt power outlet
  • Perforated leather front seats
  • 12-way power front seats
  • Heated outboard second-row seats
  • Heated and ventilated front seats
  • Power-release second-row seats
  • 60/40 split-folding power-folding third-row seats
  • Heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Wireless charging pad
  • Safety-alert rear seat
  • Teen Driver
  • Rain-sensing front windshield wipers
  • Rearview camera
  • Forward collision alert
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Low-speed automatic emergency braking
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Low-speed automatic emergency braking

2019 Cadillac Escalade Key Features and Pricing by Trim

Base: $76,490 (ESV $79,490)

  • 6.2-liter V-8 engine
  • High-capacity air cleaner
  • Hill-start assist
  • 10-speed automatic transmission
  • Rear-wheel drive
  • Load-leveling rear suspension
  • Electric power steering
  • External engine-oil cooler
  • External transmission-oil cooler
  • 20-inch dual-seven-spoke alloy wheels with chrome finish
  • Remote ignition
  • Heavy-duty trailering hitch
  • Seven-wire trailer-wiring harness
  • Locking rear differential
  • Magnetic ride control
  • Active grille shutters
  • Black assist steps
  • Body-color heated, auto-dimming, power-folding mirrors
  • Mirror-integrated turn signal indicators
  • Chrome body-side moldings
  • Chrome roof-mounted luggage rack
  • Deep-tinted glass
  • Acoustic windshield and front door glass
  • Hands-free power liftgate
  • LED headlights
  • LED taillights
  • Keyless open
  • Rain-sensing front wipers
  • Rear intermittent wipers
  • Solar-absorbing glass
  • 110-volt power outlet
  • 12-inch driver-information center
  • 12-way power front seats
  • 4G LTE Wi-Fi
  • Piano-black and chrome-finish interior accents
  • Active noise cancellation
  • Automatic parking assist
  • Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming
  • 16-speaker Bose Centerpoint surround-sound system
  • HD Radio
  • SiriusXM NavTraffic
  • SiriusXM
  • Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  • 360-degree camera
  • Tri-zone automatic climate control
  • Universal home remote
  • Wireless charging pad
  • Cadillac Connected Access capable
  • Cadillac user experience with navigation
  • Cargo net
  • Carpeted floor mats
  • Overhead console
  • Leather seating
  • Heated and cooled front seats
  • Heated second-row outboard seats
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Power tilt-and-telescoping steering column
  • Power-adjustable pedals
  • Two-position memory for driver’s seat, mirrors, steering column and power-adjustable pedals
  • OnStar® & Cadillac Connected Services capable
  • Power 60/40 split-folding third-row bench seat
  • Power door locks
  • Power windows with express-up/down
  • Keyless ignition
  • Safety-alert rear seat
  • Front and rear parking sensors

 

Luxury: $82,090 (ESV $85,090)

  • All Base features, plus
  • 22-inch seven-spoke alloy wheels with Chrome inserts/Pearl Nickel finish
  • Automatic on/off headlights
  • Power sunroof
  • Head-up display
  • Power second row bucket seats
  • Rear camera mirror with washer
  • Low-speed automatic emergency braking
  • Forward collision alert
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Lane-change alert
  • Blind-zone alert
  • Rear cross-traffic alert

 

Premium Luxury: $86,490 (ESV $89,490)

  • All Luxury features, plus
  • 17-inch disc brakes
  • Electronic parking brake
  • Front cornering lights
  • Illuminated door handles
  • Forward and reverse automatic emergency braking
  • Rear seat entertainment system with 9-inch screen Blu-Ray/DVD player
  • Wireless rear headphones for entertainment system
  • Advanced adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic seat belt tightening

 

Platinum: $95,590 (ESV $98,590)

  • All Platinum features, plus
  • 22-inch dual nine-spoke alloy wheels with Chrome inserts/Ultra Silver metallic finish
  • Power-retractable assist steps
  • Unique grille design
  • 22″ Dual 9-spoke alloy wheels with Chrome inserts/Ultra Silver metallic finish
  • Platinum sill plates
  • Semi-Aniline leather seating surfaces
  • Leather third-row seating
  • Leather-wrapped instrument panel, console and doors
  • Choice of two interior colors: Jet Black or Maple Sugar
  • Unique exotic wood
  • 18-way driver and front passenger seats with 3-mode driver massage
  • Dual DVD screen on the backside of front-row head restraints
  • Front console compartment with insulated cooler
  • Luxurious sueded microfiber headliner
  • Premium floor mats

Who Should Buy the 2019 GMC Yukon Denali?

The GMC Yukon Denali offers more luxury than your typical full-size SUV, but it doesn’t have nearly the features of the Escalade. That said, the Escalade carries with it a premium price that’s over $10,000 more than the Yukon Denali. This makes the Yukon Denali the perfect ride for a buyer who wants something more upscale than the typical SUV but doesn’t have the bank account to support a true luxury SUV.

Who Should Buy the 2019 Cadillac Escalade?

From its base trim through the range-topping Platinum trim, the 2019 Cadillac Escalade is a legit luxury SUV. It is perfect for the buyer who needs room to haul kids and cargo, and the power to haul a trailer without sacrificing true luxury.

 

Is the GMC Yukon Denali the SUV for you? Are you still not sure which is best for your family? Come down to Delray Buick GMC in Delray Beach, Florida to test drive it and see if it fits your lifestyle. Whether you commute to Boca Raton every day for work or need an SUV that can haul your camper to Boynton Beach every weekend, the 2019 GMC Yukon Denali can do it in style and save you a ton of money in the process. Can’t make it by our new-car showroom serving Deerfield Beach for a test drive today? That’s OK. You can check out our online inventory to see what 2019 Yukon Denali models we have in stock before setting an appointment for a test drive.