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Land Rover is going after big eight-passenger SUVs with the new 2023 Defender 130. But the benchmark big luxury SUV is the 2022 GMC Yukon Denali. Both SUVs are off-road ready, they’re luxurious, they’re packed with tech, they’re both expensive, and they both look right at home at the country club parking lot. But does the new, and longer, eight-passenger Land Rover Defender 130 have the goods to dethrone the king, the 2022 Yukon Denali?

1: The 2022 Yukon Denali is bigger and holds more stuff

A red 2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali in the snow.
2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali | GMC

The Yukon Denali is built on the full-sized GMC Sierra truck, so that means it’s big. But, just like the Sierra comes in short-bed and long-bed versions, the 2022 Yukon Denali comes in regular and XL. It holds a massive amount of stuff in the back: 122.9 cubic feet in the Denali, and 144.7 in the XL version with all the seats folded. That easily trumps the 88.9 cubic feet of space in the back of the Defender 130 with all the seats folded.

Size is one of the big reasons that people buy eight-passenger SUVs. The Yukon also has more hip and shoulder room, especially in the way back. The Land Rover Defender 130 was designed to be an eight-passenger SUV in a 2+3+3 setup.

2: The Yukon comes with big power

A closeup exterior shot of the 2021 GMC Yukon Denali's Denali trim level name badging
2021 GMC Yukon Denali | GMC Pressroom

The Yukon Denali comes with a standard 42-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 standard. That big V8 may be thirsty, it only gets 14 mpg in the city and 20 on the highway, but it easily beats the power of the Land Rover’s standard 296-horsepower motor, and even the optional hybrid turbo engine that makes 395 horsepower. The Denali, too, can be ordered with a diesel that has enough power to tow up to 8,200 pounds.

The Yukon is also quicker that the Defender. The Yukon hits 60 mph in about six seconds, while the fastest Defender 130 can do the sprint in 6.3. Both have sophisticated four-wheel-drive systems and ground clearance for off-road prowess.

3: GMC Denali gets the Magnetic Ride Control

2022 GMC Yukon AT4 off road
2022 GMC Yukon AT4, now available with the 6.2L V8

Sure, you can get the air-ride suspension in the Defender or the Denali. But one option that makes the Denali special is its Magnetic Ride Control option. GM’s magnetic shocks in the Denali are like those that make the Corvette and Camaro SS handle so well. These electronic shocks are an upgrade that makes a big difference, especially when you’re carrying seven friends and their luggage.

The Denali can also be ordered in AT4 off-road trim with a two-speed transfer case, hill descent control, and a lot more that gives this big SUV stellar off-road capability.

4: Is GMC Denali worth the money?

Dashboard and front seats in 2023 GMC Yukon Denali Ultimate, highlighting its release date and price
2023 GMC Yukon Denali Ultimate | GMC

The Denali could be worth the money if you need the extra space and the extra power. Both of these SUVS are expensive to start. They’re big, capable, luxury SUVs lined with leather and technology.

The base Yukon SLE, which has a lot of the great SUV stuff you’ll want, starts at about $55,000. The base Denali starts at $70,600 for 2022. The $7,815 Reserve package adds extra cameras, a panoramic sunroof, and the air ride or Active Response 4WD, depending on whether you pick two- or four-wheel drive. The $6,600 Premium package adds power-retractable steps, more cameras, 22-inch wheels and more. The Land Rover Defender 130 starts at about $68,000. But with options the price goes up quickly. The SE version is $78,300. The X-D-Dynamic is $81,400 and the top line Defender X is $99,900. The off-road explorer pack adds $4,800.


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