2021 Escalade vs 2021 Yukon Denali. Warning!! Long read…

Ajmalian

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I apologize for the long story but trust me I couldn’t help but reach out to you all.

So I’ve owned a 2021 Yukon Denali since mid February 2021 and have loved almost every aspect of it as yet….except the power to be honest. It has a 6.2L V8 and having owned several, only Denalis, be it Yukons or Sierras (ALL 6.2L V8 motors) since 2011….I’ve come to expect a certain level of performance from these engines and they always delivered….until now. With the 2021 Yukon Denali I felt they’ve really softened the vehicle up with the tune or something. When I mash the gas pedal, sure the truck moves but there’s no sense of urgency or aggression that used to be very much the case in my previous trucks.
I thought that in 2015, they made the Yukons/Tahoes/Escalades real quiet. Maybe this is just another step to making these vehicles more sophisticated and “smooth”. So I accepted it as “It is what it is”.

Three days ago, my father took delivery of his long awaited 2021 Escalade (took 9 months to come since we ordered). It came with the same motor…or so I’d like to believe. He’s a little superstitious and weird this way. He never drives a car from brand new…he always gives it to me to put on the maiden 800 miles or so…hence I’ve had the luxury of driving it around for the past 3 days and I’ve come to the following conclusions:

1. I now hate my Denali after having experienced the interior/exterior and luxuries of the Escalade. The materials and technology employed…it’s all just sooooo good. Back in 2015 when i had the Denali, dad had also gotten an Escalade…the differences didn’t feel a world apart…but now…they certainly do. You really feel the $25,000-$30,000 difference between the two trucks.

2. I definitely more so do not like my specific truck because, all those things I mentioned above about the 6.2L motor still very much exist in this new Escalade whereas my Denali just feels like a slob. Even the hard acceleration is so smooth and linear in the Caddy whereas the GMC feels like it’s VERY mildly stuttering under hard acceleration. It definitely feels as though it has lesser power than the Caddy. The Caddy just gets up and goes. It feels like the good ‘ol American truck muscle I’ve always known. My GMC, something just feels off about how it drives.

I know from various reviews that the Caddy rides…rather floats better than the GMC and I expect that because its a Caddy but such a vast difference in how the two motors sound and behave. Now I don’t remember the production dates, however I remember having looked up my truck and unfortunately it falls in the date range of when GM trucks were being built with the faulty lifters. Could my motor experience be because of that? Is my truck not performing as desired due to this reason? Problem is that I’m doing over 8,000 miles now and my engine is driving just as “healthy” as it did the day I picked it up from the dealership 8 months ago. But it ain’t no Escalade’s in terms of performance….anybody have any opinion or experience on this? I’d love to hear….
 

PNW VietVet

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Is there a substantial weight difference of any kind? Just a WAG.
 

Pro299

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First, why not find out if there really is a performance difference? Seat of the pants is notoriously unreliable unless you're a pro driver. Find an empty road and run them up to 70 (120kph) or whatever you can do safely in the UAE. Side by side, or with a stopwatch, heck there are even apps for that. If the power difference is as noticeable as you think, it should be obvious. There shouldn't be much difference (same engine, transmission, gearing, weight), but if there is you can then talk to your dealer. They should be able to figure out what's up. If it's as noticeable as you say, a technician should be able to notice it as well. As for the features, I'd not pony up 25-30K more for the Caddy, but if that's where your priorities are, go for it.
 

PNW VietVet

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That is something I forgot to ask, what is the gear ratios for each?
 

swathdiver

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So I’ve owned a 2021 Yukon Denali since mid February 2021...

Three days ago, my father took delivery of his long awaited 2021 Escalade...
See if they have different gearing, I don't think they do. Your motor may need more time to break in and loosen up. You could see if there's an updated tune for your truck.

Or sell the Denali and get an Esky, you probably won't lose money on the Denali in this market. Or go buy another 2011 6.2 Sierra!
 

THarber

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I'd have some one scan for any error codes. My 2019 runs like a scalded dog and even more so after I added a LewTune. If you run crap gas it will knock and the knock sensors will pull upwards of 20degrees of timing out, thats a ton.

Tim
 

Ajmalian

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First, why not find out if there really is a performance difference? Seat of the pants is notoriously unreliable unless you're a pro driver. Find an empty road and run them up to 70 (120kph) or whatever you can do safely in the UAE. Side by side, or with a stopwatch, heck there are even apps for that. If the power difference is as noticeable as you think, it should be obvious. There shouldn't be much difference (same engine, transmission, gearing, weight), but if there is you can then talk to your dealer. They should be able to figure out what's up. If it's as noticeable as you say, a technician should be able to notice it as well. As for the features, I'd not pony up 25-30K more for the Caddy, but if that's where your priorities are, go for it.
Alright so I finally put the two head to head…So from a dig…they both perform almost the same. Literally depends upon which driver had the better reaction time, but they literally ran neck to neck. In order keep it fair we even switched drivers and we both agreed on the fact that Caddy rides smoother and for some odd reason feels like it’s rear end squats more upon hard acceleration from zero but yet both trucks literally run head to head.

However the story is QUITE different when we raced from 37mph (60km/h) up to 75mph (120km/h) and then also from 50mph (80km/h) up to 87mph (140km/h). I’ve come to the conclusion that the transmission in the Caddy has been tuned far differently than the Denali. When we kick-down together the Caddy downshift SO MUCH quicker and with it’s suspension tuned differently also squats harder at the rear end giving it that more aggressive feel that I spoke about earlier. The truck whilst moving simply just reacts and takes off much faster than the Denali. Now I’m no pro at this but I even believe that the upshifts are quicker in the Caddy. So my conclusion is this…that the combination of the differently tuned transmission and suspension give the Caddy that significant oomph and driving flare over the Denali.

The paranoid freak that I am, I actually even went to another dealer here with the Caddy and requested to test drive a Denali since I was “considering it for the wife”….and it felt just the same as my truck.

So I guess I can put this matter to bed and find ways to save monies for the potential Escalade V

Thank you all for your time and feedback.
 

Dcmaynor

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Alright so I finally put the two head to head…So from a dig…they both perform almost the same. Literally depends upon which driver had the better reaction time, but they literally ran neck to neck. In order keep it fair we even switched drivers and we both agreed on the fact that Caddy rides smoother and for some odd reason feels like it’s rear end squats more upon hard acceleration from zero but yet both trucks literally run head to head.

However the story is QUITE different when we raced from 37mph (60km/h) up to 75mph (120km/h) and then also from 50mph (80km/h) up to 87mph (140km/h). I’ve come to the conclusion that the transmission in the Caddy has been tuned far differently than the Denali. When we kick-down together the Caddy downshift SO MUCH quicker and with it’s suspension tuned differently also squats harder at the rear end giving it that more aggressive feel that I spoke about earlier. The truck whilst moving simply just reacts and takes off much faster than the Denali. Now I’m no pro at this but I even believe that the upshifts are quicker in the Caddy. So my conclusion is this…that the combination of the differently tuned transmission and suspension give the Caddy that significant oomph and driving flare over the Denali.

The paranoid freak that I am, I actually even went to another dealer here with the Caddy and requested to test drive a Denali since I was “considering it for the wife”….and it felt just the same as my truck.

So I guess I can put this matter to bed and find ways to save monies for the potential Escalade V

Thank you all for your time and feedback.
Gear ratios of both?
 

Ajmalian

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Gear ratios of both?
I’m sorry I wish I was more mechanically educated but I don’t know how and where to look that up. I reckon the same if they are literally the same from a dig, no?? I really don’t know how to tell. I mean I can’t even say that one’s gears feel longer or shorter than the other. They almost feel the same. Shift points are the same.
The only other thing that I didn’t mention earlier was that the Denali compared to the Caddy seems to have a bit of a rev hang…so whenever I floor it and let go of the gas at a higher RPM in the Denali, unlike most other cars/trucks, the revs don’t come back down at the normal pace. It’s slower for the RPMs to slow down to a lower RPM and also, in automatic mode, it doesn’t upshift to the next gear soon enough when you do what I JUST described above. It actually waits for a while before it upshifts.

So for example in automatic mode I mashed the pedal in both trucks…both will downshift to a suitable gear (the Caddy much faster though) and I’d take them both up to say 5,000 RPM and let go of the gas pedal completely, the Caddy almost instantly typically changes to the next higher gear. The Denali will rev hang till it floats back to approximately 3,500 RPM after which it will upshift.
Thats all I observed and can report. Point being that the drive/ and tune in the Denali compared to the Caddy just feels unusual, mechanically inorganic…LOL…not something I’m used to or have experienced over the 19 years I’ve been driving.
 

Stbentoak

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There is no doubt that the caddy is superior to the Denali in almost every way....
But I just couldn't justify the 20+K extra cost vs my needs. I see few new Denali's in my area and even fewer Esky's....
There just aren't that many available, even at any price...
 

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