Which Tows Better? 2018 Infiniti QX80 vs 2018 GMC Yukon Denali vs World’s Toughest Towing Test (Video)

2018 infiniti qx80 gmc yukon denali towing test
2018 Infiniti QX80 vs 2018 GMC Yukon Denali

The 2018 Gold Hitch™ Awards and Ike Gauntlet™ season is coming to an exciting conclusion as we complete the full-size best-towing SUV category testing. This time it’s the updated 2018 Infiniti QX80 and the 2018 GMC Yukon Denali with a 10-speed Automatic duking it out at the top of the world in Colorado – the World’s Toughest Towing test. Which SUV is the better towing machine with a 7,000 lbs trailer hitched to the back?

Will it be the 400-horsepower 5.6L V8 from Infiniti or the 6.2L 420-horse V8 from GMC! The QX80 engine provides 413 lb-ft of torque and sends it to the 2.93 rear axle ratio via a 7-speed automatic transmission. The big QX80 news is the updated styling at the front and in the back with new headlights and taillights. The Yukon Denali brings the new 10-speed automatic this year that is linked to the 3.23 rear axle. The 6.2L V8 is rated the same at 460 lb-ft of torque.

Ike Gauntlet

tfltruck, crew, team
The Fast Lane Truck crew (left to right: Tommy Mica, Andre Smirnov, Nathan Adlen, Roman Mica, Kent “MrTruck” Sundling)

We call the Ike Gauntlet™ – the World’s Toughest Towing test because it is an 8-mile stretch of the highest elevation interstate in the country. This Interstate-70 7% grade goes from Dillon, CO all the way up to 11,158 feet above sea level and Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial tunnels. There is approximately 32% less air density at the top of the mountain. It’s very difficult for trucks (and humans) to perform at their best with less oxygen. We load all SUVs and trucks very close to their maximums. The trucks struggle on the way up, but the way down is the more important challenge as this is where the transmission/engine and the brakes play a vital role in safely slowing down the heavily loaded convoy.

Gold Hitch Awards

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Each category winner gets a belt buckle

The 2018 marks the four year of the Gold Hitch Awards. This is TFLtruck’s way of recognizing the best towing and off-road trucks in the land. The 2018 awards include four categories: Best Towing SUV, Best Towing HD Truck, Best Off-Road Truck, and Truck of the Year. Each year, the all-new or updated trucks/SUVs are eligible to compete. Don’t worry, we have not forgotten about the 2018 Ford F-150 that was updated for 2018 as well. As you can imagine, the 2019 award season will be huge for half-ton trucks.

Full-Size SUVs: 2018 Gold Hitch Competition

Towing a 7,000 lbs CM Trailers Cargo Mate trailer.

Year Make Model Down (Num. Brakes) Up (Time) Up (MPG)  Subjective (Avg) Ike Score
2018 Ford Expedition 4×4 1 07:58.26 3.8 23 86
2018 Dodge Durango SRT 7 08:00.89 4.7 18 79.5
2018 GMC Yukon 4×4 7 8:01 4.7 18.5 79.5
2018 Chevy Tahoe RST 9 7:54 4.3 20 77.5
2018 GMC Yukon XL 4×4 11 8:03 4.4 21.5 77
2018 Toyota Sequoia 4×4 7 08:17.96  4.0 14.5 69.5
2018 Infiniti QX80 7 08:29.96 3.7 16.5 67

The 2018 Gold Hitch Award winners will be announced on April 4th, 2018 in conjunction with the Denver Auto Show.

Join all the Ike Gauntlet fun in the video below!