GMC redesigned its biggest SUV last year and dropped the Suburban name in favor of Yukon XL to denote its similarity to the Yukon. Both are based on General Motors full-size pickup trucks, but the XL is 20 inches longer.
The Yukon XL is similar to the Chevrolet Suburban, but GMC aims at a more upscale audience this year with the new Denali model, a luxury version that comes with standard amenities such as leather upholstery, the OnStar communication system and a premium sound system.
With an overall length of 219 inches, the Yukon XL is 7 inches shorter than the Ford Excursion, now the biggest SUV. The XL has four side doors and a choice of an aluminum liftgate or dual swing-out cargo doors.
The SLE model comes with standard seats for nine, and the SLT has seats for eight, with the difference being a three-place front bench instead of two buckets. Both have three-place middle and rear benches that fold and can be removed. Front bucket seats are optional on the SLE, and two middle bucket seats are optional on the SLT.
Cargo volume is 46 cubic feet behind the rear seat and 138.4 cubic feet with the middle and rear seats removed.
Under the Hood
A 285-horsepower 5.3-liter V-8 is the base engine for half-ton payload models. A 6.0-liter V-8 with 320 hp is standard on three-quarter-ton models, while the Denali has a 325-hp version. An 8.1-liter V-8 with 340 hp is a new option for three-quarter-ton models. All engines come with a four-speed automatic transmission.
The Denali comes with a permanently engaged all-wheel-drive system. Other Yukon XLs are available with two-wheel drive or Autotrac four-wheel drive, which engages automatically when more traction is needed. Yukon tows trailers up to 12,000 pounds with the 8.1-liter V-8 engine. All models have standard antilock brakes and side-impact airbags for the front seats.