Based on General Motors full-size Silverado pickup truck but measuring 20 inches longer, the Yukon XL is the king-size version of the GMC Yukon sport utility vehicle. The Chevrolet Suburban, which differs little in structure, is the corporate twin of the Yukon XL.
Like the shorter Yukon, the XL comes in regular and plush Denali trims. GMC aims at a more upscale audience with the Denali luxury edition, which includes standard leather upholstery, GMs OnStar communication system and a premium sound system.
A 6.0-liter or 8.1-liter V-8 engine is available only on the XL 2500 version, but the XL 1500 comes with a standard 5.3-liter V-8 and four-speed-automatic transmission. Yukon XLs with the 8.1-liter V-8 get a new heavy-duty automatic transmission for 2002, and the 5.3-liter V-8 gains upgraded Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV) status. LATCH child-safety seat tethers are new this year.
Stretching to 219 inches long overall which is 7 inches shorter than the behemoth Ford Excursion the Yukon XL rides a 130-inch wheelbase and has four side doors. The Yukon XL measures 219.3 inches from stem to stern and can extend to 77.1 inches high and 79.8 inches wide, depending on the model. Buyers get a choice of an aluminum liftgate or dual swing-out cargo doors.
All Yukon XL models have three rows of seats; the SLE seats nine occupants, while the SLT holds only eight. The difference lies in a three-place front bench for the SLE instead of the SLTs twin front buckets. Both have three-place middle and rear benches that fold down and can be removed.
Front bucket seats are optional on the SLE, while two middle bucket seats are optional on the SLT. Cargo volume is 46 cubic feet behind the rear seat or 138.4 cubic feet with the middle and rear seats removed.
Under the Hood
The base engine for half-ton models is a 285-horsepower, 5.3-liter V-8. A 6.0-liter V-8 that develops 320 hp is standard on three-quarter-ton models, while a 340-hp, 8.1-liter V-8 is optional. The Denali gets a 325-hp version of the 6.0-liter engine.
All engines team with a four-speed-automatic transmission. The Yukon XL Denali has permanently engaged all-wheel drive, while other Yukon XL models are available with rear-wheel drive or Autotrac four-wheel drive, which engages automatically when additional traction is needed. With the 8.1-liter V-8 engine, the Yukon XL can tow up to 12,000 pounds. Antilock brakes and side-impact airbags are standard.