Based on General Motors' Silverado full-size pickup truck, the Yukon XL is the king-size version of GMC's Yukon sport utility vehicle. The Chevrolet Suburban, which differs little in structure, is the corporate twin of the Yukon XL. Full-size rivals include the mammoth Ford Excursion and the Toyota Sequoia.
Like the automaker's shorter Yukon, the Yukon XL comes in SLE, SLT and plush Denali trim levels. GMC aims this SUV at a more upscale audience with the Denali luxury edition, which includes leather upholstery and a premium sound system with an in-dash six-CD changer.
Half-ton models are labeled Yukon XL 1500, while the Yukon XL 2500 has a three-quarter-ton rating. A 6.0-liter or 8.1-liter V-8 powers the 2500 version, while the 1500 comes with a standard 5.3-liter V-8. Denali models — offered only in half-ton form — get a 335-horsepower, 6.0-liter V-8.
New Ultra Bright 17-inch wheels and a DVD-based touch-screen navigation radio are available, and GM's StabiliTrak electronic stability system is standard. Several other notable features, including steering-wheel-mounted auxiliary controls, GM's OnStar communication system and an electrochromatic rearview mirror, become standard for 2006.
Built on a 130-inch wheelbase, the Yukon XL has four side doors. It stretches to 219.3 inches long overall, which is 20 inches longer than the regular Yukon but shorter than the Excursion. Denali models can be fitted with 20-inch seven-spoke wheels.
All Yukon XL models have three rows of seats, which yield a seating capacity of seven, eight or nine occupants, depending on the configuration. Bucket seats or a three-place bench go up front, and the second row holds two or three people. All models have a three-place rear bench that folds down and can be removed.
Cargo volume in the Yukon XL measures nearly 46 cubic feet behind the rear seat and 131.6 cubic feet when the middle and rear seats are removed. A rear-seat DVD entertainment system is optional. Denali models include XM Satellite Radio and adjustable pedals, which are optional in other Yukon XLs.
Under the Hood
The half-ton Yukon XL 1500 uses a 295-hp, 5.3-liter V-8, which can now run on a combination of gasoline and ethanol. Denali models are equipped with a 335-hp, 6.0-liter V-8 that produces 375 pounds-feet of torque. A 335-hp, 6.0-liter V-8 is standard and a 325-hp, 8.1-liter V-8 is optional in three-quarter-ton 2500 models. All engines team with a four-speed-automatic transmission.
The Denali has permanently engaged four-wheel drive. Other Yukon XL models are available with rear-wheel drive or Autotrac four-wheel drive that engages automatically when additional traction is needed. Yukon XL 1500 models can tow as much as 7,800 pounds, and the Yukon XL 2500 equipped with the 8.1-liter engine can haul up to 12,000 pounds when properly equipped.
Dual-stage occupant-sensing front airbags, antilock brakes and StabiliTrak are standard. Side-impact airbags are standard in the Denali and optional in other models.