That hip urban dweller feeling fades into the background as a week's worth of driving around with the kids ensues. After about a day, I realize that the gas gauge is woefully inaccurate. After parking in my sloped driveway overnight, the tank that I thought was at about three-quarters full now registers nearly full. The gauge remains at full mark during our 8-mile trip to the mall, but after our shopping excursion, the needle is again at three-quarters. Huh? Which is it? The closer the tank gets to empty the more pronounced the inaccuracy. I am not sure if it is inaccurate as well, but the on-board computer consistently registers between 11-12 miles per gallon as its average fuel economy. My family's fuel budget probably could not handle filling up the Yukon Denali's 26-gallon fuel tank every week. It reminds me why I replaced my large SUV a couple of years ago with a more fuel efficient crossover.
Going to the mall epitomizes my non-urban existence, but affords me a chance to test the car in the reality of my suburban life. I walk up to the back of the car, set down my packages and pull on the handle to open the tailgate only to discover it is automatic. When I pull on the handle I hear a beeping sound alerting me to step away from the vehicle _ presto, the door opens. Next time I will use the button on the key fob to open the hatch when carrying packages to the car. I also quickly realize that there is not enough space behind the third-row seat to accommodate all of my bags (OK, you caught me _ I was doing some serious shopping). Using all of my upper-body strength, I lift each of the 50/50 split rear seats and flip it forward. Holy cow, could they be any heavier?
The weight of the seats in the second row is not an issue because, they fold and flip forward automatically with the touch of a button. I find myself wishing those buttons were for the third row. I successfully add my niece and nephew's booster seats to the third row for a trip to the museum. The booster seats fit comfortably in both rows and I check the Latch connectors to find they are an easy reach for car seats _ no jammed fingers or two-person installation necessary.
The second row also features an entertainment system complete with DVD player, wireless headphones and the ability for the kids to listen to their own music through the audio system. My kids really dig this and put on their headphones each-and-every time we get into the Denali. The only drawback is that if they are listening to one medium, XM radio for instance, the other passengers must pick another medium, like local radio or a CD.
The Yukon Denali has some other features that are especially important to me as a mom. The Denali features a tire-pressure monitoring system that gives real-time information about the pressure in each of the four tires. This is so important, and neglected by many drivers! Back-up sensors are standard on the Denali and GMC has included both audio and visual cues, a must for a vehicle this size. A rear view camera is also available with the addition of the navigation system. A remote starter is listed as a standard feature but I could not get that feature to work on my test vehicle. I sure would appreciate this feature in the dead of winter.
In the frivolous, but oh-so-important-to-chicks-like-me department, the Stealth Gray Metallic exterior is beautiful. The shade is a hard to describe, but is a deep ocean blue-gray color that sparkles in the sun. The color adds a more feminine appearance to an otherwise masculine looking vehicle. Maybe masculinity is part of the urban appeal _ that and a shiny set of tight dubs.
*For more information on the GMC Yukon Denali and its safety features visit Cars.com. For questions or comments regarding this review write to MotherProof@msn.com.
LET'S TALK NUMBERS
LATCH Connectors: 5 with 2nd-row bench 4 with 2nd-row buckets
Seating Capacity (includes driver): 8 with 2nd-row bench 7 with 2nd-row buckets 6 with 3rd-row 2 passenger bench
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair-Galore
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Great
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Good Times
Specs Base price: $48,190
Price as tested: $51,180
Engine: 6.2L Vortec V8
Fuel: 13/19 mpg
Step-in height: 9" ground clearance
Cargo space: 16.9 _ 108.9 cu ft
NHTSA Crash-Test Ratings
Driver's side: 5 Stars
Passenger's side: 5 Stars
Front occupant: Not Tested
Rear occupant: Not Tested
Rollover resistance: 3 Stars