GMC has been criticized by some for producing upscale versions of less-expensive Chevrolet models, much like Lincoln does with Ford products. While there is some truth to this criticism, GMC has done an especially good job of making vehicles like the Yukon XL competitive in the luxury market with a smooth ride and high towing capacity that few others in this segment can match.
The 2014 Yukon XL remains almost completely unchanged from 2013. This isn't a surprise since a newly redesigned Yukon is coming next year.
The Yukon's interior space could be described as cavernous, with a class-leading 137.4 cubic feet of available cargo space, or seating for up to nine people. The quality of materials could be better, but to fill this much space with that much wood and leather, GMC would have to increase the Yukon's starting price of $46,425.
If we have any real complaint, it's the SUV's outdated interior styling. This will definitely be addressed with the new model next year. Exterior design also lags behind newer competition, but has a rugged, masculine look that still has appeal.
Under the Hood
The Yukon XL's greatest strength lies under the hood, with power supplied by a 5.3-liter Vortec V8 producing 320 horsepower and 335 pound-feet of torque. The six-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and aids in the Yukon's reasonable EPA figures of 15 mpg city and 21 mpg highway in either rear- or all-wheel drive. A Yukon can tow up to 5,100 pounds.
Even though the Yukon XL is a large, heavy vehicle, there's always plenty of power on tap. The Stabilitrak suspension system provides a smooth ride while keeping body roll in check.
All in all, the Yukon XL offers almost unparalleled utility in a fairly luxurious package for a lower price than some far less capable competitors.
While the SLE may be the lowest-priced trim available at a starting price of $46,425, it is still fitted with standard features that would only be available as expensive add-ons from less luxurious brands. Bluetooth comes standard as does a powerful Bose sound system and dual-zone climate control.
The SLT may feature the same powertrain as the SLE, but the real difference between the two is in the details. A power liftgate is optional, as is navigation. The second-row bench, meanwhile, can be replaced with two captain's chairs.
The Denali may cost quite a bit more than your standard Yukon, with prices starting at $56,820, but you're getting quite a bit in return. The most obvious difference is the engine, which is now a 6.2-liter V8 producing 403 horsepower and 417 pound-feet of torque. All this power does lower fuel economy, though, to 14 mpg city and 18 mpg highway. The interior receives many upgrades, as well, with a wood grain-trimmed steering wheel, dash and center console as a centerpiece. The sound system now functions in surround sound, and the Denali rides on twenty-inch chrome wheels.
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Many of the same features in a less-flashy package
Attractive styling and competitively priced, but fuel economy lags behind the Yukon
The King Ranch model features higher-quality leather and more attractive styling for $5,000 less than the Denali
Similar towing capabilities with seating for up to eight people and a much lower price