2000 Yukon New Car Test Drive
GMC Yukon is the stylish, luxury version of Chevy's hardworking Tahoe full-size SUV. The main differences are in the packaging of options and in the styling of the grille. The Yukon wears a dramatic, elegant blacked-out grille, while the Tahoe has a chrome-laden grille designed to look more aggressive. But the luxury touches don't overlook the fact that GMC customers will want to tow their boat to the lake or pull their daughter's horse trailer to the show, so the 2000 model is loaded with features for towing and moving cargo. For many years, GMC and Chevrolet have sold this vehicle as the Suburban. Both were both completely re-engineered for model year 2000. Chevrolet's version continues as the Suburban, but GMC has renamed this vehicle the Yukon XL. The XL stands for extra length. It is, after all, a longer version of the GMC Yukon. The name change allows GMC to market a family of Yukons, which includes the Yukon, the luxurious Yukon Denali and longer Yukon XL.
Though this almost ubiquitous old friend retains its basic form, it has been improved tremendously for model year 2000. From chassis to interior the Yukon XL is a more refined, comfortable vehicle. The frame is stronger, yet lighter, providing a tremendously good platform. Generous cross bracing adds stiffness, helping to retain the ridged chassis as well as allowing engineers to design a suspension that soaks up jarring bumps and craters found on off-road trails.
For those who really need a size extra-large sport-utility, it's hard to beat this Yukon XL.
Yukons come in two trim levels: loaded and more loaded. The entry level SLE trim includes air conditioning, anti-lock brakes, self-leveling suspension, CD stereo, power windows, power door locks, fog lights, tinted glass, heated outside mirrors, leather wrapped steering wheel, and vehicle alarm. In two-wheel-drive configuration, the base price is $32,427. The 4x4 costs $35,305. Both of those come with the base 4.8-liter V8. Upgrade to the 5.3-liter motor for another $700.
The SLT package comes in two levels. You can get an SLT that adds leather seats to the SLE equipment for an additional $1,535. Or, you can get the real SLT and heap on power seats, seat heaters, premium ride suspension, OnStar driver assistance and automatic climate control for $3,012.
The 2000 Yukon Denali is a continuation of the 1999 model, so it is a carryover awaiting replacement this fall. (Look for New Car Test Drive's upcoming review of the 2001 Denali.). GMC's full-size sport-utility vehicle is available in two model lines, Yukon and Yukon XL.
The Yukon, based on the same platform as the Chevrolet Tahoe, is approximately 17 inches shorter than the Yukon XL. Offering a more compact package in a full-size vehicle, the Yukon broadens the spectrum for sport-utilities. Although the shorter Yukon carries a scaled-down profile, both models now offer third-row seating. And, though it compromises cargo storage behind the seat, it opens up whole new passenger carrying opportunities. (Look for separate New Car Test Drive reviews of the Yukon as well as the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban.)
While the Yukon can carry a lot of people or a lot of cargo, the Yukon XL can do both at the same time. The Yukon XL is 17 inches longer than the Yukon. It also offers a bigger towing capacity. The popular Yukon XL 1500 models are rated to tow 8800 to 9000-pound trailers. A Yukon XL 2500 2WD model is rated to pull trailers of up to 10,500 pounds (10,100 for 4WD).
Yukon XL is available in two trim levels, SLE and SLT. Each comes with a choice of two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. Three engines are offered: 275-horsepower 4.8-liter Vortec 4800 V8, 285-horsepower 5.3-liter Vortec 5300 V8, 300-horsepower 6.0-liter Vortec 6000 V8. (A diesel engine is in the works.) All Yukon XLs come with an electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission.
Yukon XL starts at $35,178 for the 2WD 1500 model. Yukon XL 2500 models start at $36,696 with the 6.0-liter engine. (Note: GMC is among the few manufacturers that include destination charges in its prices.).