2006 Yukon XL 1500 New Car Test Drive
GMC Yukon XL is a maximum-size SUV for maximum-size projects: big trailers to pull, heavy loads to haul, crowds of friends or family (and all their luggage) heading off for a long vacation. Yukon XL is more SUV than most people need. But for those who truly need it, you can't beat it.
Yukon XL is an upscale version of the Chevy Suburban. It's a well-equipped vehicle and a good choice for families of six or more. It offers comfortable seating for six people and can be equipped to seat up to nine, with nearly enough room to carry that many on a daily basis. Even when fully loaded with people, there's space left over for large amounts of gear.
Where the Yukon XL really comes into its own, however, is when heavy-duty towing is needed. Otherwise, why not get a lighter, more fuel-efficient minivan? A standard Yukon XL 2WD 1500 model is rated to pull trailers up to 8,400 pounds. A Yukon XL 2500, the heavy-duty model, is rated to tow 12,000 pounds. This makes the Yukon XL an excellent choice for families with boats or horses.
Though identical in many respects, there are differences between the Suburban and the Yukon XL. The GMC is generally more upscale in its appointments than the Chevrolet; it offers a higher level of comfort and convenience. GMC offers the Yukon XL Denali, an ultra-luxury model that combines a big 6.0-liter V8 with full-time all-wheel-drive, a combination not available at your Chevy dealer. Styling cues distinguish the GMC from the Chevrolet.
Safety features abound. Four-wheel discs with ABS and dynamic brake proportioning promise good braking performance under all conditions and regardless of load. Hydroboost brakes provide power assist even if the engine stalls. Dual-stage frontal airbags are standard, of course, and side-impact airbags are available. Yukon XL comes with a tire-pressure monitor. Traction control comes standard on 2WD models. StabiliTrak stability control is available on all 2005 Yukon XL models and comes standard on Denali.
GMC Yukon XL is available with two-wheel drive ($38,685) or four-wheel drive ($41,385), and in two load ratings. Most popular is the 1500, the standard light-duty model, rated to tow trailers up to 8400 pounds. The heavy-duty 2500 2WD ($40,185) and 2500 4WD ($42,885) are rated to pull trailers up to 12,000 pounds. Unless you plan to pull that much trailer, however, we recommend the 1500 for its lower cost, better fuel economy, and smoother ride.
A 5.3-liter V8 powers Yukon XL 1500 models. A 6.0-liter V8 comes standard on Denali and 2500 models. An 8.1-liter V8 is optional ($950) for 2500 models, and delivers 440 pound-feet of torque for maximum towing capability. All Yukon XL models come with an electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission.
Both the 1500 and 2500 models are available in basic SLE, or more deluxe SLT or SLT Plus trim.
The base SLE model comes well-equipped with cloth upholstery, manual tri-zone air conditioning, anti-lock brakes (ABS), self-leveling suspension, CD stereo with eight speakers, power windows, power door locks, fog lights, tinted glass, heated outside mirrors, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and alarm. Three rows of seats are standard. The front seat is a 40/20/40 split bench with six-way power adjustments for the driver.
SLT is technically a package ($3,290) that adds bucket seats with leather inserts, a floor console, tri-zone automatic climate control, a nine-speaker Bose premium stereo, rear-seat audio controls, and assist steps (running boards).
SLT Plus ($5,175) adds to that Ultrasoft leather seating surfaces; full-function power (including power lumbar support) for the front bucket seats with seat heaters and a two-position memory function; outside mirrors with turn indicators and ground illumination (puddle lamps); auto-dimming for the driver's side outside mirror; Driver Information Center (including a trip computer); power-adjustable pedals; OnStar; a Homelink universal transmitter (for garage doors); six-disc in-dash CD changer; XM Satellite Radio; steering wheel controls for the audio system; and the Cargo Package with cargo shade, cargo net, cargo mat, luggage rack center rails.
Yukon XL Denali ($51,685) is loaded with luxury features, along with the bigger engine, a sophisticated full-time all-wheel-drive system, StabiliTrak stability control, and AutoRide suspension with self-leveling and two-position dampening. Denali is distinguished by unique exterior design cues. It is essentially a 1500 however, and is not available in the heavy-duty 2500 load rating.