2006 Yukon New Car Test Drive
Yukon: The chilly wildness of its name suggests cold, rugged terrain; a landscape at once beautiful yet inhospitable. A 2005 GMC Yukon wouldn't be a bad thing to have in such a place, but it's also a great domestic partner for the warmer adventure of everyday living.
Smaller than the largest SUVs, yet still indisputably full-sized, Yukon is the right size for families that have something to tow. Its cabin is roomy, friendly and functional. It can carry a load of people and a mountain of cargo. It can pull heavy trailers, up to 7700 pounds, or 8100 in the case of the more powerful Denali model. Third-row seats are available to increase Yukon's capacity to seven passengers, or up to nine if you order bench seats throughout. Yet Yukon will fit into a garage more easily than a Suburban or even an Expedition, both of which are longer.
The Yukon offers a nice ride and a choice of V8 engines, the largest of them with plenty of power for acceleration or towing. Yukon is smooth and stable on the road. Its advanced braking system works well. Turn off the highway and it handles gravel, rugged two-tracks, mud and snow. In any kind of driving, it's a great choice for someone who needs real carrying capacity.
Safety is enhanced by a tire-pressure monitor and sophisticated Hydroboost brakes. StabiliTrak electronic stability control is now available on all models, as is OnStar, upgraded for 2005 with enhanced hands-free capabilities. A new DVD-based touch-screen navigation system is also available.
The Yukon Denali is a luxury version that adds a sumptuous interior, a bigger engine (with even more power for 2005), and full-time all-wheel drive. It is a unique and desirable vehicle, offering power, luxury, and prestige that is not available in a Chevrolet Tahoe, but without the ostentatious flash of a Cadillac Escalade.
Four trim levels are available for the GMC Yukon: SLE, SLT, SLT Plus, and Denali. Officially, the SLTs are packages added onto the standard Yukon.
Yukon SLE ($35,635) and SLE 4WD ($38,160) come loaded with manual tri-zone air conditioning, a split-bench front seat with power adjustment for the driver, 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. A 285-horsepower 4.8-liter V8 is standard; a 295-horsepower 5.3-liter V8 is optional ($700).
Yukon SLT ($38,165) and SLT 4WD ($41,865) add automatic tri-zone air conditioning, a premium Bose stereo with nine speakers and rear seat audio controls, high-back bucket seats with leather inserts, a floor console, and assist steps.
SLT Plus ($41,990) and SLT Plus 4WD ($44,690) upgrade the quality of the leather and add heat, memory, and more power adjustments to the front bucket seats. SLT Plus also features outside mirrors with ground illumination and turn signals (and electrochromic dimming on the driver's side), power-adjustable pedals, XM Satellite Radio, and more. The 5.3-liter V8 comes standard on SLT Plus.
Denali ($50,035) is the most upscale Yukon, and comes with a big 6.0-liter V8 engine, full-time all-wheel drive, StabiliTrak electronic stability control, side-impact airbags, and a computer-controlled AutoRide suspension. In fact, nearly every desirable feature is standard on Denali, including virtually all the luxuries of the SLT Plus.
A sunroof ($1,000) and an engine block heater ($35) are optional. The Trailering Group ($330) includes a seven-to-four-pin adapter and electric brake wiring harness, in addition to a hitch platform, transmission oil cooler, and high-capacity air cleaner. Six-spoke, 17-inch aluminum wheels ($295) are an option for all Yukons for 2005.