2007 Yukon XL 1500 New Car Test Drive
The GMC Yukon XL is all new for 2007, and you can't find an SUV that works better as a tow vehicle. It has all the right stuff. The ride is better than ever, handling is steady and light. These are benefits of a new boxed frame for rigidity, a redesigned suspension, a new ring-and-pinion steering system, and other changes.
The driver sits way up high and feels like he or she is master or mistress of his or her domain. The optional leather seats are wonderfully comfortable for long distances. The pedals adjust for long or short legs. The instruments and gauges are finally stylish. There are new halogen headlamps that are bigger for improved visibility at night. Storage space is intelligently designed and all over, including a huge center console.
Those in the second row will find a lot of leg room. Bucket seats with a center console between them are available for the second row, turning them into first-class accommodations; and there is an optional power folding option, making it easier for third-row passengers to climb in. There's even decent legroom and good headroom in the third row, something few SUVs can claim.
The Yukon XL seats six to nine people, depending on the seating configuration. Essentially GMC's version of the Chevy Suburban, the Yukon XL stretches the already long wheelbase of the Yukon another 20 inches. There are many vehicles that seat seven people without taking up so much space to do it, but not quite so comfortably, nor with so much room left over for cargo.
Towing is the other area where the Yukon XL excels. It's a great vehicle for drivers who want an SUV that can tow cars, boats, horses, and travel trailers. A Yukon XL 1500 is rated to tow up to 8200 pounds, while the heavy-duty 2500 version can tow up to 9700 pounds.
The standard 5.3-liter V8 represents a new generation of engines, and it offers excellent horsepower and torque. An optional 6.0-liter V8 for the Yukon delivers more towing power.
And at the top of the line is the Yukon XL Denali. The Denali is almost a separate breed. It has its own engine, a 6.2-liter V8 based on the Corvette's 7.0-liter, making 380 horsepower and 417 pound-feet of torque. It also has its own transmission, a six-speed automatic with manual mode and its own all-wheel-drive system. The Denali comes standard with the AutoRide active electronic suspension, which is optional on the regular Yukon XL.
Deluxe options include a liftgate that raises and lowers under power, a DVD entertainment system, a Bose sound system, a navigation system, and a rearview monitor that improves safety and makes it easier to hook up trailers.
The 2007 GMC Yukon XL comes in basic SLE ($37,665) or SLT ($41,800) trim. It's available as a 1500 (half-ton), 2500 (three-quarter ton, with truck tires and a heavier suspension using leaf springs), and in two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.
A choice of V8 engines is available, two of which are versions of the Vortec 5.3-liter V8, and which can run on E85 ethanol. The new generation 5.3 with an aluminum block, the engine in our test SLT, makes 310 horsepower and 335 pound-feet of torque. The more powerful optional engine ($1095) is an all-aluminum 6.0-liter V8 with variable valve timing, making 366 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque.
The Yukon XL Denali ($49,970) comes with a 6.2-liter V8 making 380 horsepower and 417 pound-feet of torque, a six-speed automatic with manual mode, all-wheel drive system, and the AutoRide active electronic suspension.
All other Yukon XLs use a four-speed automatic transmission, available in three strengths, depending on whether the XL is 2WD, 4WD, or 2500. They all have a Tow/Haul mode, which reduces upshifting and downshifting, and also shifts quicker, so the transmission doesn't work so hard when pulling a big load. Transmission oil temperature is part of the instrumentation (along with a tire pressure monitor).
The SLE comes standard equipment with cloth interior, six-way power driver's seat, 60/40 second row bench seat, two-passenger third row seat, three-zone climate control, AM/FM/6CD/MP3, rear seat audio and climate controls, power windows and locks with remote entry, cruise control, heated sideview mirrors, 17-inch aluminum wheels, roof rack rails, deep tinted glass, foglamps, and last but definitely not least, a tow package including heavy hitch, seven-pin wiring harness, two-inch receiver and electric brake control harness. Also standard is GM's OnStar system, which, among other things, notifies headquarters if there has been a crash, and someone calls the vehicle and sends help if necessary.
The SLT package ($4135) includes leather interior, 12-way power heated bucket seats in front, power adjustable pedals, remote starter, Bose sound system, XM satellite radio, garage door opener, power folding sideview mirrors, rear parking assist beeper, and roof rack crossbars.
Safety equipment on all models includes dual frontal airbags, four-wheel-disc anti-lock brakes with electronic proportioning, and StabiliTrak, GM's electronic stability program with anti-rollover mitigation and traction control. Full length airbag curtains are optional (standard with SLT), but front side airbags are not available, which is surprising, given the competition and price. The XL earned the maximum five stars in the government's head-on crash tests.
Options include a navigation system ($2145), rear-seat entertainment system ($1295), power sunroof ($995), second-row bucket seats ($490), power release for those seats ($425), power liftgate ($350), rearview camera monitor ($195), three-passenger third-row seat ($100), heated washer fluid system ($85), and 20-inch polished aluminum wheels ($1795).