2007 Yukon New Car Test Drive
There have been better times for full-size sport utility vehicles. Faced with rising gas prices, eco-protests and nervous insurance underwriters, some shoppers have turned elsewhere in their search for family-size transport.
But for others, nothing can take the place of a large, powerful and roomy SUV, especially those who need to tow and haul. It's for these faithful that GMC intends the mostly all-new 2007 Yukon and Yukon Denali.
Inside, everything's new. Seats are lighter, more comfortable. The dash is seriously simplified, with major reductions in confusing knobs, buttons and displays. The interior styling is refreshingly elegant, hinting at aspirations for entry-luxury status.
An equally new exterior wraps around that delightful interior. The re-styled front end remains true to the GMC trademark shapes and geometric but with a thoroughly modern flavor. Sides shorn of overbearing cladding add lightness to an otherwise fairly substantial presence. Optional, 20-inch polished wheels add a touch of high fashion trendiness.
The 2007 Yukon is three inches longer than last year's model, nearly all of which goes to added front seat legroom and cargo area, but the wheelbase is the same length.
The popular 5.3-liter V8 engine gets a moderate boost in power and, perhaps more important, an ingenious system that shuts down half the cylinders under light load, improving fuel economy by one or two miles per gallon. The base 4.8-liter V8 gets a slight boost in power, too. At the top of the line, the luxurious Yukon Denali boasts a new 6.2-liter V8 generating 380 horsepower with a new six-speed automatic.
The Yukon seats six to nine passengers and is rated to tow up to 7700 pounds when properly equipped, enough to tow cars, boats and horses. All in all, a nice package and a real leap forward from the previous generation.
Adding to the appeal, starting MSRP for the 2007 Yukon is more than $3000 less than the comparable 2006 Yukon, itself re-priced in the fall of 2005 as part of GM's Value Pricing initiative.
The 2007 GMC Yukon lineup offers a choice of three different V8 engines and a choice of two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive except the Yukon Denali, which comes with all-wheel drive.
The standard GMC Yukon comes with a 290-hp 4.8-liter V8 and four-speed automatic. The 4.8-liter engine is not part of the initial launch, however. Once it's available, we expect the Yukon will be available at a lower base price.
The Yukon SLE 2WD ($33,815) and 4WD ($37,615) come with the 320-hp 5.3-liter V8 with Active Fuel Management and four-speed automatic. Also available is the 5.3-liter V8 with AFM and E85 Flex-Fuel capability. Standard equipment includes cruise control; multi-zone air conditioning front and rear; AM/FM/CD/MP3, eight-speaker stereo; driver information center; the usual powered features, with the outside mirrors heated and foldable; a six-way, power driver's seat; leather-wrapped, tilt steering wheel; cloth upholstery; 40/20/40 split front bench seat with manual recliners; 60/40 split folding second row bench seat; roof rails; locking rear differential; 17-inch, bright aluminum wheels; and three power outlets. A second-tier SLE 2WD ($35,565) and 4WD ($38,365) adds foglamps, steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, rear-seat audio controls and outputs and cargo cover and mat; replaces the front bench seat with a pair of buckets and a center console; and upgrades the stereo speakers to a nine-speaker-with-subwoofer, Bose Premium system.
The uplevel Yukon SLT 2WD ($37,995) and 4WD ($40,795) are available with either of the 5.3-liter V8s, both fitted with the four-speed automatic. In addition to or in place of similar features on the SLE, the SLT gets automatic climate control; power adjustable pedals; front tow hooks; leather-trimmed, bucket front seats; leather-appointed, 60/40 split, second row bench seat; six-disc CD changer; rear seat audio controls and outputs; programmable remote garage opener; and remote start. There's also a second-tier SLT 2WD ($40,060) and 4WD ($42,860) that add roof rack cross bars; outside mirrors upgraded with integrated turn signals, ground illumination, reverse-tilting and driver-side auto dimming; heated, 12-way power driver and six-way power front passenger seats with two-setting driver side memory; vinyl-covered, 50/50 split, two-passenger, third-row bench seat; and XM Satellite Radio.
Yukons offer extensive lists of options, both free standing and in packages. Popular packages include two navigation systems, one of which incorporates a DVD capability ($2145); and the rear seat entertainment system ($1295); and the power liftgate ($350). The third-row seat comes in two forms: two-passenger and a three-passenger.
Options include XM Satellite Radio ($199), power adjustable pedals ($120), power sunroof ($995), roof rack cross bars ($45), power release for the curb-side second row seat ($425), heated second-row seats ($200), rain-sensing windshield wipers ($95), 20-inch wheels ($1795), front fog lamps ($140), six-disc CD changer stereo upgrade ($300), remote starter ($175) and retractable cargo cover ($70). Finally, by way of cold weather, towing and off-road options, but again only on some models, buyers can order one of two lower rear axle ratios ($100), an engine block heater ($50), a heavy duty transmission oil cooler ($95), a windshield washer fluid heater ($85), an off-road skid plate ($125), and Autoride suspension with variable shocks and air-assisted real load leveling ($1120).
The top-level Yukon Denali ($47,115) comes with a 380-hp 6.2-liter V8 with all-wheel drive and a new six-speed automatic. Standard features over and above those expected include heated first- and second-row seats; auxiliary transmission oil cooler; locking rear differential; power second-row seat release; front-row bucket seats, second-row Captain's chairs and removable three-passenger, third-row bench seat; digital 10-speaker Premium Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound System;.