2008 GMC Yukon XL 1500 Reviews

2008 Yukon XL 1500 New Car Test Drive


The GMC Yukon XL is GMC's version of the Chevy Suburban. As its name suggests, the XL is extra-long, 20 inches longer than the standard-length Yukon. The Yukon XL is offered in half-ton or three-quarter ton capacities, and luxurious Denali models are available. 

The Yukon XL is a great choice for towing 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. With its long wheelbase and heavy-duty construction, the Yukon XL is a highly stable platform for towing while offering the interior cargo advantages of a full-size SUV. The standard 5.3-liter V8 offers excellent horsepower and torque, and a 6.0-liter V8 is available for more towing power. 

The Yukon XL seats six to nine people, depending on the seating configuration. There are many vehicles that seat seven people without taking up so much space to do it, but few quite so comfortably, nor with so much room left over for cargo. 

The optional leather seats are wonderfully comfortable for long distances. The driver sits way up high and feels like he or she is master or mistress of his or her domain. The pedals adjust for long or short legs. The instruments and gauges are stylish. Interior small items storage 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. 

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 rated at 380 horsepower and 417 pound-feet of torque. The Denali also offers a more sophisticated all-wheel-drive system. The Denali comes standard with the AutoRide active electronic suspension, which is optional on the regular Yukon XL. 

A liftgate is available that raises and lowers under power, a Bose sound system, a navigation system, and a DVD rear-seat entertainment system are available, in addition to a rearview monitor that improves safety and makes it easier to hook up trailers. 

The Yukon XL was completely redesigned for 2007. The 2008 Yukon XL models come standard with curtain side airbags. Yukon XL 2500-series models get a six-speed automatic for 2008, and a new 2WD version of the Yukon XL Denali is available. 


The 2008 GMC Yukon XL comes in three trim levels and two carrying capacities. The Yukon XL SLE 2WD ($38,185) and 4WD ($40,985) and the better-equipped SLT 2WD ($39,020) and 4WD ($41,810) offer a choice of V8 engines, including two versions of the Vortec 5.3-liter V8 that can run on E85 ethanol. The aluminum-block 5.3 makes 310 horsepower and 335 pound-feet of torque in 4WD models and 320 horsepower and 340 pound-feet of torque in 2WD models. A more powerful engine is optional for these 1500-series models, an all-aluminum 6.0-liter V8 with variable valve timing, making 366 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque ($1,095). The Yukon XL's available four-wheel drive is a full-time system that can be driven on dry pavement and has low-range gearing. Yukon XL 1500 models use a four-speed automatic transmission. 

The 2500-series models have truck tires and a heavier suspension using leaf springs. The SLE 2WD 2500 ($39,585), SLE 4WD 2500 ($42,385) and the SLT 2WD 2500 ($40,380) and 4WD SLT 2500 ($43,180) come with a 352-hp version of the 6.0-liter V8 that makes 383 pound-feet of torque. Also, 2500 models get a six-speed automatic for 2008. 

Also offered are the luxurious 2WD Denali ($48,130) and AWD Denali ($51,175). The Denali's all-wheel-drive system lacks low-range gearing. The Denali models come with a 6.2-liter V8 that produces 380 horsepower and 417 pound-feet of torque along with a six-speed automatic transmission with manual mode and GMC's AutoRide active electronic suspension. 

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 standard equipment includes cruise control; three-zone manual climate control; AM/FM/CD/MP3, eight-speaker stereo with XM satellite radio; OnStar assistance with one year subscription; 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 with audio controls; cloth upholstery; auto-dimming rearview mirror; 40/20/40 split front bench seat; six-way power driver's seat; 60/40 split folding second-row bench seat; two-passenger third-row split folding seat; automatic headlights; roof rails; side steps; locking rear differential; three power outlets; and P265/70R17 all-season tires on bright aluminum wheels. Also standard is a tow package with a heavy hitch, seven-pin wiring harness, two-inch receiver and electric brake control harness. A 3SB package for SLE ($835) adds front bucket seats, a power front passenger seat, a front center console, rear radio and climate controls, and fog lights. A Convenience Package ($560) has rear park assist, power-adjustable pedals and remote engine starting. 

SLT models get tri-zone automatic climate control with rear controls, front tow hooks, leather upholstery, front bucket seats with six-way power adjustment, front center console, six-disc CD changer, rear seat audio controls and outputs, universal garage door opener, fog lights, remote engine starting, power adjustable pedals, rear park assist, and polished alloy wheels. A 4SB option package for SLT ($3,705) adds heated, 12-way adjustable front seats with lumbar adjustment; memory for the driver's seat and mirrors; Bose nine-speaker audio system with subwoofer; roof rack; and power-folding exterior mirrors with integrated turn signals, driver's side auto-dimming, and reverse tilting. 

Denali models come fully loaded, with a wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel; second-row bucket seats; heated first- and second-row seats; 12-way adjustable front seats with lumbar adjustment; memory for the driver's seat and mirrors; power-folding second-row seats; removable three-passenger split-folding third-row seat; power-folding exterior mirrors with int. 

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