Full 2007 GMC Yukon XL Review
What's New for 2007
The GMC Yukon XL has been completely overhauled for 2007. The most notable changes are an even more spacious cabin with upgraded materials, more powerful V8s, available power-folding second-row seats and head curtain airbags.
As one of GM's triplets in its full-size SUV family, the GMC Yukon XL bridges the gap between the somewhat plain Chevy Suburban and the over-the-top Cadillac Escalade ESV. The Yukon XL is essentially a longer version of the Yukon, with a 14-inch-longer wheelbase and an overall length that, at 222.4 inches, stretches some 20 inches longer than the Yukon. The 2007 GMC Yukon XL is completely redesigned and gets more of everything that's important in the large SUV segment: power, cabin space, convenience features and safety equipment.
Compared to newer competitors, the previous-generation Yukon XL was increasingly outclassed in its later years. The new 2007 Yukon XL rectifies nearly all of the previous model's deficiencies. Interior fit and finish is now excellent as soft-touch materials, tight gap tolerances and stylish design are present. On the outside, the 2007 Yukon XL's slab-sided exterior styling is clean, but in profile this GMC looks more Ford than GM. A major benefit of the new look is improved aerodynamics as the Yukon XL slices through the wind nearly as efficiently as some sporty coupes.
Under the skin, the 2007 Yukon XL is still a traditional body-on-frame SUV with a solid rear axle. But the chassis' evolution, though subtle, is significant. GMC claims that body stiffness has been increased significantly, and the old front torsion-bar suspension has been ditched in favor of a more supple coil-spring layout. Recirculating ball steering has given way to a more precise rack-and-pinion system, and the four-wheel antilock disc brakes are larger and more powerful than they were before.
Because of its seating for up to nine, inviting cabin and available Denali trim, we suggest that consumers in need of a traditional full-size SUV take a hard look at the 2007 GMC Yukon XL. Other vehicles in this class, such as the Dodge Durango, Ford Expedition, Nissan Armada and Toyota Sequoia still offer a few advantages. But overall we think the Yukon XL is a compelling choice for those whose passenger and cargo capacity requirements run to the extreme.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2007 GMC Yukon XL is offered in three well-equipped trim levels: base SLE, midlevel SLT and the top-shelf Denali. Most folks should be happy with the well-stocked SLE. It comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, a cloth interior, power windows and mirrors, keyless entry, a front split bench seat (with six-way power driver seat), triple-zone climate control, a trip computer and an audio system with eight speakers and a CD player. The SLT adds leather seating, a six-disc CD changer, power adjustable pedals, remote vehicle starting and rear parking assist. The Denali features a unique grille, 18-inch alloy wheels, XM satellite radio, heated seats (including the second row) and a premium Bose sound system with a six-disc CD changer. Options for the SLE and SLT include heated seats, a power liftgate, rear park assist (SLE) and triple-zone climate control. Options for all trims include a navigation system, power-folding second-row seats, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, a rearview camera and a power liftgate. Exclusive options for the Denali include a heated steering wheel and 20-inch wheels.
Powertrains and Performance
GMC offers three V8s in the Yukon XL. Standard on the Yukon XL 1500 (half-ton) is a 5.3-liter V8 making 320 horsepower and 340 pound-feet of torque. Equipped with GM's cylinder deactivation technology, this V8 provides slightly improved fuel economy over last year's engine. A 6.0-liter V8 packing 366 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque comes on the Yukon XL 2500 (three-quarter-ton). For both engines, a four-speed automatic transmission is standard. The Yukon XL Denali features a 6.2-liter V8 (380 hp and 417 lb-ft) mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift mode. Two- and four-wheel drive versions of the Yukon XL are available, except on the Denali, which is equipped with an all-wheel-drive system that doesn't have low-range gearing. Towing capacities for the standard Yukon XLs range from 7,100 pounds on the 1500 2WD to 9,700 pounds for the 2500 2WD.
Stability control (dubbed StabiliTrak) with a rollover sensor is standard, as are four-wheel antilock disc brakes, a tire-pressure monitoring system and the OnStar telematics system. Standard on the SLT and Denali and optional on the SLE are head curtain airbags for all three rows.
Interior Design and Special Features
Those used to past Yukon XLs won't recognize the 2007 version with its high-quality materials, fine fit and finish and logical control layouts. Depending on how you equip your Yukon XL, anywhere from six to nine passengers can be transported, and maximum cargo capacity stands at 137.4 cubic feet -- a full 40 cubes more than a Nissan Armada, 9 more than a Toyota Sequoia and a few cubes more than the new Ford Expedition EL. Although the Yukon XL's second row is available with a power-folding feature, the third-row seats must still be removed manually to optimize cargo space, and based on our experience, those seats are heavy and difficult to maneuver. Of course many families will never need to fold or remove the seats in their Yukon XL: With the second-row seat up, there are 90 cubic feet available and nearly 46 with all seats in use.
For such a big truck, the 2007 GMC Yukon XL is fairly quick, particularly in Denali guise. However, the 5.3 V8 version doesn't feel nearly so quick when carrying a load of passengers, and dipping into the power will quickly pull mileage down to the low teens. The new-for-2007 suspension and steering designs make for more composed handling and a smoother ride than before. But with its hefty curb weight, the Yukon XL doesn't feel particularly nimble around corners. Aimed for the horizon on an interstate, though, there aren't many better cruisers than the '07 Yukon XL. The cabin is quiet at speed, and the ride is comfortably controlled over bumps.