2009 GMC Yukon XL SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2009 GMC Yukon XL SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
GMC Yukon XL Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 5.3 L V 8-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 310 hp @ 5200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 14/20 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2009 GMC Yukon XL

  • It's as big as a whale and its third-row seats don't fold flat, but the 2009 GMC Yukon XL is an excellent choice for large families who need a full-size SUV with maximum seating, towing and cargo capacities.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Seating for up to nine passengers, massive interior space, smooth road manners, attractive interior with quality materials, powerful 6.2-liter V8 in the Denali.

  • Cons

    Third-row seat doesn't fold flat, portly curb weight dulls handling and performance (with smaller V8).

  • What's New for 2009

    For 2009, the GMC Yukon XL sees the six-speed automatic transmission fitted across the line, the debut of Bluetooth connectivity and XM Real Time Traffic, a more powerful engine for the Denali and a gaggle of new wheel options.

Gas Mileage


  • 14
  • cty
  • 20
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

I think that i have

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Vehicle: 2008 GMC Yukon XL

We bought a 2008 Yukon XL for the first time. We have always had Chevy Suburbans. We were told that this was a higher quality vehicle. Since 2009 we have had issues with a grinding noise when the engine was warm from the sun and we started it up. The first time in 2009 we changed out the AC Compressor. The next year we had a cilindar collapse 11,000 miles later, we had the same cilindar collapse. Luckily "The Plaza" in Omaha Nebraska covered the problem again when we were over the 100, 000 mile warranty. We now have a oil leak. We have heard from Hiley that as soon as we fix this we will be okay. We have heard this before. I am sad because I loved my Yukon XL. It didn't love me!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Big powerful and roomy

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Vehicle: 2008 GMC Yukon XL

Absolutely like my truck, problems is that has been at the dealer for electrical problems, 3 times with Onstar wiring problems and 2 times with battery discharging issues, had to call roadside assistance numerous times for jump starts before dealer replaced battery couldn't find anything wrong before that, so far Onstar is working but had to call roadside assistance twice again for jump start, seems like battery is too small for so much electronics but dealer says they are rated by Amps not size, I will replace battery later on

2 of 2 people found this review helpful


by on
Vehicle: 2008 GMC Yukon XL

After a month, we had to replace the alternator and water pump. Within the first year, we had several electrical problems, including navigation, faulty fuel sensor gauge, turn signal didn't make noise, we were driving the car but it registered to be in Park, we put the car in Park but it kept rolling forward, power seats shuttered as we moved them, power folding 2nd row didn't always work. Additionally, windows shook excessively, brakes made noise after a few thousand miles, the power liftgate made strange loud noises. We got rid of this piece of junk after only 11 months of owning it.

Great truck, but...

by on
Vehicle: 2008 GMC Yukon XL

I love my truck. Lots of room and a great riding experience. My only complaint is that it only has seating for 6 (two on each row). We asked if we can purchase a solid row for the back, but after much discussion with the dealership they said it was not an option. Also, we just backed into a BMW and our bumper has a HUGE dent in the back and the BMW only had a scratch. How is that possible? Now I'm wondering how dependable the bumber will be in a serious accident.

Great ride cheap interior

by on
Vehicle: 2008 GMC Yukon XL

I bought the 2008 Yulon XL SE 4x4 in December 2008. I couldn't beat the deal, cheaper than my 1999. The vehicle is close to the base line model but is still nicely equipped. I averaged 17.5 MPG on a trip from NY to FL. The ride is very comfortable, quite, handles excellent, great in the snow, looks and sounds great. My only negative so far is the cheap fabric upholstry. We don't care for the leather and the fabric on my 1999 still looks as good as new. So far my only advice to GM is to improve the quality of the fabric. Everything sticks to it like glue. I found a lint brush for cleaning lint off clothes at the market and it works pretty well but it is still a lot of work to keep them clean.

Great to drive

by on
Vehicle: 2008 GMC Yukon XL

Had the truck for 1 year and 12k. Minor problems with the locks. Dealer replaced switch. Also, auto seat flip had to be lubed and adjusted. Otherwise, great truck to drive. Roomy, comfortable, and the engine sounds great. Thinking of getting another one when my Mazda lease runs out.


Full 2009 GMC Yukon XL Review

What's New for 2009

For 2009, the GMC Yukon XL sees the six-speed automatic transmission fitted across the line, the debut of Bluetooth connectivity and XM Real Time Traffic, a more powerful engine for the Denali and a gaggle of new wheel options.


Driving a full-size, full-fledged, heavy-duty SUV in today's socioeconomic climate is about as politically correct as blasting around Amish country on a loud Harley with a scantily clad Krista Allen riding on the back. High fuel prices and the constant thirst of supersized sport-utes mean that folks considering the 2009 GMC Yukon XL will probably actually need its serious passenger-, cargo- and trailer-hauling capabilities. Those who used to use 3-ton SUVs for little more than shuttling their two darlings to day care and Sparky the poodle to the groomer no longer need apply.

For its part, GMC is at least helping to blunt the pain at the gas pump. The 2009 version of the Yukon XL sports a few major and a couple of minor upgrades. The former include the fitment of the six-speed automatic transmission across all trim levels (not just the top-of-the-line Denali, as before) and a more powerful 6.2-liter V8 for the Denali. Compared to the previous four-speed unit, the six-speed automatic provides both better performance and increased fuel efficiency. Other improvements include the debut of Bluetooth connectivity and the availability of real-time traffic reporting for the navigation system.

Few vehicles (apart from its Chevy Suburban twin) can match the Yukon XL's nine-passenger maximum capacity and 46 cubic feet of cargo space, with all rows of seats in their upright and locked positions. Furthermore, with up to 9,600 pounds of towing capacity, this big GMC is ready for just about anything you can attach to its hitch. The Ford Expedition boasts dimensions similar to the Suburban's, but while the Ford offers slightly more torque, it seats only eight and is shy on horsepower compared to its competitor. There's also the Toyota Sequoia, which has plenty of brawn but not as much room as the Suburban. Overall, the 2009 GMC Yukon XL is a solid pick for those who need this type of vehicle's capabilities.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 GMC Yukon XL full-size SUV is available in 1500 (half-ton) and 2500 (3/4-ton) models, which are available in essentially three basic trim levels: SLE, SLT and Denali (1500 only).

The base SLE trim is actually comprised of sub-trims SLE1 and SLE2. The SLE1 comes well-equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, running boards, full power accessories, keyless entry, a 40/20/40-split front bench seat (with six-way power adjustments for the driver), dual-zone manual climate control, rear-seat air-conditioning, a trip computer, Bluetooth connectivity and an eight-speaker audio system with a CD player and satellite radio. The SLE2 features captain's chairs for the first two rows, a power passenger seat and rear-seat audio controls (with headphone jacks).

The SLT trim is actually comprised of sub-trims SLT1 and SLT2. The SLT1 adds leather seating, tri-zone automatic climate control, Bose audio with a six-CD changer, power-adjustable pedals, remote vehicle start and rear park assist. The SLT2 adds power lumbar adjustment for the front seats, heated first- and second-row seats and memory presets for the driver. The top-shelf Denali gains a unique grille, 20-inch alloy wheels, heated front and second-row seats and a premium Bose sound system with a six-CD changer.

Options for the standard Yukon include 20- and 22-inch wheels, heated seats, a sunroof and rear park assist (SLE only). Available for all trims are a navigation system, power-folding second-row seats, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, a rearview camera and a power liftgate. Options for the Denali include a blind-spot alert system, heated and cooled seats, a variety of 20- and 22-inch wheel styles and a heated steering wheel.

Powertrains and Performance

Four V8s see duty on the Yukon XL. Most versions come standard with a 5.3-liter V8 that makes 310 hp and 335 pound-feet of torque. Optional for the 1500 SLT is a 6.0-liter V8 that pumps out 366 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque. All 1500 engines are paired with a new six-speed automatic transmission.

Yukon 2500 models also come standard with a 6.0-liter V8, but it's a slightly different variant; it's rated at 352 hp and 382 lb-ft of torque. It's matched to a six-speed automatic as well, though this one's geared for enhanced towing capability. The Yukon XL Denali features a 6.2-liter V8 that's rated at 403 hp and 417 lb-ft of torque. 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.

Fuel-mileage ratings range from 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined for the Yukon with the 5.3 V8/2WD powertrain down to 12/19/14 for the Denali. Towing capacities for a properly equipped Yukon XL range from 8,100 pounds (2WD 1500) up to 9,600 pounds (2WD 2500).


Stability control with a rollover sensor is standard, as are antilock disc brakes, side curtain airbags and OnStar. A blind-spot alert system is optional on the Denali.

In government crash tests, the 2009 GMC Yukon XL was awarded five stars (the highest rating) for protecting the driver and passenger in a frontal collision. In side-impact tests, the Yukon XL again received five stars.

Interior Design and Special Features

Like the rest of GM's full-size SUVs and trucks, the current Yukon XL's interior is a marked improvement over the previous generation. Materials quality is good, fit and finish are excellent and the various controls, even those for the available luxury features, are logically placed.

Depending on how you equip the Yukon XL, it can seat anywhere from five to nine people -- a total surpassed only by full-size vans. Cargo capacity is also immense, with a maximum of nearly 138 cubic feet -- a full 40 cubes more than a Nissan Armada and a few more than the Ford Expedition EL. Although the Yukon XL's second row is available with a power-folding feature, the optional third-row seats (which seat three people) must be removed manually to optimize cargo space. Based on our experience, those heavy seats feel like they're constructed of cast iron, and removing them requires not only a strong back but the ability to wrestle them from deep inside the interior.

Driving Impressions

For such a big truck, the 2009 GMC Yukon XL is fairly quick, particularly in Denali guise. However, dipping into the power often will quickly pull mileage down to the low double digits. Its handling is more composed and its ride is smoother than past Yukons, but with its hefty curb weight, the Yukon XL doesn't feel particularly nimble around corners. We found the related Chevy Tahoe to be bested by the Ford Expedition in this regard, and it's a safe bet the Yukon XL would be equally outdone by the Expedition EL. However, when it's on an interstate and aimed for the horizon, there aren't many better cruisers than the 2009 Yukon XL. The cabin is quiet at speed, and the ride is comfortably controlled over bumps.


Talk About The 2009 Yukon XL

2009 GMC Yukon XL Discussions See all Started By

I have a 2009 Yukon XL and I am getting that same intermittent high pitched whine from my rear speakers that is more pronounced during acceleration. Sometimes it even persists when I turn the radio of...

Now our lease on our volvo wagon is close to coming to an end. I am thinking Suburban/Yukon XL. What should we truly be paying? Is a 2009 better than a 2008? The 2009 do have the 6 speed, that has to ...

I just purchased my used 2007 Yukon XL at the end of Feb/first of march. I've made one payment on my vehicle and it's already in the shop! I traded a new 2009 Trailblazer for this, and I am very dis...

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