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A strong drivetrain, well behaved road manners and a spacious and comfortable interior makes the Yukon one of the best full-size sport-utilities on the market.
Powerful V8 lineup, roomy and luxurious cabins, extensive list of standard features, standard all-wheel drive in Denali.
Interior fit-and-finish concerns, regular Yukon still too similar to the Chevy Tahoe.
Available Yukon Models
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The recently redesigned Yukon is virtually unchanged from last year. The high-level Yukon Denali is now based on the redesigned Yukon introduced last year. The Denali gets a 6.0-liter engine along with standard all-wheel drive and a host of other new features designed to elevate the top-of-the-line GMC above and beyond its more basic Yukon cousin.
After undergoing a complete redesign last year, the GMC Yukon has become one of the most popular full-size SUVs on the market. With a spacious interior that has legitimate room for seven, strong V8 engines that provide ample power, and a truck-derived chassis that assures long lasting durability, the Yukon is a versatile package that appeals to active-lifestyle families that need a little bit of everything from their family truckster.
Yukon buyers can choose between two different trim levels: base SLE or uplevel SLT. SLEs come standard with a 4.8-liter V8 rated at 275 horsepower, front and rear air conditioning, aluminum alloy wheels, and deep tinted glass. Add to that power windows, locks and doors, a nine-speaker AM/FM CD stereo, and an electrochromic rearview mirror with an integrated compass and it's easy to see why these are popular SUVs.
Step up to SLT trim and you'll enjoy leather upholstery, heated driver and passenger front seats with power lumbar and lateral support, electronic climate control, and the OnStar communications system. All Yukons come with four-wheel disc ABS for short stopping distances and a five-link, coil-spring rear suspension that delivers a smooth highway ride. An optional Autoride suspension system varies shock dampening automatically as needed, and 4WD models can be equipped with a Z71 off-road package that includes protective skid plates and a high-capacity air filter. Front and side airbags are standard, and an optional traction control system keeps the 2WD Yukon's tail planted in the slippery stuff.
A four-speed automatic is the only transmission available in the Yukon, but an optional 5.3-liter V8 engine is available if you need the extra torque for towing. Other extra cost items include a power sunroof, locking rear differential, rear-seat audio controls, and polished aluminum wheels.
Although hardly groundbreaking on the outside, the luxo Denali features a monochromatic paint scheme and an exclusive polished metal grille that gives it a distinctive, yet understated look. On the inside, the Denali features a long list of standard features that includes: leather-covered seats, steering wheel and grab handles; a 250-watt 11-speaker Bose stereo system with an in-dash six-disc changer; six-way power driver and passenger seats with dual-zone heating; rear seat audio controls and cupholders; and a multifunction trip computer. The next-generation OnStar communications system is an available option providing not only navigational assistance and concierge services, but also hands-free personal calling and a Virtual Advisor that allows access to Web-based information such as e-mail and stock quotes.
Although the Denali coddles its passengers with a luxurious interior, it still packs plenty of high-performance hardware. The standard 6.0-liter V8 is rated at 320 horsepower and 365 ft-lbs. of torque, a step above the Lincoln Navigator's 300 hp V8. Power is sent through a heavy-duty four-speed automatic that combines the off-the-line power with the freeway fuel economy.
As if a class-leading engine and versatile transmission aren't enough, the Denali adds the performance and safety of full-time all-wheel drive. This system, in conjunction with a locking rear differential, allocates power to the wheels with the most traction for maximum stability and power in slippery situations. GMC also claims that the all-wheel-drive configuration results in improved driveline durability, better tire-wear characteristics, and a more nimble handling feel.
One of the great things about the Yukon lineup is that it gives you plenty of interior room and luggage capacity in a garageable, daily-driver package. Despite its full-size SUV status, it delivers an enjoyable highway ride while remaining manageable in tight quarters. With third-row seating, you can have the practicality of a minivan and the go-anywhere capability of an SUV in one easy-to-live-with package. If you're looking for a versatile full-size SUV, the GMC Yukon or Yukon Denali is hard to beat.
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