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It's a little heavier than we'd like and it still doesn't have a fold-flat third row, but the new 2007 GMC Yukon is much more refined than the previous truck. Among full-size SUVs, it's a compelling choice.
Attractive interior with quality materials, Denali's powerful 6.2-liter V8 engine, smooth road manners, tight turning circle, seats up to nine passengers.
No folding third-row seat, smaller V8s tire a bit under heavy loads, hefty curb weight dulls handling.
Available Yukon SUV Models
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The GMC Yukon has been completely overhauled for 2007. The most notable changes include a more spacious cabin with upgraded materials, a more powerful 5.3-liter V8, 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 bridges the gap between the somewhat plain Chevy Tahoe and the over-the-top Cadillac Escalade. It's almost 2 feet shorter than the otherwise similar Yukon XL, which makes it more manageable in urban driving. Redesigned for 2007, the Yukon gets more of everything that's important in the large SUV segment: power, cabin space, features and safety.
Compared to newer competitors, the previous-generation Yukon was increasingly outclassed in its later years. The 2007 GMC Yukon 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'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 -- with a 0.36 coefficient of drag (Cd), the Yukon slices through the wind as efficiently as some sports cars.
Under the skin, the 2007 Yukon 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 suppler 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 than they were before.
Because of its seating for up to nine, inviting cabin and choice of three V8 engines, we suggest that consumers in need of a traditional full-size SUV take a hard look at the 2007 GMC Yukon. Other vehicles in this class -- such as the Dodge Durango, Ford Expedition and Nissan Armada -- still offer a few advantages, but overall we think the Yukon is a compelling choice.
The 2007 GMC Yukon is a full-size SUV available 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 power driver seat, dual-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, head curtain airbags, 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.
A trio of V8s are available in the Yukon family. Two-wheel-drive Yukon SLE models get a 4.8-liter mill (290 hp, 290 lb-ft). Four-wheel-drive SLEs and all SLTs employ a 5.3-liter V8 (320 hp, 340 lb-ft) with GM's "Displacement on Demand" cylinder deactivation technology that increases fuel-efficiency. A flexible-fuel version of the 5.3 is also available that can run on E85 (85-percent ethanol and 15-percent gasoline). A four-speed automatic transmission with a "tow-haul" mode is the sole transmission for those V8s. The GMC Yukon Denali comes with a 6.2-liter V8 (380 hp and 415 lb-ft) mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift mode. All Denalis are equipped with an all-wheel-drive system and do not have low-range gearing. The 2007 GMC Yukon can tow up to 7,700 pounds and its fuel mileage ratings (16/22 mpg for a 2WD SLT) are typically a bit better than those of the Ford Expedition, Nissan Armada and Toyota Sequoia.
Stability control (dubbed StabiliTrak) with a rollover sensor is standard, as are antilock 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.
Those used to past Yukons won't recognize the 2007 version with its high-quality materials, fine fit and finish and logical control layouts. The regular Yukon can be configured to seat anywhere from five to nine passengers, while the Yukon Denali tops out at eight. Maximum cargo capacity stands at 108.9 cubic feet -- around 12 cubes more than an Armada and roughly the same as a Ford Expedition. (Toyota's Sequoia has a 19-cubic-foot advantage over the Yukon, but only if you unbolt its second-row seats from the floor.) Although the Yukon's second row is available with a power-folding feature, the third-row seat must still be removed manually to optimize cargo space. Based on our experience, some owners will find these seats heavy and difficult to remove.
Even a 4WD Yukon with the 5.3 V8 is fairly quick, getting to 60 mph in just 8.6 seconds. But enjoying that power will quickly pull mileage down into the single digits. A new suspension with coil-over shocks up front and five-link setup out back along with rack-and-pinion steering make for more composed handling and a smoother ride than before. However, this truck's reflexes are muted, an attribute likely caused by its hefty 5,500-pound curb weight. But the turning circle is a tight 39 feet, so it's fairly maneuverable. Aimed for the horizon on an interstate, there aren't many better cruisers, as the ride is notably quiet, with a suspension that smothers bumps without feeling sloppy when the turns come up. When towing a heavy trailer, the Yukon performs admirably. It's able to maintain speed up long grades, albeit with some gear hunting and rather loud exhaust noise.
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