Touring Package ($4,160 -- includes power tilt-and-sliding sunroof with express-open and close and wind deflector; 20-by-9-inch chrome wheels; rear seat entertainment system with Blu-ray/DVD player (replaces single-slot CD/MP3 player), remote control, 9-inch diagonal rear overhead display screen, two sets of two-channel wireless infrared headphones and auxiliary audio/video input jacks, USB port and SD card slot; Enhanced Security package with self-powered horn, interior movement and vehicle inclination sensors, door lock shields, glass break sensors in rear quarter glass and liftgate window (removes sunglass holder and conversation mirror from overhead console); head-up display), Power-Retractable Assist Steps With Perimeter Lighting ($1,745), Adaptive Cruise Control ($1,695 -- includes adaptive cruise control with crash imminent braking; radar based system automatically adjusts speed to maintain preset following distance), Midnight Amethyst Metallic ($495), 22-Inch Aluminum Wheels With Painted Inserts ($495)
Naturally aspirated, direct-injected, V8, gasoline with cylinder deactivation
Cast aluminum/cast aluminum
OHV, two valves per cylinder, variable intake + exhaust-valve timing
Compression ration (x:1)
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
420 @ 5,600
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)
460 @ 4,100
Six-speed automatic and column shifter with shifter-mounted button
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)
When just going straight from right foot on brake to right foot flooring the throttle, there's significant hesitation off the line. With traction control turned off and using the power-braking method (brake and throttle on together pre-launch to bring the revs up slightly), the Yukon jumps off the line much more quickly. In rear-drive mode it will get some wheelspin with TC turned off. The automatic transmission performs fairly quick upshifts, even with a little bit of a fun "blat" from the exhaust with each shift. The V8 is smooth, sounds good, and this is a pretty quick time for a 6,000-pound-plus SUV. The transmission can be shifted manually via a rocker switch on the steering-column shift lever. It blips the throttle on downshifts and it holds gears to the 5,900-rpm limiter. But, because the revs continue to rise for several hundred rpm on manual upshifts, it was quickest in regular Drive mode.
A bit of a mixed bag here. The brake pedal is a bit spongy and has a long travel (that got slightly longer on later stops), but there wasn't as much nosedive as I thought there would be and the Yukon tracked absolutely straight. Not surprisingly, by the fifth stop the brakes were smoking quite badly. The first stop was the shortest at 134 feet. The second stop was the longest at 144 feet and the fifth and final stop was 140 feet.
Slalom: This was better than expected. The Yukon XL, as the name implies, is an exceptionally long vehicle to snake around our slalom cones. In fact, trying not to hit a cone with the rear tires was difficult. The steering is surprisingly quick for such a behemoth, and this good steering, plus a pretty well-tuned suspension that controls body roll/lean, gives the Yukon decent handling abilities. It drives smaller than it is. Skid pad: In this test the Yukon felt much more like you'd expect. Lots of steady-state understeer, or loss of grip from the front tires, and major body roll/lean. Even such, you could still feel how changes we made going on/off with the gas pedal could affect the Yukon's dynamics. For a big SUV, there is a fair amount of control here.