2016 GMC Yukon XL Review

Pros & Cons

  • Strong V8 power
  • stout towing capacity
  • big cargo capacity
  • available nine-passenger seating
  • quiet highway ride
  • high-quality cabin.
  • High cargo floor and load height
  • sheer size requires careful maneuvering in tight quarters
  • lazy gas pedal responsiveness
  • nine-passenger configuration only available on base model.
List Price Range
$27,995 - $46,995

Used Yukon XL for Sale
Select your model:
See all for sale

Get More For Your Trade-In

Get More For Your Trade-In

Edmunds shoppers get on average $235 more for their trade-in.
Find out what your car is really worth in minutes.
See your car's value

Edmunds' Expert Review

If you need an SUV that can simultaneously haul plenty of people and stuff and perhaps tow something as well, the 2016 GMC Yukon XL will certainly get the job done. But it also has some notable drawbacks.

Vehicle overview

Need a big family vehicle? Well, dealerships are overflowing with big, three-row crossovers well suited for carrying the kids and all your stuff while providing a more civilized driving experience than the big truck-based behemoths of old. But what if you want to kick it old school? Well, the 2016 GMC Yukon XL is a survivor of that endangered species.

This large SUV retains the classic combination of rugged body-on-frame construction and V8 power. As such, it boasts substantially more towing capability than crossovers, while also delivering a higher degree of burliness and solidity. It also provides the availability of seating for nine and is one of only a few vehicles with copious cargo space behind its third row. Plus, unlike the smaller Yukon, the XL's third row seat is far more comfortable for adults and bigger kids.

In comparison, though, the third-row seat in the 2016 Ford Expedition EL is roomier still and it folds more completely into the cargo area. It's true that the Yukon's aft-most row folds flat, but the cargo floor is higher than in the Expedition, which results in reduced cargo space and greater challenges for loading and lifting up bulky items. The Yukon XL's rear suspension also transmits more shivers and shakes from the road into the cabin than rivals like the Expedition and Toyota Sequoia do. But with so few choices for a do-it-all machine, though, we can comfortably say the 2016 GMC Yukon XL remains a must-drive for those shopping among the biggest and most capable SUVs.

2016 GMC Yukon XL models

The 2016 GMC Yukon XL is a body-on-frame SUV available in three trim levels: SLE, SLT and Denali. Seating for eight is standard, but there are two optional seating arrangements: Second-row captain's chairs drop the count to seven and an available 40/20/40-split front bench increases seating capacity to nine (SLE only). There is also a shorter version known as the Yukon, which is covered in a separate review.

The entry-level Yukon XL SLE comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, front and rear parking sensors, automatic headlights and wipers, a driver integrated blind-spot mirror, rear privacy glass, roof rails, side assist steps, a rearview camera, a locking rear differential, remote ignition, keyless entry, cruise control, tri-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped tilt-only steering wheel, power front seats (eight-way driver seat and four-way passenger seat, both with two-way power lumbar), a 60/40-split folding second-row bench seat and a 60/40-split folding third-row seat.

Standard technology features include Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, OnStar (with a 4G LTE connection and WiFi hotspot), a 110-volt household-style power outlet, the 8-inch IntelliLink touchscreen interface (which includes voice controls, smartphone app integration and Apple CarPlay capability) and a nine-speaker Bose sound system with HD and satellite radio, a CD player, five USB ports (two with front bench seat), Pandora Internet radio, a media player interface, an auxiliary audio jack and an SD card slot.

SLE buyers can also opt for an Enhanced Driver Alert package that includes forward collision alert, automatic high-beam control, lane-departure warning, a vibrating safety alert seat and lane-keeping assist. The SLE's Convenience option package adds a power liftgate, auto-dimming rearview mirror and power-adjustable pedals.

The SLT model includes both the Enhanced Driver Alert and Convenience packages and adds rear cross-traffic alert and a blind-spot warning system, power-folding mirrors (auto-dimming on driver side), keyless ignition and entry, a hands-free power liftgate, perforated leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats (with four-way lumbar), heated second-row seats (a power fold-and-tumble 60/40 bench), power-folding third-row seats, driver memory functions, a heated power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, ambient interior lighting and wireless phone charging.

All Yukon XLs are prepped for towing and feature a 2-inch receiver and seven-pin wiring harness. An HD Trailering package also available on both SLE and SLT includes specific gearing, a trailer-brake controller, an air suspension with increased capacity and leveling, and low-range gearing when combined with four-wheel-drive models.

Options include second-row captain's chairs (heated and power fold-and-tumble), an enhanced alarm system and adaptive cruise control with crash-imminent braking. An Open Road package combines a sunroof, navigation, a rear entertainment system with a DVD/Blu-ray player and an additional nine months of satellite radio and real-time traffic info service.

The Yukon Denali adds to the SLT's standard features plus a unique grille, a more powerful V8 engine, 20-inch alloy wheels, a magnetically controlled adaptive suspension, xenon headlights, a reconfigurable digital instrument panel, a trailer-brake controller, a 10-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system, active noise cancellation, the navigation system and second-row captain's chairs (heated and power fold-and-tumble).

Optional for the Denali are 22-inch wheels, power-retractable assist steps, a sunroof, a heated second-row bench, a head-up display, adaptive cruise control (includes automatic emergency braking), and single or dual-screen rear entertainment systems (both include a DVD/Blu-ray player).

2016 Highlights

For 2016, the GMC Yukon XL gets a number of technology and hardware upgrades. The IntelliLink touchscreen interface gets a welcome increase in processing speed, along with Apple CarPlay. Newly available features include lane-keeping assist and automatic high beams, along with a standard hands-free power liftgate on SLT models and a capless fuel filler.

Performance & mpg

The 2016 GMC Yukon XL is offered with two different engines. SLE and SLT models come with a 5.3-liter V8 engine that generates 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. The Denali comes with a 6.2-liter V8 engine that generates 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. Both engines come mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and a choice of rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive with a two-speed transfer case with low-range gearing. A locking rear differential is standard across the lineup.

During Edmunds testing, the mechanically identical Chevrolet Suburban went from zero to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds with both rear- and four-wheel drive. This is acceptable performance, but the Expedition EL is quicker. A four-wheel-drive GMC Yukon Denali XL, though, went from zero to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds. That performance is very quick and should match up favorably with the Expedition.

Properly equipped, the maximum tow rating for the two-wheel-drive Yukon XL is 8,300 pounds, while four-wheel-drive models are rated at 8,000 pounds. Counterintuitively, the more powerful Denali models actually max out at 8,100 and 7,900 pounds, respectively.

With the standard 5.3-liter V8 engine, the EPA's estimated fuel economy is 18 mpg combined regardless of drivetrain (16 city/23 highway for two-wheel-drive models and 15/22 for four-wheel drive). The Yukon XL Denali, with its larger 6.2-liter V8 and two-wheel drive gets 17 mpg combined (15/22), while four-wheel-drive versions get 16 (14/20). On Edmunds' 116-mile mixed-driving evaluation route, a four-wheel-drive Yukon XL Denali was able to achieve 15.9 mpg.

Safety

Standard safety equipment on the 2016 GMC Yukon XL includes antilock disc brakes, traction control, stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. A center airbag located between the front bucket seats (when so equipped) aids in side-impact crashes. Also standard is OnStar, which includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking, stolen vehicle assistance and turn-by-turn navigation. Front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera are standard on every Yukon.

Available safety equipment includes forward collision alert with auto-braking, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, a vibrating safety alert seat, rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring.

During Edmunds brake testing, both a two-wheel-drive Suburban and four-wheel-drive Yukon Denali XL came to a stop from 60 mph in 134 feet. That distance is longer than average, even considering their hefty weight.

In government crash tests, the Yukon XL earned a four- (out of five) star rating for overall performance, with four stars for total frontal-impact protection and five stars for side-impact protection.

Driving

On the road, the 2016 GMC Yukon XL's standard 5.3-liter V8 is smooth and quiet, yet still has the oomph to move a mess of people or cargo between Points A and B without breaking a sweat. Contrary to what you might expect, Yukon XLs with this powertrain also have higher tow ratings than Denali models despite the latter's larger, more powerful engine and its increased pulling power.

One of the Yukon XL's weak points is the engine's delayed response to throttle inputs. Step on the gas and there's a noticeable hesitation, especially when trying to accelerate at highway speeds or from a standing stop. The goal (to improve fuel economy) was a worthy one, but in this case it's possible the engineers went a bit too far.

The Yukon feels confident in everyday driving, especially with the Denali model's adaptive suspension. Ride quality with the base suspension leaves much to be desired, though. It cushions sharp impacts well and is resistant to large float and bouncy motions, but even small imperfections send shivers and shakes into the cabin due to the old-school solid rear axle. It doesn't do anything for handling, either. The Yukon XL is a big vehicle, and you're reminded of it in every crowded parking lot or on narrow roads.

Interior

The cabin of the 2016 GMC Yukon XL is both attractive and of high quality. Gauges and controls are easy to read and access, while the large touchscreen display operates intuitively and, for 2016, quicker than before. The Yukon XL also benefits from a range of sound-deadening measures that give it a hushed ambience usually reserved for luxury cars.

Up front, seats are comfortable and supportive, though it bears noting that the SLE model's lack of a telescoping steering wheel may make it hard for some drivers to find an optimal seating position. The choice of bucket seats or a 40/20/40-split bench up front and the standard second-row bench or captain's chairs offer a seating flexibility that's downright uncommon these days. The power-releasing second-row seats make getting in and out of the third-row seat a good bit easier.

This is where the Yukon XL falls short, however. That third row may offer more room than the regular Yukon's, but the seat bottom is still mounted close to the floor, reducing comfort. There's more room to be found in Ford's Expedition (regular or extended-length EL version). Having the third row fold into the floor is certainly a marked improvement over the previous-generation Yukon that required owners to wrestle those seats in and out when maximum cargo capacity was needed. But the vehicle's high load floor height makes it difficult for many people to lift and reach bulky cargo. It also equates to less overall cargo capacity; the Expedition EL offers nearly 10 cubic feet more and has a lower load floor.

Still, 121.1 cubic feet of maximum space is a whole heck of a lot, and most importantly, there are 38.9 cubic feet of space behind the third row. No other vehicle besides the Expedition EL as well as the Yukon XL's siblings, the Cadillac Escalade ESV and Chevy Suburban, comes close to that ability to simultaneous carry three rows of people and their stuff.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2016 GMC Yukon XL.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

XL for empty nesters
Robert Bob,02/10/2017
Denali 4dr SUV (6.2L 8cyl 8A)
This is a big SUV that doesn't feel big when driving. Easy to park and has a small turning radius. We often have our kids and grandkids with us and routinely haul 7 people in this and love the legroom and cargo room with everyone on board. The ride and quiet cabin are spectacular and the fuel mileage is better than expected. Has tons of torque and pulling our 4,000 lb boat is effortless. It is easy to back the boat up too with large mirrors and good backup camera. Like the auto leveling rear shocks. My only disappointment in the vehicle is GM's decision to eliminate the ability to pause and rewind live radio that my previous vehicles had. This was available before 2016 but GM eliminated it which is a shame. My 2015 GMC Canyon had this feature but a $70,000 vehicle doesn't. Doesn't make sense! Had trouble with torque converter clutch but dealer was able to resolve with fluid flush and new transmission fluid type. Problem caused shudder or vibration in 8th gear that felt like going over rumble strips. RPM fluctuated between 1600 and 1800 when TCC clutch was not happy. Downshifting into 7th gear would eliminate problem at the expense of poorer gas milage. Problem started at 16,000 miles. Have 17,000 miles on it now and problem is gone after fluid flush and change. Car is very quiet and subsequently any rattles are heard very easily. Chased a problem with a rattling/popping noise that sounded like is was coming from the right side dash area. Disassembled many components inside the glove box/dash area looking for it and finally found the noise was coming from the right front inner fender well! The noise could be duplicated by standing on and off the front part of the running board. The noise was from a loose spot weld on inner fender metal. Placing a section of close cell foam under panel solved the noise! Fixed by owner! Still not happy with GMC 22" wheels that cause harsh and rough ride. 22" wheels should not be an option on this car! Changed to Michelin Defender tires and solved vibration problems with original Bridgestone Dueler tires but this 22" size tire has low profile sidewalls which contributes to tires not absorbing bumps well and transmitting the bumps to the passengers. Car would ride much smoother on 18" or maybe 20" wheels. These wheels were a $2,400 option from GMC and it was a waste of money in my opinion. They are also very hard to keep clean and not very happy with the chrome plastic inserts on the wheels. Just learned the owner can't rotate tires and reset TPMS system without a special tool! This tool should be included with a $70,000 vehicle. Unfortunate that a simple routine simple maintenance task can't be accomplished without the $100 tool or a trip to the dealer or tire shop. If the TPMS system is not updated after wheel rotation, tire positions will not agree with dash display in the event of a tire problem. Have recent issue with powered running boards installed by GMC. They fail to extend when doors are opened occasionally. Both sides are affected. They have been lubricated and problem still exists. Car sits very high on 22” wheels and the running boards are critical for wife or kids to get in. Dealer service visit scheduled to diagnose/repair. Finally got dealer to recognize my intermittent running board problem by taking multiple video captures when they failed to extend or retract. They replaced the motors on both sides and they are now working normally. Torque converter clutch shudder returned at 35,000 miles. Dealer replaced trans fluid with a newer updated fluid that doesn’t absorb moisture. Problem has been resolved for now, again! Noticed leaking left axle seal while rotating tires. Taking back to dealer again to repair! Too bad the dealer didn’t notice this problem while changing trans fluid a week earlier! Still love the car and there is nothing comparable in the marketplace. Average MPG on Hwy is 23 and 19 around town. Added oil "catch can" at 37,000 miles and cleaned intake manifold and valves prior to addition. The catch can captures about 4 oz of breather oil every 4,000 miles. Running Amsoil Signature 0W-20 oil full synthetic with once a year change. Catch can should be installed when new to keep intake valves and manifold clean. GDI engines are prone to carbon buildup on valves due to design.
Think twice!
Caleb Rutledge,11/06/2017
Denali 4dr SUV 4WD (6.2L 8cyl 8A)
We bought this vehicle because we love the yukon Denali's. We replaced a 2009 Denali. Unfortunatly the price does not reflect the quality. We paid just under $85,000 out the door for our loaded Denali XL. We knew going in that there could be transmission problems because of other reviews. What we didn't know is that everything in this vehicle is cheaply made. It shows nice but is only "skin deep", and it has very thin skin. We are very disappointed in almost ever aspect of this vehicle, when you pay $85k for a vehicle you have certin expectations. It is on it's way back to the dealership for it's 3rd warranty work, on the engine ( same 6.2 from 2007-2014 ) we don't even mention the deterioating leather and low quality of materials to thhe dealer. Oh and the Yukon only has 21,000 miles so far. We are planning on selling it at this point, probably go to Toyota, BMW, or Mercedes-Benz for quality, GMC isn't cutting it for the price tag they want.
Dumped it after 6 months
rob kowalski,12/24/2017
Denali 4dr SUV 4WD (6.2L 8cyl 8A)
Bought this SUV brand new. Loved the ride height, power, and engine sound. We have 4 small kids. The only way to change the rear zone temp is from the rear. My kids were in car seats, and too young to manage the controls anyway. Bad design. Heat was either on or off, couldn't adjust temp. After five weeks the rear view camera stopped working every third time we put it in reverse. GMC replaced center console 3 times and it never fixed. I told them it must be a wiring issue but they said that is too hard and expensive to try to fix. It was a brand new truck! They told me they were going to charge me $3200. The truck was a few months old at that point, and I had bought it brand new from that dealer with 10 miles on it. After 5 months a plasticky smell started coming from heat. Dealer could not find anything wrong and said it must have been our fault and they were done. Lost a good bit of money but traded it in for another Sienna minivan. So much happier again.
Very Disappointed in GMC YUKON
Shelly Bowen,02/14/2018
SLT 4dr SUV (5.3L 8cyl 6A)
At 53,000 miles the luggage rack came loose and would hit the top on the Yukon and sound like someone hit it with a big boulder. It wasn’t covered under the warranty or Ext warranty. The dealer did talk to GMC and it cost us $100.00 instead of $1200.00 but instead of replacing with the Chrome Railing like it had they replaced it with solid black. Also, the control panel that is on the front window fell off and messed up the automatic lights as well as the cruise control. The seat belt would not retract after we picked it up at the dealer after they fixed the roof rails/luggage rack. So, back in the shop. Very disappointed after paying over $60,000.00 for a vehicle that continues to have problems! It’s was our first GMC and our LAST GMC!!! We have friends that has had some of the same issues with.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2016 GMC Yukon XL features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover3 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover21.2%

More about the 2016 GMC Yukon XL

Used 2016 GMC Yukon XL Overview

The Used 2016 GMC Yukon XL is offered in the following submodels: Yukon XL SUV. Available styles include Denali 4dr SUV 4WD (6.2L 8cyl 8A), SLT 4dr SUV 4WD (5.3L 8cyl 6A), Denali 4dr SUV (6.2L 8cyl 8A), SLT 4dr SUV (5.3L 8cyl 6A), SLE 4dr SUV (5.3L 8cyl 6A), and SLE 4dr SUV 4WD (5.3L 8cyl 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2016 GMC Yukon XL?

Price comparisons for Used 2016 GMC Yukon XL trim styles:

  • The Used 2016 GMC Yukon XL Denali is priced between $27,995 and$46,995 with odometer readings between 43813 and135375 miles.
  • The Used 2016 GMC Yukon XL SLT is priced between $30,942 and$43,500 with odometer readings between 34130 and111991 miles.
  • The Used 2016 GMC Yukon XL SLE is priced between $37,990 and$41,183 with odometer readings between 18940 and54786 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2016 GMC Yukon XLS are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2016 GMC Yukon XL for sale near. There are currently 19 used and CPO 2016 Yukon XLS listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $27,995 and mileage as low as 18940 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2016 GMC Yukon XL.

Can't find a used 2016 GMC Yukon XLs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used GMC Yukon XL for sale - 5 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $16,697.

Find a used GMC for sale - 2 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $24,617.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC Yukon XL for sale - 5 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $8,295.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC for sale - 4 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $24,341.

Should I lease or buy a 2016 GMC Yukon XL?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out GMC lease specials
Check out GMC Yukon XL lease specials