2017 GMC Yukon XL

2017 GMC Yukon XL Review

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by Edmunds
Edmunds Editor

The 2017 GMC Yukon XL speaks to shoppers who want a full-size SUV that can transport up to nine people and either haul or tow heavy loads, which is the kind of capability most often used in weekend recreation. This truck-based platform delivers, yet it also compromises everyday utility.

Though the Yukon XL is a luxurious interpretation of a full-size SUV, its truck-based hardware can't rival carlike crossover SUVs when it comes to everyday comfort and maneuverability. On the plus side, the interior is spacious for front- and middle-row passengers, and it also offers a full complement of convenience features. On the negative side, the Yukon XL's large dimensions can handicap its around-town agility, while the suspension can't deliver a carlike ride. In the end, these combined characteristics result in only average grades in our evaluations.

In these respects the Yukon XL resembles the mechanically identical Chevrolet Suburban, although the GMC is a bit more luxurious and the Chevy has greater off-road capability. Other choices in the segment of full-size sport-utilities include the truck-based Ford Expedition and Toyota Sequoia, both of which are strong competitors, although they rely on mechanical packages that have been in production for a decade. Despite its age, the Toyota nevertheless achieves higher scores in our testing.

Standard safety features on all 2017 GMC Yukon XL models include antilock disc brakes, traction control, stability control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, front and rear parking sensors, and a rearview camera. A center airbag between the front bucket seats (when so equipped) deploys 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, as well as a teen-driver management system.

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

In 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. This distance is longer than average.

In government crash tests, the Yukon earned a four out of five stars for overall and front-impact crash protection, five stars for side-impact protection and three stars for rollover protection.



what's new

For 2017, the GMC Yukon XL now adds automatic low-speed emergency braking to the existing forward collision warning system and a teen-driver management system. Cooled seats have now been replaced with ventilated seats, the input capability for the rear entertainment system has been updated, and a head-up instrument display is standard with the Denali trim.

trim levels & features

The 2017 GMC Yukon XL is a full-size SUV offered in SLE, SLT and Denali trim levels. There is typically seating for eight passengers, but the SLE trim's optional front bench seat increases capacity to nine. Second-row bucket seats are available on the SLT trim and standard on the Denali, thereby reducing passenger capacity to seven. The smaller Yukon is covered in a separate review.

Standard features for the SLE trim include 18-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, foglights, rocker-sill passenger steps, cargo rails on the roof, front and rear parking sensors, automatic windshield wipers, cruise control, remote keyless entry and ignition, and a trailer hitch receiver with a wiring harness.

On the inside, you get tri-zone automatic climate control, cloth upholstery, front bucket seats with a 10-way power driver seat, 60/40-split folding second- and third-row seats, a tilt-only leather-wrapped steering wheel, a teen-driver monitoring system that controls certain vehicle settings, OnStar emergency telematics with navigation, a 110-volt power outlet, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio, IntelliLink infotainment system, Wi-Fi hot spot, 8-inch touchscreen interface, a rearview camera, nine-speaker Bose audio system with a CD player, satellite and HD radio, mobile apps, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and USB input.

The Enhanced Driver Alert option package adds forward collision alert with automatic low-speed emergency braking, a vibrating safety-alert driver seat, automatic high beams, and lane keeping assist. The Convenience package adds a power-operated liftgate, auto-dimming rearview mirror, power-adjustable pedals and a universal garage-door opener.

The SLT trim includes all of the above, plus a hands-free, power-operated liftgate, power-folding mirrors, auto-dimming driver side mirror, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, keyless entry and ignition, leather upholstery, a heated and power-operated tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 12-way power driver and front passenger seats, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, power-folding second- and third-row seats, driver-seat memory functions, and a wireless charging pad.

The top-of-the-line Denali trim adds a more powerful engine, 20-inch wheels, xenon headlights, a Magnetic Ride Control adaptive suspension, a trailer brake controller, a head-up instrument display, active noise cancellation, second-row bucket seats, a navigation system with real-time traffic, and a 10-speaker surround-sound audio system.

Some features on higher-trimmed models are available on supporting models at additional cost. Optional features for SLE and SLT trims include 22-inch wheels and an HD Trailering package (unique axle ratio, trailer brake controller and a self-leveling suspension). The SLT and Denali are eligible for a sunroof, adaptive cruise control with automatic braking, and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with HDMI and MHL input. The Denali is eligible for power-retractable passenger steps.

The 2017 GMC Yukon XL is available with two different engines, based on trim level. SLE and SLT models come with a 5.3-liter V8 engine that produces 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. It is paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and four-wheel drive is optional. These four-wheel-drive models come with a single-speed transfer case, but a two-speed transfer case with low-range gearing for challenging off-road terrain is available as an option. Properly equipped, the maximum tow rating for the two-wheel-drive Yukon XL in SLE or SLT trim is 8,300 pounds.

During Edmunds testing, the mechanically identical Chevrolet Suburban went from zero to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds in both rear- and four-wheel-drive configurations. This is acceptable performance, but the Ford Expedition EL is quicker. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 19 mpg combined (16 city/23 highway) for the 5.3-liter V8 with rear-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive drops the estimate to 18 mpg combined (15 city/22 highway).

The 2017 GMC Yukon Denali is powered by a 6.2-liter V8 that produces 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. It comes with an eight-speed automatic. Rear-wheel drive is standard, while the optional four-wheel-drive setup includes the two-speed transfer case for enhanced off-road mobility. A four-wheel-drive GMC Yukon Denali XL accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds, which is very quick and compares favorably with the Ford Expedition. Maximum towing capacity is 8,100 pounds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 17 mpg combined (15 city/22 highway) with two-wheel drive and 16 mpg combined (14 city/20 highway) for the four-wheel-drive model.

driving

The 2017 GMC Yukon XL's standard 5.3-liter V8 has the potential to deliver potent power, but the lack of throttle response leaves it feeling weaker than it really is. The effort required to depress the throttle pedal is the culprit, a measure made by GMC to improve fuel economy. As a result, there's a significant pause before engine power increases, and it's necessary to go the gas pedal early and aggressively to accelerate to highway speeds and pass slower cars. On the plus side, this engine is very smooth and quiet.

On the whole, the GMC Yukon XL delivers a luxurious experience. Both wind roar and road noise are effectively muffled. The optional adaptive Magnetic Ride Control suspension does a good job of absorbing larger bumps and thumps from the road surface, although smaller ripples and pavement imperfections send a little shake into the cabin. We suggest passing on the 22-inch wheel option because the large tires will further degrade ride comfort.

For weekend recreation, the extra-large truck-based Yukon XL offers a unique range of capabilities, yet there's no escaping the XL's size and weight from Monday through Friday. Around town, the Yukon XL is capable but sometimes not comfortable, and heavy traffic makes you aware that you're driving a truck, not a car.

interior

With an overall length approaching 19 feet, the 2017 GMC Yukon XL offersStandard safety features on all 2017 GMC Yukon XL models include antilock disc brakes, traction control, stability control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, front and rear parking sensors, and a rearview camera. A center airbag between the front bucket seats (when so equipped) deploys 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, as well as a teen-driver management system.

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

In 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. This distance is longer than average.

In government crash tests, the Yukon earned a four out of five stars for overall and front-impact crash protection, five stars for side-impact protection and three stars for rollover protection.

a full-size platform for all kinds of uses. Not surprisingly, there's plenty of space up front, but taller drivers might want to avoid the base SLE model because it lacks a telescoping steering wheel. Such a large vehicle size also compromises outward visibility in tight situations, although the standard parking sensors and rearview camera alleviate some of the stress of backing into a parking space.

Whether you select a bench or bucket seats for the second row, Yukon XL passengers will enjoy the roomy accommodations. Unfortunately, the folding mechanisms for the second-row seats limit the range of adjustments. The third-row seats are thinly padded to help deliver a flat load surface when they are folded, and the seats are also mounted close to the floor, which reduces legroom. Regardless of where you sit, the quality of the Yukon XL's interior materials is better than average for full-size SUVs, especially for higher trim levels.

Cargo space is comparable to the Toyota Sequoia but smaller than the Ford Expedition XL. The Yukon XL has 39.3 cubic feet of space behind the third row, 76.7 cubic feet behind the second row and a 121.1-cubic-foot maximum capacity. The Yukon XL is capable of holding all of your stuff, yet be aware that the relatively high cargo floor (necessary to afford clearance for the suspension beneath) can make the loading process strenuous.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.