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There are some shoppers who need an SUV with a capital "U": They require seating for up to nine passengers and the ability to haul heavy loads and tow serious trailers. The 2017 GMC Yukon XL fits the bill nicely. The luxury-themed cousin of the Chevrolet Suburban, the Yukon XL offers a full host of comfort and convenience features. Its 19-foot length means it can offer three rows of seats (with the third row being rather cramped), plus the ability to stow 39.3 cubic feet of cargo, even with all seats occupied. Fold down the seats and the space expands to a 121.1-cubic-foot maximum capacity. If towing is your thing, the Yukon XL can haul up to 8,300 pounds, enough to handle a horse trailer or boat.
Of course, there's only one way to make an SUV this capable, and that is to base it on a truck. The Yukon XL shares its platform with General Motors' pickup trucks, and that has some drawbacks. The Yukon XL can't match the comfort or maneuverability of today's crossover SUVs, and finding parking spots into which it will fit is often a challenge. The Yukon XL rides comfortably and quietly, with the optional Magnetic Ride Control suspension doing a great job of soaking up bigger bumps and thumps (though it can't stop the smaller ones from sending vibrations into the cabin). But the Yukon XL never lets you forget you're driving a truck, especially if you have to make an emergency swerve.
The Yukon XL offers the choice of two stout V8 engines: A 5.3-liter that develops 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque and a Denali trim exclusive 6.2-liter rated at 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. Both come with automatic transmissions (six speeds for the 5.3 and eight for the 6.2), and both are available with either rear- or four-wheel drive. For 4x4 models, a low-range transfer case is available on the 5.3-liter and standard with the 6.2-liter. The low-range case enhances off-road abilities, but the Yukon XL's big size and long wheelbase are bound to be limiting factors — the Yukon XL simply can't squeeze through trees or pick its way over big boulders like a smaller 4x4 SUV. EPA fuel economy estimates range from 19 mpg combined (16 city/23 highway) for the 5.3-liter 4x2, down to 16 mpg combined (14 city/20 highway) for the 6.2 4x4.
GMC offers the Yukon XL in three models. The cloth-trimmed SLE receives a full host of creature comforts, while the SLT adds leather, a power liftgate, power-folding mirrors and more. The top-of-the-line Denali gets a bigger engine, xenon lights, an adaptive suspension and other luxury features. If you need a luxurious SUV with above-average hauling and towing capabilities, Edmunds can help find the perfect 2017 GMC Yukon XL for you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.