Based on General Motors full-size Silverado pickup truck but measuring 20 inches longer, the Yukon XL is the king-size version of GMCs Yukon sport utility vehicle. The Chevrolet Suburban, which differs little in structure, is the corporate twin of the Yukon XL. Full-size rivals include the Ford Excursion and Toyota Sequoia.
Like the shorter Yukon, the Yukon XL comes in regular and plush Denali trim levels. GMC aims this SUV at a more upscale audience with the Denali luxury edition, which includes standard leather upholstery, GMs OnStar communication system and a premium sound system. A 6.0-liter V-8 or 8.1-liter V-8 engine may be equipped in the Yukon XL 2500 version, and the Yukon XL 1500 comes with a standard 5.3-liter V-8. All Denali models get the 6.0-liter V-8.
GMs StabiliTrak electronic stability system may be installed on 2003 versions of the Yukon XL 1500; this system is standard on the Yukon XL Denali. Quadrasteer four-wheel steering is a new option for the Yukon XL 2500; the rear wheels turn slightly in conjunction with the front wheels to improve maneuverability. The Yukon XLs sculpted seats are new. Adjustable pedals are optional and may come with or without a memory feature. The XLs console and instrument panel have been restyled. A Panasonic DVD rear-seat entertainment system is now optional, and the Denali models gain an XM Satellite Radio setup.
The Yukon XL has four side doors, rides a 130-inch wheelbase and stretches to 219.3 inches long overall, which is 7 inches shorter than the behemoth Excursion. Depending on the model, this SUV can be as much as 76.5 inches high and 79.8 inches wide. Buyers get the choice of an aluminum liftgate or dual swing-out cargo doors. Cast-aluminum wheels hold 16-inch tires.
All Yukon XL models have three rows of seats; the SLE seats nine occupants, and the SLT holds eight. The difference lies in a three-place front bench for the SLE instead of the SLTs twin front bucket seats. Both models have three-place middle and rear benches that fold down and can be removed.
Front bucket seats are optional in the SLE, and two middle bucket seats are optional in the SLT. The Yukon XLs cargo volume is approximately 46 cubic feet behind the rear seat or 131.6 cubic feet when the middle and rear seats are removed.
Under the Hood
The base engine for the half-ton 1500 series models is a 285-horsepower, 5.3-liter V-8. A 320-hp, 6.0-liter V-8 is standard in the three-quarter-ton 2500 series models, while a 340-hp, 8.1-liter V-8 is optional. All Denali models are equipped with the 6.0-liter engine.
All engines team with a four-speed-automatic transmission. The Yukon XL Denali has permanently engaged four-wheel drive (4WD), and other Yukon XL models are available with rear-wheel drive or Autotrac 4WD, which engages automatically when additional traction is needed. The Yukon XL equipped with the 8.1-liter engine can tow as much as 12,000 pounds.
Dual-stage occupant-sensing airbags are new for 2003. Antilock brakes and side-impact airbags are also standard. StabilTrak is optional in all models except the Yukon XL Denali, where it comes as standard equipment.