Based on General Motors’ Silverado full-size pickup truck, the Yukon XL is the king-size version of GMC’s 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, GM’s OnStar communication system and a premium sound system with an in-dash six-CD changer. A 6.0-liter V-8 or an 8.1-liter V-8 engine may power the Yukon XL 2500 version, while the Yukon XL 1500 comes with a standard 5.3-liter V-8. Denali models get the 6.0-liter V-8.
GM’s StabiliTrak electronic stability system is optional on the Yukon XL 1500 and standard on the Denali. The Quadrasteer four-wheel-steering system, which allows the rear wheels to turn slightly in conjunction with the front wheels to improve maneuverability, is optional on the Yukon XL 2500.
For 2004, the 1500 series gains Hydroboost brakes and a tire-pressure monitor. A sunroof and DVD entertainment system for the rear seat are now available together. New six-spoke 17-inch aluminum wheels are available on SLT models.
The Yukon XL has four side doors, rides a 130-inch wheelbase and stretches to 219.3 inches long overall, which is 20 inches longer than the regular Yukon but shorter than the Excursion. Buyers get the choice of an aluminum liftgate or dual swing-out cargo doors. Cast-aluminum wheels hold standard 16-inch tires.
All Yukon XL models have three rows of seats, which yield a seating capacity of seven, eight or nine occupants, depending on the configuration. Bucket seats or a three-place bench can go up front, and the second row holds two or three people. All models have a three-place rear bench that folds down and can be removed.
Cargo volume in the Yukon XL measures nearly 46 cubic feet behind the rear seat and 131.6 cubic feet when the middle and rear seats are removed. Optional equipment includes a rear-seat Panasonic DVD entertainment system and adjustable pedals that come with or without a memory feature. Denali models have an XM Satellite Radio, which is optional in the regular Yukon XL.
Under the Hood
The base engine for the half-ton 1500 series models is a 295-horsepower, 5.3-liter V-8. A 325-hp, 6.0-liter V-8 is standard in three-quarter-ton 2500 series models, while a 320-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 Denali has permanently engaged four-wheel drive. Other Yukon XL models are available with rear-wheel drive or Autotrac four-wheel drive that engages automatically when additional traction is needed. Yukon XL 2500 models equipped with the 8.1-liter engine can tow as much as 12,000 pounds.
Dual-stage occupant-sensing airbags and antilock brakes are standard. Side-impact airbags and StabiliTrak are standard on the Denali and optional on other models.