If there is one thing American car manufacturers have perfected, it is making very large vehicles with more space than you will really ever need day to day. So if this is what what the market demands, then GMC has the right formula: A large SUV plus quality interior materials like leather and metal trim plus competitive prices versus foreign competitors equals the new 2019 Yukon XL Denali.
General Motors is celebrating 110 years this September. Over the years, American tastes in cars clearly has changed, from the first-ever cars with a couple of horsepower to full-size sedans you see more and more frequently parading up and down the highways carrying the entire family — and two dogs in the back. The new Yukon is the pinnacle of GMC’s designs and it showed as soon as I got inside.
The captain’s chair seating up front is a soft leather that both heated and cooled me at my whim — even the steering wheel was heated, which may not come in handy for a few months (if ever, but it’s a “cool” option to boast about). My Yukon even offered optional heating on second-row seating.
The second and third rows of seating also were coated in a high quality leather, but designed with more durability in mind than the front were. The second and third rows also had carpeted mats to help preserve the interior from the rigors of family use. My specific Yukon had the Ultimate Black Edition package so it came with special blacked-out trim both inside and outside — very attractive.
The exterior of the GMC Yukon is one of the most imposing of the American SUV lineup with the Ultimate Black Edition making it even more so with black and chrome trim. This extends to almost every body panel and includes special 20-inch wheels that are blacked out with chrome accents. You can option your own Yukon to come from the factory with 22-inch rims that make it stand out even more.
The Yukon XL is the long wheelbase model so the rear cargo area goes from 15.3 cubic feet to 39.3 cubic feet, which allows you to take along everyone in the family on a trip and still have space for all your gear and luggage and stuff — without ever having to fold down the third row of seats. Leg room also is more plentiful in the long wheelbase model. In total, the long wheelbase adds almost two feet to the length of the vehicle.
The sole engine available for the GMC Yukon is a 6.2L V8 engine that provides 420 horsepower and 460 pounds of torque that is rated to tow up to 8,100 pounds. This engine also gives you 15 miles per gallon in the city and 22 mpg highway, which is right on par with the class average. This is, thanks primarily to a 10-speed automatic transmission meant to keep the car as economical as possible.
At $72,300 (and just under $82,000 with options and destination charges added in, the Yukon XL is a close kin to the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban and Cadillac Escalade — and is just as imposing as its looks suggest.
Grant Miller is the publisher of Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277 or via email at Grant@CommunityNewspapers.com.