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In 2001 the Yukon XL made its debut and set the standard for full size SUV's. It marked a revolutionary period for sports utility vehicles. The agility was enhanced by a more powerful powertrain, the appearance was stylish and refined, and it included a long list of comfort and convenience features. Above all of this, they are a fun drive with great handling. The most significant difference between the 2000 regular-sized Yukon and the 2001 Yukon XL is the XL's larger wheelbase.
The 2002 and 2003 XL models focused on offering more cargo room and an overall increased body size. The 2004 XL model has been considered a great vehicle choice for families based on its comfort and seating capabilities. It offers comfortable seating for six people and can be equipped to seat up to nine.
The most recent Yukon XL is the 2015 model which will be released early 2014. The 2-wheel drive V8 engine produces enough power for the 2015 Yukon XL to have a maximum payload of 1,764 lbs and can tow 6,500 lbs with a standard trailering package. With the HD trailering package, the Yukon XL can tow over 8,000 lbs. Automotive reviewers and journalists have noted that the V8 has enough power for fast acceleration.
The GMC Yukon XL has two trims, the SLE and SLT. The SLE, which is the base model, comes standard with a 355 hp 5.3-liter V8 engine with variable valve timing and active fuel management for enhanced fuel economy. Technology features include a rear vision camera system for safer backward maneuvering, ultrasonic front and rear park assist, and GMC’s intellLink3 infotainment system with a color touchscreen radio.
Additional features such as the Driver Alert Package (blind zone and lane change alert), power-adjustable pedals, keyless entry, push button start, heated and cold driver and passenger seat, 60/40 fold-down third row seating, and heated leather-wrapped steering wheel are included in the more luxurious SLT.
In terms of comfort, the Yukon XL has enough room to safely seat up to nine people. Due to its larger wheelbase, the 2015 Yukon XL has more leg room for the second and third-row passengers while simultaneously nearly doubling the allotted cargo space behind the third-row seat compared with the standard Yukon. Another new highlight added with this model is that both rows of rear seats fold flat to maximize cargo space. This eliminates the previous Yukon's requirement to unlatch, lift, and remove the third-row seats in order to make a flat load floor and maximize interior volume. GMC also touts this full-size SUV to be most quiet in its class with technology to reduce outside noise. This includes inlaid and triple-sealed doors, a sound-proofed windshield, lined front- and rear-wheel houses, and a valved exhaust system.
For those who want an even more luxurious and tricked-out ride, the GMC Yukon XL Denali may be a good option. The Denali comes with a more powerful engine, a 6.2-liter vs. 5.3-liter. However, the 2013 Consumer Guide had this to say about the larger engine: “Yukons equipped with the 5.3-liter V8 are muscular off the line and in highway passing and merging. Despite a rather substantial increase in power, the Denali is only slightly stronger.” Both Yukon XL and XL Denali come with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Some of the numerous safety features included on the 2015 Yukon XL driver and front passenger airbags, seat mounted driver and passenger side impact airbags, occupancy sensor, traction control, and OnStar in-vehicle assistance service.
According to safercar.gov, the 2013 GMC Yukon has received a 4-star Overall Safety Rating, with 5-Star front and side crash ratings. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have yet to rate the 2015 Yukon XL for safety.
The GMC Yukon has received many awards over the years, and I’m sure you can expect to see many more in the future as each year it makes exterior and interior improvements, as well as increasing fuel-efficiency and safety capabilities.