Longer overall, loaded with standard goodies, V8-powered and able to seat 7 in pampered comfort, the 2012 GMC Yukon XL Denali ought to fit the needs of those who need a really, really big sport ute. Cargo capacity, at 137.4 cubic feet with the second-row seatbacks folded and the third row removed, is among the most capacious in the business, not surprising when you consider that this behemoth sports an extra 22 inches of length and a 14-inch longer wheelbase over its standard Yukon contemporaries.
As the flagship of the Yukon XL (extra length) lineup, this full-size SUV boasts a variable-valve-timed (VVT) Flex Fuel (FFV) 6.2-liter V8 powerplant that mates with the standard 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission for 403 hp and 417 lb-ft of torque. Although able to tow up to 7,900 pounds with the standard trailer hitch and wiring, this rear-wheel-drive (RWD) trim won’t win any prizes for fuel efficiency considering its mileage numbers of 14 mpg city/18 highway. Finally, GM’s Autoride Active Suspension System adds, at least marginally, to ride comfort.
Flaunting 22-inch chrome alloy wheels, a roof rack, a power liftgate, side steps and reverse-tilting, heated power-adjustable mirrors outside, this handsome ute additionally tosses premium leather upholstery, heated and power-adjustable front seats with memory for driver's settings, simulated wood, leather and simulated alloy accents, three rows of seating, and reclining and power-folding second-row captain’s chairs about its well-wrought interior.
Standard convenience bling, meantime, includes cruise control, a heated and tilt-adjustable steering wheel, full power accessories, power-adjustable pedals, remote engine start, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, a universal remote garage door opener, rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera, with all of this cooled by tri-zone auto climate control monitored by Sun Sensor technology.
GM’s touted OnStar Directions and Connections service is bolstered by Bluetooth hands-free calling, with newly upgraded hard-drive-based navigation integrating itself into an 8-inch display that also interfaces with the audio system. Said audio components, finally, are anchored by a single-CD player boasting 10 Bose premium speakers, satellite radio and a USB port.
Options, meanwhile, include remote engine start, upgraded 22-inch wheels, a power sunroof, an integrated trailer brake controller, and rear-seat DVD entertainment that’s been upgraded for 2012. Additionally available are second-row bench seats that increase seating capacity to 8.
Notable standard safety equipment aboard the flagship 2012 Yukon XL Denali includes 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front side-mounted airbags and 3-row head airbags. Added safety items include daytime running lights, front fog/driving lights, turn-signal-integrated mirrors, a blind-spot warning system, OnStar emergency assistance, a post-collision safety system and a remote antitheft alarm.