2014 GMC Yukon XL Review

Yukon XL

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2014 GMC Yukon XL Overview

Okay, you need the extra cargo-toting capability of an extra-long full-size SUV. Well, the 2014 GMC Yukon XL (extra length) might be worthy of a few tire-kicks. This well-wrought beast offers 222 inches of overall length and a 130-inch wheelbase, as opposed to the standard Yukon’s 202-inch length and 116-inch wheelbase. This adds up to 9-passenger capability in three rows of seating and 137.4 cubic feet of cargo area with the second-row seatbacks folded. Alas, the third row seats must be removed in order to fully utilize this cavernous space.

Anyhow, this stretched-out Jimmy comes in four trims, the commercially oriented Fleet Half-Ton (1500), the base SLE Half-Ton (1500), the midlevel SLT Half-Ton (1500) and the high-end Denali. All trims offer standard V8 power, with the Fleet Half-Ton, SLE Half-Ton and SLT Half-Ton boasting a 5.3-liter powerplant and the Denali boasting a 6.2-liter V8. Rear-wheel drive (RWD) is standard across the lineup, while the option of part-time 4-wheel drive (4WD) remains available to the lower trims, with all-wheel drive (AWD) available to the Denali.

The 5.3-liter V8 standard in the Fleet Half-Ton, SLE Half-Ton and SLT Half-Ton boasts variable valve timing (VVT) and ethanol-capable Flex Fuel technology (FFV), while combining with a standard 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission for 320 hp and 335 lb-ft of torque. This translates into 9,600 pounds of trailer-towing capacity for RWD trims with the available heavy-duty towing package installed. Mileage, with GM’s Active Fuel Management (AFM) technology shutting down 4 of the 8 cylinders at highway speeds, is estimated at 15 mpg city/21 highway in both standard RWD configurations and available 4WD editions.

Need more luxury-laden oomph? The Yukon XL Denali sports a standard 6.2-inch VVT, FFV V8 powerplant that remains under the management of the 6-speed shiftable automatic to put out 403 hp and 417 lb-ft of torque. Towing capacity, however, drops to 7,900/7,800 pounds (RWD/AWD) with the proper equipment, while mileage, again with AFM, is a wallet-whacking 14/18 with RWD and 13/18 with AWD.

The part-time 4WD system available to the Fleet Half-Ton, SLE Half-Ton and SLT Half-Ton trims flaunts electronic hi-lo gear selection and auto-locking hubs, while the Denali’s available AWD system boasts normal cruising in RWD, with the capability of automatically and instantaneously diverting torque from the wheels that slip to the wheels that grip when roads get slippery.

The base 2014 Yukon XL SLE Half-Ton sports standard 17-inch alloy wheels, side steps, a roof rack, a trailer hitch and wiring, and heated power-adjustable mirrors outside, with premium cloth upholstery, power-adjustable front bucket seats and full power accessories inside. Cruise control, tilt-wheel steering, a rear-view camera, power-adjustable pedals and rear parking sensors also come standard, as does tri-zone auto climate control. Finally, a single-CD player is complemented by 9 Bose premium speakers, satellite radio and a USB port. The Yukon XL Fleet Half-Ton, needless to say, deletes a few of the SLE Half-Ton’s quasi-luxury touches, but some of the missing bling can be added as optional equipment.

Meanwhile, the midlevel SLT Half-Ton adds leather-trimmed upholstery, a universal remote garage door opener and leather, simulated wood and simulated alloy cabin accents.

The flagship Denali, as befits its princely status, boasts extras like premium leather upholstery, a power liftgate, 20-inch chrome-clad wheels, upgraded exterior chrome trim, power-folding side rear-view mirrors and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror (optional for the SLT Half-Ton), as well as GM’s Autoride auto-damping suspension, 10 Bose Surround Sound speakers and a touchscreen navigation suite with NavTraffic.

Options in the 2014 Yukon XL range from upsized and upgraded wheels to an integrated trailer brake controller to a power sunroof to rear-seat DVD entertainment, depending on the trim selected. Of course, lower trims remain eligible for many of the items that come standard in higher trims.

This big Jimmy depends, as is traditional, on its sheer mass for highway safety, but just in case, it sports standard 4-wheel antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front side-mounted airbags and 3-row head airbags. Front fog/driving lights are also standard across the lineup, as is OnStar emergency assistance and communications, not to mention the PASS-Key theft-deterrent system. Finally, side blind-spot alert sensors are standard in the Denali and optional for the SLT Half-Ton.

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Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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