You have all of the space in the world. Eight people can live comfortably across all three rows. You can carry many pieces of luggage in the cargo hold.
Families love large, long wheelbase SUVs. So do soccer moms, hockey moms, Little League coaches, limousine drivers, and so forth.
You have all of the space in the world. Eight people can live comfortably across all three rows. You can carry many pieces of luggage in the cargo hold. The capabilities of a large, long-wheelbase SUV are limitless.
The first vehicle you could think of that fits this description would be one built by General Motors. They offer such vehicles for Chevrolet, GMC, and Cadillac. In this case, we had a chance encounter with the GMC version of this SUV – the Yukon XL.
It is plain and simple who it is called the XL. Not only is this SUV extra-long. You also get to live extra-large – and in charge.
It is worth noting that the Yukon XL exudes a presence that you cannot ignore. The newest generation model added more sculpting all around to emphasize every inch of this vehicle. There is a lot of real estate to sculpt – over 225 inches worth!
If you set aside the dimensions for a moment, you will have to appreciate how much effort GMC made towards distinguishing the Yukon from its siblings. The Professional Grade aesthetic is evident in the front clip with the LED headlamp units and claw-like taillights out back. There is nothing subtle about the GMC’s grille. Not subtle about the glasshouse that stretches all the to the rear end.
This specific Yukon XL SLT is a mix of subtle chrome and back finishes. Almost to the point of being black-on-black. The gloss black 22-inch alloy wheels are a dealer addition, but they set this Yukon XL SLT apart from the crowd. You can’t say that rolling up in this ride won’t make you cooler than you are right now. The paparazzi and the TikTokers may think you’re someone who’s important in town.
The driver is tasked to command this massive SUV. That’s the easy part, because the Yukon XL is very driver friendly. A 12.0-inch digital instrument cluster is fully customizable for the information you need. The transmission is actuated by a series of buttons to the right of the instrument cluster. At least I now have a better understanding of the logic and it was fine for me. All other controls should be familiar to GM owners, as they work quite well.
On top of the center stack is a tablet-like 10.2-inch infotainment touchscreen. This isa hub for all sort of connectivity options, including wireless smartphone mirroring and device charging. Superb sound is emitted through nine Bose speakers throughout the cabin.
In the Yukon XL SLT, you are greeted with black perforated leather seats, complimented by a subtle serving of tan piping. Front seats are large, supportive, and comfortable. The second-row captain’s chairs were just as comfortable and offer their own adjustments. An open space in-between those seats enable access to the third row, even though you could easily do so from the rear doors. Once back there, you have space for average-sized adults or children.
To say there’s a lot of cargo space is an understatement. With all three rows up, you have 41.5 cubic feet of space. Think of how many pieces of luggage or sports equipment bags you can stow back there. If you don’t need the third-row, cargo space is expanded to 93.8 cubic feet. Don’t even compare that to a popular mid-size SUV. Need more space? You can fold the second-row seats down for a total of 144.7 cubic feet. That is more than the entire interior volume inside of a minivan.
Normally, a Yukon or Yukon XL is powered by one of two GM V8s. What if I told you that this particular Yukon XL is diesel powered. Underneath the hood is the Duramax 3.0-liter in-line turbocharged six-cylinder engine. It’s not the 277 horsepower that will make you notice. It is the 460 pound-feet of torque that will. The driveline runs through a 10-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels.
In terms of trailering, this configuration is specified for a maximum capacity of 7,700 pounds.
The Environmental Protection Agency states that the Yukon XL with 4WD and the Duramax engine could achieve 20 MPG in the city and 26 MPG on the highway.
Figures and specifications are one thing. Driving it is another. That is where this Yukon XL surprised me. The engine was smooth and quiet. That translated into the entire driving experience. It was poised, powerful, and had no trouble handling highway traffic and in-town maneuvering.
Add to the experience is ride quality that is amazing. “Poise” is a word that comes up a lot when considering this Yukon XL. It is a large vehicle that is used for transporting families and VIPs. Therefore, it delivers on the promise of making people comfortable and unaware of the traffic around them.
From the driver’s seat, you command a vehicle that demands to be driven properly. The Yukon XL makes that job quite easily with solid steering inputs and response from the brake pedal. However, it is that superb ride quality that helps makes things easy.
Some may throw some caution in the wind, because the Yukon XL is based on its full-sized pickup truck line. Somehow, you forget that it is a body-on-frame SUV. That is where this feeling of solidity and security comes from. It is that lovely of a vehicle to drive.
The entire 2023 GMC Yukon lineup starts at $57,400. On top of the two lengths, you can also choose one of four trim levels and in either 2WD or 4WD. However, the sticker price of this SLT 4WD sample as specified came out to $81,960.
Take all of this in consideration when you look at a GMC Yukon XL. Not just the price, the size, and everything else that make you want to turn your head away from it. The reason one owns such a vehicle is that it can do as much as you want and there are still more you can do with it.
It is about maximizing everything. Family space, VIP luxury, towing a boat to the lake – you name the task, and the GMC Yukon XL will do it. That is why the GMC Yukon XL is the choice for anything needing all of the space in the world in a bold, impressive package.
DISCLAIMER: Vehicle provided by Walser Buick-GMC, Roseville, Minnesota
All photos by Randy Stern