2003 GMC Yukon XL 1500

  • 2003 GMC Yukon XL 1500 Base Utility

    Base Utility

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      5.3L V8
    • MSRP
  • 2003 GMC Yukon XL 1500 Denali Utility

    Denali Utility

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      6.0L V8
    • MSRP
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2003 GMC Yukon XL 1500 Review

The GMC Yukon XL is the biggest and best of the SUVs in its class with its large cabin and huge selection of V-8 engines.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2003 GMC Yukon XL 1500 is a SUV based on the full-size Silverado, but is even bigger than that, measuring 20 inches longer in fact. This is one of the biggest SUV models on the market. That translates to a huge amount of room inside the vehicle for passengers and cargo. The only real competition for size is the Toyota Sequoia and the Ford Expedition.

The Yukon XL is the larger version of the regular Yukon. Like the Yukon, it comes in two trim lines. All Yukon models have a large selection of powerful V-8 engines and seating configurations. There are also a ton of standard features and optional features to choose from.

The only flaws this vehicle has are big ones. Gas mileage is abysmal, which is what you’d expect from a large SUV. Even with all the improvements, there are several issues with build quality and interior material quality. Also, some of the build quality of the rest of the vehicle is somewhat suspect.

Overall, you can’t beat the Yukon XL if you need an SUV with a lot of power, towing capacity, and cargo space to haul the groceries and other items.

The Range

Body Styles: full-size SUV
Engines: 5.3-liter V-8, 6.0-liter V-8 engine, 8.1-liter V-8
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: GMC Yukon XL SLE, GMC Yukon XL Denali

What's New

The Yukon XL has a bevy of new features to offer in the 2003 model year. The Stabilitrak stability control system is now available for the 1500 models. This provides greater stability when towing and maneuvering around curves. You also get the choice of two new exterior features: a multi-function mirror that has power folding capabilities, puddle lamps, and an integrated turn signal, or extended camper mirrors with a power folding function. Interior upgrades include a tri-zone climate control system, enhanced driver information center, a newly designed center console, and a new instrument panel. Steering wheel mounted audio controls are also available this model year. New entertainment options are also available including Bose speakers, XM satellite radio, and a DVD based entertainment system.


The GMC Yukon XL 1500 has four doors and rides on a 130-inch wheelbase. The vehicle itself measures 219.3-inches overall. The 1500 comes with the choice of an aluminum liftgate or dual-swing cargo doors.


The interior of the 2003 GMC Yukon XL 1500 is as big as you might imagine it. The SLT model holds eight passengers, and the SLE model holds nine. These aren’t cramped quarters either–all passengers have plenty of arm, leg, head, and shoulder room. Both models have three-passenger second and third row bench seats that fold down and are removable on wheels. The SLT model has bucket seats in the front, while the SLE model has a three-passenger bench. The Yukon XL has a cargo space of 46 cubic feet behind the rear seat. When the seats are removed, the Yukon XL 1500 will hold 131.6 cubic feet of cargo.

Performance & Handling

The GMC Yukon XL 1500 has a base engine that has a 5.3-liter displacement. This V-8 engine produces 285 horsepower. A 6.0-liter V-8 engine that produces 320 horsepower is also available. The Denali model comes equipped with a 6.0-liter engine as standard.

All of the engines are paired with a four-speed automatic transmission. The GMC Yukon XL 1500 comes either as a rear-wheel drive vehicle or has four-wheel drive. The Denali is the only vehicle of the bunch that has a permanently engaged four-wheel-drive system. All other models have an Autotrac system that only engages the four-wheel drive when necessary.

Driving the huge Yukon XL is as you’d expect–sometimes a bit difficult. The large frame makes parking a bit of a pain, especially in a cramped city environment. The larger 2500 has a new steering system that the 1500 lacks, making parking even more difficult.


Yukon XL 1500 comes with a lot of safety features. Standard equipment includes four-wheel anti-lock brakes, child seat anchors, remote anti-theft system, dusk sensing headlamps, rear center three-point seatbelts, traction control, electronic brake force distribution, and more. The NHTSA only gave the GMC Yukon XL 1500 a three out of four star rating for passenger protection, and four out of five stars for the driver.

EPA Fuel Economy

2003 GMC Yukon SLE: 13/17 mpg city/highway
2003 GMC Yukon Denali: 11/15 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Lots of interior space
  • V-8 engine lineup
  • Quadrasteer system for easy parking and maneuverability
Huge list of features

You Won't Like

  • Poor gas mileage
  • Plastic materials
  • Poor build quality

Sum Up

The GMC Yukon XL is the biggest and best of the SUVs in its class with its large cabin and huge selection of V-8 engines.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Chevrolet Suburban 2500
  • Chevrolet Suburban 1500
  • Ford Expedition

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