Most people find driving a huge, gas-guzzling SUV beyond reproach, just simply irresponsible. There are very few full-size SUVs still on the market since most buyers are leaning towards the crossover SUVs flooding the market.
Some things call for a big vehicle, such as a large family or the need to tow things through an off-road environment. If you’re going to go with a full-size SUV, you can’t go wrong looking at a GMC Yukon XL.
The GMC Yukon XL is available in two weights: a half-ton vehicle called the 1500, and a ¾-ton Yukon dubbed the 2500. The 2500 is available in two main trim lines called the SLE and the SLT.
Body Styles: full-size SUV
Engines: 6.0-liter V-8 engine
Transmissions: six-speed automatic
Models: SLE1, SLE2, SLT
The Yukon XL 2500 receives Bluetooth connectivity and XM Real Time Traffic introduced this year. The six-speed automatic paired with the V-8 engine is also new.
The Yukon 2500 has the appearance of a large truck with a cab roof on the back. This is old school SUV styling at its most refined. The 2500 has big doors for easy access to the vehicle. A roof rack is installed for extra carrying space. The back of the vehicle is fitted with a trailer hitch and trailer wiring standard. With a 130-inch wheelbase, this is one of the biggest SUVs on the market.
The SLE1 one comes equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels and running boards for getting in and out of the vehicle’s massive frame. Drivers can upgrade to 20- and 22-inch wheels if desired.
GMC has worked hard over the years to upgrade their interiors. What was once an ocean of plastic is now plush material. The Yukon XL 2500 received the same treatment. Controls are easy to reach. Instruments are simple to read. Even the accessories seem to fit perfectly. The cabin is roomy, and with the third row seat removed you get a full 138 cubic feet of storage space.
Removing that third seat is the one area where the 2500 needs improvement. The back seat is very heavy, a back injury waiting to happen.
The SLE is broken into two sub-groups: the SLE1 and the SLE2. The SLE1 one comes equipped with power accessories, keyless entry system, a front bench that splits 40/20/40 with power settings for the driver’s side, Bluetooth connectivity, dual- zone climate controls, eight-speakers hooked up to a CD-player, and standard XM satellite radio. The SLE2 includes everything above but adds premium cloth seats, captain’s chairs for the first row, power settings for the passenger’s seat, and rear-seat audio controls with headphones.
The SLT trim is also split into two sub-groups: the SLT1 and the SLT2. The SLT1 includes the features of the SLE but upgrades the cloth to leather and adds tri-zone climate control, a Bose audio system with a six-CD player, power-adjusting pedals, remote start, and a rear park assist. The SLT2 includes everything in the SLT1 package but adds lumbar support for the front seats, heated first and second row seating, and memory settings for ultimate comfort.
Extra options include a sunroof, power-folding second row seats for extra storage, DVD-entertainment system for the rear of the vehicle, a rearview camera for parking, and a power lift gate system.
Performance & Handling
The Yukon XL has four different V-8 options, but the 2500 has one; good thing it’s a 6.0-liter, V-8 engine that produces 352 horsepower and 382 pound-feet of torque. The engine is fitted with a six-speed automatic that has been enhanced for extra towing ability.
The Yukon XL 2500 really gets going, which is surprising for such a large vehicle. Handling is pretty smooth as well until you lean that huge curb weight into a corner. Although you may forget when accelerating along the highway, nothing reminds you this is a ¾-ton vehicle quite like trying out a curb at speed.
The 2500 comes equipped with anti-lock brakes, side curtain airbags, and a rollover sensor. The Yukon XL 2500 received top marks from the government for front and side collisions.
EPA Fuel Economy
The Yukon XL 2500 has not received an official EPA gas mileage ranking
- The spaciousness of the cabin is quite luxurious.
- The extra cargo space is great for hauling camping equipment and the family on holiday.
- That big V-8 engine runs like a dream and gives you enough power for towing, if that’s your thing.
You Won't Like
- The handling can be quite sluggish
- Going into a curve at full speed is harrowing to say the least.
- That third seat storage problem is a real pain.
If you are looking for a full-size SUV to haul around the family, the Yukon XL 2500 is a great choice. It is on par with the competition, and in some ways beats them all.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Ford Expedition
- Toyota Sequoia