2014 GMC Yukon XL AWD Denali by Stu Wright

In 1976, I started selling GMC trucks right after college, and at that point the Suburban, which is what GMC at that time called their big SUV, had been in production for 39 years.  Right after I started my new job, I ordered two  Suburbans for a Western Slope construction company.  The excitement of my first sale was spoiled, however, because I mistakenly failed to put air conditioning on the GMC order form.  It didn’t cost me my job, but it did cost money, as I was required to add air conditioners in the shop at dealership cost.  No such problem exists for contemporary sales personnel, as air conditioners are now standard on such a vehicle, as is a lot of other equipment not even available in 1976.  Additionally, units are seldom “ordered” nowadays, and are typically kept in dealer inventory.    

    The eleventh generation GMC Yukon XL, the name currently attached to the old Suburban, is in its eighth year of production now, and recently I was afforded access to a 2014 Quicksilver metallic Yukon XL Denali (top of the line), with all-wheel drive for testing.  It came courtesy of Ryan Green at Weld County Garage in Greeley.

    M.S.R.P. for the seven-passenger Yukon was $65,850.00, and that included the base price of $62,570.00, freight of $995.00, a trailer brake controller for $200.00, and a moon roof/rear entertainment system for $2,085.00.  The entertainment system includes a Bose ten-speaker CenterPoint stereo/navigation and dual DVD screens – one for each of the second and third row seat occupants.  A Denali comes with Nuance leather seating for seven (Cocoa/Cashmere in this case) and all but the third row seats are heated, with the 12-way power adjustable front buckets, both heated and cooled.  Satellite radio is on hand as well as tilt/telescoping heated steering wheel, power windows/locks/mirrors, power adjustable pedals, rearview camera, remote starter, OnStar, and Bluetooth phone connectivity.

    The Yukon XL is, and always has been, a full-size station wagon-body-on-frame version of the General Motors pickup.  My test vehicle weighed 5,939 lbs. and had towing capability of up to a four-ton trailer or boat.  Wheelbase is 130”, overall length is 222.4”, and height/width is 76.8”/79.1”.  Horsepower is 403 emanating from the 6.2 liter V-8, and a six speed automatic is installed in the all-wheel drive Yukon.  EPA fuel mileage ratings are 13/18, city-highway, with a 31 gallon gas tank.     

    My wife, Ruth, and I took a trip to Eaton in the Yukon, and her comment as we hit Highway 85 was “do all of these ride like this?”  I assured her that having been around Suburbans and Yukons for 38 years, that in my personal experience, it had always been the case.  Several motorists were noticing us on the highway with the brand new GMC – styling is traditional and understated, but nonetheless pretty.  The XL had full-length side steps and big eight-spoke chrome wheels with all-season 275/55R20 steel belted radial tires. 

    The GMC Yukon XL has been a “category killer” since way back when I sold them, and continues to this day to beat the competition.  And now they even have air conditioning as standard equipment!                 

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