General Motors has been building a big body-on-frame SUV for 80 years with the Chevrolet and GMC nameplates affixed to each. Essentially a station wagon mounted on a light truck frame, the “Suburban” designation was used on all of them until the year 2000, at which time GMC began naming their version, the Yukon XL. The twelfth generation Yukon XL went on sale in September of last fall as a 2015 model.
I recently had the opportunity to test the new Yukon XL, courtesy of Weld County Garage and internet manager Ryan Green. It was a Summit White SLT model, which is a step up from the base SLE and just below the magnificent Yukon XL Denali. Interior colors were Cocoa and Dune, incorporated into a perforated leather seating arrangement with Periwood trimwork throughout. The XL had seven passenger capability, with three rows of seating featuring power heated buckets in the front and middle rows. The last two rows fold down with a power assist, leaving a flat, carpeted floor and over 121 cubic feet of cargo space.
The length of the 2015 Yukon XL, at 224.3”, is 2” longer than last year’s model – width is 80” and overall height is 74.4”, an inch lower than the 2014 Yukon XL. Weight of this SLT comes in at 5,775 lbs, and styling is new for this year’s General Motors SUV, which racked up sales of 82,518 in 2013 – 38% of which were GMC-branded.
My test XL had an M.S.R.P. of $66,225.00, including freight. Options on hand were a power sunroof, premium Bose stereo, navigation, DVD entertainment system with three screens (two are 9”, one screen is dedicated to third-row passengers), 20” polished alloy wheels, and second row leather bucket seats. SLT trim includes keyless/remote pushbutton starting, cooled front buckets, Bluetooth setup, XM satellite radio, power tilt/telescope, side assist steps, memory power seats, heated steering wheel, front/rear collision alert, lane change alert, backup camera, power liftgate, and power adjustable pedals. Plenty of USB ports are arranged inside the GMC as well as one 110-volt three-prong power outlet. Base SLT base pricing sits at $60,435.00.
Power for the four-wheel drive Yukon is supplied by a 5.3 liter EcoTec3 V-8 with 355 horsepower and 383 lb. ft. of torque. What is called Active Fuel Management serves to deactivate half of the GMC’s cylinders under light load conditions to enhance fuel economy ratings, which are 15-city and 22-highway (31 gallon tank). These are improvements over the 2014 GMC Yukon XL. A six-speed automatic transmission and locking differential are part of the power train on this four-wheel drive SUV, and the shift control is on the steering column. Zero to sixty acceleration time for this model is reportedly 7.3 seconds.
I’ve tested GMC’s Yukon XL in the past, and have bragged about the feel and comfort of operating such a big, opulent machine. No change is in store for this 2015 driving experience with the exception of road noise, which has been reduced with acoustic-laminated windshield and front-door windows, plus triple-sealed doors. Otherwise, the car provides a confident, solid ride and decent maneuverability (39’ turning circle) for such a towing and travelling heavyweight.
Styling of the XL is another upgrade this year – I studied my photographs of last years’ test XL and this loaner, and there is no question about the relative attractiveness of the 2015. The crisp shoulders, scalloped headlights, and blended window treatment all serve to make this model striking. I dropped in on several friends to show it off, and the response was unanimous – they liked the looks. The XL had full-length chrome-trimmed steps, deep tint rear windows, and twelve-spoke, polished aluminum alloy wheels, fitted with 275/55R20 Continental CrossContact LX20 EcoPlus low rolling resistance, all-season radials.
GMC has a loyal following for its line of big SUV’s, and they should be pleased by the changes that have been incorporated into the biggest, the 2015 Yukon XL.