All-new for 2007, the GMC Yukon features a redesigned exterior with wraparound fascias and improved aerodynamics, a new interior, a stronger chassis and a new family of V8 engines.
The Yukon vehicle family covers a lot of territory: it comes as the Yukon, in two- or four-wheel drive, and in SLE or SLT trim; as the longer-wheelbase Yukon XL, in 2WD or 4WD, in SLE or SLT, and in a half- or three-quarter-ton configuration; and then the luxurious Denali, in regular or XL length, both in all-wheel drive. Depending on the model, seating ranges from five to nine passengers.
The Yukon comes with a 4.8-litre or 5.3-litre V8 with Active Fuel Management, which deactivates half the cylinders under light load for improved fuel economy; the Yukon XL starts with the 5.3-litre, and can be optioned to a 6.0-litre with Active Fuel Management. All engines use a four-speed automatic transmission. Both Yukon Denali models come with a 6.2-litre V8 and six-speed automatic. Some engines are flexible-fuel compatible and will run on E85 (85 per cent ethanol, 15 per cent gasoline), although that fuel is still difficult to find.
The Yukon and Yukon XL SLE include four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, StabiliTrak stability control with proactive roll avoidance, 17-inch aluminum wheels, leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls, 40/20/40 split-bench front seat, manual tri-zone climate controls, heated mirrors, power windows and locks with keyless entry, CD/MP3 player with eight speakers, roof rack and OnStar.
The SLT trim line adds leather interior, front bucket seats, rear parking assist, automatic tri-zone climate control, six-CD/MP3 player with nine speakers, power-adjustable pedals, fog lights, curtain airbags and garage door opener.
The Denali package includes 18-inch polished aluminum wheels, power-adjustable pedals, fog lights, remote starter, second-row power release fold-and-tumble seats, power liftgate, heated washers, rain-sensing wipers, 12-way power front bucket seats, leather interior, rear parking assist, six-CD/MP3 player with nine speakers, XM Satellite Radio, curtain airbags, garage door opener, heavy-duty trailer package and OnStar.
GM’s new full-size SUV platform makes for a comfortable ride, while the new rack-and-pinion steering improves response and on-centre feel; inside, the Yukon and Denali are top-notch, with exceptional fit and finish and high-quality materials. The Denali’s six-speed automatic is exceptionally smooth, and all engines accelerate well and do their jobs quietly. The only questionable thing about the Yukon is at the fuel pumps: is a 16 mpg vehicle really relevant anymore?