2019 GMC Yukon Review

2019 GMC Yukon - Big, luxury Yukon XL worthy of long look.


GMC's XL Denali is one of those vehicles where, if you have the money, a deep garage, and a desire for almost the ultimate in a luxury sport utility vehicle, you buy it.

The "almost the ultimate" is because this full-sized, three-row, seven-passenger SUV does not have all the glamour features of a luxury vehicle, such as power side window sunshades, a power cover for the power sunroof or massaging front seats.

Power inclusions though include fold and unfold third row, heated tilt and telescoping steering wheel, adjustable gas and brake pedals, perforated leather heated and ventilated (for air conditioning) front seats and retractable running boards. More ordinary power features include heated exterior mirrors, liftgate, door locks and remote start.

Memory settings are for driver's seat, outside mirrors, steering wheel, gas and brake pedals.

Suggested manufacturer pricing for a 2019 Yukon begins at $49,500. It is a rear-wheel SUV. Prices increase several thousands of dollars for four-wheel-drive. After Denali upgrade trim and safety features are added to the four-wheeler,  the price is $66,600. When  XL is added to the model name the price rises to $72,300. The XL means the Yukon is extra long and this is where it gets interesting.

A base Yukon is 203.9 inches long with third row leg room at 24.8 inches and cargo space at 15.3 cubic feet behind the third row. A Yukon XL is 224.4 inches long which means third row leg room has been upped to 34.5 inches and storage behind the rear seat increased to 39.3 cubic feet. Storage capacity also increases. After the third row bench and second row split seats (GMC  also offers a bench seat in this row) have been folded flat, there are 121 cubic feet provided for storage purposes. This is huge. The carpeted floor surface is flat from lift gate to the backs of the front bucket seats.

Standard roof rails with $265 optional crossbars can hold 200 pounds of cargo.

The tested XL came with a 6.2-liter, 420-horsepower V8 engine mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. It is the largest engine offered in GMC's SUVs. This powerplant is capable of towing an 8,100-pound trailer and carrying a payload of 1,610 pounds. This is impressive. One must remember that Yukon is an SUV and not a GMC Sierra full-size pickup truck where towing possibilities range from 9,500 to 23,300 pounds.

Mechanically, the Yukon XL Denali has automatic rear load leveling, trailer brake controller, two-speed transfer case, trailer sway control and fully automatic locking rear differential.

Without towing factored in, the tested Yukon averaged 17.1 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving with two to four people aboard.

During the test week all occupants, young and old, male and female, registered compliments galore about the comfortable, quiet ride. "This thing is huge and wonderful," said a teenage girl to her sister, who agreed.

Seats, armrests and storage facilities are big. Cupholders are plentiful. Power outlets are 12 and 120 volts. Wheels and the tires are 22-inch.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are minor participants in a loaded infotainment system which also includes navigation. Smartphones can be charged while lying flat on the unopened front center console.

Navigation has options. Push a blue button to request directions from an advisor. Directions can be sent to the vehicle remotely by using the 'navigation' tab in the 'myGMC'  app for compatible Apple and Android smartphones.

A unique feature is Marketplace, the auto industry's first in-vehicle commerce platform. Purchases and reservations can be made and the process is fairly simple.

Besides the Yukon, other large luxury SUVS are Chevrolet's Suburban, Lincoln Navigator, Land Rover Range Rover, Infinity QX80, Toyota Land Cruiser, Mercedes-Benz GLS- and G-Class, Lexus LX 570, and Cadillac Escalade.


Vehicle: GMC's Yukon XL Denali model with Ultimate and Ultimate Black Edition packages
Type: full-size, four-wheel-drive sport utility vehicle
Price: $72,300
Price with Ultimate and Ultimate Black Edition packages (on test vehicle): $81,380
As tested: $82,190 including $1,295 delivery, $265 roof rack cross-rails, $250 rubber floor and cargo mats
Engine: 6.2-liter, 420-horsepower V8
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
Payload: 1,610 pounds
Towing: 8,100 pounds
Fuel tank: 31 gallons
Fuel: regular
Tires (285), alloy wheels: 22-inch
Suspension: coil over shock front, multi-link with coil springs rear
Wheelbase, length, width, height, ground clearance in inches: 130, 224.4, 80.5, 74.4, 7.9
Weight: 5,665 pounds
Leg room: 45.3 inches front, 39.7 inches middle, 34.5 inches third row
Cargo in cubic feet: 121 behind flat second and third rows, 76.7 behind upright second row, flat third row, 39.3 cubic feet behind upright third row
Turn diameter: 43 feet
Warranty: three years or 36,000 miles, powertrain and roadside assistance five years or 100,000 miles, one free scheduled maintenance visit within first year
Assembly: Arlington, TX
Information:  www.gmc.com

Jerry Kuyper

Born on a southwestern Minnesota farm, Jerrold E. Kuyper quickly became familiar with tractors, pickup trucks and related agricultural equipment. He left that behind to graduate from Augsburg College in Minneapolis and attend graduate schools in Evanston and Chicago. He was hired as a reporter for the Kenosha News, a daily newspaper in Kenosha, WI. After a stint of a dozen years at the Kenosha News, he became a columnist, layout, page and sections editor at the Northwest Herald, a daily newspaper based in Crystal Lake, IL serving northwest Chicago suburban communities.

While with the Northwest Herald he helped create, write reviews and opinion columns as well as edit the newspaper's Wheels section, a 16- to 40-page broadsheet that appeared weekly in the newspaper's Friday edition. Wheels was devoted to reviews of new vehicles, looks at automotive history, current trends in the automobile world and columns by automotive enthusiasts. Midwest Automotive Media Association members who contributed to reviews and columns included Mitch Frumkin, Phil Arendt, Matt Joseph and James Flammang as well as photo journalist Doug Begley and dragster specialist Fred Blumenthal.

Kuyper, who lives in Salem Lakes, WI, is a founding member of MAMA, is married, has three children and six grandchildren.