More cargo, more power for GMC Yukon XL

The 2017 GMC Yukon XL Denali, finished in onyx black, is an imposing SUV structure. (Bud Wells photo)

Why the Yukon XL over the standard Yukon?

Three rows of seats, same as the Yukon, plus 39 cubic feet of cargo space in the XL (15 for Yukon).

With the Denali package added, performance comes from the 6.2-liter V-8 engine (420 horsepower, 460 lb.-ft. torque) and 8-speed automatic transmission. Standard engine is the 5.3 V-8.

The new GMC Yukon XL Denali 4X4 was a big item at the 2017 Denver Auto Show, where showgoers could measure out the difference between the Yukon XL and competitive models Ford Expedition EL, Nissan Armada, Infiniti QX80 and Toyota Sequoia.

The Yukon XL is a bit longer than the Expedition, though the Expedition EL offers 3 more cubic feet of cargo space.

With Jan, Dale and Sandy Wells aboard, I drove the Yukon XL to Fort Collins on a Saturday night for dinner at Sonny Lubick’s Steakhouse in Old Town. Nice, smooth power was delivered by the bigger V-8 and 8-speed tranny.

It’s a comfortable ride, as always with General Motors’ Suburban/Tahoe/Yukon/Escalade offerings, though plenty of body roll and bounce was present in cornering and sometimes in braking. Magnetic ride control responds instantly to terrain imperfections; front suspension is independent coil-over-shock and the rear is solid axle with five-link and coils.

Open the door to the GMC and a power retractable running board, extra wide, swings out from beneath the outer edge of the unit; it’s an easy step-in to the luxurious cabin. Sit down, close the door and the board retracts, out of sight (pay no attention to the light clunk sound).

The perforated leather front seating is heated and cooled, and the interior is accented with burnished aluminum and wood trim. Middle-row bucket seats (heated) lend a center pathway to the third-row seating.

An 8-inch screen serves the Intellilink multimedia system with a 10-speaker Bose surround-sound audio and navigation, Bluetooth and capability for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Drop-down screens are positioned for second-row and far-back-seat viewing.

The 5,900-pound SUV averaged 19.3 miles per gallon; its EPA estimate is 14/20. Fuel-tank capacity is 31 gallons. The large Yukon rides on 22-inch wheels, with Bridgestone Dueler P285/45R22 tires. Ground clearance is 7.9 inches.

The XL’s wheelbase of 130 inches is 16 inches longer than the Yukon and its overall length of 224.4 is

20 inches longer.

All that size, all that power and all those amenities add up to a sticker price of $80,890. That includes adaptive cruise control with automatic front braking, power sunroof, remote vehicle start, rear-vision camera, lane-keeping assist and blind-zone alert.