Cars

2019 GMC Yukon XL Checks All the Boxes

DETROIT — Talk about more than enough. The GMC Yukon XL 4WD SLT certainly filled the bill. Where to begin?

Let’s start under the hood. We had the Graphite Performance Edition. That means that the 5.3-liter V8 for a normal Yukon got bumped up to 6.2-liters and 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque with cylinder deactivation. There was a 10-speed automatic transmission, a 3.23 axle ratio and a two-speed active transfer case and magnetic ride control.

This engine moved the Yukon XL, which weighed almost three tons, with ease. We didn’t sense any cylinder deactivation. Gear shifts were silky smooth and the suspension managed to kill most of the truck-like ride on this body on frame three-row sport utility.

It had an independent coil-over shock, magnetic ride control with the graphite performance package front suspension. In the rear was a solid axle with five-link location and coil springs, magnetic ride control and the graphite performance package.

This package included black 22-inch machined wheels with carbon flash metallic pockets, black assist steps with gloss black accents, black chrome grille mesh insert and fog lamp surrounds, body-colored grille surround, gloss black beltline moldings and additional trim, the Z85 suspension package. This was a menacing looking vehicle and we mean that in a good way.

About the only thing that was missing were LED headlights. The halogen lamps seemed like they were from another planet. And there wasn’t a moonroof. Still, this GMC Yukon was well equipped.

It was the XL Yukon. It had a wheelbase that was 14 inches longer than a normal Yukon and it was almost two-feet longer overall with more than twice the cargo space behind the third row seats.

The gear shift was on the column and that took some getting used to. All through the test drive we kept reaching for the gear shift atop the center console. But that was the only aspect of the Yukon XL that was radically different.

It had heated and cooled front seats. And you could select whether to heat the seat back, or the whole seat. It took a few days before we realized that the pedals were adjustable. There was a smart key to lock and unlock the doors, all four could be push buttoned opened or locked. And of course, there was push button start and stop.

The interior was black throughout with light grey stitching. The odometer and speedometer were round, analogue and black with white numerals reversed out. There were four smaller digital gauges between them: the oil pressure gauge, the temperature gauge, the fuel gauge and the volt meter ran across the top of the TFT screen.

There were buttons on the left side of the dash to adjust the height of the heads-up display and the information you wanted it to display. The center stack sort of cascaded down to the console with the infotainment touch screen at the top, the audio controls underneath and then two stacked areas of climate controls beneath.

The Yukon had its own Wi-Fi connection. At the base where the center-stack met the center console there were two USB jacks and a 12V plug. The storage bin in the center console had an LED light for illumination, it was that deep. There was also a retractable mirror that let you see the second and third row seats. Think kids.

And the whole infotainment screen slid up revealing another storage bin and a USB jack.

We climbed into the second row and found it spacious. It too had heated captains’ seats. Getting to the third row for a kid or someone nimble meant getting through the space between the two second row seats. Doing it the conventional way required pulling a lever and the seat back flipped forward. Then pull a strap on the back of the seat cushion and it too flipped forward.

There was a 120V plug on the back of the center console and another USB plug. There were also climate controls for the back passenger area. We thought it convenient that the liftgate was power and it could be set at different heights.

There was plenty of head space in the third row, although leg room was tight. It was easy to get out with the second row seats completely flipped forward.

From the back, the third row seats could be power folded down or up. And let’s not forget that the Yukon XL was a full size sport utility, a big one. It could tow 8,000 lbs. and that was with the 5.3-liter engine and the XL had 121.1 cubic feet of cargo space with its second and third row seats folded.

Fuel efficiency for the 6.2-liter engine was 14 mpg in the city, 20 mpg on the highway and 16 mpg combined. It had a 31-gallon fuel tank. It was made for years of kids, camping, stowing, towing and the outdoors or city streets. As tested, our 2019 Yukon XL AWD SLT had a sticker of $74,630.

Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com.

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