The 2019 GMC Yukin is offered in SLE, SLT and Denali trims, in 2WD and 4WD configurations. The Yukon XL has a wheelbase that is 14 inches longer (20.5 inches overall) than the Yukon with more than twice the cargo room behind the third-row seat. Metro News Service photo

GMC Yukon XL proves to be darling of weekend warriors

XL endorsement?

“What kind of vehicle do you drive?” That’s a question I get asked regularly. And it makes sense as a purchase by someone like me – who has driven just about every vehicle out there me – can be perceived as some kind of endorsement. I’ve never been a brand-loyal consumer. And truth be told, I don’t own a vehicle since I drive more than 50 vehicles annually. It’s one of the perks of the job. But Mrs. Driversside is the proud of owner of a 2013 GMC Yukon. It was a “dream vehicle” for her to own. And it’s been great for her as a daily driver and as our weekend warrior vehicle towing our camper.

So, when they dropped off the 2019 GMC Yukon for me to review, the missus was especially excited to see it.

For the 2019 model year there’s very little different for the Yukon. It’s still a big, stout, full-size SUV. My tester was especially full size as it was the XL version, which has a longer wheelbase and about 10 more inches of length; that is most noticeable in the third row. This is an SUV that is large and in charge.

The Yukon, which shares the platform with the Chevrolet Suburban, has distinctive looks. GMC’s styling is a nice blend of elegance and aggression and slides perfectly in the middle of the Suburban and the Cadillac Escalade when it comes to luxury and looks.

The ’19 Yukon has two engine options and also two different automatic transmission offerings. There’s a 5.3-liter V8 engine with a six-speed transmission. My tester had the more-powerful, and more fuel-efficient 6.2-liter V8 engine with a 10-speed transmission. For me, the 6.2-liter is the way to go. The 420 horsepower it produces is a lot but is not overpowering.

The Yukon weighs almost 6,000 pounds, so it needs all that power to move it. As such, this engine performs well both off the line and at highway speeds. I would imagine, although I’ve not driven it, that the 5.3-liter might feel a little pokey. Plus, the 10-speed transmission in my tester is so smooth and amazing. A six-speed transmission just seems awfully dated. My tester also had four-wheel drive, although two-wheel drive is an option, although it’s not an option I’d recommend.

The Yukon is a favorite amongst recreational vehicle owners. The towing capability is as good as most pickup trucks. My tester had a max towing rating of 7,900 pounds. With 2WD, you can tow up to 8,100 pounds. We did not tow anything during our week with the Yukon, but our 2013 Yukon pulls our camper like a beast, which is one of the main reasons we bought it.

Oftentimes SUVs – even bigger ones like the Yukon – still lack enough room for adults to be comfortable in the third row. But the Yukon XL offers one of the most comfortable back seats for adults.

I had adults back there and this eight-passenger hauler did not disappoint. The third row has almost as much legroom (34.5 inches) as it does in the second row (39.7 inches).

The three-zone heat and cooling system is ideal for comfort of all passengers. The leather seats are comfortable. And the height of the Yukon benefits even tall passengers with significant headroom.

The Yukon has ample, easy-to-use entertainment options including an intuitive infotainment system that is centered around and 8-inch touchscreen. There is a built-in 4G LTE WIFI hot spot and a nine-speaker Bose sound system. Integration with devices is easy with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Overall, GM’s infotainment system with its combination of buttons and responsive touch features ranks as one of my favorites.

There are three trims available for the Yukon XL including SLE, SLT and Denali. The top-of-the-line Denali is a lavishly wonderful trim that is GMC’s best-seller. My tester was the SLT which has ample features but a lower price tag than the Denali. Standard price for the Yukon XL SLT is $63,200. With several swanky options including the sexy graphite performance package (with 22-inch wheels and a Secret-Service vehicle looking exterior) and my tester had a final MSRP of $74,630.

The Yukon is not a fuel-efficient vehicle. Hook up a camper or boat to it and it’s a guzzler. The EPA rates the 4WD Yukon XL at 14 mpg/city and 20 mpg/highway. In a week’s worth of suburban driving, without towing, I averaged just over 16 mpg.

Owning a Yukon is not an endorsement, per se, of this full-size SUV. I can say that it met with the approval of Mrs. Driversside who liked the new features of the 2019 version versus her older 2013. However, that price tag is a little cost prohibitive for our budget.

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