- Redesigned for 2015 along with the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban
- Yukon XL is the longer version of the Yukon
- Offers more passenger volume and cargo space
The 2015 GMC Yukon XL gets a complete redesign for the new model year that includes a long list of changes inside and out, as well as under the hood.
The Yukon and Yukon XL were way overdue for a redesign; this is the first one for the large SUV since 2007. Along with the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, the GM-built trio takes up right around 75-percent of the large SUV market. So to say this is an important redesign for them to get right would be an understatement. Both models get the same changes for 2015, the only difference between the Yukon and the larger XL being size. The Yukon XL is just over 20-inches longer and has more than double the cargo space behind the third-row (39.3 vs. 15.3 cubic feet).
Looking at the exterior, the new styling is apparent at first glance, it really transforms the Yukon XL. There is a new front fascia, highlighted by a large front grille adorned by the GMC logo and new headlight clusters with large C-shaped LED elements. The old Yukon was pretty anonymous looking and hard to distinguish from previous versions; there was no easy way to tell if your Yukon was from 2008 or 2014. Gone is the rounded look to the sides, replaced by a tall, vertical stance that celebrates the Yukon XL’s size rather than trying to hide it. 18-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, a luggage rack, and heated side mirrors are standard. The upscale Denali trim gets its own set of cosmetic updates, including a mesh grille, 20-inch alloy wheels, power liftgate, and HID projector-beam headlamps.
There are two available V-8 engines, one for SLE and SLT models and the larger reserved for the Denali. The base engine is new, part of GM’s new lineup of EcoTec3 engines. It is a 355-hp, 5.3-liter V-8 that makes 383 pounds-feet of torque. Denali models also get an EcoTec3 engine, a 420-hp, 6.2-liter V-8 that makes 460 pounds-feet of torque. Both are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The Yukon can tow up to 8,500 pounds with two-wheel drive, and 8,200 with four-wheel drive. The Denali checks in slightly behind that at 8,400 and 8,100 pounds respectively.
Inside, GMC’s versions of GM cars have always strived to live upmarket from their Chevrolet counterparts and the new Yukon XL is no exception. Extra attention has been paid to upgrading the materials and fit-and-finish, and you can still fit up to nine passengers with a three-row bench configuration (more common are setups which seat seven or eight). The cabin is quieter, thanks to better aerodynamics and redesigned side mirrors, which reduce wind noise. Standard equipment includes five USB ports to charge devices, HD radio, Bose premium audio, an 8-inch touch-screen with IntelliLink, Bluetooth connectivity, and tri-zone automatic climate control. Denali models add active noise cancellation, a better stereo (also from Bose), leather seating, powered/heated front and second-row seats, and navigation.
The Yukon XL also offers a lot in the way of standard safety equipment, including a rear view camera and front/rear parking sensors which are appreciated for those who have to maneuver in tight spaces.