Can tackle rough terrain when fitted with four-wheel drive
Plenty of cargo capacity, even with all the seats deployed
Seats up to nine passengers
High towing ratings
Slow gas pedal response makes engine feel weaker than rated
Size, weight and length make it unwieldy around town
Cargo space utility is limited by high load floor
The 2018 GMC Yukon XL is a full-size SUV offered in SLE, SLT and Denali trim levels. The smaller Yukon is covered in a separate review.
The SLE base trim starts with a 5.3-liter V8 engine (355 horsepower, 383 pound-feet of torque) paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard; four-wheel drive is optional.
Standard SLE features include 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, side steps, roof rails, front and rear parking sensors, automatic wipers and a trailer hitch receiver with a wiring harness. Standard interior features include tri-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable front seats, and 60/40-split folding second- and third-row seats.
Also included is a 110-volt power outlet, an 8-inch touchscreen interface, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, OnStar communications (with a 4G LTE connection and Wi-Fi hotspot), Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a nine-speaker Bose audio system with CD player, satellite and HD radio and a USB input. GM's Teen Driver monitoring system, which limits certain vehicle settings for young drivers, also comes standard.
The optional Enhanced Driver Alert package adds forward collision alert with automatic low-speed emergency braking, a vibrating safety-alert driver seat, automatic high beams, and lane departure warning and intervention. The Convenience package adds a power-operated liftgate, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, power-adjustable pedals and a universal garage door opener.
The SLE also offers an optional front bench seat that increases capacity to nine passengers.
The SLT trim includes all of the features listed above and adds a hands-free liftgate, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, keyless entry and ignition, leather upholstery, a heated and power-adjustable steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, power-folding second- and third-row seats, and driver-seat memory functions.
The top-of-the-line Denali trim adds a more powerful 6.2-liter V8 engine (420 hp, 460 lb-ft of torque), a 10-speed automatic transmission, 20-inch wheels, xenon headlights, adaptive suspension dampers, a trailer brake controller, a head-up instrument display, active noise cancellation, second-row bucket seats, a navigation system, a wireless smartphone charging pad and a 10-speaker surround-sound audio system.
The new-for-2018 Denali Ultimate package bundles 22-inch wheels, a sunroof, power side steps, adaptive cruise control, a rear seat entertainment system with DVD player, and an extended satellite radio and traffic information subscription, among other items.
Many of the Denali's features are offered as options on SLT trims, while options for SLE and SLT trims include 22-inch wheels and a heavy-duty trailering package (unique axle ratio, trailer brake controller and a self-leveling suspension).