The 2019 GMC Yukon XL soldiers on for another year against rivals like the Ford Expedition, Lincoln Navigator, Nissan Armada and Toyota Sequoia. Stretching more than 20 inches longer than the standard Yukon, the Yukon XL offers more passenger space and more cargo space behind the third-row seats.
The problem is, Ford and Lincoln reset the rulebook for full-size SUVs with the new Expedition and Navigator. These two models prove that driving dynamics don’t have to suffer because you need the extra room of a large SUV. In fact, the Expedition offers similar levels of performance from a twin-turbo V-6, as compared to the pair of V-8 engines offered in the Yukon XL.
Still, this GMC could be an especially good value because an updated model is most likely coming soon. Since it’s based on the Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck – a model that underwent a major overhaul for the 2019 model year – a new Yukon (not to mention its mechanical twins, the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, plus the Cadillac Escalade) is in the works.
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Will it be worth the wait, or does the current Yukon XL keep its head above water in a competitive field? To see our complete take on the 2019 GMC Yukon XL, check out the full review by Cars.com’s Kelsey Mays via the related link above. For a streamlined version of our impressions, both good and bad, just keep on reading.
Here are nine things we like, and five we won’t vouch for, about the 2019 GMC Yukon XL:
Things we like
1. Strong optional V-8
We’ll be the first to admit that the optional 6.2-liter V-8 engine available in the Yukon XL delivers excellent responses. Press the gas pedal and enjoy unleashing the 420 horsepower and 460 pounds-feet of torque this motor offers. Considering the Yukon XL tips the scales at more than 5,600 pounds, it’s essential to have a gutsy motor with grunt to hustle this brute down the road.
2. Smart 10-Speed transmission
Having more gears seems like a good thing … until it isn’t. Many gearboxes with upward of eight, nine and 10 gears can have trouble choosing the right gear for the right moment. Not so with the Yukon XL: The 10-speed automatic is smooth and predictable, and performed extremely well during our test drive.
3. You can accommodate eight
Believe it or not, you can get up to eight people into a Yukon XL. Thanks to an available second-row bench seat and the extra 20 inches of length provided in the XL, you can bring along all your friends or family – and maybe even have room left for their pets, too. Choose the twin front bucket seats and second-row captain’s chairs and you still have seating for seven.
4. Bold exterior design
Styling is a matter of personal taste, but the Yukon XL has an upright shape that’s aging nicely. It’s not going to win any beauty pageants, but this GMC is still a fine-looking SUV.
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5. Cabin quality
With a starting price north of $50,000, you expect a quality interior with a premium look to it. For the most part, the Yukon XL delivers. There are plenty of soft-touch surfaces and the overall design, like the exterior, has aged well. Just don’t look down, because below arm level are lots of cheaper-looking plastic parts.
6. Discounts could be coming
To all those bargain hunters looking for a large SUV, keep your eyes peeled for deals on the GMC Yukon XL. With a new model due in the near future, there will likely be plenty of deals on the current generation forthcoming, too.
7. Loads of cargo room
Since the Yukon XL is nearly 2 feet longer than the standard model, you can be sure it’s gonna be roomier inside. That’s especially true when it comes to cargo space: The 39.3 cubic feet of room is more than double what you get in the regular Yukon.
8. Standard features
GMC doesn’t skimp on comfort-and-convenience touches. Standard equipment on the Yukon XL includes tri-zone climate control, remote start, Wi-Fi hot spot, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and an 8-inch touchscreen for the multimedia and controls system.
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Things we don’t
1. Ho-hum standard engine
While the optional 6.2-liter V-8 is muscular, the standard 5.3-liter V-8 is simply “meh.” The engine’s 355 hp and 383 pounds-feet of torque sound like solid numbers, but they don’t have anywhere near the grunt of the larger V-8.
2. Filling it up
One major caveat with the 6.2-liter V-8 is that GM recommends feeding it a diet of premium fuel. When you consider the gas tank has 31 gallons of capacity, refueling your Yukon XL will siphon the cash right out of your wallet.
3. Super-size wheels look cool but ruin the ride
Our Yukon XL Denali test vehicle was fitted with optional 22-inch alloy wheels. While these make a big impression, they also prove to be a pain on the road. The mega wheels gave the Yukon XL a jittery feel over anything but pool-table-smooth roads. Thankfully, the Yukon XL is available with downsized wheels measuring 18- and 20-inches in diameter.
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4. Inferior to Ford in handling
Here’s where the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator show us how it should be done. The GMC Yukon XL has handling that feels numb and lifeless compared to what you get in the vastly nimbler Expedition and Navigator from Ford’s luxury label.
5. Just OK cabin space
Despite its size, the amount of space for passengers – especially those seated in the third row – isn’t anything to write home about. The second row offers more than enough space, but the seats don’t slide forward and back. That means anyone in the third row is stuck with the legroom they’ve got. Stranger still, even the front seats feel like they could use another inch or two of sliding range.
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