When you want the biggest and best, you turn to the 2013 GMC Yukon XL Denali. This all-wheel drive vehicle cranks out 403 horsepower and 417 pound-feet of torque, thanks to its 6.2-liter V8 engine. Not only does it offer fierce acceleration, towing capabilities are equally as impressive, as it can handle up to 7,900 pounds, when properly equipped. Of course, you can’t be too concerned with the rising cost of gas prices, if you are going to drive this vehicle. Yukon XL Denali only returns a measly 12 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway. Those who prefer a little more control behind the wheel will appreciate that this vehicle has a shiftable transmission. While you may think a vehicle of this size would ride like a school bus, it doesn’t. A compact coil-over-shock suspension ensures a smooth and comfortable ride to all passengers. That being said, while the ride may be smooth, it does not make this sport utility vehicle any easier to handle. A massive 43-foot turning circle and heavy curb weight make it a pain to park and maneuver in tight spaces.
• Audio - Experience the crisp highs and deep lows the way they are meant to be heard with the BOSE Centerpoint 10-speaker surround sound with a subwoofer in the center console.
• Navigation - The touchscreen navigation is hard drive-based for exceptional speed and accuracy. It includes SiriusXM traffic and weather, multiple map views, 30GB of storage space to hold your music and a pause and play feature for live radio.
• Rear Parking Assist - Bumper-mounted sensors emit audible warning tones when the vehicle is in reverse to warn you of objects you may not be able to see.
• Rear Seat Entertainment - This optional feature includes dual 8-inch overhead LCD screen, wireless headphones and video input jacks that welcome a variety of gaming systems.
Although neither crash not braking tests have been performed on the 2013 Yukon XL Denali, there is no reason why it won’t give the same results as last year. The 2012 model was rated “Good” by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for frontal and side-impact protection, but failed miserably with a “Marginal” rating in rollover protection. This SUV is packed full of airbags, and a blind spot warning system is standard. Other safety features include:
• StabiliTrak with traction control
• Rear view camera
• Turn signal mirrors
• Four-wheel ABS
• Post-collision safety system
• Child seat anchors
• Engine immobilizer
• Tire-pressure monitoring
• Rear door safety locks
• Daytime running lights
• Dusk-sensing headlamps
• Front seatbelt pretensioners
There is really not a lot to love about the exterior styling. People buy the Yukon XL for its power and space. However, the Denali does get a few upgrades to set it apart from the others. A mono-chromatic exterior is complemented with chrome accents, a significant honeycomb grille and 20-inch chrome wheels.
Seating for eight is standard, but if you need more space, you can opt for a front bench seat for a nine-passenger configuration. The first two rows are comfortable and roomy, but adults will find themselves feeling a little cramped in the third row seat. The passenger cabin is handsome and the layout of controls is simple, but there is just no “wow” factor. Despite the use of rich material, it simply appears outdated and boring. Controls could be tweaked a little, and the touchscreen could be much larger, as it seems to get swallowed up by this roomy interior.
If you need cargo space, the 2013 Yukon XL Denali has you covered. For everyday use, there is an impressive 45.8 cubic feet behind the third row seat. If you fold down the second row and fight to remove the heavy third row, you are awarded with 137.4 cubic feet.