2015 GMC Yukon XL SLT Review and Test Drive

Jerry Reynolds | December 11, 2014
2015 GMC Yukon XL SLT Review and Test Drive

The first GMC Suburban ever built was in 1937, three years after Chevrolet built the first Suburban. Now 77 years later, we have the first major change in large GM SUVs since 2007. The GMC Suburban is now known as the GMC Yukon XL, a sister vehicle to the self-proclaimed “National Car of Texas”, the Chevy Suburban.

2015 GMC Yukon XL

The changes to the 2015 large SUVs are substantial. First and foremost, you can finally get the power-folding third-row seat, and it is the fastest operation I have ever seen. Exterior changes are immediately noticeable. Inlaid doors flow into the roofline and make the Yukon more aerodynamic and give it a sleeker look, in spite of the fact it's wider and longer than the 2014.

My test vehicle is the 4-wheel drive SLT version of the 2015 GMC Yukon XL. It comes with an updated 5.3-liter V8 and a 6-speed automatic transmission. You get GM’s Active Fuel Management System, which cuts you down to 4 cylinders when cruising. It runs on either regular fuel or you can run E85 if you wish. This combo gives you 355-horses and 383-pound-feet of torque. If you step up to the Denali, you can get that awesome 6.2-liter V8.

Impressive Interior

As pretty as it is on the outside, with headlights and taillights that flow into the body and a more squared look, the real beauty is on the inside. You can seat 8 or 9 people depending on the center seat you choose, and every one of your occupants will be comfortable. The leather seats are soft and comfortable, and the stitching on the seats, steering wheel, and dash add richness to the interior.

From behind the steering wheel, a new dash ebbs and flows attractively, and an eight-inch LCD screen is conveniently positioned high in the center stack and presents logically grouped infotainment and tri-zone air conditioning controls. A new instrument cluster with a small central screen is attractive and easy to read, offering you a host of different information. The wood you see is real, not plastic, and anything aluminum is made of real aluminum. Overall, this is a comfortable and pleasing cabin for long or short trips.

Driver's Assistance Technology

GM also added a lot of driver-assist technology. There is adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and other features that make life a little easier, and your driving experience more pleasant. The Lane Change Alert uses a vibrator in the seat to alert you when the SUV has begun to change lanes without using your blinker. The vibrating seat cushion also is used for other features that require a driver's immediate attention, like when the vehicle senses you are going to hit something. Personally, I like the seat notification because it informs the driver, but not everyone in the vehicle, of an urgent situation.

Standard Features and SLT Options

Standard features abound. Most notable is a rearview camera, electronic stability control, keyless entry, and a power, programmable rear tailgate. Other freebies include pushbutton start, remote start, heated second-row seat, heated and cooled front seats, heated steering wheel with controls, memory driver's seat, Bluetooth, power adjustable pedals, and a 110-volt power outlet.

Options on the SLT I am driving include a power sunroof, navigation system, and a rear DVD/game system with drop-down monitor. Those items are bundled together for $2805 retail. My Quicksilver tester has some sharp 20” polished aluminum wheels for $1400. $650 gets you the max-trailering package with a built-in trailer brake controller. The power second-row captains chairs will set you back $590, and a theft-deterrent system runs $395.

Final Thoughts

Is the GMC Yukon XL for everyone? No. For some, it is just too big. It is 17-feet long, 6 ½-feet wide, and it weighs in at almost three tons. On the other hand, if you need to carry 8 or 9 people, and still have a ton of cargo area in the back, or you need to tow an 8200-pound trailer, this may be the rig for you. It is enjoyable to drive, ultra-quiet inside, and qualifies as a true luxury SUV. It was a long time coming, but all the changes to the new Yukon XL were well thought out, and 100% positive.

  • What I liked most: The interior and exterior appearance, quiet interior.
  • What I would change: I don’t find the exterior mirrors to be large enough.
  • MSRP: Base price $60,435, as equipped $67,270.
  • Fuel Economy: 15 in town/22 highway/18 combined.
  • Weight: 5926 Pounds
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 26 gallons
  • 2015 GMC Yukon XL in a few words: Go big or go home, in the Yukon XL!
  • Warranty: 3 year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper, 5 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty, 2 years/24,000 miles of free maintenance and roadside assistance.
  • Dealers: We have great dealers for all Buick and GMC products in Dallas-Fort Worth, Granbury, TX, Austin, Houston, Phoenix, and Los Angeles.
  • Manufacturers website: GMC
Tags: GMC, yukon