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2015 GMC Yukon XL Review

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2015 GMC Yukon XL Expert Review

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If you're buying a GMC Yukon or Yukon XL (the long and longer versions of the big SUV), GMC says there's a 60-percent chance you're getting one of the upscale Denali models. We understand. With its more powerful V8 engine and upscale interior trim, the Denali has offered high levels of content for a more reasonable price than luxury-branded competitors. However, with the 2015 GMC Yukon, we think the Yukon Denali version may actually expand its reach. Why? Because the standard 2015 GMC Yukon – with its new interior, new styling, and newfound refinement – is nicer than the old Denali ever was. That means the new 2015 GMC Yukon Denali moves even higher up the food chain.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you need no-compromises hauling and towing ability, along with a no-compromises, first-rate interior, the 2015 GMC Yukon and Yukon XL are just the ticket. That goes double for the high-end Denali models.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If your hauling, towing, or family-hauling needs are more modest than the GMC Yukon demands, then the combined penalties of size, poor fuel economy and – in the case of the Denali – price, probably aren't worth it.

How It Ranks

#24

out of 33

Fuel Economy

#7

out of 34

Horsepower
View all rankings

Consumer Rating

8.2 out of 10
View all
consumer ratings
2015 GMC Yukon XL Low/wide front photo What's New for 2015

The 2015 GMC Yukon is all new, with new exterior styling, and a fresh and comfortably luxurious interior. But the changes are more than cosmetic: Under the sheet metal is a new chassis and suspension, and the two V8 engines are significantly improved for more power and better fuel economy.

Driving the Yukon XL
2015 GMC Yukon XL Front angle view photo

Driving Impressions The 2015 GMC Yukon comes in two distinct flavors: standard and Denali. The standard-issue GMC Yukon is mechanically identical to its 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban...

... counterparts. The same can't be said for the upscale Denali models, which have no Chevrolet counterpart. The more-powerful 6.2-liter V8 engine moves the Denali with authority, be it the standard or extended XL body. The upscale interior includes real poplar wood trim, aluminum accents with a burnished tint, an 8-inch TFT (less glare, visually sharper) display between the gauges, and our test model even had a head-up display. It also comes with Magnetic Ride Control, which helps give this heavy SUV a comfortable ride while simultaneously controlling body motions. Put it all together, and you have a luxurious, comfortable and well-controlled full-size SUV that's as at home on the highway as it is on a twisting mountain road.

FOLD-FLAT THIRD ROW
It has been a long time coming, but the GMC Yukon finally has a third row that folds flat. GMC had to add a little extra height to the load floor to make it work, but it's not wasted space – lift up a panel and there's hidden storage space.

MAGNETIC RIDE CONTROL
This technology allows this big SUV to handle like a much smaller vehicle. The secret is in the shock absorbers, which read the road and adjust their stiffness instantaneously, allowing this the Yukon to absorb bumps, but not wallow in corners. Too bad it's only available on the expensive Denali models.

2015 GMC Yukon XL Details
2015 GMC Yukon XL Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

This is where the GMC Yukon is head and shoulders above its predecessor, and where it sets itself apart from Ford, Nissan and Toyota competitors. The materials are first rate, the switchgear is logically arranged and feels high-class, and the driver's seat is exceptionally comfortable. The same is true for the second row, which can come with either a bench or a pair of captain's chairs. The third row is best for kids in a standard Yukon, but the XL manages grownups thanks to extra legroom. The new fold-flat third row makes it easier to maximize cargo room.

Exterior
2015 GMC Yukon XL photo

GMC's designers describe their inspiration for the 2015 Yukon as a "fist in the wind." Hokey, maybe, but it certainly is a good descriptor for the blunt, nearly brutish design of the front end. The Denali models share the same sheet metal as non-Denalis, but with a chrome mesh grille instead of the 3-element one on regular Yukons. Similar to the mesh design currently used, its new design adds depth. Still, it's a lot of chrome, and some think it's simply too much.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2015 GMC Yukon offers more features on the SLE base model than the Chevy Tahoe does on its LS, but it also costs more. Standard on all Yukon models are niceties like automatic windshield wipers, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, and fog lights. Step up to the SLT and you'll get leather seats, a power-folding second and third row, and safety tech like forward-collision alert and lane-departure warning. The Yukon Denali piles on the options, adding the 6.2-liter V8, upgraded interior and exterior trim, and Magnetic Ride Control to the SLT package.

Optional Equipment

The GMC Yukon is one of the few vehicles left with an available front bench seat, for a total of nine seating positions. Other notable options include a $3,255 entertainment package that includes rear-seat entertainment, navigation and a sunroof, and a $395 security package that adds interior motion detectors. On the Denali side of things, the Touring package costs $4,110 ($4,160 on XL models) and adds a sunroof, DVD for the second and third row, the theft-deterrent system, 20-inch wheels, and a head-up display. Retractable running boards ($1,795) and active cruise ($1,695) are also available.

Under the Hood
2015 GMC Yukon XL Engine photo

2015 GMC Yukon and Yukon XL models come standard with a 355-horsepower 5.3-liter V8 connected to a 6-speed automatic transmission. This isn't a carryover engine though, as it boasts fuel saving technologies like Active Cylinder Management, which seamlessly shuts off half the cylinders under steady cruise. It also has direct injection, an advanced fuel-injection technology that improves fuel economy while simultaneously increasing horsepower and torque. Step up to the Denali and you step up in power with a 6.2-liter V8 that puts out 420-horsepower. It also features direct injection and Active Cylinder Management. All Yukons and Denalis are available with 4-wheel drive (4WD) with an off-road-ready low range.

5.3-liter V8
355 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
383 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 mpg (2WD); 15/22 mpg (4WD)

6.2-liter V8
420 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
460 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 mpg (2WD); 14/21 mpg (4WD); 14/20 mpg (4WD XL)

The 2015 GMC Yukon costs a couple thousand dollars more than its predecessor, although you're getting more for your money. Base SLE trims with rear-wheel drive start a little above $47,000, while the more lavishly equipped SLT starts a little under $56,000. Yukon XL models start at about $50,000 for the SLE and $58,500 for SLT. As for the Denali models, the Yukon Denali starts at about $63,000, while the Yukon XL Denali starts at $66,000. If you want 4-wheel drive on any Yukon model, add about $3,000. Over the long haul, the GMC Yukon's resale value is about the same as its competitors from Ford and Nissan, and a bit below the Toyota Sequoia. Before you buy, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price for the 2015 GMC Yukon to find out what other buyers in your area are paying.

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2015 GMC Yukon XL Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.2
Out of 10

Based on 8 Ratings for the 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    7.5/10
    Quality
    8.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    9.1/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.5/10

Not a bland choice

By on Tuesday, July 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,788

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "New looks, more comfortable, upgraded everything"

Cons: "Believe should be standard AWD instead 4WD"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I owned a Toyota Sequoia after GMC made the Yukon extremely boring. In January 2015 purchased a new Yukon Denali just love this gorgeous SUV has lots of new features. It rides better than my 2003 and gas mileage seems better like driving a hybrid car or efficient diesel. The automatic tranny shifts so smooth plus it feels more like a Cadillac with full luxury cockpit think that the new Yukon has earned my owners satisfaction and excellent resale value. I've gone a three trips already the Yukon is flawless even with acceleration/performance its best ever bought having another decent SUV being more luxurious with a beautiful elegance style in its class. THANKS GMC!!!"

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

traded my 2007 for new design of 2015- very happy

By on Tuesday, July 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "GMC improved the SUV"

Cons: "some computer issue"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"have had only one problem with the SUV. During two dealer paid oil changes, they found several recall notices and fixed during the oil change. Didn't notice any related problems. Only thing i can say is during hot weather the blue tooth phone connections icons "grey out" and cannot connect the bluetooth. Seems to only happen on days above 90. Might be indication of upcoming computer problems, do not know yet. Love to drive the SUV, very comfortable ride. Really like all the additional safety features they've added since my 2007. Would recommend it highly. My choice was between GMC (again) and Toyota large SUV, but they do not have nearly as nice interior designs (still using "rat fur" for ceiling covers) and didn't have full seat A/C,, a must in the south."

5 people out of 10 found this review helpful

2015 GM SUVs EXCEED MY EXPECTATIONS!

By on Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Luxurious, Comfortable, Powerfull, New Design"

Cons: "Marginal fuel economy, Expensive."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"First and formost, may I assure prospective buyers of 2015 full-size GM SUVs- NOT to have any worries, nor should they take certain embellished reviews to heart! The majority of people writing reviews are those with a "negative" experience. Ceratinly those who are completely satisfied, like myself, represent the majority of owners, of the many thousands of such vehicles currently on the road in America. If someone comments that a problem affects "every" Yukon, please dismiss it immediately, because I can honestly attest that my 2015 Yukon has had absolutely NO issues, nor recalls! I took delivery of my Yukon Denali last summer(2014). I have equal highway as well as urban driving milage logged. My current mileage is near 10,000 miles. I have been incredibly impressed with the larger 6.2 liter V-8 engine, rated at 420HP. My 4WD system has demonstrated excellent performance during several heavy snow events. The Active Fuel Management System with cylinder de-activation is never noticeable, with the exception of improved fuel economy. Every feature and accessory that comes with this Lux-Ute like Digital Displays, Intellilink Navigation, Heated/Cooled seats, Audio and Video Entertainment systems, Vehicle Safety & Security with motion detection- have ALL functioned without any issues in my Yukon Denali. I am so impressed with the NEW design. The fit & finish of this truck is amazing compared to previous generations. I also looked at competing Brands, there is NO competition in the "under 85K price-range". Even then, my truck is so "MUCH-MORE" than the Infinity Q-80 in mass, power and structural integrity. Indeed, I am one of the few, wanting others to know that the silent majority of 2015 GM SUV owners are very pleased with the intelligent purchase they made. I encourage you to go take a Yukon/Tahoe for a ride and become your own Judge & Jury."

38 people out of 49 found this review helpful

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