Trucks & SUVs

The Best Version of the GMC Yukon XL Is Actually Made by Chevy

For truck lovers who want an SUV, GMC has got you covered. The Yukon XL is one of the few remaining truck-based SUVs that actually has truck-like utility. That said, the best version of the Yukon XL may actually be made by GMC’s sister company, Chevy.

What the Yukon XL offers

The Yukon XL brings a lot to the table. It’s a very big SUV with third-row seating that offers truck-like utility due to how it was constructed. It can seat a lot of people and it has a lot of cargo room.

The Yukon XL can, depending on what options you choose, seat seven to nine people comfortably. With both rows of seats folded down, it has almost 122 cu. ft. of cargo space.

And, if you really want truck-like towing capabilities, Consumer Reports said that you can get the heavy-duty trailering package which allows the Yukon XL to tow up to 8,300 pounds. Other options on the Yukon XL will still deliver roughly 8,000 pounds of towing capacity, which is similar to what many trucks can tow. 

But, all that comes at a significant cost. Not only does the Yukon XL start at $53,000, but its engines have a terrible fuel economy. There are two options, according to Consumer Reports, a 5.3-liter V8 that gets 355-hp and a 6.2-liter V8 that gets 420-hp.

Consumer Reports said that the 5.3-liter V8 gets 16 MPG overall while the 6.2-liter V8 gets 13 MPG overall. In comparison, some SUVs with third-row seating can get up to 36 MPG overall.

Neither of these engines give the Yukon XL good acceleration, either, according to Consumer Reports. Plus the Yukon XL, partially due to its size, also has terrible handling. This will be a key reason why Chevy makes a better version of the Yukon XL.

Why the Chevy Suburban LTZ is the better trim

As Chevy and GMC fans know, Chevy and GMC are owned by the same company, GM. As a result, both companies offer very similar cars and options for those cars. But, both companies make sure to do things differently so that they’re not offering the exact same things. 

In the case of the Yukon XL, the Chevy equivalent is the Suburban. And, as Consumer Reports said, the Suburban LTZ is the best trim for the Yukon XL. This is because the Suburban LTZ offers a combination of features that no Yukon XL trim offers. 

Both the Suburban and the Yukon XL have terrible handling, but, if you get magnetic ride control suspension on them, then it will vastly improve the SUV’s handling, according to Consumer Reports. The Yukon XL offers magnetic ride control suspension, but GMC doesn’t offer it with the 5.3-liter V8 engine. The Suburban LTZ, on the other hand, offers magnetic ride control suspension along with that 5.3-liter V8 engine.

Comparing the Suburban LTZ to the Yukon XL Denali

If you really like GMC, Consumer Reports said that the Denali trim of the Yukon XL is the next best thing. That’s because the Yukon XL Denali is the trim that has magnetic ride control suspension.

Both of these SUVs are fairly expensive and loaded with other premium features. But, like Consumer Reports said, the main difference between them is the engine choice.

The 6.2-liter V8, while quicker than the 5.3-liter V8, is ultimately still a sluggish engine. Since both engines are sluggish, the superior fuel economy of the 5.3-liter V8 makes the Suburban LTZ better than the Yukon XL Denali. 

Overall, Consumer Reports also gave the Yukon XL a score of 59 out of 100 while the Suburban got a score of 64 out of 100.