GMC Yukon

The GMC Yukon comes in four basic configurations: Yukon, Yukon XL, Yukon Denali and Yukon Denali XL. XL versions of the Yukon come with a longer wheelbase and more interior room, while Denali versions are packed full of luxury. Two engines power the Yukon: A 5.3L V8 with 355 horsepower supplies power to Yukon and Yukon XL models, while a 6.2L V8 with 420 horsepower provides thrust for Denali and Denali XL versions. GMC claims that the engines should provide best-in-class fuel economy, with even the Denali XL achieving 21 mpg on the highway.

Within the Yukon and Yukon XL models are two trims -- SLE and SLT. SLE versions are more basic but still include plenty of amenities. Highlights on the SLE include a rear vision camera, hands-free liftgate, front and rear park assist, an IntelliLink infotainment system with Apple Car Play and 8-inch color touchscreen, rain-sensing wipers, a Bose premium sound system, remote vehicle start, keyless entry and a navigation system. SLT versions include leather seating surfaces, heated and cooled front seats, heated second-row seats, power-folding third row seats, a heated leather steering wheel, power adjustments to the steering column and pedals, and a blind-spot warning system.

The Yukon Denali and Denali XL come in just a single, all-encompassing trim level. The Denali comes with most of the luxury features that appear with the SLT trim, thought the Denali also includes a better sound system with active noise cancellation technology and magnetic ride control shock absorbers. The Denali also gets plenty of unique styling pieces on both the interior and exterior, helping to distinguish it from its less expensive sibling. Generally speaking, interior trim pieces are nicer, softer and more expensive feeling, while the exterior benefits from unique headlights, a unique grill and plenty of Denali badging.

Options on the Yukon are numerous. A variety of 22- and 20-inch wheels are available, allowing buyers to customize the exterior looks of the vehicle to their taste. Interiors can also be customized and one of the more popular options on the Yukon is a very nice rear seat entertainment system that includes a Blu-ray player. Electronic systems such as adaptive cruise control or a heads up display are also available, as is a panoramic sunroof.

Safety systems on the 2017 Yukon are state of the art. Electronic aids such as anti-lock brakes, traction control and stability all come standard. Optional blind-spot warning and lane-keeping assist also aid road safety. All Yukons also come with a 6-month subscription to GM's OnStar service.

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Editors' First Take

From the blue-collar Chevy Tahoe to the stately Cadillac Escalade to the GMC Yukon in between, General Motors' family of large, truck-based SUVs has been a huge seller over the years. Despite their popularity, these vehicles have not necessarily been the most premium, versatile or passenger friendly, though these shortcomings -- and others -- have been addressed for 2021. Thanks to a much-needed redesign, the GMC Yukon Denali has been transformed from a luxury pretender into a legitimate contender. 

Independence day 

Arguably, the single most important change made to these full-size family-haulers is the addition of an independent rear suspension, something rivals like the Ford Expedition have had for decades. Ditching the old live axle allowed engineers to add significant amounts of passenger and cargo space, but that's not the only reason why it's more capacious. For 2021, the Yukon has grown. Its wheelbase is up by nearly five inches and the body has been extended by more than six.   

Altogether, these changes get you a whopping 66% more room behind the third-row seat. Indeed, it is usefully spacious back there, roomy enough to house a couple pieces of rollaboard luggage or a whole mess of grocery bags. With everything folded flat, there's now just shy of 123 cubic feet of junk-hauling capacity, a cavernous amount of room that actually makes the standard Yukon more capacious and an Expedition Max, the extended-length model that competes with the even bigger Yukon XL

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