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The 2007 GMC Yukon SLT is a comfortable boat-on-wheels. As a two-wheel-drive vehicle, the standard Yukon is of questionable value as an SUV: There are few cars that are less sporty, and its size and ungainly handling are far from utilitarian. Nevertheless, with loads of interior space for five passengers, and a generous cargo area, the Yukon makes good use of its capacious dimensions. Drivers and passengers have plenty of standard and optional onboard tech to inform and entertain them: Our test model came with an optional GPS navigation system, which reduces the SLT's audio offering to a single-slot CD/MP3 player ($2,145), an optional rear-seat DVD entertainment system ($1295), and the SLT-1 DÃ©cor package ($2,430), which includes leather seats, trizone climate control and rear-parking assist. With other options, including a power sunroof ($595), an upgraded Bose speaker system ($495), a 3.73 ratio rear axle ($100), and a heated windshield washer system, our Yukon SLT tester weighed anchor at $43,985.
The first thing that drivers of the 2007 Yukon SLT realize is that they are about four feet higher than most other drivers on the road. Standing 6-feet 4-inches tall and measuring nearly 17 feet in length, the Yukon is hard to miss and even harder to park.
The SLT sits in the middle of the Yukon range, with the SLE below and the high-end Denali above. Our SLT-1 interior package included leather appointments, trizone climate control, rear-parking assist, and an MP3-compatible single-disc CD changer. Additionally, our car came with an optional DVD-based navigation and MP3-compatible CD/DVD player package, which adds an LCD information screen through which the driver can also control the audio system.
The navigation/audio interface was the same as the one we liked so much in the 2007 Cadillac Escalade, and it gave us a number of options to configure maps and music information. The LCD touch-screen display made the Yukon's navigation system relatively straightforward to program. Although, for some reason, our car's default was for entry of addresses by cross street rather than by street number, which took some time to remedy.
We liked the usability of the touch-screen navigation interface, which gives spoken turn-by-turn directions.
In addition to the upgraded navigation system, our Yukon included the Bose luxury speaker system ($495), complete with a subwoofer in the center console. Sound quality through the upgraded six-speaker system was clear and robust at all ranges, and we liked the EQ schematic screen on the LCD that allowed us to configure the speakers to localize sound for optimum acoustics.
Also to our liking were the display that provides full MP3 ID3-tag information (folder/artist/track) and the auxiliary input jack in the front of the head unit, which allowed us to plug in our Creative Zen Vision:M MP3 player.
The Yukon's stereo handled MP3 and WMA CDs, as well as input from portable MP3 players via an auxiliary input jack.
Interestingly, the LCD touch-screen interface would not allow us to switch the audio source to auxiliary when the vehicle was in motion, presumably due to the fiddling required to plug in an external device. We did like the straightforward positioning of the aux-input jack, however: Its central and accessible placement made a refreshing change from having to fiddle around in the glove box or center console.
In addition to the touch screen and hard buttons in the head unit, the stereo can be operated with buttons--including source, track and volume--mounted on the steering wheel. Our test model did not come with satellite radio, but XM is available as an option on the SLT. For those in the back seats, a separate interface mounted in the rear console, complete with auxiliary-input jack and video-in ports, allows rear passengers to select and control their own media.
The other main tech option on our test model was a ceiling-mounted rear-seat DVD entertainment system, which comes with two sets of wireless headphones and can be had for an additional $1295.
Operating the Yukon's DVD entertainment system with the engine off will quickly drain the car battery.
Based on our experience, it is not advisable to run the DVD system with the engine off: After activating the screens for a 20-minute photo shoot, we found that the battery had run dead, and we needed to jumpstart the car back to life. Despite the fact that the 2007 Yukon's V-8, VORTEC engine can conjure up 320hp at 5200rpm, it is about as responsive as a battleship when called into action to change lanes or merge with traffic.
GM deserves tech-kudos however, for the engine's active fuel-management system, which enables the engine to operate on only half of the engine's cylinders (i.e. four) when full power is not needed. According to GM, this can improve efficiency by as much as 12 percent in some vehicles. An option on the Yukon's Driver Information Control system tells drivers whether the car is in four-cylinder or V-8 mode. Also in the VORTEC's eco-favor is its ability to run on flex-fuel, a mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.
GM's VORTEC V-8 engine has the ability to run on only four cylinders when engine demand is low.
Our 5.3L, 4-speed automatic test model was a two-wheel drive, which means that we didn't fancy taking it on the kind of off-road trails you see on GM's SUV television commercials (a 4WD option is available for an extra $2,800). When turning corners or pulling to a stop, its excessive body-roll and dive made us feel like we were on a fishing trawler at high tide. Ride softness on the Yukon is due to its coil-over-shock front suspension and premium smooth-ride suspension package (which comes as standard on the SLT). And, while it has a tendency to induce seasickness when handling, the upside is a very smooth ride over potholes and highway expansion joints.
Our test model did come with a heavy-duty locking rear-differential as standard, but it didn't have the SLT's optional upgraded suspension package, which includes bi-state variable shock dampering and rear air-assisted load-leveling.
Our fuel mileage averaged 13.7 mpg after driving more than 200 miles split equally between heavy city traffic and clear highway runs. One curiosity we noticed with the Yukon's instrument panel was its inconsistent and sometimes inaccurate fuel-level and range-to-empty readings. After tell us that the car's gas tank was nearly empty and that the remaining available driving mileage was "low," the Yukon then decided there was well over a quarter tank left, enough to keep us going for 85 miles. Less than five miles later, we were back to the empty warning again, followed by another revision that told us we were at a quarter-tank and OK for another 50 miles. GM makes a lot out of the 2007 Yukon's maximum NHTSA five-star rating for frontal-impact crash tests. While this is admirable in any car, it is not too surprising for one this big. Nor is it surprising that GM neglected to mention is that the latest Yukon gets a less impressive three-star rating for rollover safety.
Otherwise, the safety features on the Yukon are good: GM's Stabilitrak comes as standard, as do ABS, four-wheel disc brakes, and a tire-pressure monitoring system, which is built in to the Driver Information Control display.
A tire-pressure monitoring system is one of the standard tech safety features on the 2007 Yukon.
In addition to the Yukon's standard dual-stage frontal airbags with front passenger-sensing system, the SLT-1 Decor package provides head-curtain side airbags for all seating rows. Also part of the SLT-1 package is a rear-parking assist meter, which notifies drivers by a succession of beeps and lights when the car is in reverse and approaching an obstacle.
Buyers of the 2007 Yukon receive a one-year subscription to GM's Onstar Safe and Sound program. They also receive a GMC's basic roadside and drive-train 3-year/36,000-mile warranty and a 6-year/100,000-mile rust warranty.