When we decided our family was one and done when it came to children, it never occurred to me that I might need a huge vehicle one day because of that one kid. Station Wagon (now I’m showing my age), Minivan, Full Sized SUV… no, not going to need one, so not going to buy one. Then that one little girl grew up and decided to go to college. At which time I very quickly lamented our compact commuter car and a mini SUV as vehicle choices.
This August brought us to the third year of making this college road trip. After packing both our vehicles in spring to bring her home, we knew we needed something much larger if we only wanted to drive one vehicle to move her in this year. A week loaner of a 2016 GMC Yukon XL Denali 2016 was up for the task.
This blog post is to show you how an average family would use a vehicle like this. I’m not an expert on what goes on under the hood, we weren’t towing a trailer for camping, we didn’t take this SUV to the outskirts of nowhere. We moved our daughter to college, drove around the city and went grocery shopping. AVERAGE. There are plenty of things this GMC Yukon XL Denali can do that we did not put it through its paces for… so if you’re looking for that, you’re on the wrong blog 😉
Since our primary reason for using the Yukon was moving let me tell you how easy it is to get those seats down. I can’t even express my delight on the simplicity of that. In our older mini SUV it’s a chore to get the rear seats collapsed. The power-release fold-and-tumble bucket seats in the second row and the power-folding third-row fold-flat seats allowed us get that seating down so fast.
The Standard Rear Vision Camera System was amazingly helpful when backing up and parking.
We were quite surprised that a vehicle of this size and at this price point did not have a 360° camera in it. However the Safety Alert Seat is a feature we have not encountered on any other vehicles we’ve driven. When one of Yukon Denali’s Driver Alert technologies (for example, Rear Cross Traffic Alert) triggers an alert, the available Safety Alert Seat vibrates on the left or right bolster, depending on the direction of the potential hazard. So when backing up it triggers when the little hazard triangle pops up. It’s a pretty nifty safety addition.
The Side Blind Zone Alert with Lane Change Alert feature on the side mirrors is also extremely helpful (especially when your entire cargo space is filled up and you can’t see out the back or side windows).
The GMC IntelliLink system lets you integrate you personal media seamlessly. It is equipped with MyMedia functionality that can connect media libraries from you and your passengers’ devices and has smartphone integration (Apple CarPlay capability) for hands-free calling and phone book access. The navigation system worked well and was easy to use.
Want to stream Netflix for the kids on that 4 hour road trip? Not to worry, the GMC Yukon XL Denali offers in-vehicle Wi-Fi connectivity. But aside from streaming videos for the kids, as someone who relies on internet access for virtually ever portion of my income, having Wi-Fi available in the vehicle is awesome. No more tethering for this lady!
You press the connectivity button on the rearview mirror, it hooks up to the OnStar system and gives you the network and password to log in. Pretty simple. You can connect up to seven devices at once.
The GMC Yukon XL Denali has plenty of USB ports to keep all those devices charged as well.
If you’d rather not use up the data streaming movies for the kids, the vehicle has an available rear-seat Blu-Ray entertainment system with nine-inch-diagonal LCD screen and wireless headphones for use as well.
It’s the little things that make me happy and as a coffee addict that needs to carry a cup with her every time I’m on the go, I was impressed with the front cup holder that cradled whatever cup I put in it. Plus it closes shut with a sleek look when not in use so it doesn’t collect all the dust and crumbs of everyday car life. If you’re a “Better Call Saul” fan like I am, you’ll totally understand the coffee cup holder issue 😉
The heated seats weren’t of much use to us (it’s August in Texas, they were heated naturally 😉 , but we did take advantage of the cooling technology. That’s almost an upgrade must have here in the south for summer!
Automatic running boards, power liftgate with programmable height settings and power adjustable pedals, were all appreciated by this petite 4’9″ woman.
The horsepower on this vehicle is great, 420 @ 5600 rpm. It has a 6.2L V-8 engine and a Hydra-Matic 8L90 eight-speed automatic transmission, which provided speedy pickup and a fairly smooth ride. Gas mileage for its size as expected ranges in the 14 – 20 MPG range.
All in all this GMC Yukon XL Denali was a luxurious ride and a behemoth of storage capacity (121.1 cu.-ft). There is so much room in this vehicle, whether you’re using it for passengers or cargo. I loved everything about it, except the absence of the 360° camera (I really felt that would have eased a lot of the anxiety of driving such a large vehicle which I’m not used to doing).
When you add up all the great technology and drivability that is included in this Iridium Metallic GMC Yukon XL Denali 2016, it shouldn’t be terribly shocking to see that it has an MSRP of $81,045 (standard vehicle price without all the bells and whistles is $71,025). The model we drove was fully loaded. But if you’re looking for a vehicle that can tow, haul, off road, access the internet, get a person to help, take the chill off your bones and keep the kids entertained on a cross country journey, it’s likely worth every penny to you. If I were looking for an everyday ride in this size of vehicle it really has everything I’d be looking for and more. I also have a bit of affinity for it because it is built right here in our backyard in Arlington, Texas. By the end of the week I think my husband had a few tears in his eyes when we handed the keys back.
You can learn more about the 2016 GMC Yukon XL Denali – 4WD and its features at: http://www.gmc.com/yukon-denali-full-size-luxury-suv.html
Thanks to GMC @DistrictDrive for the loan so we could move our daughter back to campus in style and safety. Any opinions stated in this blog post are my own and were not endorsed by GMC nor was I compensated in any way other than the use of the vehicle.