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GMC Yukon XL 2WD 1/2 Ton (2000)

SEE ALSO: GMC Buyer's Guide

By Tom Hagin

GMC Full Line Video footage (1:38)

     Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 34,468
     Price As Tested                                    $ 38,987
     Engine Type               OHV 16-valve 5.3 Liter V8 w/SMFI*
     Engine Size                                 327 cid/5328 cc
     Horsepower                                   285 @ 5200 RPM
     Torque (lb-ft)                               325 @ 4000 RPM
     Wheelbase/Width/Length                  130.0"/78.9"/219.3"
     Transmission                           Four-speed automatic
     Curb Weight                                     5121 pounds
     Fuel Capacity                                  32.5 gallons
     Tires  (F/R)                         P265/70R16 all-terrain
     Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS)
     Drive Train                   Front-engine/rear-wheel-drive
     Vehicle Type                       Nine-passenger/five-door
     Domestic Content                                        N/A
     Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                               N/A


     EPA Economy, miles per gallon
        city/highway/average                            14/18/15
     0-60 MPH                                       10.0 seconds
     Maximum payload capacity                        1886 pounds
     Maximum towing capacity                        9000 pounds
                 * Sequential multi-port fuel injection

For 2000, GMC Truck has discontinued the use of the Suburban name and now calls it large SUVs Yukon XL, not to be confused with the shorter standard Yukon. Available in two or four-wheel drive, trim levels include SLE and our uplevel SLT test rig.

OUTSIDE - The Yukon shape doesn't break new ground because bold styling statements are frowned on by SUV shoppers. The new Yukon is essentially the same size as the last generation model and from the windshield pillar forward, Yukon is identical to the GMC Sierra pickup. GM chose to stick with the basic outline and do a mild sculpting job on Yukon's sharp edges. Special attention was also paid to insulation which led to more soundproofing throughout. Its standard rear step-bumper is a welcome addition when it come time to access the luggage rack. And depending on the model, there are now five different wheel choices.

INSIDE - Entering the Yukon XL is easier than before thanks to a step-in height that is 1.5 inches lower. There is more visibility in all directions and more comfortable seat padding and upholstery. A third row of seats and a front bench seat allows Yukon XL to hold nine passengers with a fair amount of cargo room left over. The new dashboard is an ergonomic improvement and controls are easier to operate. The rear seats come out quickly and easily, while the middle row folds flat with the flip of a few levers. All Yukon XL models come standard with front and rear heating and air conditioning, a six-way power driver's seat, a powerful nine-speaker stereo system and power windows, door locks and outside mirrors. Also standard are intermittent wipers, keyless entry, a rear wiper/washer/defroster system and a light sensitive inside mirror with built-in compass and outside temperature gauge.

ON THE ROAD - The standard Yukon engine is a 4.8 liter V8 that the company calls Vortec. It is built using a cast iron block and aluminum cylinder heads but forgoes the high-tech overhead camshafts of others in its class. It develops 275 horsepower and 290 lb-ft of torque. A larger 5.3 liter V8 is standard on our Yukon XL and produces 285 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque, enough to quickly move this big vehicle to freeway speeds. Optional is a 300-horse 6.0 liter V8 that makes trailer towing a breeze with its 355 lb-ft of torque. Traction control is available on Yukon XL two-wheel-drive. Also new is a four-speed automatic transmission that has improvements designed to lengthen oil life, lower internal operating temperatures and enhance efficiency. When properly equipped, Yukon XL can tow a trailer weighing up to 10,500 pounds.

BEHIND THE WHEEL - Since Yukon XL is, in reality, a truck, it is built atop GM's new technologically advanced truck chassis. Its frame rails are now made using a revolutionary "hydroforming" process instead of the standard steel stamping method. This not only makes the vehicle stiffer, but also reduces the amount of excess steel scrap associated with the stamping process. This is important for long, heavy vehicles such as Yukon XL, which are prone to twisting and bending over irregular road surfaces. Since the new Yukon XL is now 23 percent stiffer, the ride is far superior to the previous version. Its new independent front suspension now provides the ability to make a U-turn in 1.5 feet less than before. And its five-link rear suspension uses soft-riding coil springs and has an auto-leveling Autoride system available that continuously varies the amount of damping for a consistently smooth ride. And while the steering system has improved only slightly, the brakes are now four-wheel discs, which stop shorter and cool faster than the previous model. An anti-lock braking system (ABS) is standard.

SAFETY - Dual dashboard airbags, side-impact airbags, steel door beams and ABS are standard; traction control is optional.

OPTIONS - Package 1SD (SLT decor, rear seat audio, built-in garage door opener, self-dimming mirror, OnStar communications system, uplevel lift gate, alloy wheels, uplevel stereo, leather seating), $2,657; running boards, $325; middle row bucket seats, $290; locking rear differential, $252; trailer tow package, $164; transmission cooler, $96; high capacity air cleaner, $25.