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New Car/Review


GMC Yukon XL 2500 4WD SLE (2002)

SEE ALSO: GMC Buyer's Guide

By Matt/Bob Hagin


     Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 40,271
     Price As Tested                                    $ 41,036
     Engine Type               OHV 16-valve 6.0 Liter V8 w/SMFI*
     Engine Size                                 364 cid/5967 cc
     Horsepower                                   320 @ 5000 RPM
     Torque (lb-ft)                               365 @ 4000 RPM
     Wheelbase/Width/Length                  130.0"/78.8"/219.3"
     Transmission                           Four-speed automatic
     Curb Weight                                     5879 pounds
     Fuel Capacity                                  32.5 gallons
     Tires  (F/R)                            P245/70R16 Off Road
     Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS)
     Drive Train                   Front-engine/four-wheel-drive
     Vehicle Type                      Eight-passenger/five-door
     Domestic Content                                        N/A
     Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                               N/A


     EPA Economy, miles per gallon
        city/highway/average                            14/18/16
     0-60 MPH                                       10.0 seconds
     Maximum payload capacity                        1480 pounds
     Maximum towing capacity                         8200 pounds
                 * Sequential multi-port fuel injection

(Bob Hagin notes that GMC Truck has been around for a very long time. Matt Hagin says the new GMC Yukon XL has only been around for over a year, but it's a very hot seller.)

BOB - GMC Truck isn't the oldest ongoing brand in the General Motors stable but it's pretty close. It was formed in 1911 to bring together a couple of small truck companies that William Durant had acquired for his fledgling General Motors Company, the predecessor of today's General Motors Corporation. And as far as I know, it never produced anything but truck-type vehicles. And by the way, GMC Truck is its "official" name.

MATT - Although sport/utility vehicle owners don't like to 'fess up to it, an SUV is legally a truck. The Yukon line is built on the same chassis as the various GMC pickups but the engineers have "civilized" it to the point where it rides like a big passenger car, handles like a big passenger car and performs like a big passenger car. Unfortunately our test rig also uses fuel like a big passenger car, too. It gets 18 MPG on the highway and 14 around town. For those midwestern buyers who want to support their local corn-growers, the Yukon can be had with a flex-fuel system that allows the engine to digest either conventional 100-percent gasoline or up to 85-percent ethyl alcohol. And the flex-fuel system doesn't cost anything extra .Now that gas prices are jumping up, the owner of a new Yukon has to be ready to see some pretty big numbers roll up on the gas pump. A fill-up could get pretty astronomical since the Yukon XL has a fuel tank that holds almost 33 gallons. Fortunately, they only require 87-octane fuel.

BOB - It could be worse, Matt. The Yukon we tried out has the LQ4 6.0-liter V8 engine but the next one up the line is the L18, which displaces a whopping 8.1-liters and develops 340 horses and 455 pound/feet or torque. There's a couple of smaller V8s that are used in the various Yukons in the event that a buyer doesn't need the biggest and the best in horsepower. One is a 4.8-liter unit and the other is a 5.3. Both are V8s, and while they don't put out thunderpower like the L18, they nonetheless develop 275 and 285 horses respectively.

MATT - The GMC pickup sibling that shares a lot of hardware and engineering with the Yukon has a stickshift available as well as a low-low range transfer case but these aren't even options in the Yukon XL. Although our Yukon XL is OK in off-road situations, its forte is on the highway and city streets. Four-wheel-drive Yukons like ours have a system that automatically puts power to the front wheels when it detects slippage in back, then shifts it back to the rear when necessary.

BOB - I was a little surprised at how "tight" it is inside. It isn't actually cramped unless you try to get three adults in the third-row seats. Then it's cramped and even crawling into the third-row is a hassle. But with the back seats out, there's room to haul several four-by-eight sheets of gypsum wallboard. The chassis is pretty well standard GMC truck stuff. The solid-axle rear end is carried on leaf springs in the case of the 2500-series models, while the independent front suspension uses torsion bars. I've found that several other brands of big SUVs have drum brakes in back but our Yukon had disc brakes on all four corners. It also had a limited slip differential in back to help steady things when it's driven on icy roads. It has skid plates under the transmission and the engine but they're $95 per set and I don't think many Yukon XL buyers are going to be charging through the rock piles that would make them a necessity.

MATT - The consensus among auto market analysts is that the demand for really big SUVs like the Yukons is cooling off and the small sedan-based "cute-utes" are taking over.

BOB - I don't think that's going to happen for a long time. A soccer mom would have to strap half the team onto the roof rack of one of those little Chevy Trackers to get them all to the games.