GMC Yukon
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Overall

Finds a nice middle ground between plain-Jane Chevrolet Tahoe and the polarizing Cadillac Escalade; Denali a far subtler take on luxury than its crested-wreath cousin.

Drivetrain

From a cost-effective 5.3-liter V8, to a lusty 6.2-liter Escalade-grade V8 . . . the Tahoe/Suburban can’t possibly touch this; hybrid version has been removed from the lineup.

With a new Yukon coming soon, GMC is making the 2014 model year a very short run. Meaning for those wishing for a little more luxury than Chevrolet but not wanting to shell out for the ubiquitous Cadillac, you had better hurry. The full-size Yukon and Yukon XL split their Chevy and Caddy counterparts pretty well. The biggest difference, quite literally, between the Yukon and Yukon XL is the 20 extra inches of length and 14 extra inches of distance between the front and rear wheels tacked onto the XL. Although both vehicles can hold up to nine people, the XL’s extra space is completely dedicated to cargo room. The city/highway fuel rating is 15/21 mpg for the 320-horsepower 5.3-liter V8s. If power is more of a concern than fuel economy, there’s a 403-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 that uses cylinder deactivation in light-load and cruise/idle situations, but that’s reserved for the top-end Denali. Both regular- and extended-length models come in SLE, mid-level SLT and Denali trim levels with a wide assortment of gear specific to each package. Among the Denali’s many special touches are power fold and tumble second-row bucket seats, power liftgate, heated and cooled leather seating surfaces, power adjustable pedals, heated windshield-washer system, automatic wipers, backup sensor, Bose-brand 10-speaker surround-sound audio system including (XM satellite radio) and climate control. You also get Autoride, which uses shock absorbers filled with what amounts to liquid metal, the dampening values of which are constantly varied with changing amounts of electric current flowing through them.

Base price (incl. destination): $42,200; $62,400 (Denali, 2013)

Type: Four-door full-size sport-utility vehicle

Base engine (hp): 5.3-liter OHV V8 (320)

Optional engines (hp): 6.2-liter OHV V8 (403)

Layout: Front-engine, rear- /four-wheel-drive

Transmissions: Six-speed automatic

MPG (city/hwy): 15/21 (5.3)

Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags for all three rows; anti-lock brakes; stability control with rollover protection

Weight (lb.): 5,230