2016 GMC Yukon XL Denali

GMC's 2016 Yukon XL Denali maximizes strength and style

May/June 2016
Jim Prueter
2016 GMC Yukon XL Denali
2016 GMC Yukon XL Denali
2016 GMC Yukon XL Denali
Today, SUVs primarily are crossover vehicles built on platforms used for passenger cars. The Yukon XL is a throwback vehicle, among the few still built on a truck-like body-on-platform chassis. Car-based SUVs certainly ride more comfortably, handle better, and get better fuel economy, but traditional SUVs like the Yukon XL easily out-muscle them, with true four-wheel drive, 8,000-plus pounds of towing capacity, and a voluminous 121.7 cubic feet of cargo space.
GMC completely redesigned the Yukon XL last year, with a classier interior, more high-tech electronic amenities, optional power, fold-flat second- and third-row seats, and advanced safety features. The Yukon XL’s fresh styling carries the day against rivals, and it’s much better looking than the previous generation.
Here’s what stood out for me: It is amazingly quiet, and the real-world fuel mileage was close to the window-sticker numbers. I got 15-plus mpg in the city and 19.2 mpg highway on a trip to San Diego. 
The top-of-the-line 4WD Yukon XL Denali I tested, at $76,600, is exemplary, with a powerful 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8 engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. It is a mighty, mellow dreadnought and the most compelling package. 
Inside, many items traditionally thought of as options are included, such as premium perforated heated and cooled leather front seats, heated steering wheel, and heated second-row seats. The infotainment system has an 8-inch touchscreen the driver can customize with icons for his or her favorite apps. A rearview camera with guidelines and a premium Bose CenterPoint Surround Sound audio system also come standard.  
Options include an Enhanced Driver Alert Package, which adds active lane-keeping assist, forward-collision alert, lane-departure warning, and vibrating-seat alerts if you wander out of your lane. There are eight different 22-inch wheel choices and a foot-sensing power tailgate.
Overall, for those who want and need maximum cargo and passenger capacity, combined with 4WD, big-trailer towing capacity, and a luxurious interior, the 2016 GMC Yukon XL Denali is an excellent choice.
JIM PRUETER, an automotive writer based in Phoenix, has provided reviews and advice about cars for more than 20 years.


Fuel Economy
  • 14 MPG City
  • 20 MPG Highway
The Good
  • Exceptionally luxurious interior
  • Technologically advanced
  • Plenty of room for people and cargo
The Bad
  • Difficult to park
  • Expensive with options
Vehicle Type:
Base Price:
As Tested:

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