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wheels

vital stats: 2016 GMC Yukon XL Denali

2016 GMC YUKON XL DENALI

Base Price: $67,745 Price as Tested: $76,600 Seating: Up to 9 Engine: 6.2-L EcoTec3 V-8 Horsepower: 420 hp

One of the best luxury SUVs in the world

Fuel Economy: 14/20 mpg city/highway BY JIM PRUETER

Fab Features: Exceptionally luxurious interior appointments Technologically advanced Lots of room for people and cargo Better-than-expected gas mileage

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hen you think about it, what has happened to the GMC is remarkable. A brand once known as a hay hauler on farms is suddenly in the ranks of brands like Rolex and Prada. The Yukon XL Denali, the redesigned, full-size, sport utility vehicle has quickly become the ride for more brand-appreciative drivers. It also goes to show that, even though the full-size SUV market isn’t what it once was, there are still sufficient buyers to constitute an appealing market segment. Today, modern SUVs are primarily crossover vehicles built on platforms used for passenger cars. The Yukon XL Denali

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is a throwback vehicle, among the few that are still built on a truck-like, body-onplatform chassis. Car-based SUVs certainly ride more comfortably, handle better, and get more impressive fuel economy, but traditional SUVs like the Yukon XL Denali easily out-muscle them, with true fourwheel drive (true meaning the driver must manually select this mode), 8,000-plus pounds of towing capacity, and a voluminous 62.5 cubic feet of cargo space. Yukon XL Denali’s fresh styling easily beats its rivals, and it is much betterlooking than the previous generation. The interior is classier, and there are more hightech electronic amenities, optional power fold-flat second and third-row seats, and advanced safety features. Beyond being amazingly quiet, my real-world fuel mileage wasn’t bad and actually close to the window-sticker numbers, which almost never happens. I got 15-plus mpg in the city and 19.2 mpg on the highway. My top-of-the-line four-wheel drive Yukon XL Denali was exemplary, with a powerful 420-horsepower, 6.2-liter, V-8 engine mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Inside, many premium options come standard: perforated heated and cooled leather front seats, a heated steering wheel and second-row seats, a rearview camera, and a Bose CenterPoint Surround Sound audio system. The infotainment system also boasts an 8-inch color touch screen. New options for 2016 include an Enhanced Driver Alert Package, which adds active lane-keeping assist, forwardcollision 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. So, for those who want and need maximum cargo and passenger capacity, combined with four-wheel drive, big-trailer towing capacity, and a luxurious interior, the 2016 GMC Yukon XL Denali is an excellent choice. Jim Prueter is a spokesperson for AAA, and his auto reviews and travel stories appear nationally in print and online. You can reach him at jmprueter@yahoo.com.

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