2007 GMC Yukon
GM’s Ray of Sunshine: New big ute is better and cheaper
By CARRIE ROCA
| Published 03/13/06, 7:57 am et
No doubt lots of things are broken at General Motors these days, but GMC isn’t one of them.
GMC enjoys a cachet mostly missing from other General Motors divisions, with its largest sales not in the Midwest as you might expect, but in auto trendsetting Southern California. During the last six years GMC saw a 30.5 percent increase in Yukon sales in the United States
, this as almost one-quarter of the overall sport/utility vehicle market fell off and large SUVs took a 12 percent dive.
So no, the big picture isn’t pretty, but there is reason to think the 2007 Yukon and Yukon Denali should keep the ball rolling for GMC.
Most of the Yukon’s mechanicals are new, everything from its platform, steering and suspension systems, tires and Bosch brakes to its Vortec V8s. The standard 5.3-liter, with the newest cylinder-deactivation system— Active Fuel Management— gets an 8 percent horsepower increase. GMC says the engine has segment-leading fuel economy, the same as you find in a Kia Sorento or Ford Explorer V6. The 5.3-liter feels strong and capable.
The Denali’s upgraded aluminum 6.2-liter with variable valve timing makes 380 hp and 417 lb-ft of torque. GMC says an ethanol-fueled Yukon is available and a hybrid model is also in the offing.
The Yukon gets a faster windshield angle and wraparound fascias, and its stance is widened. Interior appointments feature lower gloss levels and flusher panel fits. The instrument panel is pushed down and forward, and the driver’s seat gets another inch of seat travel. The 5.3-gallon console can fit a laptop computer. In the Denali the Yukon driving environment is as upscale as you will find in any Toyota Sequoia or Lincoln Navigator.
The all-wheel-drive Denali is a visual standout, with its honeycomb grille, chrome molding, roof-rack trim and other brightwork. Special headlamps and tail lamps sparkle, with distinct lighting patterns. Wheels are 18-inch polished aluminum with 20-inch chrome-finished aluminum wheels optional.
Denali gets its own leather steering wheel (a heated one is available), heated seats, power liftgate, fold-and-tumble second row, side-curtain airbags all around, adjustable pedals, automatic windshield wipers, remote start, park assist, 10-speaker Bose stereo and XM radio. The best part? It will set you back $47,990, $2,070 less than the 2006 Denali, with the price cut across the line.
The General’s reputation for building the most solid, capable, and understatedly luxurious of full-size SUVs gets a boost with the new Yukon family. If you want one of the big dogs, and bling ain’t your thing, look to GMC.