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What's New for 2018?
There are only a few noticeable changes to the 2018 GMC Yukon XL lineup. The Denali is now equipped with a powerful 10-speed automatic transmission, and there is a new Denali Ultimate package that includes multiple tech features, a sunroof, and 22-inch wheels. The chrome grille has also been redesigned for the model year. Otherwise, everything else carries over from the outgoing 2017 lineup.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2018 GMC Yukon XL – The Pros
1. The Towing Capacity
The 2018 GMC Yukon XL is a great option for those who want a good amount of towing capacity from their SUV. Properly equipped, the Yukon XL is capable of towing a maximum of 8,300 pounds. Also, the Denali is fitted with standard sway control and a trailer brake control. A receiver hitch comes on every model.
2. Plenty of Cargo Space
The Yukon XL bests many competitors with its generous amount of cargo space. Even with all seats in place, you get 39.3 cubic feet of cargo space. With all seats folded down, you get a maximum of 121 cubic feet of cargo space, which is excellent for an SUV in this class.
3. Off-Roading Abilities
While it isn't the strongest off-roader available, the 2018 GMC Yukon XL does have some off-roading abilities. It can handle well-traveled dirt roads, especially with the Denali's standard 2-speed transfer case.
4. Seats Up to Nine Passengers
There is seating for up to nine passengers in the Yukon XL thanks to the third row. In fact, the third row provides ample space for bigger adult passengers, unlike many other SUVs in this class.
5. Swift Acceleration
For being such a heavy vehicle, the 2018 GMC Yukon XL gets up to speed on the highway with relative ease. While the old 6-speed transmission equipped on the 6.2-L V8 engine gets the Yukon XL from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.4 seconds, you can expect the brand-new 10-speed automatic transmission to best that time, making for an industry best acceleration speed.
6. Comfortable Seats
All seats in the Yukon XL are extremely well-cushioned and appropriately bolstered. The second and third rows offer plenty of wiggle room, and the front seats are ventilated and heated for additional comfort.
7. A Quiet Ride
You will never hear the Yukon XL throwing a fit while going over bumps in the road. This SUV's cabin is almost completely free from wind, road, and engine noise. Active noise cancellation works supremely well all throughout the cabin, making so that someone up front can easily hear what a third-row passenger is saying.
8. Easy-to-Use Controls
A lot of SUVs in this class have controls that are rather confusing. This is not so on the 2018 GMC Yukon XL. All of the physical knobs and buttons are within arm's reach for the driver and are well-labeled so as to not generate confusion. Also, the pedals, seats, and tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel are easy to adjust.
9. Use of High-Quality Materials
Nothing looks cheaply-made inside of the Yukon XL's spacious cabin. All of the paneling looks well-crafted, and there aren't any noticeable gaps. Of course, the Denali trim is top-notch with its finely-stitched leather upholstery.
10. Great Visibility
Forward and side visibility on the 2018 GMC Yukon XL are surprisingly superb. The roof pillars up front are nice and slender, and the rear pillars aren't terribly bulky, either. A standard rearview camera and parking sensors help out while trying to back the Yukon XL into a tight parking spot.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2018 GMC Yukon XL – The Cons
1. The Size
The biggest downfall for the Yukon XL is, quite simply, its size. The Yukon XL is a hefty vehicle that needs a lot of power. While the powertrains provide it, navigating this SUV along congested city streets or traffic-heavy highways can be a chore. Thankfully, the Yukon XL is able to get going when traffic isn't too heavy.
2. A High Load Floor
For whatever reason, GMC has cursed the Yukon XL with a high load floor. While this doesn't negatively impact the amount of cargo space that's back there, it can make loading heavy cargo a challenge. Plan on having a helper load your bulky cargo.
3. The Gas Pedal Feels Slow
The Yukon XL's gas pedal might feel a bit too slow and soft for some drivers. This does contribute to a slightly longer-than-average stopping distance. In a panic situation, the Yukon XL comes to a halt from 60 mph at 134 feet. Other SUVs in this class manage to do a bit better.
4. Subpar Steering and Handling
As you might easily predict, this massive SUV has issues with steering and handling. The Yukon XL steers well enough on regular roads, but the steering does feel a bit too light, especially while off-roading. Handling is nothing to write home about, either. All turns should be taken with extra precaution, although the Denali's adaptive suspension does make things easier.
How it Stacks up to the Competition:
2018 GMC Yukon XL vs. 2018 Nissan Armada
The 2018 Nissan Armada is exquisitely designed, inside and out. The Armada has an excellent ride quality thanks to its powerful V8 engine, which also helps make it a capable hauler. On the downside, the Armada has an outdated infotainment system and lacks the spacious third-row seating of the Yukon XL.
2018 GMC Yukon XL vs. 2018 Chevrolet Suburban
The 2018 Chevrolet Suburban also has a good amount of cargo space and a strong V8 engine that provides sufficient get-up-and-go power. However, the Suburban suffers from the same high load floor and weak gas pedal as the Yukon XL.
The 2018 GMC Yukon XL is set to be a top-seller for its class this model year. Despite its setbacks, the Yukon XL is ultimately one of the easiest-to-drive vehicles in its class, and it certainly is not lacking in terms of space or comfort.
• Why buy a 2017 GMC Yukon XL? w/ pros vs cons