2004 GMC Yukon XL Denali Review
BY Mike Mavilia
This week we tested the 2004 GMC Yukon XL 1500 Denali. Using the same body as the standard Yukon XL, the Denali model dresses up the base model with a flashy chrome grill, Chrome 17” Rims as well as painted bumpers, mirrors and running boards. In 2001, GMC released the Yukon XL Denali which nameplate represents their top-of-the-line trucks and SUV’s. The Denali also includes All Wheel Drive and rear Air-Ride Shocks for improved handling under extreme circumstances.
The Yukon XL Denali is ideal for families as it has ample seating for 6 passengers and can be equipped to seat up to 9 with middle and rear benches. Even with seating 9 passengers, there is still plenty of room for storage in the rear. Towing is no problem with the standard tow package that has an 8100-lb. tow capacity.
I was fortunate enough to drive the Denali in all weather conditions as well as test its towing ability. Sun, rain and snow are no match for this All-Wheel Drive monster of a truck. Even though the car weighs close to 6,000 pounds I had found that on long road trips it’s “happy place” was running at 80 mph @ 2000 rpm.
We tested the towing capacity on this vehicle and I must say that I only became an even bigger fan of what this thing can do. I tested 2 Seadoos, a single car hauler, and even tested my 25-foot Sea Ray boat which weighs 9,500 lbs. The Denali had no problems pulling or stopping this massive boat and we never felt concerned about its ability to control what was behind it. In the snow, I must say that I had never felt as confident driving in harsh conditions as I did in the Denali. The All-Wheel drive cannot be beat in rain or snow!
Fit and Finish:
The Denali interior is well dressed with wood accents, leather seating, as well as power and heat for maximum comfort.
Convenience and Comfort:
The Radio has several options like Satellite, Auxiliary, 5 disk CD Changer and Navigation. These all come in handy when for long road trips or the weekend drive. Satellite coverage was wonderful once you left busy cities and the ability to load your own tunes in the CD changer was a big plus! the auxiliary port was connected to a 3 screen DVD system which made the 10-hour drive to Utah bearable for the kids.
Another nice feature that is often overlooked when buying a large vehicle are fold-in mirrors. Most trucks do have fold in mirrors, but the Denali has motorized folding mirrors, which makes parking in tight spots a breeze. Even though it is 18 feet long, it still fits into almost all parking spaces that were not marked “Compact”.
Upgraded suspension for excellent handling, plenty of horsepower and torque for towing, ample seating for up to 9.
To be honest I really could not find anything wrong with this truck. I would like to see a little better fuel economy but it’s not horrible!
Engine: The Gas 6.0L V8 truly is the right engine for this truck.
Transmission: The 4-speed automatic, heavy-duty, electronically controlled with overdrive and tow/haul mode transmission makes city or highway driving and heavy towing smooth sailing!
Towing capacity: Rated at 8,100 lbs. is a safe bet. I tested it at 9,500 lbs. and it didn’t skip a beat
MPG: 13 city / 17 highway is satisfactory when you consider the weight and features.
Curb weight: At 5,735 lbs., it’s not even noticeable with its power and braking capabilities
Horsepower: 325 hp
Fuel tank capacity: 31 gal
Tire size: P265/70R17
Wheel size: 17″ diameter, 7″ width
MSRP for the model we tested was $68,665… worth every penny!