2007 GMC Yukon XL Denali – AWD (623)

This week we’re looking at the 2007 GMC Yukon XL Denali – AWD. This is a revisit from 1999 and 6 years has matured this SUV and refined it as you’d expect.

You know how some people exude confidence? Some cars, trucks, busses and trains do as well. I drove this Denali to the SEMA show in Las Vegas and was really comfortable. I would be flying back to Los Angeles and some flights scare the hell out of many of us. Well, the flight back was uneventful but the bad news is it was only slightly faster, all things considered, than the drive up in the Denali . I suppose that’s why folks drive so much and so often. It is flat out convenient. When I consider the drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas at about 300 miles and say 4 hours it is a no brainer to drive rather than fly. Consider: 1 hour to get to the airport, 2 hours before the flight and after a 45 minutes flight it takes another 15 minutes to get to the gate. Then you spend another half hour waiting for your luggage. It’s not over yet, because you have to get to your destination by taxi, rent a car or have someone pick you up … wow! Drive, it’s easier.

Driving the Denali it went like this… set the Nav system for the address of the hotel and hit the road. That’s it – and wa-la 3 and a half hours later I was in Las Vegas at my destination and my luggage was still behind me nicely stowed. I didn’t need a cab or whatever when I got there. As a rule of thumb if the distance is about 500 miles it is a toss up whether I will drive or fly.

Denali , of course, is a GM car so it also has GPS wonderful On Star. A must in my next car. I love it more every time I use it. Now they have added Turn-By-Turn directions just as if you were using the Nav system. It works great. And the folks at On Star are really nice people. I wonder if they will still be nice when the product gets more widely accepted – and you can be sure it will.

General Info:

Parts – n/a

Assembly – USA

Class:  – Special Purpose

Cars: – Canyon, Envoy, Savana, Sierra 1500, 2500, 3500 and Hybrid, Yukon (XL and Denali ).

Handling & Performance:

pectacular. My ride to Vegas was super comfy and lots of power and weight to give that secure feeling. Like many relationships it can be a love/hate kind-a thing. I hate gas guzzlers but I love the comfort and conveniences. Smooth is no exaggeration. I was less frazzled driving than all the hoop-la getting to and from the airport on the return trip.

Power? You want power – 6.2 liter 380 horsepower V8 is just fine thanks. Auto engineer friend Merkel would sneer at that data. Why, because real engineered cars like many European cars get 100 hp per liter Merkel will roar. I know, but – but – but …

Some of the competition

No complaints. Very clean and pretty.

Fit and Finish:

Very good. I noticed the seams were neat and components were tightly assembled, especially in comparison with the Chrysler Aspen the following week where I noticed some poorly fitting plastic cladding. The Aspen is making its debut and of course the Denali has been around long enough to get all the bugs out.


The MSRP is $49,615 but when you add some neat stuff the price quickly jumps to $57,000. The high price tag extras (Options) are things like Navigation system with CD, DVD and MP3 for $2,100, 20 inch Chrome Aluminum wheels (great looking by the way) for $2,000 more and Rear seat entertainment system ( a must when you have kids on a long trip) for about $1,300 and finally the power sliding sunroof for another $1,000. I have little use for this option. Hey, it’s only money – right?


Pop for the extras and enjoy the ride … but there are some things that are real nice and don’t add a lot to the cost, like the rearview camera system for $195. Then there is the heated steering wheel for $150 – “Say what?”  I’m with you – what’s that all about.

There are several features included in the MSRP that I like: tire pressure monitor, ultrasonic rear park assist, power liftgate and of course remote keyless entry. I can live without the Remote Vehicle starter feature – but if you live in Minnesota you may find it useful in winter. Rain sensing wipers are kind of cool, but I can usually tell when it starts to rain and my fingers know to turn on the wiper. XM Satellite Radio is very cool and worthy of consideration.

Consumer Recommendation:

If you’re in the market for a large SUV this new entry for 2007 must be seen.

Recognized Competition (MSRP range):

GMC XL Denali $47-50,000, BMW X3 $37,000, Toyota 4Runner $28-38,000, Jeep Grand Cherokee $27-43,000, Land Rover LR3 $38-53,000, Lexus GX 470 $47,000, Dodge Durango $29-38,000, Nissan Xterra $20-28,000, Infiniti FX $38-50,000, Chevrolet TrailBlazer $25-37,000, Ford Explorer $25-35,000, Honda Pilot $27-35,000.

Good News:

Solid and comfortable ride for up to 8 people and still space for luggage.

Bad News:

Less than stellar fuel economy – in fact they state on their window sticker (Fuel Economy) “Not Applicable to this vehicle”. I have news for them – it’s applicable to me.

Standard Equipment:

6.2 liter 280 horsepower V8 engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, all wheel drive, self leveling rear shocks, locking differential, dual front and side airbags (all rows), OnStar system (1 year safe and sound), 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, stability control, theft deterrent, child security locks, power windows, locks and adjustable pedals, remote vehicle starter, remote keyless entry, tire pressure monitor, ultrasonic rear parking assist, running boards, heavy duty trailering equipment, 18 inch polished aluminum wheels, power liftgate and liftglass, power folding mirrors with auto dimming and turn signals, rain sensing wipers, heated washer fluid system, leather, 12-way power front seats, 2nd row power seat release, 3 passenger 3rd row seat, audio with MP3 compatible 6-in dash CD player, XM Satellite radio service, (3 months), auto tri-zone air conditioning and driver information center. Options: Navigation system, 20 inch chrome aluminum wheels, rear seat entertainment system, power sunroof, rearview camera system and heated steering wheel. ($8,775).

Gas Stats:

$2.23/ Gal avg.

13 City and 19 Highway MPG


MSRP $57,265 incl options.

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