Thursday, September 1, 2016

GMC Yukon XL Denali is a celebration of bigness

A menu of Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website

Sacramento, California – You get a lot of attention driving a 2016 GMC Yukon XL Denali 4WD sport-utility vehicle.

Fellow drivers and passersby notice its enormous size: a ZIP-code-of-its-own 224 inches long, 80 inches wide and 74 inches tall, and weighing in at 6,009 pounds.

You also get a lot of dirty looks from folks who are convinced that the vehicle you’re driving is killing the planet.  For the record, its gets 14 miles per gallon in the city and 20 mpg on the highway.

If folks could see the sticker price – $80,650, including extras, in my case – I’m sure that would likewise freeze them to the spot.

OK, the Yukon XL Denali is undoubtedly the king of super-size transportation.  I fully understand that and all that goes with it.

I’m also certain that there are some households and commercial enterprises that need a vehicle just like this.  To the best of my knowledge, having one is not against the law anywhere in the United States.

Test driving this behemoth required multiple adjustments on my part.  For example, I parked it in remote areas of parking lots, the better to gently wheel it back onto the roadways with a minimum of risk.

You don’t want to tailgate in a GMC Yukon XL Denali; that creates too much risk of flattening the vehicle ahead of you in an emergency.

I also tended to take it easy on the accelerator, knowing that fuel is a precious commodity in this particular SUV.

The bottom, positive line of all this: I became a safer, more-careful driver, and few would oppose that.  Certainly not my family and friends.

The things you can do with the Yukon XL Denali’s bigness are many:  It can carry most of your belongings.  It can tow a small island.  A large gathering of large adults can have a night on the town in it (the designated driver needs to reject  all alcohol offerings, however), and it stacks up as smooth interstate cruiser on long road trips.

I found the tester to be a very civilized, surprisingly quiet freeway machine.  On tight city streets, however, you need to pay close attention and make sure of clearance on our lane changes.

The big tester had a big engine to handle the chores with authority – a 6.2-liter V-8 with 420 horsepower and 460 foot-pounds of torque.  Premium fuel is recommended but not required.

My Yukon XL Denali was loaded up with luxurious, passenger-spoiling perks – another long-drive bonus.

One other cool feature: the “Safety Alert Seat” gives you a buzz in the seat of the pants if the SUV's sensors determine that you are about to collide with another vehicle.  It’s nice to have a little backup when you’re driving an SUV this large.

For those have the cash and the need for this vehicle, you’re getting quite the piece of large engineering.  Just make sure that you know what you’re getting into with this heavyweight hauler.

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