The Yukon and Yukon XL (a longer version for carrying more passengers or cargo) come in a rather wide range of models in regular 1500 (half-ton) or heavy duty 2500 (3/4-ton) spec, with several different trim levels, engines, and equipment packages, to suit a wide range of purposes from soccer-mom tasks to cross-country towing. The Yukon XL is about 20 inches longer than the Yukon overall.
A 291-horsepower, 4.8L V8 is standard on the base 2WD, to the 5.3L iron-block V8 with 320 horsepower and 340 lb-ft of torque and active fuel management, which is standard on much of the line. A 366-horsepower, 6.0L all-aluminum V8 with variable valve timing is available on the Yukon XL. Each of the Yukon models are available with either rear-wheel drive, or part-time four-wheel drive with a dual-range transfer case.
The Yukon is strong on safety features. For 2008, head-curtain air bags that provide additional rollover protection are standard across the line, along with front side air bags. StabiliTrak stability control with rollover mitigation technology, is also standard.
Both models are available in base SLE (cloth seats) or upscale SLT (leather upholstery) trim. The third-row seat is available in two different configurations, with seating for either two or three.
The Yukon Hybrid is the first vehicle to get GM's 2-Mode full hybrid system, which promises a fuel economy improvement of up to 25 percent. The system, which has one mode optimized for city driving and one for highway, can function on electric power only, engine power only, or a combination of the two. It shuts the engine off and uses electric power only in low-speed driving and in stop-and-go traffic. In highway driving, the system operates in conjunction with active fuel management, which shuts down some of the engine's cylinders during cruising or coasting.
The Hybrid uses a 6.0L V8 engine and a special four-speed automatic transmission, and it's available in both rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive configurations. The Hybrid model is also lowered 10 millimeters, which provides aerodynamic advantages, and it's fitted with low-rolling-resistance tires; even with the Hybrid system, the Yukon has a 6,200-pound tow rating.
The luxurious Yukon Denali and Denali XL models stand at the top of the Yukon range. As GMC's flagship model, the Denali is powered by a 380-horsepower, 6.3L V8, six-speed automatic, and exclusive all-wheel-drive system, and completely loaded with high-tech luxury and convenience equipment, such as RainSense wipers, ultrasonic rear parking assist, a heated windshield washer system, power adjustable pedals, power-folding second-row seats, a power liftgate, and a Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound system. Options include a rearview camera system, power-retractable assist steps, and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.
The Denali stands apart from the rest of the Yukon lineup in appearance, too. Special brightwork, unique headlamps and taillamps, and unique polished 18-inch wheels give a "jeweled" look, while huge 22-inch wheels are available for a more imposing appearance.
The big news for 2008 is that a new Hybrid model, with GM's new 2-Mode hybrid system and a fuel economy improvement of up to 25 percent, joins the Yukon lineup.
Otherwise, as the Yukon was completely redesigned for 2007, changes are relatively minor. The 6.0L V8 has been fitted with the active fuel management system, which helps save fuel, and a six-speed automatic transmission and StabiliTrak stability control are now standard on XL 2500 models. 17-inch wheels are now available on the XL2500.
Also, head-curtain side impact air bags are now standard on all models, the base SLE model now comes with a 40/20/40-split front bench seat, and there are two new exterior colors this year: Stealth Gray Metallic and Sonoma Red Metallic for the Yukon, and Red Jewel Tintcoat and Dark Slate Metallic for the Denali.