2016 GMC Yukon XL Denali 4WD Review

Tuesday September 20th, 2016 at 1:99 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

2016 GMC Yukon XL Denali 4WD

By David Colman

Hypes: Brutal but Elegant Highway King
Gripes: Challenging to Park

This thing is positively presidential. When it arrived in my driveway for its week-long stay, I checked right away to make sure the Secret Service hadn’t left President Obama in the back seat. In Onyx Black, this $80,000 SUV really fills the bill for POTUS transport. With a length of 224 inches, a height of 74 inches, a width of 81 inches, and a weight of three tons, this is the most imposing passenger vehicle you can buy from GMC. It will barely fit in your regulation 20 foot long garage. And be sure to keep your credit card handy. Even with its 31.5 gallon gas tank, this rig will exhaust fuel faster than you can track the rapid descent of the gas level needle. For the record, the 6.2 liter V8 records city mileage of 14 MPG, highway mileage of 20 MPG, and overall consumption of 16 MPG.

2016 GMC Yukon XL Denali 4WD

In trade, you get to ride herd on a thumping big V8 that puts out 420hp and 460 lb.-ft. of torque. That output makes towing an 8,000 lb. trailer easy. GMC even provides Trailer Sway Control (TSC) and Integrated Trailer Brake Control (ITBC) as standard features, so the Denali XL is perfectly configured to handle any hitch load you can throw at it. TSC limits the amount of trailer pitch, ITBC adjusts the power output, or gain, to the trailer brakes as needed, and a Tow/Haul Mode button on the shift lever prevents the transmission from hunting for gears on steep grades.

2016 GMC Yukon XL Denali 4WD

That gearbox is a smooth shifting 8-speed automatic that metes out power smoothly and judiciously. You control its selection of gears with a shift wand that is bigger than that of the Fairy Princess. The entire dashboard is festooned with so many controls and buttons that it will take you a week just to notice them all. For example, no fewer than 19 graphic symbols can appear on the Driver Information Center. To the left of the steering wheel, you will find the 4WD control knob next to the headlight light control knob and below the ITBC switch. Above the ITBC control is another nest of buttons overseeing Traction Control, StabiliTrak, front and rear Park Assist, Lane Keep Assist, Pedal Adjustment (they slide) and Power Assist Step Control for the optional ($1,745) power retractable running boards.

If all this isn’t enough to confuse you, the steering wheel itself is a nexus of functions, including Adaptive Cruise Control ($995 option), voice recognition control, and driver information center display control. Behind the steering wheel you will find additional switches on the left spoke for accessing entertainment system tuning (Next/Previous favorite stations) and the right spoke (volume). If all this is starting to look like you need a Boeing 747 manual for pre-flight familiarization, you haven’t seen anything yet. The GMC IntelliLink Infotainment System offers a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot on a limited free trial basis. It also provides hands-free calling with voice recognition, audio playback with voice recognition, and access to Apple Carplay (including hands-free text messaging and Siri) when you download the free “MyGMC Owner App.”

2016 GMC Yukon XL Denali 4WD

You could almost forget you’re commanding a 3 ton limousine. But GMC has you partially covered there too. The optional Adaptive Cruise Control automatically adjusts speed and will slow your vehicle to a stop, if necessary. Unless you first signal a lane change, Lane Keep Assist, which is a standard feature, will keep you from changing lanes by gently guiding the steering wheel straight while jiggling the seat bottom to inform you of your errant behavior. This could be a lifesaver if you fall asleep at the wheel, but it can also prove annoying, so GMC allows you to turn off LKA with yet another button on the dash. Park Assist also uses beeping and the seat jiggle to keep you from bumping into things you can’t see, and in this application, especially when backing up, the system is a golden safety parachute.

2016 GMC Yukon XL Denali 4WD

Our Denali featured optional ($2,495) alloy wheels, 22 inches in diameter and mounting Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza rubber (285/45R22). These expensive monster tires mandate use of optional retractable running boards, since they elevate cabin entry height into the stratosphere. However, once you’ve climbed aboard, the only vehicle taller than your Denali is an 18-wheeler. Without question, this dominant posture confers a sense of vision and security on you that is simply unmatched by anything else on the road.

2016 GMC Yukon XL Denali 4WD

2016 GMC Yukon XL Denali 4WD

  • Engine: 6.2 Liter V8 ECOTEC3
  • Horsepower: 420hp
  • Torque: 460lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 14 MPG City/20 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $80,650
  • Star Rating: 9.5 out of 10 Stars

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Review: 2015 GMC Canyon 4WD SLE Crew Cab Short Box

Wednesday December 17th, 2014 at 8:1212 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2015 GMC Canyon 4WD SLE Crew Cab Short Box

By David Colman

Hypes: Looker with a Cooker of a V6
Gripes: Automatic Rain Sensitive Wipers Needed

Is there a better way to prove a new truck’s mettle than to drive it through a raging storm, not once, but twice? That’s just how we experienced GMC’s completely new Canyon pick up. Our round trip called for a run from Marin County down to Monterey on the very day the biggest rain storm in two years rolled into Northern California. Our return trip back to Marin coincided with the arrival of the second big front three days later. The Canyon passed all tests – from traction to comfort to outward vision – with dismissive ease. If you ‘re looking for a staunch companion in bad weather, the GMC Canyon is as good as it gets.

2015 GMC Canyon 4WD SLE Crew Cab Short Box

GM’s Brazilian design staff had a hand in crafting this stunning hauler’s bold but businesslike appearance. Our 4×4 model, fitted with an $1,190 All Terrain Package, stood Texas tall on its off-road capable Z71 suspension, and 17 x 8 inch “Dark Argent Metallic” alloy rims with Kevlar-reinforced 255/65R17 Goodyear Wrangler rubber. The wide channeled tread of the Wranglers did the trick in repulsing rivers of rain water. At a steady 65mph on Interstate 101, the Canyon swept through the puddles without ever losing its footing. It did so, moreover, in 2WD, because traction with just the rear wheels driving was so good that 4WD was never needed. For the record, the AutoTrac 4WD offers 4 different settings for conditions ranging from sport driving to snow bashing. If off-roading appeals, you will appreciate the fact that the Z71 package offers hill-descent control. However, the mild price you pay for all that under body clearance is a high cab step-in. To seat yourself with relative ease, you’ll need the optional ($745), tubular off-road assist steps which are unobtrusively finished in matte black.

GMC has done a swell job with this pick up’s exterior finish. The massive chrome grill looms over lesser traffic like the prow of a cruise ship. A pair of ‘All Terrain’ ID plates grace the front quarter panels and match similar tributes branded into headrests of all four seats. The 5’2″ short bed (a 6’2″ long bed is available) sports a $475 liner appliqué that matches the matte black of the assist steps. Although you can opt for an extended cab, the crew cab is the way to go if you plan on carrying passengers. During our stay in Monterey, we chauffeured four occupants for two days running and never once heard a complaint from the back seat. Vision outside is excellent from inside, even in back. The panoramic rear window of the cab contributes to the stunning greenhouse effect.

2015 GMC Canyon 4WD SLE Crew Cab Short Box

Our Canyon enjoyed 18MPG for the long round trip, The EPA rates overall mileage at 20MPG for the 3.6 liter version we tested. Although a base model 2.5 liter inline 4 is available, it produces only 190hp and 183 lb.-ft. of torque, hardly adequate for such a beefy vehicle. The V6, on the other hand, makes 303hp and 270lb.-ft. of torque and reports smartly to your right foot whenever you need a boost to merge or change lanes. Assisting in this regard is an exceptionally smooth shifting 6-speed automatic that can be locked into Manual Mode (“M”). When you select M, a cumbersome set of factors restrict transmission selection to limited gears, depending on your speed. However, these limitations can prove helpful when traversing slippery roads at low speeds. When configured like our test GMC, with a $250 optional “Trailering Equipment Package,” and the digger 3.43:1 rear axle ratio (no extra charge), the V6 Canyon will pull a 6,700 pound trailer.

2015 GMC Canyon 4WD SLE Crew Cab Short Box

The Canyon cabin is a place of many virtues. The dashboard snaps into action when you insert the ignition key by scrolling spectacular GMC graphics across the huge 8″ color touch screen. The screen displays your free 3 month trial XM Satellite radio reception, as well as your 6-month free introductory On Star hook up, which includes directional commands. There’s also an Intellilink connection, so you are never short of information sources inside this command center. The red stitched jet black seats feature separate heat sources for squab and backrest. We were entirely complaint free after many long hours in the saddle.

This is a fairly big rig, so your only operational complaint is going to stem from parking it. It does require more ‘terrain’ than you may be used to locating. Aside from that obvious caveat, this new, stunning GMC is a real grand Canyon.

2015 GMC Canyon 4WD SLE Crew Cab Short Box

2015 GMC Canyon 4WD SLE Crew Cab Short Box

  • Engine: 3.6 Liter Direct Injection DOHC V6 with VVT
  • Horsepower: 302hp
  • Torque: 270lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 17 MPG City/24 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $39,090
  • Star Rating: 9.5 out of 10 Stars

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2012 GMC Acadia Denali

Tuesday November 29th, 2011 at 2:1111 PM
Posted by: ponycargirl

Getting into the driver’s seat of the 2012 GMC Acadia Denali for the first time to drive it home through a Manhattan rush hour was, on the onset, nerve wracking, but the solidness of the ride soon assuaged any fears. It’s not so much the streets of Manhattan that are terrible – although there are some bone-jarring potholes on the West Side Highway that the Acadia glided over – but more so the notorious yellow cabs that break, turn, and insist on getting in your lane despite the fact you are already in it that inspire anxiety. The manouverability of what I first perceived to be a land-boat crossover vehicle was impressive – smooth and easygoing, responsive, no stiffness in the rack-and-pinion steering, no lurching around due to size. Changing lanes in tight traffic wasn’t the challenge I thought it would be with an almost-17 foot long vehicle. With a 40.4 foot turning circle, I had no problems with U-turns on wider roads, or managing a three-point turn on smaller two-lane roads.

Taking it out to the country for a day at upstate polo grounds and horse stables improved my impressions of the Acadia. A new feature of the 2012 Acadia, standard on all trim levels, is hill-hold assist braking technology. What this means is that the brakes are applied for 1.5 seconds after the driver’s foot leaves the brake on a downhill incline of 5% or more. Speed and momentum on the downhill were noticeably reduced driving on the highway; on the other end of the spectrum, the 3.6 liter V-6 variable valve timing (VVT), 288 horsepower engine producing 270 lb.-ft. of torque didn’t lack for power driving uphill or accelerating to pass other vehicles.

GM’s StabiliTrack system comes standard in the Acadia, and is responsible for enhancing the driver’s control of the vehicle in adverse conditions – one such condition being snow. As luck would have it, Mother Nature threw in a rare October snowstorm – perfect for testing the StabiliTrack. Driving on the snow, swerving to avoid fallen trees, and maintaining control of the vehicle when driving into and out of snow ruts was reassuringly easy – a safe, confident drive in extreme weather. Maintaining Traction while staying at an average speed of 30 mph had me actually passing vehicles crawling in the inclement weather. Sitting high in a crossover already increases the view of the road and surroundings, and the SLT and Denali trim levels of the Acadia include an outside mirror with blind-zone spotting, adding to visibility in such a challenging blizzard situation. On-Star also comes standard, as well as roof-mounted curtain side airbags for added rollover safety and pelvic-thorax seat-mounted side air bags as safety features.


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Table of Contents – Editorial Car Reviews, Feature Articles

Tuesday October 11th, 2011 at 2:1010 PM
Posted by: Derek


Below is a comprehensive list of all the Expert Car Reviews and feature articles published on CarReview.com [updated 10/11/2011]:

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2011 GMC Sierra 2500HD SLE Review – Got Trailer?

Tuesday November 30th, 2010 at 12:1111 PM
Posted by: Kurt Gensheimer

By Kurt Gensheimer


  • New boxed frame  design virtually eliminates flex
  • Exceptional interior fit and finish for a work truck
  • 10,000+ pound towing capacity even for the gasser V-8


  • Kidney-jarring buckboard ride from the rear end
  • Massive dimensions require a formal ‘plan of action’ every time you park
  • 8,000+ lb GVWR exempts GMC from posting the atrocious MPG numbers on the window

Ruling: Unless you tow a trailer or haul thousands of pounds in concrete every day, you have no business owning a truck this big and manly.

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Posted in Expert Reviews, GMC |Tags:, , || 2 Comments »

CarReview's Best SUV and Crossover Choices of 2010

Monday October 18th, 2010 at 2:1010 PM
Posted by: ggaillard

best_suv_crossover_2010_300x230Five Standout SUVs/Crossovers – CarReview’s Recommendations for 2010

By Greg Gaillard and the CarReview editorial team

In the 1990s when the practical minivan began to seem passé, consumers turned their heads and wallets to the fledgling Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) market for some excitement to suit their new active lifestyles. The watchful eye of corporate marketing caught the emerging trend and aggressively promoted the ready-for-anything aura of the new Ford Explorer and instantly identifiable Jeep Cherokee. It worked.

Over the next 20 years manufacturers have refined the SUV from an inefficient 4 door truck glazed with rugged styling into some of the more sophisticated vehicles on the market. The crossover refinements have spawned a dizzying array of choices all called SUV or some variation if SUV (Think BMW’s sports activity vehicle designation for its X-series). While today’s models are much better than their forbearers, picking the best SUV/crossover is not as easy as it once was.

CarReview believes the current market has some great SUVs that do something better than the rest. To select the top 5, contributors used criteria that align with the original vision for the segment.

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Posted in Audi, Expert Reviews, Feature Articles, Ford, GMC, Honda, Volvo |Tags:, , , , , , , || 3 Comments »

2010 GMC Terrain Review – all-new compact SUV emphasizing MPG and utility

Thursday January 14th, 2010 at 8:11 AM
Posted by: mash

2010 GMC Terrain

By Mary Ellen Ash


  • 7″ touch-screen center console
  • Great MPG for an SUV
  • Ample and rugged in the rear for people and cargo
  • Entertainment system
  • Excellent reverse visibility


  • Finicky touch-screen console system
  • Weak 2.4L I4 engine
  • Heavy movable rear passenger seats
  • No remote start included

Verdict: a great family SUV that is rugged and strong, and yet, very stylish and attractive for everyday use

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CarReview's Best Car Choices of 2008

Wednesday December 31st, 2008 at 1:1212 PM
Posted by: Derek

Happy New YearHappy New Year everyone!

Another year has passed by and it is time for reflection upon the past year, as well as looking forward to more good things happening in 2009. 2008 had the debut of the largely anticipated Nissan GT-R which ran rings around the competition from the European stalwarts such as the BMW M3 and Porsche 911. In 2008, gas prices reached an all-time high of over $4 per gallon and dropped below $2 a gallon in less than six months. I don’t even want to mention the controversy surrounding the subject of bailing out the big 3 American auto makers because that conjures up more pain that the taxpayers have to bear. Getting past the greedy oil brokers and money-grubbing banks, there were still some outstanding cars that came out in 2008. CarReview’s editors reviewed the cars for 2008 and picked their favorites. Below is our list of outstanding vehicles that don’t require any handouts from congress.

(The photos are linked to the page with the corresponding consumer reviews.)
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Posted in Acura, BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Feature Articles, Honda, hybrid, Infiniti, Lexus, Porsche, Toyota |Tags:, , , , , , , , , , || 1 Comment »

2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid 4×4 Review – The most intimidating hybrid on the road today

Monday April 14th, 2008 at 9:44 AM
Posted by: twain

By Twain Mein

2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid 4HY


  • Very smooth ride
  • Plenty of power
  • Yep-18 miles per gallon


  • Expensive
  • Susceptible to winds
  • WIDE

This is GM’s bold entry into the Hybrid SUV market. At first glance, the all black beast was intimidating yet “friendly” with its hybrid decals plastered about. What would it be like?

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Posted in Expert Reviews, GMC |Tags:, , || 3 Comments »

GMC Yukon Hybrid 4×4 Review – Environmentally Conscious Soccer Moms Applaud GM

Wednesday March 26th, 2008 at 3:33 PM
Posted by: Derek

2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid

What is on Farley’s mind other than thinking about his next bag of oats? Parked next to Farley’s corral is the new GMC Yukon Hybrid featuring GM’s 2-mode hybrid system. The 2008 Yukon Hybrid boasts a 332 hp, 6.0L Vortec V8, a NiMH 300V battery, two 60KW motors in the transmission, and nifty software that controls the whole caboodle. Not only can you pack in 8 passengers utilizing the 3rd row seating, but this 4×4 hybrid has the capacity to tow 6,000 pounds. Translation: mom can take the team to soccer practice during the week and dad can tow the family boat to the lake on the weekend.

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Posted in Expert Reviews, GMC |Tags:, , || 7 Comments »

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