2000 GMC Yukon XL Reviews and Ratings

Utility K1500 SLT 4WD

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2000 GMC Yukon XL
Ron Moorhead

For many years, GMC and Chevrolet have sold this vehicle as the Suburban. Both were both completely re-engineered for model year 2000. Chevrolet's version continues as the Suburban, but GMC has renamed this vehicle the Yukon XL. The XL stands for extra length. It is, after all, a longer version of the GMC Yukon. The name change allows GMC to market a family of Yukons, which includes the Yukon, the luxurious Yukon Denali and longer Yukon XL.

Though this almost ubiquitous old friend retains its basic form, it has been improved tremendously for model year 2000. From chassis to interior the Yukon XL is a more refined, comfortable vehicle. The frame is stronger, yet lighter, providing a tremendously good platform. Generous cross bracing adds stiffness, helping to retain the ridged chassis as well as allowing engineers to design a suspension that soaks up jarring bumps and craters found on off-road trails.

For those who really need a size extra-large sport-utility, it's hard to beat this Yukon XL. Model Lineup
GMC's full-size sport-utility vehicle is available in two model lines, Yukon and Yukon XL.

The Yukon, based on the same platform as the Chevrolet Tahoe, is approximately 17 inches shorter than the Yukon XL. Offering a more compact package in a full-size vehicle, the Yukon broadens the spectrum for sport-utilities. Although the shorter Yukon carries a scaled-down profile, both models now offer third-row seating. And, though it compromises cargo storage behind the seat, it opens up whole new passenger carrying opportunities. (Look for separate New Car Test Drive reviews of the Yukon as well as the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban.)

While the Yukon can carry a lot of people or a lot of cargo, the Yukon XL can do both at the same time. The Yukon XL is 17 inches longer than the Yukon. It also offers a bigger towing capacity. The popular Yukon XL 1500 models are rated to tow 8800 to 9000-pound trailers. A Yukon XL 2500 2WD model is rated to pull trailers of up to 10,500 pounds (10,100 for 4WD).

Yukon XL is available in two trim levels, SLE and SLT. Each comes with a choice of two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. Three engines are offered: 275-horsepower 4.8-liter Vortec 4800 V8, 285-horsepower 5.3-liter Vortec 5300 V8, 300-horsepower 6.0-liter Vortec 6000 V8. (A diesel engine is in the works.) All Yukon XLs come with an electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission.

Yukon XL starts at $35,178 for the 2WD 1500 model. Yukon XL 2500 models start at $36,696 with the 6.0-liter engine. (Note: GMC is among the few manufacturers that include destination charges in its prices.) Walkaround
From the new styling of the headlights and hood to the cleaner look of the rounded all aluminum rear lift gate, the 2000 Yukon XL is strikingly different, yet familiar at the same time. The design hasn't changed so much that you wonder whether it's equal to the capabilities of the previous model. Be assured it is just as capable, yet more contemporary.
Interior designs for GMC trucks have become very untruck-like. (GMC has become GM's upscale truck brand.) The dash retains a utilitarian aspect yet is more contemporary. Instruments and controls remain familiar to owners of GM vehicles.

Third-row seating widens the Yukon XL's passenger-carrying capacity. The first two rows are convenient and relatively easy to slide into or out of. However, the third row is a bit more challenging. While members of our test group were all able to use the seat, a few of our larger cohorts felt it wasn't the place for them.

Two rear tailgate configurations are available to offer convenient loading and unloading of different types of cargo. Your personal preference here can select either two separate side-by-side cargo doors or an all aluminum liftgate with separate lift glass section. We preferred the cargo doors because they open wide and allow a closer working position to the vehicle's storage area. Cargo doors are also useful when pulling trailers because they will usually clear the trailer tongue jack. The hinges can be released allowing the doors to open fully when loading large items. Driving Impressions
The new Yukon XL displayed its ruggedness while driving through the Sierras near Lake Tahoe, California. Here, we were able to drive through conditions produced by the natural occurrence of weather and terrain that only the Sierras can provide. The rugged buttes stretching skyward provided everything from warm sun to freezing snow and ice. Our drive took us from just a few feet above sea level to lofty treeless altitudes. While a loss of power at these heights is noticeable in any vehicle, our Yukon XL equipped with the 5.3-liter V8 continued on with barely a hiccup. It persevered through muck and mire as we climbed ever deeper into the mountains and weather conditions grew worse.

New for 2000 is the Auto-Ride suspension system, a fully automatic suspension, which varies the amount of damping the vehicle may need. Whether towing a horse trailer or picking up the soccer team, Auto-Ride continually adjusts the suspension for optimum ride and handling. This technology also helps reduce dive on braking (so that the nose of the vehicle doesn't dip down unduly) and body roll (or lean) during cornering.

The suspension system soaked up the large potholes and rough terrain we encountered. We discovered that the 1500 model with coil springs at all four corners smoothed out road vibration much better than the 2500 model, which is fitted with rear leaf springs. Certainly that was expected with the larger load hauling capability of the 2500 series. (By far, most buyers opt for the 1500-series Yukon XLs, which offers good towing capability. But the 2500 is the better choice for pulling extremely heavy trailers.)

The independent front suspension flattens the most rugged terrain so that the Yukon XL's passengers feel coddled, while the solid rear axle allows impressive towing capability. This year's reworked suspension also contributes to the Yukon XL's tighter turning radius, useful for crowded parking lots, U-turns and off-road driving.

Good brakes are important for a vehicle that weighs more than two tons and is sometimes asked to pull heavy trailers. With the Yukon's redesign came exceptionally good brakes, with 40 percent larger ventilated discs at the front wheels, and big 13.2-inch discs on the rear axle. While we equate fast emergency braking maneuvers with testing a vehicle's ability to stop, sometimes being able to stop straight and true at slow speeds is as important and the Yukon XL delivers on that front. The previous-generation Suburban had a mushy brake pedal, but that has been replaced with a much firmer pedal in this new Yukon XL for improved driver control.

More than once we were particularly glad for the quick manner in which the driver can shift the Yukon XL in and out of four-wheel drive. Four switches mounted on the left side of the instrument panel make it is easy to change modes. The top switch engages GMC's automatic four-wheel-drive system, Autotrac, which automatically transfers power from the slipping wheel to the wheels with traction. A switch controls two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive and four-wheel drive low-range. This system makes shifting from two-wheel drive to four-wheel drive and back as easy as turning on the radio.

Responsiveness from each of the three available V8 engines is excellent. Yet we continually returned to the big 6.0-liter with its 300 horsepower and 355 foot-pounds of torque. A carry-over from the truck line is the tow/haul transmission mode. By pushing a switch on the end of the gearshift lever, the driver can change the shifting points of the automatic transmission. The tow/haul mode improves performance while towing through mountainous terrain and lessens wear on the transmission. Summary
It may be all new and it may have a new name, but the 2000 Yukon XL retains all the ruggedness and versatility that its previous version stood for.

If you have the need to move people around while carrying loads of stuff or pulling a heavy trailer at the same time, then GMC's Yukon XL is a great choice.

Model as tested
Yukon XL SLT 4X4 ($40,241)
Basic Warranty
3 years/36,000 miles
Assembled in
Janesville, Wisconsin; Silao, Mexico
Destination charge
Gas guzzler tax
Base Price
Price as tested
Options as tested
running boards ($325); trailering equipment ($164); transmission cooler ($96)

Model Line Overview
Model lineup
Yukon XL 1500 SLE 2WD ($35,178), 4WD ($38,056); SLT 2WD ($37,363), 4WD ($40,241)<BR><P>Yukon XL 2500 SLE 2WD ($36,696); 4WD ($39,658); SLT 2WD ($38,881), 4WD ($41,843)
Safety equipment (standard)
dual front air bags, dual front side-impact air bags, ABS with Electronic Brake Controller standard
Safety equipment (optional)
5.3-liter V8
4-speed automatic

Specifications as Tested
liftgate with lift glass, recovery hooks, remote keyless entry, leather upholstery, six-way power front seats, self-leveling suspension, On-Star, climate control, HomeLink, fog lamps, rear wiper/washer

Engine & Transmission
5.3-liter V8
Drivetrain type
four-wheel drive
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
285 @ 5200
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm)

Brakes, front/rear
disc/disc with ABS
Suspension, front
Suspension, rear
live rear axle

Seating capacity
Head/hip/leg room, middle
Head/hip/leg room, front
Head/hip/leg room, rear

Fuel capacity
Trunk volume
Turning circle
Towing capacity
Track, front/rear
Ground clearance
Curb weight

J.D. Power Rating
Overall Quality Not Available
Overall Quality - Mechanical
Not Available
Powertrain Quality - Mechanical
Not Available
Body & Interior Quality - Mechanical
Not Available
Features & Accessories Quality - Mechanical
Not Available
Overall Quality - Design
Not Available
Powertrain Quality - Design
Not Available
Body & Interior Quality - Design
Not Available
Features & Accessories Quality - Design
Not Available

Overall Dependability Not Available
Powertrain Dependability
Not Available
Body & Interior Dependability
Not Available
Feature & Accessory Dependability
Not Available

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J.D. Power Rating Legend
Among the Best
5 / 5
Better than Most
4 / 5
About Average
3 / 5
The Rest
2 / 5

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