Thursday, December 11, 2014

2015 GMC Yukon SLT: Refined, Edgy And High-Tech

Highlight: The 2015 GMC offers the segment’s first front seat center air bag with the front bucket seats.

Test vehicle’s MSRP: $62,315 (Base Model starts at $47,375)

Seating Capacity: 7 or 8, depending upon seating configuration

Standard Safety Features:  airbags; daytime running lights; assist steps; GM’s OnStar Safety/Concierge service; hill start assist system; stability control; traction control; a rear back up camera; and a front (and rear) park assist system

Standard Equipment: 17-inch wheels; a 6-speed automatic transmission; an 8-inch color touch screen; Siri Eyes hands free compatible for iPhones; a tri-zone climate control system; a keyless remote system; a 10-way power driver’s seat; cloth seats; fold down rear second-and-third row seats; tow/haul selector on steering column; and a manual tilt/telescopic steering wheel

Upgraded Standard Features (SLT model): 18-inch wheels; a forward collision alert system; electronic blind spot mirrors; a lane departure warning system; a lane changing alert system; a safety alert vibrating seat; a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel; a push button keyless starter system; leather seats (ventilated/heat front seats); power memory setting for power driver’s seat; heated second row bench seats; power folding second and third row seats; and power adjustable brake pedals

Upgraded Optional Features on Review Vehicle: 20-inch wheels;a power sunroof;a navigation system; a rear seat DVD entertainment system; power second row bucket (captain) seats; an upgraded trailer towing package; a trailer brake controller; and an enhanced theft deterrent system

Suspension System:
Front- front coil-over-shock with stabilizer bar
Rear- rear multi-link with coil springs

Standard Audio: a Bose 9-speaker AM/FM/HD/CD with a satellite system

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty:  3 years or 36,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty:  5 years or 100,000 miles

Bluetooth Compatibility: available

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 5.3-liter, 8-cylinder/355-horsepower

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage: 16-city/23-hwy

Towing: 8,500 lbs (2wd)

Other Trim Levels:

Yukon XL
Denali XL

What’s New:  The new design is powered by a more fuel-efficient, 8-cylinder engine, packing more horsepower than the model it replaced.

Pros: After seven years, the fourth-generation Yukon makes its debut, wearing a new exterior (and interior design), all while been driven by a new more fuel-efficient engine, which pushes out more horsepower. The new Yukon is now outfitted with a number of amenities that weren’t available on the previous model.  Some of those features include a conversational mirror in the overhead console to view and speak to rear occupants, a power operated infotainment screen to secretly secure and recharge items such as a smartphone, a fold flat second and third row seats, optional power rear seats, a power lift gate with height adjustable settings, a push button starter ignition system, a keyless door opening system, a touchscreen infotainment screen, a compartmentalized center floor console large enough store a laptop, and an available rolling mobile office with a Wi-Fi system.

And to help improve the driving characteristics of the Yukon, the vehicle is now outfitted with electric power steering and four-wheel disc brakes with Dura life brake rotors. Thus, ironically these components along with the coil springs suspension system has made the vehicle have more of a compliable ride than the $86,000 Cadillac Escalade we reviewed recently.

Moreover, the current-generation Yukon cabin is quieter too. This is as a result of the laminated front windshield that reduces wind noise and a new inlaid door fit into the body side opening.

The 2015 Yukon is also outfitted with a more premium looking interior like the soft touch instrument panel, console and door panels. This is similar to what is found in their 2014 full size trucks.

Lastly, for the first time, the full size SUV is now available with such advanced safety driving aids as a safety alert vibrating driver’s seat, a radar-activated cruise control system, a forward collision braking system, a lane departure warning system, a lane changing alert system and an electronic blind spot system.

Cons: Ironically, in a day and time, when consumers have shifted to midsize and compact crossovers, which are based-off of a car platform, there is still a demand for mammoth SUVs like the GMC Yukon, which are based off of a truck platform. Moreover, with all of the optional self-driving aids available on our Yukon SLT, it still was a daunting task to navigate this vehicle through today’s urban roads. The optional lane keep assist system, which we could have deactivated, constantly reminded us to stay in our lane. How embarrassing?

We also expected more back support from the 10-way power driver’s seat. And when the third-row seat headrests weren’t folded down, it obstructed the driver’s vision and limited the cargo area.

The Verdict:  While the price of the GMC Yukon has increased by $1,925 in comparison to the dated model it replaced, it seems to be justified, especially, when opting for the latest self-driving aids. Buyers seeking a versatile, well-healed, more refined SUV, offering a fresh, edgy design, with the towing power to pull a large boat, should definitely place this vehicle on the shopping list.

Competition: 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe, 2104 Ford Expedition, 2014 Nissan Armada and Toyota Sequoia

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