2000 GMC YUKON SLE 4WD
Used Truck - 2000 GMC Yukon SLE 4WD in Hamilton, Oh
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2000 GMC Yukon ReviewThis car review is specific to this model, not the actual vehicle for sale.
A stylish, up-market full-size SUV.
GMC Yukon is the stylish, luxury version of Chevy's hardworking Tahoe full-size SUV. The main differences are in the packaging of options and in the styling of the grille. The Yukon wears a dramatic, elegant blacked-out grille, while the Tahoe has a chrome-laden grille designed to look more aggressive. But the luxury touches don't overlook the fact that GMC customers will want to tow their boat to the lake or pull their daughter's horse trailer to the show, so the 2000 model is loaded with features for towing and moving cargo.
Yukons come in two trim levels: loaded and more loaded. The entry level SLE trim includes air conditioning, anti-lock brakes, self-leveling suspension, CD stereo, power windows, power door locks, fog lights, tinted glass, heated outside mirrors, leather wrapped steering wheel, and vehicle alarm. In two-wheel-drive configuration, the base price is $32,427. The 4x4 costs $35,305. Both of those come with the base 4.8-liter V8. Upgrade to the 5.3-liter motor for another $700.
The SLT package comes in two levels. You can get an SLT that adds leather seats to the SLE equipment for an additional $1,535. Or, you can get the real SLT and heap on power seats, seat heaters, premium ride suspension, OnStar driver assistance and automatic climate control for $3,012.
The 2000 Yukon Denali is a continuation of the 1999 model, so it is a carryover awaiting replacement this fall. (Look for New Car Test Drive's upcoming review of the 2001 Denali.).
The most obvious aspect of the all-new Yukon is that its styling is mildly evolutionary, not radically changed. While the new model looks very similar to its predecessor, one change is an arched roofline that provides extra headroom for the second and third rows.
Getting inside the 2000 Yukon is easier thanks to new pull-handle style door handles that replace the old lift-up style openers. Step-in height has been reduced, making it easier to climb into the driver's seat.
Buyers can choose between a traditional hatch with flip-up window or a pair of cargo doors.
GMC has gone to great lengths to make the Yukon's interior more comfortable, easier to operate and more attractive for families. Controls are mounted closer to the driver's seat. Visibility out of the Yukon is very good, thanks to new larger windows. The combination of good visibility and confident handling give the Yukon an air of nimbleness that the Ford Expedition lacks.
The Yukon also tops the Expedition in the usefulness of its third-row seat. While the Ford's third seat is a children-only compression chamber, the Yukon's third seat provides space for adults' feet. It isn't a lot of space, but it is there. The third seat also folds, flips, slides and removes impressively. Whichever way you choose to stow the third-row seat, it is easy to do; it even has wheels to help it roll into the garage for storage.
One child-only seat in the Yukon is the middle seat on the optional front bench seat. The seat is basically two low-bolstered bucket seats, bridged by a fixed, non-reclining mid-section where the console sits on most Yukons. This perch is too uncomfortable for any adult and is probably not a good idea for more than short rides for children. Yes, kids are safest in the back seat, but the front seat in a full-size SUV like the Yukon is statistically safer than the rear seat in most any car. Just keep those rear-facing child seats in the back, away from the airbags.
The leather seats standard in the SLT are very nice. Seat-mounted shoulder harnesses on the front and rear seats make the Yukon's belts easier to wear.
The Yukon has a good nine-speaker stereo with a subwoofer and uses a spiral-wrapped radio antenna to cut wind noise. GMC says it chose to use a conventional mast rather than embedding the antenna in a window for better performance. Look for a different antenna matched to an improved radio late in the model year.
The Yukon delivers on the promise of its impressive specifications. On bumpy rural byways that make some SUVs feel like pogo sticks, the Yukon rides with impressive, sedan-like smoothness. On smooth highways, the Yukon cruises effortlessly.
Car-based SUVs such as the Lexus RX300 use independent rear suspension to provide the ride and handling customers expect, but GMC has managed to give the Yukon those benefits without compromising its cargo-carrying utility. A new five-link live-axle rear suspension contributes to better ride and handling than any vehicle in this class. The front suspension is conventional in design, except for the springs. To save space, the Yukon uses torsion bars instead of coil springs. The Yukon's conventional ladder frame is fully boxed in the mid-section for maximum rigidity, while the front and rear portions are shaped by the same hydro-forming technique used to make Corvette frames. This design is a key to the Yukon's excellent ride and handling. At the very front of the frame is a section that is designed to crush and absorb impacts in a crash.
The premium ride suspension helps keep the Yukon level over bumps. This effect is especially pronounced when towing; a trailer tends to cause the towing vehicle to rock back and forth when driving over bumps, but the premium ride system keeps the Yukon amazingly smooth.
The recirculating-ball steering provides good control and feedback, even if it falls short of the rack-and-pinion steering found on the Ford Explorer and in many sports cars. Yukon's power steering system is designed for durability by operating at a lower temperature range. A much-tighter 38.3-foot turning diameter makes the Yukon easier to park than before.
The rear axle now carries dual-piston brake calipers for its disc brakes. Along with bigger front discs, the new Yukon enjoys a much-needed upgrade in the stopping department. The upgraded brakes perform nicely. As a test, we towed a heavily laden horse trailer without trailer brakes connected and were impressed with the braking ability. A dynamic proportioning system continuously balances the front and rear brakes for maximum braking without activating the ABS.
Under the hood, the Yukon employs the latest version of Chevy's small-block V8 engine family. These Generation III overhead-valve engines are the best yet and rival competitors' overhead-cam engines for smoothness and efficiency. The new 4.8-liter version cranks out 275 horsepower, which is 20 more than the old 5.7-liter motor. At the same time, it is quite efficient: the 2WD 4.8-liter version, for example, earns 20 mpg on the EPA's highway mileage test. The tested 5.3-liter engine is rated at 285 horsepower and its acceleration performance is impressive. Like the 4.8-liter engine, the 5.3-liter burns regular unleaded fuel, making pit stops a little more affordable.
The tested two-wheel-drive Yukon offers a limited-slip rear differential to give drivers better traction in slippery conditions. More clutch disks than before mean smoother engagement of the differential lock. An available traction assist (not quite true traction control) cuts engine power as needed to help maintain traction to the rear tires. A second-gear winter start feature in the automatic transmission also helps get the Yukon rolling without wheel spin under slippery conditions. These two systems make the 4x2 Yukon sufficient for all but those who live at the end of long driveways in snowy climates.
All Yukons are equipped to accept a lighting plug for trailer towing, and have provisions for connecting a trailer brake controller very easily. They also have a deeper oil pan on the transmission to provide a better supply of cool transmission fluid while towing. Our Yukon equipped with the towing package included a receiver hitch and an external oil-to-air transmission cooler. GMC says the cooler is unnecessary, but that customers who tow install them universally. Cool transmission fluid is vita.
The GMC Yukon gives full-size SUV shoppers a chance to visit their GMC/Pontiac dealer as well as their Chevrolet dealer to cut a deal. The Yukon is arguably better looking than its Tahoe twin is, but both are comfortable, roomy SUVs that get surprisingly good gas mileage. The Yukon offers more power and more seating capacity than its predecessor and adds safety features such as side-impact air bags. These changes don't just make the new Yukon better than the old one; they make it better than the other full-size SUVs available.
SLE 4x2 ($32,427); SLT 4x2 ($35,439); SLE 4x4 ($35,305); SLT 4x4 ($38,317).
Janesville, Wisconsin; Arlington, Texas.
Options As Tested
5.3-liter V8 ($700).
SLT 4x2, 5.3-liter ($36,139).Completely re-engineered SUV gets new name.
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.
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.).
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.
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.
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.
Yukon XL 1500 SLE 2WD ($35,178), 4WD ($38,056); SLT 2WD ($37,363), 4WD ($40,241)
Yukon XL 2500 SLE 2WD ($36,696); 4WD ($39,658); SLT 2WD ($38,881), 4WD ($41,843).
Janesville, Wisconsin; Silao, Mexico.
Options As Tested
running boards ($325); trailering equipment ($164); transmission cooler ($96).
Yukon XL SLT 4X4 ($40,241).