A Real Mom’s Review of the 2014 GMC Yukon XL Denali

Are you in the market for a new vehicle?  Have you been looking for something bigger?  Maybe you are the type of person that prefers an suv over a van?  Well then, you might be interested in reading this review of my new ride.  I just purchased a new 2014 GMC Yukon XL Denali and there is a lot to love about it.

Yukon 2014

Previously, I drove a GMC Acadia.  I loved that car but we just outgrew it.  Our family grew and thus, we needed more SPACE!  I was desperate for some space.  Between three kids in car seats, a diaper bag, a stroller, various stuff that my kids were toting around (do we really need to bring our American Girl dolls with us to the grocery store?) and some groceries, our car was overflowing.  Half the time, I drove with my purse in my lap because I had nowhere to set it.  Is that even safe?  I don’t know but something had to give.  After a lot of research, thought, and discussion between me and my husband, we decided on the Yukon XL.  It is basically the same as the Chevy Suburban, but is the GMC model.

First off, let’s talk safety.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the Yukon XL  4 out of 5 stars on its overall safety rating, 5 out of 5 stars on frontal crash ratings, 5 out of 5 stars on side crash ratings, and 3 out of 5 stars on rollovers.  The Yukon XL also has great front and side airbag protection.  One of my favorite features on this vehicle is the blind-spot warning system.  If there happens to be a car hanging out back there in my blind-spot, a light appears on the side mirror and alerts me that there is something (or someone ) in my blind-spot.  Another favorite of mine is the backup camera and rear parking sensors.  I don’t think I could (safely) drive a vehicle this big without these.  It beeps if there is something behind me, plus I get an excellent back view on the navigation screen when the car goes into reverse.

We have recently had a lot of ice here in Southern Illinois.  The Yukon XL handled perfectly on it.  Mine is AWD (all-wheel drive) and slips itself into 4WD if needed.  I love that I don’t have to think about it because honestly I have enough to think about while driving.  (Be nice to your sister!  Quit throwing fries!)

Now, let’s talk car seats and how they fit.  Wow.  The seats are nice and wide and the car seats fit wonderfully.  The second row seat has bucket seats and the kids are far enough apart that they can barely reach each other.  (A big plus, in my book.)   Each one of the bucket seats have LATCH anchors, however, the 3rd row seat does not have any LATCH anchors.  :(

Yukon Interior

Three car seats fit well

 

Yukon Denali

A very roomy 3rd row

Now, on to storage:  I got it!  Lots of it.  If I decide to take two strollers with me? Fine.  If I need to haul a pack ‘n play, a stroller, and overnight bags?  Fine.  If I need two strollers, three roller skate cases, a load of groceries, some overnight bags, American Girl dolls, and a partridge in a pear tree?  Fine.  Seriously, everything I have needed to haul around fits perfectly with space left over.  This car screams “road trip!”  In fact, this weekend I am going on a shopping trip to Nashville with four other moms-who-desperately-need-a-getaway and I think we will have plenty of room.

Yukon Denali

Plenty of room for my Joovy Ultralight Caboose and my Maclaren Triumph

 

Yukon Denali

One big stroller and lots of room left for other things!

 

The 2014 Yukon XL Denali is also loaded with lots of extras like heated and cooled seats, heated steering wheel (a first for me but I have to admit I love it), sunroof, two DVD screens, navigation, XM stereo, OnStar, tinted windows (great for keeping harmful rays off of my babes),  and it makes hardly any road noise.  There are also adjustable pedals, a power liftgate (LOVE!), Bluetooth, USB port, remote start, and autopilot.  Just kidding!  No autopilot, but I swear it has everything else.

I have told you the pros, but what about the cons?  Nothing is perfect, right?  Okay, here are the cons:  The third row seat does not fold flat.  I haven’t needed to fold it down but I know that it doesn’t fold flat like the 3rd row of my Acadia did.  The book says the seat is easily removed if you need to.  I would rather it just fold into the floorboard if I need the space.  Also, the fact that there are no LATCH anchors available to the 3rd row is a con for me.  I suppose since the seat is easily removed that you can’t have Latch there.  I think they need to redesign it for LATCH anchors.

Other cons:  Gas mileage.  Yep, it’s sort of a gas guzzler.  But, honestly, anything this big is going to be.  I also considered full-size vans when I was car shopping and they are also gas guzzlers.  My family is too big for a Prius.  GMC states that the Yukon XL gets 15 mpg in city and 21 mpg highway.  I haven’t noticed a huge difference between my old Acadia and the Yukon XL.

I think there could be more cup holders in the middle row.  There are only two and they are near the floor, not on the doors.  This is not convenient for children.  And another problem I have is that there is still not a good place to put my purse.  My purse is too big to fit into the center console (I think I might try to find a purse that will fit while I’m shopping this weekend).

And the last con is this:  Price.  These vehicles are expensive.  We were planning on buying a used one but fortunately, we timed it just right and found out that we could buy a new one for less than a used one with low mileage.  We bought it at a time when they were offering big rebates and we found better prices at big city dealerships than at smaller dealerships in our rural area.  Long story short: we got a great deal because they were trying to clear out the 2014s for the 2015s.

There are several cons but the pros definitely outweigh the cons.  I love my new vehicle!

Do you have a GMC Yukon XL Denali? Tell us how you feel about it in the comments below!

Beth Cooper About Beth Cooper

Beth Cooper is a small-town girl from south-central Illinois. She has been happily married since 1999, has three little Mini Coopers, ages 9, 5, and 2, that keep her very busy and make her laugh. Her favorite cartoon is Little Bear and she has random people tell her that they love her thanks to the movie, “I Love You, Beth Cooper.” She is a homeschooling mama and a proud cancer survivor.

Comments

  1. Heather H says:

    I love our Yukon Denali XL as we needed the additional room with twins on the way, and two older children. Our Ford Expedition wouldn’t have allowed any additional storage with a double stroller in the back! The biggest con for us is the fact that the middle captains seats are stationary…as we have car seats in both the captains chairs, it is sometimes difficult to get third row passengers in. Overall, it’s everything I could have wanted and then some!

  2. Jenilee says:

    We have an older Yukon XL. It’s my husband’s favorite. I think it’s okay, but I would love a newer one…. we have to get a 12-15 pass. van for our next vehicle, though. :p

  3. Thank you for the review, the information you provided is great. I was so excited to see a review for this vehicle but somewhat disappointed that you didn’t even touch on my biggest concern. As a mom of five I am always concerned with whether or not every seat is truly usable and for whom. I’m not sure what changes they have made to the third row but would love to see more info on it. Is it three across friendly? Can a real person actually use the middle seat (my guess is no since I’m pretty sure they don’t have a headrest in that seating positions)? Will a car seat or booster fit there with room for outboard passengers? If you get a chance to check some of these things out I would definitely be interested in reading about it (pictures would be awesome ;-) ). Hope to see a follow-up at some point, I imagine there are others with large families who have the same questions. Thank you! :-)

  4. Christina says:

    I have a regular 2003 Denali. I loved it until I had kids. I do extended rear facing and my 3 year old’s Radian only fits in the middle seat and sticks out into the front seat. When #2 outgrew his infant seat I had to do some serious shopping to find a seat that met my RF weight requirements and would fit behind the passenger seat. I ended up with a Peg Perego convertible. I’m due with baby #3 and the infant seat just barely fits behind my seat (I’m very tall at 5″11) so I’m probably going to have to get a new car to fit all 3 kids rear facing for the next few years. I hate the bucket seats becuase they just don’t fit the RF car seats very nicely. I also hate that I get 8 miles to the gallon and it requires premium gas. I do love that it’s very safe and this car has been super reliable for us. We havve a ton of miles on it and haven’t had to put much money into repairs. We now live in Southern CA but when we bought it we lived in Salt Lake City and it was wonderful in the snow. I did drive my freind’s Surburban and the extra few feet on the end made it much more difficult to park and manuever in our very crowded city. If I lived somehwere without traffic, more spacious, and with 4 seasons including winter, and a big pay raise for my husband…I could see me considering repurchasing this vehicle. But for my life right now, a minivan is starting to make a lot more sense.

  5. Beth Cooper Beth Cooper says:

    Hi Jill. The third row is three-across friendly, as long as it’s not three large adults. On our Moms trip to Nashville this past weekend there were two average size adult women in the third row. There was room for another Mom there too but it would have been really tight. I am unable to put three booster seats across the third row (or three convertible carseats). However, the 3rd row would be perfect for 3 skinny teenagers who don’t mind squeezing in there. A booster or car seat can be buckled into the middle position of the 3rd row but the other two passengers in the 3rd row would have to be thin. I hope this answers your question but if not, let me know and I will try again. Sorry, I can’t post pictures in the comments. :(

  6. Beth Cooper Beth Cooper says:

    Hi Jill. The third row is three-across friendly, as long as it’s not three large adults. On our Moms trip to Nashville this past weekend there were two average size adult women in the third row. There was room for another Mom there too but it would have been really tight. I am unable to put three booster seats across the third row (or three convertible carseats). However, the 3rd row would be perfect for 3 skinny teenagers who don’t mind squeezing in there. A booster or car seat can be buckled into the middle position of the 3rd row but the other two passengers in the 3rd row would have to be thin. I hope this answers your question but if not, let me know and I will try again. Sorry, I can’t post pictures in the comments. :(

  7. Janice says:

    Thanks for the info. We are in the process of getting a vehicle to replace our kia Sedona van ( its getting old). We are looking at the Yukon xl denali (my dream vehicle) however are concerned about the amount of room in the second and third rows. My husband and I both sat in the third row and myself only being 5’3″ found I had nowhere for my feet, not sure if it was just that Yukon xl denali (2009) or if it is the same in all of them. We could not move either sets of seats forward or backwards. We have 3 boys 12.5, 9.75, and 7.75 years in age, lol. and the oldest has mild cerebral palsy and is the one always in the back. Not sure now if the Yukon xl will work or have to go to truck or stay with a van. We live in PG, BC, Canada where we can get a foot of snow overnight so nice if I can actually get kids to school. Thanks for your info.

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