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Detroit News: 2007 GMC Yukon SLT Review

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2007 Yukon is a leap forward in styling and content

By Paul & Anita Lienert

The redesigned 2007 GMC Yukon got plenty of advance publicity months before it went on sale in February, as much for General Motors' questionable timing as for the full-size utility vehicle's extensive makeover.

Critics have questioned why GM focused so much of its development budget on big trucks and SUVs at a time of stratospheric fuel prices and increasing foreign competition in passenger cars. But the Yukon and its siblings, the Chevrolet Tahoe and Cadillac Escalade, were pretty long in the tooth and desperately in need of a major overhaul.

In any context, the '07 Yukon is a huge step forward in terms of style and content. Too bad GM couldn't do a better job of improving the big SUV's gas mileage.

We drove a well-equipped Yukon SLT 4WD with $6,645 in options and a bottom line of $45,885.

SHE: I know that many people who buy SUVs like the Yukon never take them offroad. But I couldn't resist a Sunday drive in rural Webster Township outside Ann Arbor, along a "natural beauty road" that was a springtime mess. It was a good little test because two of the Yukon's wheels were on an icy strip that hadn't melted and the other two were in a rutted, muddy track. I have to say it performed beautifully. The wide track and low center of gravity make the Yukon feel stable, and I love the way the '07 model looks. It exudes confidence in an American kind of way.

HE: No question about the Yukon's Detroit roots. I don't think any Japanese manufacturer -- or European, Korean or Chinese, for that matter -- would have come up with a design that looks quite like this. I agree with you on the Yukon's good looks. The outside is clean and fresh, and a dramatic improvement over the old one. But I'm even more impressed with the cabin, which is really beautiful. If you had just stepped out of an '06 Yukon and into the '07 model, you'd be hard-pressed to tell they came from the same manufacturer. The design is contemporary and eye-appealing, in keeping with the premium image that GMC wants to project, and the materials are high quality. I'm still puzzled, however, by the little ways that GM cut corners here and there, especially on a $46,000 truck.

SHE: I know what you mean. Why does the driver's seat come with a power fore-aft adjustment, but you have to adjust the seatback rake manually? And why can you only get the new six-speed automatic on the more expensive Denali edition, but not on the standard Yukon? And why does GMC offer a power folding second-row seat, but no such option for the third row where you really need it?

HE: Questions, questions, questions. What I'd like to know is why General Motors spent all that money to completely overhaul its full-size sport-utility vehicles, adding a very expensive cylinder-cutoff system to the 5.3-liter V-8 engine to save fuel -- but the gas mileage is still lousy. Last year's Yukon 4WD was rated by the EPA at 15 mpg in city driving and 20 on the highway; this year's model has an EPA rating of 15/21. Over a week's worth of driving, the fuel-economy gauge in our test vehicle said we averaged only 14.3 mpg -- pretty dreadful by any measure, especially considering that we were running on only four cylinders for much of the time. On the plus side, with 320 horsepower at your disposal, the V-8 is plenty powerful for towing and everyday driving.

SHE: I really want to talk about the steering wheel. I think it symbolizes the changes at the General. The steering wheel on the Yukon is gorgeous and sets the tone for the whole interior. Our SLT model had a wheel that was done up in cocoa leather, matte metal and attractively grained plastic. It's one of your first impressions when you slide into the driver's seat. And it's really positive. Another positive is the huge center console that's so big, it looks like it could hold hanging files.

HE: The new Yukon has plenty to recommend it. In most respects, it is vastly superior to its predecessor, and much more civilized and attractive than such full-size Japanese competitors as the Toyota Sequoia and the Nissan Armada. You got tons of headroom, comfy seats, loads of amenities and lots of cargo space. If you can live with the lousy fuel economy and the fact that this is still a big truck that's not easy to park, the Yukon should be high on your shopping list.

2007 GMC Yukon SLT

Type: Front-engine, four-wheel drive, five-passenger utility vehicle.

Price: Base, $39,240 (inc. $875 destination charge); as tested, $45,885.

Engine: 5.3-liter V-8; 320-hp; 340 lb-ft torque.

EPA fuel economy: 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway.

Where built: Janesville, Wis.

Estimated 12-month insurance cost, according to AAA Michigan: $1,490.

Anita:

Likes: Good assembly quality inside and out, with few gaps. Better differentiation between GMC and Chevy, from hood to wheels. Better visibility than predecessor. Nav system is easy to use. Displacement on demand with digital readout.

Dislikes: Side curtain air bags cost extra. Wind noise at highway speeds. Power fore-aft adjustment on driver's seat, but manual seatback rake. No optional power folding third-row seat.

Paul:

Likes: Cleaner, fresher exterior styling. Beautiful cabin, with high-quality materials. Strong engine. Lots of headroom. Plenty of cargo space.

Dislikes: Lousy fuel economy, even with cylinder-cutoff system. No five- or six-speed automatic. Power steering feels vague, disconnected from road. Bulky and difficult to park in tight spaces.

Link: http://info.detnews.com/autosconsumer/auto...ex.cfm?id=22397

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Just a quick note that despite the bashing, the reviewers neglect to mention that the GM model offers better hp than the comparable Toyota/Nissan products while delivering BETTER gas mileage than either of them.

The Sequioa comes in at 15/18mpg and the Armada does 13/18. Now how good does that 15/21 look? The Toyota delivers 273hp and the Nissan 305. GM? 320.

So, in summary: you can deliver more hp and still deliver significantly BETTER gas mileage than your competitors.. and this is viewed as a DISLIKE by the Lienerts.

:stupid:

How can these people get PAID to write such garbage?

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Just a quick note that despite the bashing, the reviewers neglect to mention that the GM model offers better hp than the comparable Toyota/Nissan products while delivering BETTER gas mileage than either of them.

The Sequioa comes in at 15/18mpg and the Armada does 13/18.  Now how good does that 15/21 look?  The Toyota delivers 273hp and the Nissan 305.  GM?  320.

So, in summary: you can deliver more hp and still deliver significantly BETTER gas mileage than your competitors.. and this is viewed as a DISLIKE by the Lienerts.

:stupid:

How can these people get PAID to write such garbage?

I guess they were commenting on the real-world economy of 14.3 combined MPG?

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His major complaints (fuel consumption and girth) are traits common to all large SUVs. That's about it. They get some facts wrong (6sp availability), but its the Lienarts, so this is actually shocking good for them.

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