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By Automobile Magazine

What's New for Yukon XL 1500 in 2013

The 2013 GMC Yukon XL adds optional champagne silver metallic paint and automatic engine braking in all transmission modes...
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The 2013 GMC Yukon XL 1500 was last redesigned in 2007 and any novelty that the design had when it originally released has worn off by now. Fortunately, the Yukon has a loyal following and the 2013 version of the Yukon XL pleases its fans. While it may not be the most stylish vehicle on the road, the 2013 GMC Yukon XL 1500 offers vast amounts of cargo capacity and buyers who appreciate size will no doubt appreciate this vehicle. GMC offers three different trims and buyers should take note that prices can escalate quickly from the base SLE to the Denali. Those buyers considering the Denali should be warned that the price point is every bit that of a luxury vehicle and they may want to spring for a more upscale manufacturer.


The exterior of the 2013 GMC Yukon XL 1500 remains unchanged from previous model years. The Yukon still looks enormous and stands as an icon to the days of truck-based SUVs. The longer wheelbase of the Yukon XL over the Yukon makes the vehicle more physically imposing and one of the longest vehicles available on the market. The truck design makes the Yukon a bit less distinctive than car-based sport utility vehicles and it looks more or less like a truck with an added cab. Still, the slight curvature to the front and back keeps the XL from being visually unattractive. Drivers looking for a bit of added style appreciate that GMC offers a total of eight different exterior color options.

Interior & Cargo

The 2013 GMC Yukon XL offers vast amounts of cargo capacity. The three rows of seats mean that the Yukon XL can carry up to nine people, although the third row of seats comfortably accommodates only the smallest passengers. Most buyers fold the third row of seats and take advantage of the added cargo capacity. The first two rows of seats can be configured for either two or three passengers. Legroom is ample for everyone except those riding in the third row. Front legroom reaches a generous 41.3 inches, while the second row offers a similarly impressive 39.5 inches. A wide array of storage pockets and consoles allow drivers to comfortably hide their valuables and maintain a clean interior even with large families. All models come with power windows, doors, and locks, along with five 12V power outlets. For the price, it may seem a bit jarring that the base SLE trim of the 2013 GMC Yukon XL 1500 does not come with leather seating, although higher trims include leather standard. Still, even buyers who spring for the leather seating may find the interior design to fall well short of the elegance and polish that one would expect from a vehicle at its price point. Meanwhile, the Denali comes with wood paneling, placing the interior on the same level with luxury sport utility vehicles from rival companies. One trade-off to the Denali, however, is that it offers more than 1700 pounds less of towing. Families that want to buy a massive sport utility vehicle and do not care about the price seem better off springing for the Denali trim, although others should probably stick with the lower trims.

The interior comes filled with many entertainment options that make up for any stylistic blandness. The speaker system of the 2013 GMC Yukon XL is also commendable with nine Bose speakers standard on each trim option. Families may want to spring for the DVD entertainment system, which is optional on the SLE and SLT but comes standard on the Denali.


GMC has included a number of standard safety features on the 2013 Yukon XL 1500, including front and side-curtain airbags and anti-lock brakes. Traction and stability control ensure that drivers maintain a sturdy ride, and a tire monitoring system comes standard as well.

Driving Experience

Because it is so large, the 2013 GMC Yukon XL 1500 does not win many awards for its performance and handling. Drivers should expect a choppy ride and steering that’s not maneuverable. However, the Yukon XL offers a very powerful automobile. Not only does it have a V-8 engine but it also provides a full 320 horsepower, which increases to 352 horsepower on the Denali. The SLE and SLT use a 5.3-liter engine, while the Denali contains a larger 6.0-liter. Predictably, the fuel economy of the 2013 GMC Yukon Denali is not strong. Drivers can expect to receive a scant 10-15/15-21 mpg city/highway. The poor fuel economy may cause drivers with a long commute to reconsider, although families who live in areas with harsh weather appreciate the high ground clearance. Ultimately, the driving experience is faced with the difficult task of balancing utility with comfort and the vehicle’s power and numerous features should appease drivers on both fronts.

Key Competitors For The 2013 GMC Yukon-XL-1500

  • Ford Expedition
  • Infiniti QX56
  • Nissan Armada
  • Toyota Sequoia

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2013 Yukon XL 1500 Standard Equipment

Braking and Handling

  • Four Wheel ABS

Climate Control

  • Front Air Conditioning
  • Rear Air Conditioning
  • Rear Heater


  • Auto On Headlights
  • Cruise Control
  • Keyless Entry
  • Power Locks
  • Power Windows
  • Vehicle Information Center


  • Electronic Transfer Case


  • Privacy Glass
  • Rear Fixed Glass Liftgate
  • Roof Rail
  • Side Steps


  • Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel


  • Auto Day/Night Mirror
  • Driver Air Bag
  • Front Fog Lights
  • Front Wipers, Variable Intermittent
  • Heated Outside Mirrors
  • Passenger Air Bag
  • Side Air Bag(s)
  • Stability Control
  • Traction Control


  • Folding Rear Seat
  • Third row seat

Sound and Entertainment

  • Compact Disc MP3 Capable
  • Satellite Radio


  • Blue Tooth Compatible
  • GPS/Satellite Communication

Tires and Wheels

  • Alloy Wheels
  • Full Spare Tire

Trucks and Towing

  • Tow Hooks
  • Trailer Harness
  • Trailer Hitch
What are the factory warranties? See Warranties
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