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!