The 2019 GMC Yukon XL is a $74,000 monster truck

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The 2019 GMC Yukon XL

Mack Hogan | CNBC

If you want a large SUV, there are a lot of options. Toyota makes the Highlander, Volkswagen makes the Atlas, Ford makes the Explorer and GMC makes the Acadia. If you want an extra large SUV, you can get a Nissan Armada, Toyota Sequoia, GMC Yukon or many more gargantuan cruisers. But in the world of mega SUVs so big that it’s comical, your only options come from General Motors and Ford.

Despite not facing a ton of competition, the Yukon XL still feels in need of an update. It’s cavernous inside, comfortable on the road and capable, but we think it’s a tough sell at $74,630 as tested.

The 2019 GMC Yukon XL

Mack Hogan | CNBC

The good

The GMC Yukon and Chevy Tahoe twins are well known. The Suburban and Yukon XL are those same trucks, stretched. That means you get the same truck-like, body-on-frame construction, burly V-8 powertrain and three rows of seats. The big difference is that the XL model has a lot of space behind that third row of seats.

The result is an insane ability to swallow cargo. The Yukon XL is one of only a handful of SUVs that can truly handle seven passengers and all the luggage they’d need for a vacation. Minivans can pull off the same feat, but they can’t tow 8,300 pounds like a Yukon XL can.

Everything in the Yukon XL is mega-sized. The cabin is so massive that it’s not hard to understand why NFL players are often caught in Yukons, Tahoes, and Escalades. Still, even our 5′ 6 ” reviewer never felt swallowed or overwhelmed. This truck is fit for all sizes.

The 2019 GMC Yukon XL

Mack Hogan | CNBC

It’s also comfortable. Our tester came with the optional magnetic suspension, which adjusts constantly to provide the maximum amount of body control without giving up comfort. There’s still some business in the ride, mainly from a jiggly rear end, but the Yukon XL is perfectly pleasant if a tad bouncy.

It’s also user-friendly. GM’s current infotainment system is a breeze to use, though the new system in the Sierra AT4 had useful improvements like the ability to show navigation, music and phone information at the same time.

Finally, the Yukon looks good. There’s something to be said for the brawny bombast of these huge American SUVs. While the current Expedition tries to smooth out its big body, the Yukon XL is unashamedly huge. Especially with the Graphite Appearance Package that blacks out the wheels and trim, this thing looks mean.

The 2019 GMC Yukon XL

Mack Hogan | CNBC

The bad

Though we appreciate the old-school looks of the Yukon, the old-school behavior of it isn’t as welcome. It’s been a long time since we’ve gotten an all-new Yukon and the age shows.

First, it feels more lumbering and big in its operation than the similarly large Expedition Max. It helps that the current Expedition dates back to late 2017 for the 2018 model year, whereas the Yukon’s last full redesign hit dealerships in winter of 2014.

That’s obvious inside. Though GMC has added in a lot of tech over the years, the cabin feels far cheaper than a $74,630 price tag would suggest. This Yukon XL is only $630 cheaper than the Expedition Max we tested but feels years behind inside.

The 2019 GMC Yukon XL

Mack Hogan | CNBC

Plus, despite the high price tag, our tester still lacked adaptive cruise control and other active driving assists. Adaptive cruise control is available on the Yukon Denali, but that’s even more expensive. Regardless, you can’t get a 360-degree camera or automatic parking. For a vehicle this big, those tech features could really be useful.

The powertrain has also fallen behind the competition. Despite a massive 6.2-liter V-8, the Yukon XL can’t tow as much as the Expedition with its 3.5-liter V-6. It also delivers worse fuel economy.

The 2019 GMC Yukon XL

Mack Hogan | CNBC

Final thoughts

The Yukon XL is not a bad vehicle. The bigger problem is that we can’t see what would lead someone to buy one over the competition. Minivans like the Chrysler Pacifica offer just as much room and practicality while beating the Yukon XL on price, technology and refinement.

If you need the capability of a three-row mega-SUV, the Chevy Suburban is the Yukon XL’s cheaper sibling. But if you want the best mix of practicality, capability, value, technology and refinement, the Ford Expedition Max wins out in every category.

The 2019 GMC Yukon XL

Mack Hogan | CNBC

Rating:

Exterior: 4

Interior: 2

Driving Experience: 2

Value: 1.5

Overall: 2.4

Price as tested: $74,630

*Ratings out of 5.

The 2019 GMC Yukon XL

Mack Hogan | CNBC

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