Driving Over 20 Hours in a 2015 GMC Yukon XL Denali

This year our family took the longest road trip of our lives, we drove from Toronto to South Carolina and then down to Florida. That’s over 20 hours of driving and 2100 km!! As we were considering this trip, we were frightened about the actual time involved and being comfortable but also wary of the potential gas costs. My darling husband is the guy who would have liked to drive straight through but with my Father In Law living in South Carolina, it was a fantastic opportunity to stop in for a visit.

As we were planning our trip, I received an email from GMC Canada which offered up the media fleet options for 2015. I hesitantly inquired about driving a 2015 GMC Yukon XL Denali for our road trip and was surprised when it was available!

Last year we made the trip driving to South Carolina to go on a cruise and on the way home we ended up in an ice storm while in the West Virginia mountains. That was THE most frightening ride of my life so to say I was edgy about safety was an understatement. 2015 GMC Yukon XL Denali was equipped with snow tires, all wheel drive and some impressive safety features.

Yukon safety and crash-avoidance features

GMC Yukon and Yukon XL have strong body structures that are designed to absorb crash energy and provide a protective “safety cage” around occupants. Head curtain side air bags with rollover protection for all seating rows are standard, as are seat-mounted side-impact air bags for driver and right-front passenger that provide thorax and pelvic protection.

We got into this luxurious vehicle after loading up all our gear and quickly realized that we had more than enough room!


The vehicle we had was the top of the line model; it has leather interior, front row heated and cooled seats,  2nd row captain seats (with seat heaters) and the 3rd row which folds down fully-flat if you’d like. We left it up in order to be able to separate ourselves from each other if necessary. Sometimes just that bit of a break is necessary to keep everyone happy!!

This vehicle drives like a dream, it’s smooth on the road and yet has a wide enough wheel base and weight to have great towing capacity. Starting from the front (drivers) row, my favourite highlights are:

The heated and cooled seats top the list! The side mirrors and steering wheel are also heated which would be a blessing during Winter weather. The centre console is HUGE and happens to house 2 additional USB plugs, making a total of 4 in the front seat! Add that to 2 auxiliary jacks and you’re able to be connected at will. Oh did I mention that the vehicle has Wifi capability? Yup there’s that.

More things in the front row worthy of mentioning, remote key start, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound 10-speaker system which allows you to have the kids watching DVDs on the 2 back units and you can still use the radio in the front. That right there is a bit of heaven on a long road trip!

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The second row was mainly kid-zone on this trip, although I did take a little nap on the way home and the captain’s chair was lovely and comfortable. There are cup holders in the doors which I’d like to see redesigned as they’re on an angle which allows the cups to fall out when the door is closing. The climate can be controlled from the second seat, or locked out by a parent in the front.

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The rear-seat entertainment system is available on SLT/Denali models, including DVD player with remote control, overhead display, two sets of wireless infrared headphones, auxiliary audio/video jacks, remote game plug-in and mute button in the overhead console.


The final row has a DVD player, it’s own heating vents and cupholders. For us this was the quiet zone…

Finally the space in the cargo area…it’s MASSIVE!

Yukon XL models have exterior dimensions similar to the regular models, but are about 14 inches longer in wheelbase and 20 inches longer in overall length, offering 3,894 litres  (137.4 cubic feet) of maximum cargo space.

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The seats all have power fold down seats, which means that at the touch of a button you have the entire space through to the back of the 1st row seating available for cargo!

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I made you a YouTube video of the inside of the 2015 GMC Yukon XL Denali which I’ll put here but the biggest thing about the vehicle which SHOCKED me was the gas consumption! We had planned to have to spend up to $700 USD in gas on our journey and were shoecked when the actual total was only $450 USD. This is because the vehicle features a 5.3L V-8 with GM’s fuel-saving Active Fuel Management technology….which means some serious fuel savings!

In the end our journey was so much fun, the vehicle was a dream to enjoy and we’re grateful we had the chance!


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6 Responses

  1. That sounds like a super vehicle, I’d have had fun driving that too. I’ve done the trip from MB to Florida a couple of times, it was an awfully long drive but there was lots to see on the way. The first time we actually stopped off in South Carolina too, to visit friends who’d just moved there.

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