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MONDECITO, California — While the image and capability of the Suburban family of sport-utes may have been honed on ranches and in hard hat areas like oil fields, most of these behemoths nowadays are housed in upscale areas like this Santa Barbara suburb.
They’ve been a steady source of profits for GM as a result.
Only this year, they’re undergoing something of an identity crisis. While the Chevrolet Suburban stays the same, the GMC version gets a new name that sounds straight out of a Wal-Mart circular —Yukon XL.
"Capitalizing on the Yukon name gives GMC full-size sport-utility vehicles a distinct identity in the market," said Denny O'Donnell, Yukon brand manager. "Yukon is a name that clearly means 'GMC,' and GMC means trucks that deliver more capability than may be needed."
The new Yukon XL is an evolution of a product that was introduced in 1935. The first Suburban pioneered the full-size sport-utility segment. It provided customers with a durable, reliable, go-anywhere vehicle with plenty of cargo space, passenger seating and towing capacity.
For 2000, the Yukon XL’s design builds on the look established by the all-new 1999 Sierra full-size pickup. While only a grille and badges distinguished previous GMCs, lower fender lines and bulged hoods give 2000-model GMC designs distinctive and brawny appearances.
Yukon XL adds four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with larger brake pads, three Vortec V-8 engines, standard front seat side-impact airbags and more reliable electrical and cooling systems. Serviceability is also improved through an exclusive oil-life monitoring system and long-life fluids.
Even with a new more spacious interior, Yukon XL has the same exterior dimensions than its predecessor and is actually more maneuverable with a smaller turning diameter. Overall ride and handling have also been improved.
For enhanced vehicle control, Yukon XL offers advanced systems on both two- and four-wheel-drive models. A traction-assist system available on two-wheel drive models reacts to low-traction conditions faster than the driver could. On four-wheel-drive models, an optional Autotrac active transfer case automatically transfers torque to the front wheels when needed.