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2011 GMC Yukon Performance

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While the Yukon spans a wide range of focused models, all of them have good acceleration and ride quality, and rather light steering, with little if any handling feedback (they're huge trucks, after all). Standard-issue 2011 GMC Yukon models offer a standard 5.3-liter V-8 with 320 hp, but a larger 403-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8 is offered in the longer Yukon XL and luxurious Yukon Denali model. The latter is the pick for the toughest towing demands and accelerates smartly with a rich engine note, but even with the included cylinder deactivation system, it's a very thirsty engine.

With the standard engine the 2011 Yukon can move quite quickly, and its six-speed automatic transmission provides rapid acceleration and good responsiveness. All Yukon SUVs can be ordered with available four-wheel drive. A single-speed transfer case system is standard on Yukons; a two-speed transfer case is an option on Yukon and Yukon XL; and Denali editions come with on-demand four-wheel drive.

On all versions, the steering feels light but not communicative, and bumps are positively smothered by the massive curb weight and big coil-spring suspension. The GMC Yukon Denali models all get GM's Autoride electronically controlled damping system, which does a great job bringing good ride comfort and decent steering response through the big 20-inch wheels. Overall, the Denali isn't tremendously maneuverable, but it handles surprisingly well on back roads; you'll quickly forget that you're piloting a 6,000-pound vehicle that can tow up to 8,600 pounds.

For such a large, massive vehicle, the 2011 GMC Yukon XL drives well.

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