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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As my family is growing, im in the market for a used truck. I cant decided between the Yukon XL and the Suburban. I know they have alot of similarities, however i cant tell if one is really better than the other. For example....I have heard that the AWD transmissions on the denali's are troublesome. Is this true?

To narrow it down, I am ONLY looking at 2004 - 2006 models as I like those body styles better than the newer ones.

Any input would be appreciated.
 

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The only difference between the yukon XL and suburban will be the denali. I haven't personally heard of any problems with the denali over standard models. The denali will have more power (6.0L instead of the 5.3) and full-time AWD compared to the automatic 4WD the others have. The transmission in the Denali is a heavier unit built for the extra power, so it shouldn't be an issue, but I'm not really sure about any potential issues with the AWD transfer case. Having heated seats on the first and second row is a nice bonus with the Denali. On the other hand, the suburban has the Z71 package if you want more skidplates, off-road-friendly step bars vs. running boards, a unique roof rack, and different wheels. While your at it, there are also some good deals that can be had on the Escalade ESV - it has same powertrain as the denali, more features such as parking sensors, softer seats, factory HID headlights, and heated/cooled cupholders AND front & second row seats (the heated/cooled stuff is only if you find a platinum edition). Other than that, the ESV is the same vehicle as the suburban/yukon XL, just with more features and toys

If you want your SUV to be more maneuverable, you could also look into a Yukon XL 2500 or suburban 2500 with Quadrasteer. I haven't heard of any problems with the Quadrasteer system so long as you maintain your vehicle well, and it is supposed to make the truck's turning circle about the same a honda accord. This would limit you to 2003-2006 vehicles though, since it was dropped for 2006 because of a lack of interest at the price tag GM had.

Bottom line is that the yukon and suburban are pretty well equal and you're generally not going to see any more problems in one than the other.
 

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Do you ever really go off road? If not, then the AWD might be better.

Other than that, the Yukon has nicer luxury bits and options. Most of them seem to have the second row captains chairs. I prefer the bench second row and would love to get the 9 seat configuration, which is never offered in the Yukon I think.

I think GM might have more powerful engine options in the 1500 series Yukon XL.
 

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I have had the GMC & the Chevy. I didnt notice much difference between the 2 except for more bells & wissles in GMC, but I didnt have the AWD. I dont like any AWD versions cause I prefer to be in control, not a computer. Its all personal choice. 5.3 is a great motor for the Suburban.
 

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If your going to do any towing, make sure whichever vehicle you get has a transmission cooler or have the AC/Delco transmission cooler installed and I think the 6.0 is probably a better choice for towing. Our 2007 Suburban came with the 5.3 VVT; 4L60E transmission and tow package but it did not have a transmission cooler which I thought was dumb. I don't know about the Yukon XL or Denali's but all the Suburban's (LT & LTZ's) on the lot at the time we bought ours did not have the T Cooler. I purchased one through an online Chevrolet dealer and had my mechanic install it. Total cost was just under $500.00. You could have an aftermarket installed for less but I prefer to stay with factory (AC/Delco) branded products whenever possible. To look at it, you would think it came off the assembly line that way. The 5.3L is an ok motor but if your going to tow anything over 6000 lbs., I would opt for the 6.0L.
The other thing with regards to towing; if the vehicle has the rear coil springs, better get AirLift 1000 air bags. These are (the only one's I found) that will work on the coil spring suspension. They actually go inside the spring and inflate when you tow. They are not a heavy duty air bag by any means but they do help. I wish Monroe or someone made the coil over shocks for the Suburban/Yukon. That's just my nickels worth of free advice.
Good luck.
 

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Both of these vehicles would be fine choice. I would recommend test driving both to get a sense of which would suit you better. I would also suggest taking a look at the GM Certified Used site, gmcertified.com, where you can search for used vehicles in your area in case you decide to go that route. You can also tailor your search criteria to the specific that you are seeking. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact directly. Thank you.

Tricia, GM Customer Service.
 

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I think a big draw back to the AWD is that it hurts the gas mileage. Running a Suburban in auto 4 wheel drive accomplishes the same thing but you can cut it off to improve you gas mileage.
 

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I second the idea to test drive both vehicles, this will give you first hand experience with both trucks and what options you will like or dont like. As mentioned before I commonly see the yukons with the 2nd row captain chairs which might not be great if you have a big family that you will be moving around. My suburban is great thus far. I have the 6.0L 2500 chassis. It is rated to tow 12,000 lbs iirc and mine is a 4x4. Has a HD factory tranny cooler, and what seems like a smaller power steering cooler. I could have sworn I read my Option codes and it said something about an oil cooler too but I could be wrong.

Suburbans can run in auto 4 wheel which is somewhat similar to the yukons AWD.

The way I see it (and this goes for any auto maker with luxury divisions within the same maker) is that GMC's and cadillacs are glorified chevys. They have higher base prices because they simply come stock with more stuff. But some if not most of the same stuff can be had on the lower models by checking that box when its ordered. My suburban has leather, power driver and passenger seats, heated mirrors, sweet stock system with subwoofer.
 

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I have a large family also and these vehicles are great people movers - we have to take the Suburban over the minivan when the whole family goes anywhere because we need all of the seats. I bought a loaded '02 Suburban a few years ago and it has been a great car and we do a good bit of towing with it in the summer. It came with the towing package and transmission and oil coolers, autoride (air shocks/real-time dampening) and all the interior goodies. I was fortunate to be able to get it when gas prices were spiking and the dealers could hardly give these big vehicles away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So far I have looked at a 2005 Denali XL with 65K miles. The truck looked great, but the steering seemed a little to loose for me. This being my first time driving one of these, i wasnt sure if thats how they are supposed to feel. I expected a tighter steer. Also, there seemed to be some sort of whining sound that got louder as I accelerated.
Tomorrow I am checking out a 2006 Surburban LT with 38K miles.
 

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As far as the steering goes, its tough to say how its supposed to feel in comparison to what you are used to without knowing what you currently drive. I will say this much though... when I had my 2wd silverado (2wd = rack & pinion steering) I liked the steering feel, especially when I put a new rack in from Napa. It was solid and you could feel the road. On my avalanche (same recirculating ball setup as the tahoe/suburban/yukon/yukon xl/etc.) I miss the road feel. The steering effort is a lot lighter with this system and it doesn't really make me feel connected to the road. So, personally I would't exactly call the steering on these things tight and inspiring.

That being said, it is not uncommon for the pitman and/or idler arms on this steering system to be worn out, which will cause excessive play and very loose steering. You can check that by having someone turn the steering wheel back and forth quickly while you get under the truck to see if the pitman and idler have enough play to not move at exactly the same time as the linkage that runs between them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks PMF608.....that truly describes what I was trying to say. It just didnt have that "road" feel. Well at least now I know that it has something to do with the recirculating ball setup.
 

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So far I have looked at a 2005 Denali XL with 65K miles. The truck looked great, but the steering seemed a little to loose for me. This being my first time driving one of these, i wasnt sure if thats how they are supposed to feel. I expected a tighter steer. Also, there seemed to be some sort of whining sound that got louder as I accelerated.
Tomorrow I am checking out a 2006 Surburban LT with 38K miles.
I would also suggest test driving a couple different vehicles to ensure that this is something that is a characteristic of the vehicle before you purchase. Keep us posted.

Tricia, GM Customer Service.
 
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