By on April 18, 2016

2016 GMC Yukon Denali

Strange as it seems to those of us who clearly remember 16-inch wheels as the sporting option on midsize sedans, 20-inch rims on a 2016 GMC Yukon Denali appear downright tiny.

Indeed, the 20-inchers pictured above are the poverty-spec wheels on the Yukon Denali, a simple way of avoiding a set of $2,495-2,995 22-inch wheels that will — and here’s the kicker — make your Yukon Denali distinctly less comfortable.

Substance over style. Propriety in place of panache. Grace instead of grandeur. From a dynamic standpoint, the 2016 GMC Yukon Denali on 20-inch rims that we tested a few weeks ago was noticeably superior to the 2015 GMC Yukon Denali we tested the previous winter, a vehicle shod with 22-inch wheels which now cost, according to GMC.com, $2,995.

This year’s Yukon Denali tester was all gaping wheel arches and blackwall; this is the Yukon Denali of choice for police departments if police departments bought Yukon Denalis instead of Tahoes; the Yukon Denali that makes people wonder if it’s really a Denali or just a Yukon SLE with $1,400 optional 20s; an emasculated SUV that not-so-proudly announces to the world that you shelled out near-Escalade money for a Tahoe but couldn’t find a few more dimes and nickels behind the couch cushions to properly option it up to typical Denali standards.

20-inch 2016 GMC yukon Denali wheel

This Yukon may be better prepared to deal with the rigors of daily life on the rugged coastal roads of Nova Scotia, but the smaller wheels means we sputtered through the city of Halifax unnoticed, a stark contrast to the eye-catching 2015 Yukon on its dashing, upsized, 7-spoke 22s. Even in understated black paint, that 22-inch-clad (285/45R22 tires) 2015 Yukon Denali incited innumerable second glances, prompted plenty of “How much is it?” queries, and caused Buick Encores to quiver in the right lane, embarrassed to have ever called itself an SUV.

Northerners who spend half the year driving around in red Corolla S sedans on black steelies are surely aghast at the thought of spending an additional $2,995 on a $70,015 full-size SUV just to abide by modern society’s automotive edicts. But style matters in certain sectors more than others, and the upmarket image which is supposed to be conveyed by moving up from Tahoe to Yukon to Yukon Denali — and eventually to Escalade — is largely rescinded if the Yukon Denali appears to be wearing GMC’s version of the Corolla’s black steelies: 10-spoke 20-inch ultra-bright machined aluminum wheels.

2015 GMC Yukon Denali front

But the “small” wheels sure do make the Yukon Denali a far more luxurious vehicle. I won’t disagree with my Simon And Garfunkel-inspired TTAC review of the bigger-wheeled ‘15 Yukon Denali — “the Yukon Denali ignores the worst pavement” — because even the bigger-wheeled Yukon Denali with its wonderfully stout structure manages to beat the most offensive roads into submission. But magnetic ride control works hard to make it so, and there’s always an awareness that the suspension is busily at work analyzing asphalt, studying surfaces, and calculating concrete consistency.

The same can be said of the Cadillac Escalade I tested late last year. It’s not that the ride quality is poor, rather that a vehicle designed to cosset a large number of occupants should better balance the need of looking expensive with the job of providing a magic carpet experience.

Shod with the Yukon’s most basic 20-inch rims (275/55R20 tires) and still equipped with magnetic ride control, the 2016 GMC Yukon Denali becomes downright imperturbable. The worst section of local road is less than a mile from my house, where a fire hydrant erupted a few months ago and the road needed perpetual repaving in the dead of winter. Since it bubbled and burst and caved in on itself, this patch job causes our own Odyssey’s sliding doors to groan, the Audi Q3 (about which I recently voiced serious wheel complaints) to suffer an anxiety attack upon approach, and the rear end of last week’s Ford F-150 to jiggle about as though it’s auditioning for Drake’s next video.

2016 GMC Yukon 22-inch wheel

The Yukon just didn’t care. Yes, there was an awareness of effort being expended if, and only if, you paid close attention. But the very stretch of road that manifests the structural shortcomings of so many other vehicles highlights the impressive work done on the Yukon’s suspension, a trait revealed here because the Yukon has an appropriate amount of unsprung weight.

Exemplary ride quality doesn’t hide the Yukon Denali’s unrelated shortcomings. The interior doesn’t live up to the highfalutin’ price point. Second row legroom is pitiful for a vehicle of this size, or even a vehicle much smaller than the Yukon. The height of the cargo load floor is a joke. No, seriously. My athletic 70-pound dog — who’s rarely permitted in manufacturer-supplied press cars but yearns to plaster them all with hair and mud — was granted an opportunity to jump in the back of the Yukon. She looked at me, looked at the Yukon, looked at me again, and walked away. “You’ve gotta be kidding,” she said, or at least that’s what the angle of her ears intimated.

On the flip side, a stellar powertrain (6.2-liter V8 with 420 horsepower and an eight-speed automatic) produces stunning acceleration figures. Moreover, even real world urban fuel consumption, 17 miles per gallon, is perfectly tolerable given the Yukon Denali’s obscene power and range of capabilities.

Alas, the snug second- and third-row seats create an interior too snug for the demands of my family. But the Yukon is a handsome, powerful, comfortable, imposing brute of an SUV that’s undeniably appealing to legions of buyers.

Curiously, one of the best ways to make the Yukon Denali better is to not spend more money. Stacked up against a Yukon Denali on 22s, this Yukon Denali doesn’t look tough enough or rich enough. But this Yukon is better than that Yukon, and that should simply be enough.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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95 Comments on “Sensible Shoes: Buy the Yukon Denali That Doesn’t Look like a Yukon Denali...”


  • avatar
    Waterview

    +1 on the load floor comment. I cannot understand how that got through the design, mock up, and testing phase without someone with an ounce of common sense saying “gee, do you think having the load floor four feet off the ground might not make sense?”

    From the rear doors forward, the Tahoe, Yukon, and Escalade are all very nice. That rear floor is a deal breaker.

    • 0 avatar
      Mike N.

      That load floor, and it’s cause, the solid rear axle, are a testament to GM’s glorious history of half-assing it, especially for a vehicle that sells for BMW/Mercedes money. Other than the width, my sister-in-law’s Tahoe and my boss’ Escalase both seemed poorly packaged on the inside.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        The load floor issue is made about 6 inches worse by GM’s insistence on achieving a fold-flat third row layout with a solid rear axle. 4Runners with 3rd rows have the same issue of a raised load floor of an already-high setup. I say to hell with it, just make the third row easily removable/stowable.

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          This isn’t just trucks, and it’s certainly not just GM—many cars do the same thing: raising the rear load floor to meet the seatback edge. It kills seats-up room, but (at least in hatchbacks) doesn’t make loading too difficult.

          You could fix this by allowing the seat cushions fold forward (like, oh, every hatchback from the 1990s and early 2000s) or allowing the seats to come out entirely (like most minivans and the PT Cruiser). But this is probably cheaper, and lets you take those deceptive “this car has a huge cargo hold” photos of uninterrupted (but oddly short) space.

          One of the reasons I didn’t buy a Toyota Matrix years ago was this reason.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            It’s more a GM thing than not.

            I saw one of these Yukon Denalis at my kid’s soccer game, and they are positively ridiculously huge.

            Of course, the woman who exited it from behind the ginormous mesh metal, jaw like maw (Emminence Front), was all of a buck twenty, and had exactly one small child in tow.

            It’s amazing what Americans buy and how much they’re willing to spend when they have access to gobs of debt/credit again.

            Put this monstrosity firmly in the needless things category for approximately 89% of those driving them.

        • 0 avatar
          Waterview

          Amen! I don’t want the damn third row seats anyway. My current Tahoe (Z71) had an option for only two rows of seats and a flat floor in the rear. Is great for actually hauling stuff. Unfortunately for me, GM doesn’t make that version anymore. And you can’t remove the third row seats either. Frustrating.

        • 0 avatar

          I always hear the solid rear axle and I think that may be a cop out. The 1st and 2nd gen Durango had a flat load floor and a solid axle and come to thing of it I think the extended wheel base trail blazers did too.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Hmm I don’t think so on the Trailblazer EXT, but definitely the 04+ Durango, that’s actually pretty surprising!

          • 0 avatar

            The 1st gen Durango folds flat for sure as I own one. There might be slight increase in floor height over (1/2″ maybe) it not being there but nothing like in the Tahoe or 4 runner. It was obviously designed with a fold flat third row as a goal.

    • 0 avatar
      matthewjoneill

      I agree that the solution seems pretty unreasonable, but I would guess that if they switched to an independent rear suspension to free up space you’d get just as many people carping about how it’s not a “real” truck anymore.

      I prefer the elevated floor to having to remove seats, even as stupid as it looks.. It’s pretty handy to just put that 3rd row down and up with a button press. I was intent on buying a used suburban, but this was one of the features that sold me on the new one.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Ford went to IRS on the Explorer in 2002, and the Expedition in 2003. People carped for a bit, then got over it.

        • 0 avatar
          matthewjoneill

          Count me on the side of wishing they’d do it already. Frankly, I’d have preferred to wait for the redesign of the expedition (2017 I think) but I had a time limit on this decision (9 months).

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            The lack of solid rear axle has clearly destroyed the market for the expedition, GM would be stupid to ever get rid of the biggest selling feature of the K2XX SUVs.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      In 2014 I was at the NADA convention in New Orleans. It was a chance for me to look through both the new Suburban/Yukon and a Colorad/Canyon.

      I was talking with a GM rep and they were taking me through the new Suburban, I have a 2008 and have had it now for 6 yr 2 months. It has been great.

      Interestingly, I had at the time of prior to NADA, had to move a washing machine into a rental property, and I of course had it in my suburban. When reviewing the new unit with the GM rep I pointed out that I could not purchase a new one because something as basic as a washing machine would not fit in the back. Deal breaker for sure.

      His response was something along the lines of, I am not the target market for them….I think I was more taken back by the aloofness that people actually use these things for real life stuff, not just to look neat at soccer practice. I get that a CC pick up is the answer. But it isn’t for me…

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Wow. I fit an washing machine in my X5 with no issue. Of course, it didn’t have the rear air suspension or the third row.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        “I was more taken back by the aloofness that people actually use these things for real life stuff, not just to look neat at soccer practice. ‘

        I have a kid in soccer and own an ’07 ‘Hoe so I had to laugh at that. And yes here in MN they litter the lots at games & practices. I’m going to keep that ’07 running for awhile because personally I don’t care for the new ones. When it’s time to send it down the road probably won’t be another FS GM SUV in my future.

  • avatar
    brucebanner

    As a father unfortunate enough to have to send his children to private school, these things have been completely emasculated as glorified strollers for posh toddlers and moms eternally in the tightest yoga outfits on the market. So for that intended use, buy whatever rims make the other mommies jealous.

  • avatar
    Rday

    It is a truly sad day when so much time and space is spent on ‘wheels’ that are meant to impress ‘gangster’ and Rap fans and other Poseurs. I guess it is better than carrying around assault rifles as a means of self expression but do we really need such phony attempts at showing we are ‘better’ than others.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “style”, “panache”, “grandeur” but this is what “rims” are all about:

    http://www.hiphopcars.com/new-monte-carlo.jpg

    You rich folks gonna slap your hoes when you get home too?

  • avatar

    Everything that happened before will happen again. It’s a wonder this thing isn’t shod with wagon wheels–that’s what those 22’s look like. I don’t get the point of a vehicle that is intended for comfort being impacted by such wheels. It’d be different if this were a sports car, where you were getting something measurable in return (theoretically) in exchange for suffering worse ride comfort.

    Of course, the reason this vehicle is hard to load and is unsuitable for families is because GM’s not selling to families. They seem to be targeting the lone driver with these; the kind of person who *wants* to be asked how much a Denali with those 22’s cost.

  • avatar
    Goatshadow

    Difference in trim level on these vehicles is completely irrelevant. The only thing people are looking out for is whether you are going to swing your Escayukohoeban into their lane without warning, blow through the stop sign, or hopefully stop tailgating them in the slow lane.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    There was a time that we could opt to fill those wheel wells with a 16 or 17 wheel wearing 85 aspect ratio tires that had a serious E rated load range – weighing in at about 90 lbs per wheel.

    Oops, the above description would be for the Border Patrol version of the Yukon – not the Denali. I thought the article was about sensible shoes.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    What’s horrifying about the Escayukahoeburban is that you get more usable space space, a better ride, about the same performance and better mileage from the Travcadiacore—itself no great shakes when it comes to packaging—in the same showroom but retailing for much, much less.

    Either you really need to tow, or you just like’em this way.

    • 0 avatar
      cirats

      ^^This. I made a similar point in a Yukon review a few weeks ago and was mildly derided for it because the two vehicles were seen as so drastically different, and the Yukon as so vastly superior, but I don’t get it (unless you really need to tow, go off-road, etc.).

      I’ve personally owned both a Tahoe and an Acadia, and the packaging on the Acadia – in terms of interior space, usefulness of the 2nd and 3rd rows, load-in height behind the third row, etc., are all equal or better in the Acadia, and it’s easier to drive, park, etc. The Yukon Denali (my brother-in-law has one now) is a bit more luxurious than the Acadia Denali (what my wife currently drives), as it seems to have leather on more interior surfaces and stuff like that, and I would disagree with anyone who thinks the Yukon better looking, but I believe the price differential is somewhere in the $20k to $25k range, and my brother-in-law with the Yukon is already wondering if he’s going to need a bigger vehicle when they have their second child in a few months, whereas we just bought the Acadia as the primary people-hauler and vacation-goer for our family of 4. My wife also simply didn’t want to drive anything as huge as the Yukon but wanted as much space as one could get in an SUV. A minivan would, of course, be the most practical choice, but she’d been driving a minivan for 10+ years and simply didn’t want another one, and I couldn’t fault her for that.

      In short, the decision to get an “Escayukahoeburban” over a “Travcadiacore” would appear to me to be very much one of style over substance. That said, people make those choices all the time – I’ve made my fair share myself – and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, I’d include our choice of Acadia over minivan in that category of choices.

      As an aside, and a bit more to the point of this article, when we found the Acadia we wanted, we made the dealer swap out the mirrored shoes for the less garish option. Same size, so no difference in ride quality, but I thought the mirrored ones were hideous.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I could see myself hypothetically buying a Yukon or Suburban just becuase I think they are cool. Same with a 4Runner or GX460.

      I would not buy a Traverse, Acadia, Highlander, or Sienna unless I had people hauling needs and I wouldn’t buy an Enclave unless I joined the Golden Girls.

      I dont think I’m alone in feeling more emotional appeal toward the SUVs, but if someone is shopping heavily on practicality needs then they would be better served by the CUVs/vans.

    • 0 avatar
      matthewjoneill

      “Escayukahoeburban” is somewhat of a misnomer. A tahoe has pretty cramped 2nd and 3rd rows. A suburban has a lot more legroom in both rows, and a lot more room in the rear with both of those rows in use. I agree that an Acadia makes more sense than a Tahoe, but you can’t really cross-shop one with a suburban.

      We just went through all this last spring, and test drove everything. Bought a suburban.

    • 0 avatar

      SUV’s have always been vehicles that sell on perception. Crossovers and Vans have to run uphill against all the emotion the SUV brings to the table. This is not a space in which logic necessarily trumps.

      Lest anyone think I’m being hard on SUV owners, let me assure you I’m already aware of which vehicles are tugging at my heart and head, respectively, for garage space one I finally retire my beloved Mazda3.

    • 0 avatar
      smartascii

      I may be alone in this, but the amorphous blob-shape of the Traverse or similar doesn’t really seem any different from a minivan, which can at least carry all that stuff & people and still give everyone legroom. People who buy truck-based SUVs and who do not own a trailer or live at the end of an unpaved road are making a stylistic choice, which is fine, butI really can’t think of a spacious 3-row crossover that has anywhere near the same presence.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    “Alas, the snug second- and third-row seats create an interior too snug for the demands of my family.’

    In a vehicle this large? Incredible.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      I rode in a previous gen Denali XL recently…. I was blown away by how (relatively) cramped the interior was. The cabin floor is crazy high and the cabin is a lot wider than it is long. Reminds me of a Crown Vic. You can lay across the back seat but you have like an inch of room between the front seat and your knees.

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      He’s right. From the exterior you believe that the interior would be downright cavernous given the size of the thing…but when you actually get in it the interior is considerably smaller than you expect. This has been true of this platform all the way back to the early 2000’s.

    • 0 avatar
      smartascii

      When shopping for (very used) examples in this class, I wound up with an Excursion for precisely this reason. I wanted something that would tow 8k+ pounds, carry at least 7 people + cargo, and could be taken to the end of the local fire roads for some hiking/biking style things. The Expeditions in my price range weren’t available with the long wheelbase, the cheap Armadas and Sequoias weren’t quite long enough to do the 7 people + cargo thing, and the Suburbans are weird because the legroom in the 2nd and 3rd rows is shameful, despite the fact that there’s more than enough room in the cargo area to give everyone a couple more inches. Also, for reasons that make sense only to GM engineers, the third row is made worse by the fact that there’s no foot room under the 2nd-row seats, so you kind of have to sit club-footed back there. The Excursion will hold 8 grownups in enough comfort for an hour+ ride, but it’s the only one I know of.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    A few weeks back, I had to laugh out loud at the Car and Driver review that was chiding a Prius, of all things, for having “only” 15″ wheels equipped stock, and implying that a buyer may therefore find the car’s handling inadequate. A Prius. A vehicle that is the polar opposite of “sporty” in every possible way. By design.

  • avatar
    Hank

    “Moreover, even real world urban fuel consumption, 17 miles per gallon, is perfectly tolerable given the Yukon Denali’s obscene power and range of capabilities.”

    Maybe, but the first thing that jumps out at me is that this is 8% lower than the real world mpg of my ’15 Silverado crew cab gets in the city. I regularly get 20-22.5 on the highway. You’d expect the Yukon to equal or best the pickup…or I would, anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      The aero advantage of the Yukon has to be undone by the half-ton of added weight methinks.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      Hell, my wife’s ’15 Grand Cherokee averages about 19mpg overall; 17mpg on a Denali is pretty impressive considering the heft and powertrain in that sucker.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      We’ve had week-long tests in three 6.2L/8-speed GM vehicles. Without winter tires and in the summer, a Sierra did 17 mpg in mostly urban driving. In early winter with a good chunk of highway driving, an Escalade did 18 mpg. This Yukon Denali, with wintery temperatures and winter tires and almost exclusiely urban driving, did 17. With some mileage on the odo, it’ll get a little better. More highway time will obviously help. And the removal of winter tires will do the same. But the driver’s own context is helpful when looking at fuel economy figures – “It’s not the vehicle, it’s the driver” is pertinent. And I would say, not just the driver but the driver’s environment. My urban setting is very hilly, for instance. Put your Sierra in my hands and my environment, and it’s possible that I end up with around 17-18 mpg. Bigger point: the 6.2L has little fuel economy penalty (in my experience) compared with 5.3L, which did slightly better than 18 mpg for us on a largely highway test, albeit with five aboard for much of the week. http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2015/08/l86-ecotec3-62l-review-2015-gmc-sierra.html

      • 0 avatar
        matthewjoneill

        ^ good points. When my wife drives our suburban, she gets about 3mpg less than I do. She also sets off the collision detection warning about 10x more often.

        Also, driving from TN to PA through perfetly flat Ohio, I was able to top 23mpg over 1200 miles. Driving from TN to MD, I topped out at about 20.5.

  • avatar
    omer333

    Over the weekend we purchased a used Acura MDX that was shod with 18s. It seemed like every damn es-you-vee rolls on DUBS, SON or larger.

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      It has to do with the size. These things are getting bigger all the time, which means they need bigger wheels to look “right”. To the typical consumer, bigger wheels are better. The fact that they often give an inferior ride and make replacing tires more expensive is lost on them at the time of purchase.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        If by “getting bigger all the time” you mean “the wheel wells are getting bigger,” then yes.

      • 0 avatar
        omer333

        I don’t doubt what you’re saying, I just find it utterly ridiculous that cars are being designed to have such huge wheels, yet the greater mass of the wheels causes the cars to use more fuel.

        Like, the Accord Sport for example, when it was first introduced it came with 18s. Now it has 19s. Did Honda put in a more powerful Earth Dreams four-cylinder engine and larger brakes to handle all that power? No. It’s just more weight and mass that will consume more gas and do little to help the ride.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          omer333, that’s what sells. The vast majority of Americans don’t care about fuel consumption or the price of gas.

          Economizing may be forced upon us by mandates and regulation but all that does is for the buyers to step up to the next, larger class, or pickup trucks and SUVs.

          • 0 avatar
            omer333

            I must be the only person that ever shopped for a third-row SUV and took note of the wheel/tire size and MPG. And yes, I tried finding a Highlander hybrid, but I was having trouble on that end. At least finding one in my price-range (sub-$20k)

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Yup, many people feel your pain. Seriously. Lots people looking.

            Last week I talked to a young guy leaving the Air Force soon and he is looking for a Highlander, any late model Highlander, to take with him into civilian life.

            None to be had worth having. Or not within what he can afford even with trading-in two free&clear cars.

            I was not able to help him since I’m not selling our 2008 4×4 Limited now used by my grand daughter in El Paso, TX. And it has 18″ wheels as well.

            The young Air Force guy’s mom and dad, married brothers and married sisters all drive a Highlander of various vintages so it is crucial for him to find a Highlander since his whole family is all set to service them, i.e. mostly common parts.

            Third-row SUV. They’re pretty much in demand on the used-market since much of the initial depreciation bite has already been taken out of the first owner.

            But it does free the dealers to jack up the price to whatever the market will bear, when they get one in.

          • 0 avatar
            omer333

            highdesertcat, part of the problem was trying to find something that was in the sweet-spot (under 100,000 miles/around $20k out-the-door/reasonable age/not worn the f$%k out). I think the 2007 Acura we got hits that sweet-spot relatively easy. The other issue was int eh mountains, every single car-buyer HAS to have AWD, and if you’re trading in a 2WD CR-V, your trade-in is kind of hosed.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            omer333, a lot of people in that same situation, trying to find the right balance to make the purchase.

            Just remember that you can keep any car running as long as you’re willing to replace the worn or broken parts.

            Most important aspect is that you are happy with what you got, and that it works for you.

            I still keep a 1989 Camry V6 around to do my short runs and grocery-getting. Then again, it hasn’t broken down yet and my buddy took real good care of it.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    I love the 235-65-16 tires on my van, they are very comfortable. Why folks would pay more for less comfort is a logic I cannot understand.

  • avatar
    matthewjoneill

    I don’t really understand the hate towards these vehicles. I bought a ’16 suburban LTZ, with a 2nd row bench, and paid 66k (I kept the “small” 20″ rims, I personally think they look great). I’ve got two toddlers, and a 3rd kid on the way. Being able to seat 7-8 people is going to be super handy over the next 10-15 years that I drive this thing. I don’t really tow that often, but I did want four wheel drive and the ground clearance.

    Also – I’ve never had anything that can eat miles like this. 12 hours from TN to PA, with kids, lots of gear, and getting 23mpg? It’s by far the most comfortable long trip vehicle I’ve ever owned.

    Did I want to pay 66k? No, obviously. But I don’t want a van, and any other SUV with all 3 rows up has no room left in the back. There’s not a lot of competition in this space. Maybe the new expedition will be awesome, but I’ve already cast my lot for the next decade.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      No hate in this article for the Suburban or Yukon XL. Whole other kettles of fish. Some of the limitations still apply (load floor, for one) but a vehicle that can tow that well while taking that much stuff and that many people is hugely impressive in my books. Yukon/Tahoe can’t swallow people AND stuff nearly as well, nor nearly well enough compared with more crossoverish family haulers given the overall dimensions of the vehicle.

    • 0 avatar

      You didn’t run into the issue we did when evaluating third row vehicles? You’ve got captain’s chairs in the second row. That means the third row becomes inaccessible once you’ve added a baby seat to the picture, because the baby seat’s going to be in the second row and you’ll likely have to slide the second row bench back to accommodate it. At least that was the case in a CX-9 we looked at.

      • 0 avatar
        matthewjoneill

        We did not want captains chairs in ours, which is why we had to order it.. We could only find one (1) 2nd row bench seat on an LTZ trim suburban in the whole country.

        With the bench seat, you can put two full size carseats in the second row, and still easily get back to the third. With the 3rd kid, (since kids are in carseats until they’re of legal drinking age these days) we’ll probably put one carseat back in the 3rd row, and two in the second.

        BTW – the expedition has a far better 2nd row bench, with a 40/20/40 split, instead of the traditional 60/40.

        • 0 avatar

          Right, of course you can do that, but the baby seat is rear-facing. My assumption is you’ll want that in the second row. So will a rear-facing seat fit in the second row, but still allow you access to the third row?

          • 0 avatar
            matthewjoneill

            Yeah. Babyseat and carseat on the 60 part of the 2nd row 60/40 split. The other part of the seat flips forward for access to the 3rd row. It will be the exact setup we have now, except we’ll swap a babyseat for a carseat, and move that carseat back to the 3rd row.

          • 0 avatar

            Roger. Thanks for the explanation. If it seems like I’m drilling, it’s just because we’re in the same shoes right now. Two girls, both in seats because gummit, and one incoming.

            FYI, you might want to check your state if you hate the car seats. While I think they’re generally a good idea, I found that here in GA the law reads “suggested” with many of the “regulations” on who is in what, for how long.

          • 0 avatar
            matthewjoneill

            No problem, we agonized over this for awhile knowing a 3rd was on the way.

            One annoying thing that is difficult to suss out in the literature is that the 3rd row, while it does have a hook on the back of the seat for the top strap of a carseat, does not have the handy LATCH hooks buried in the seat. So that will have to be secured with a seatbelt.

            I agree on the regulations… Here in TN they’re fairly light, but what is legal and what is smart are two different things. If I’m in an accident, I doubt I’d be able to retrospectively justify risking my child’s safety over the convenience of abandoning full size car seats.

  • avatar
    06V66speed

    The factory 15″ wheels on my ’99 Suburban LS look tiny, especially by today’s standards.

    That being said, it floats like an old Caddy and rides extremely comfortable. Not bad for an old workhorse.

    But if that set of BIG wheels complements your BIG ego, then hey… GO you!

  • avatar
    turf3

    Despite all the attempts to obscure it, these are nothing more than full size Chevy pickups under the skin.

    When the full size Chevy pickup was invented (I would probably say ’55 was the first of what we would call a full size pickup), I believe half ton trucks came with 15″ wheels and they would go to 16″ at either 3/4 or 1 ton.

    Nothing has changed in the intervening years that would make a larger wheel than this a better choice.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    If I were to buy a K2XX of any stripe I would be looking for a rim size that allowed me to put some OWL or RWL tires on the truck that had at least a minimum of off-road cred. But then I live in the middle of the geologic formation called the Colorado Plateau and got caught in several snow squalls THIS weekend.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    On a related note, anyone else notice how the wheels on these things peel, flake, bubble and turn to dust amazingly quickly? GM must use a really cheap alloy, current-gen Yukons (and siblings) have worse wheels than 10 year old Benzes. This is in a heavily salted region, maybe they hold-up better in Arizona.

  • avatar
    2KAgGolfTDI

    Who cares which wheels? The owner’s just going to spray-paint them flat black anyway…

  • avatar
    legacygt

    Thank you for pointing out the joke that is the rear cargo floor in these vehicles. I’ve been reading reviews of these things since they came out and you’re the first one to point out this obvious flaw. I guess most journalists never bother to crack the tailgate on these vehicles, let alone try to put real cargo (or dogs) in them. Some focus group asked for a 3rd row that folded flat but GM had already committed to its suspension setup and seat design. There was no way to get the seats to fold any lower so they did the only thing they could think of. They raised the cargo floor. In addition to making the cargo area smaller (sorry, I’m not counting the 4″ tall storage compartment under the raised floor) and harder to load, the whole thing looks exactly like the afterthought that it is. These higher trim levels even have a metal skid plate thing that you could theoritically slide cargo over but you can’t because you bump into the raised floor after just a couple inches of sliding. This design has no place at the Tahoe’s price points, let alone the Yukon and Escalade’s.

  • avatar
    JBIG

    Mercedes-Benz reversed the trend of bigger wheels on new CUV/SUV models with the introduction of the GLC300. The 2015 GLK350 had 19-inch wheels as standard with two available packages (Appearance Package or AMG® Styling Package) that included different styled 20-inch wheels. The new GLK300 (the GLK replacement) is longer and wider but has 18-inch wheels as standard. On the new GLC. They do offer a couple of 19-inch wheel options and one 20-inch wheel option that requires choosing a $2,600 Night Package and an additional $750 charge for the 20-inch wheels. I’m not sure if the change to a smaller wheel size is due to the switch to run-flat tires (all GLCs have run flats while the GLK350 had regular tires and a donut spare) or the change in engine size (GLK350 had a 3.5 liter direct-injected 302hp V6 and the GLC has a 2.0 liter turbo-charged 241hp 4-cylinder) or was it due to providing a “better ride” and cost savings.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    Who are these people that auto makers are making huge rims for?

    Is there something in the focus group testing that tells them that even 20″ rims are too small?

    The demographic that are really into large and distinctive rims are going to go aftermarket regardless of how big the automakers go. Just seems like an incredible amount of negatives across the board for a cosmetic look that I don’t think 99% of new car buyers care or think all that much about.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Needs to go back to the removable 3rd row, whatever idiot thought that it needed to fold flat should be fired.

    • 0 avatar
      matthewjoneill

      If you’re actually hauling people around in these things, the fold flat 3rd row is far more convenient. The execution is unfortunate, but I prefer it over the removable 3rd row.

  • avatar
    fishiftstick

    Someone should set up a wheel exchange where those who buy base models but want that big wheel look can exchange their wheels with those who buy up-optioned models but want their vehicles to competently go, stop, steer and suspend.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    On our Volvo XC90 T8, we decided to forego the 21″ and 22″ wheel options and went with the standard Inscription 20″ wheels. The 22s look the best, but have the worst ride. The 21s don’t ride as good as the 20s. The best ride is with the 20″ wheels with the air suspension, which is exactly what we went with.

    The odd thing is that the 20″ wheels on the Inscription model look outstanding and fill the wheel wells just fine. However, the configurator on the website intentionally makes them look small so you’ll buy a wheel upgrade.

    I hate hard riding luxury vehicles. It defeats the purpose of having a luxury vehicle.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    The Big wheels look good, but the rubber on a truck serves a purpose. Here’s the solution: whitewalls! Not the old one inch width, but the big 5 inchers of the 1930s, attached to the wheels. Problem solved!

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    $70k for a new truck means an even longer life for my already old 4Runner. For an old retired sailor that is house type money.

  • avatar
    Eyeflyistheeye

    If I’m getting a GMTK2XX, it’s a Tahoe LT. No lower, no higher.

    EDIT: Damn, $49k for a Tahoe LT on TrueCar? I’m buying slightly used if I have to go full-size SUV.

  • avatar
    09box

    The bigger rims just look awful and the price of replacing one of those rims and tires from a busting it on a pothole is going to be more awful.

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