Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips and Reviews

A light colored 2019 GMC Yukon XL Denali is parked in front of a modern house.

Should I Pick the GMC Yukon XL or the Chevy Suburban?

That’s a good question, one that is a bit more complicated than it might seem at first glance. You see, in many ways, they are the same vehicle. Pitting them against each other, like looking at the 2019 GMC Yukon XL vs 2019 Chevy Suburban, is mostly a moot point because their numbers are essentially the same. It’s like comparing an orange to the same orange.

After all, they have the exact same interior cargo space, the same maximum passenger capacity, and offer many of the same options. They both have the same engines to choose from—offering the same amount of horsepower, torque, and maximum towing capacity. In other words, in many ways, you simply cannot go wrong with either of these vehicles because they bring most of the same things to the table.

What about beyond those standard elements that both of them have? Well, let’s consider the different trim levels of each of these vehicles, what they have to offer, and how they differ. Then we’ll revisit that title question and think about which of these two SUVs you should pick.

Identical Numbers

If what you really care about most is performance, power, and specs, then you can pretty much just cover your eyes, point to one of these two SUVs, and be happy with the result. When it comes to their specs, they are essentially the same vehicle. They are both large SUVs designed to handle a lot of passengers or cargo and built with excellent engines that let them tow a lot of weight when needed.

Both the 2019 GMC Yukon XL and the 2019 Chevy Suburban can have up to 9 passengers when properly configured, and give you up to 121.7 cu.ft. of interior cargo space behind the 1st row. They are each available in either 2WD or 4WD configurations and are the exact same height and length as each other.

Both of these SUVs come with a 5.3L EcoTec3 V8 engine that provides up to 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque, and they both have an option to upgrade to a 6.2L EcoTec3 V8 engine that provides up to 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. When properly equipped and configured, both the 2019 GMC Yukon XL and the 2019 Chevy Suburban have a maximum towing capacity of up to 8,300 LBS and that includes the weight of a trailer or camper being pulled.

Trim Level Comparisons

With identical performance, one of the only real ways to differentiate what these two vehicles have to offer is in their trim levels. There are four levels available from GMC, while only three are offered by Chevy. That, to me, gives the 2019 GMC Yukon XL an advantage, because it is easier to find a base trim level you want and then get any additional packages you need when more options are available. But how do these trim levels actually compare and what do they offer? Well…

Trim—GMC Yukon XL SLE vs Chevy Suburban LS

The 2019 GMC Yukon XL starts with the SLE trim level, which is the standard setup for this SUV. It features an 8-inch Infotainment display, a 9-speaker Bose premium sound system, and HD radio. The SLE has cloth front bucket seats, including a 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel and a 4-inch color driver information center. It has a manual liftgate and includes both front and rear park assist.

By comparison, the 2019 Chevy Suburban starts with the LS trim level is also the standard setup. The LS features an 8-inch Infotainment display and HD radio, but it has a 6-speaker standard sound system rather than the Bose premium found in the GMC model. It also features cloth seats, with a 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a 4-inch color driver information center. The LS also has a manual liftgate, but only includes rear park assist, not front.

Trim – GMC Yukon XL SLT Standard vs Chevy Suburban LT

The second trim level for the 2019 GMC Yukon XL is the SLT Standard edition. The SLT Standard features the same 8-inch Infotainment display and Bose premium sound system, with perforated leather-appointed front seats. You get a 10-way power adjustable safety alert seat for the driver, and a 6-way power seat for the front passenger, along with a 4-inch driver information center. The SLT Standard includes a power liftgate with memory feature, and safety features that include hill start assist and lane keep assist with lane departure warning.

The 2019 Chevy Suburban steps up to the LT trim level next. It features an 8-inch display and upgrades to the 9-speaker Bose premium sound system found in the GMC Yukon XL and has leather-appointed seats much like the SLT Standard. The LT does not have a safety alert seat, however, but has the same 4-inch driver information screen. It comes with a power liftgate with memory and has lane keep assist with lane departure warning, but lacks the SLT Standard’s hill start assist feature.

Trim – GMC Yukon XL SLT

The grey interior of a 2019 GMC Yukon XL SLT is shown. Look at trim options when comparing the 2019 GMC Yukon XL vs 2019 Chevy Suburban.

The 2019 GMC Yukon XL also features an SLT trim level that is not matched by a comparable level from Chevy. This model has a 12-way power adjustable driver’s seat, heated second-row seats, and includes a hands-free power liftgate. These features provide a great middle ground between the second trim level and the most expensive option, which is missing in the Suburban’s lineup.

Trim—GMC Yukon XL Denali vs Chevy Suburban Premier

The pinnacle trim level of the 2019 GMC Yukon XL is the Denali. The Denali comes with the more powerful engine standard and features an 8-inch Infotainment center with Navigation. It has a Bose CenterPoint 10-speaker sound system, wireless charging station, and active noise cancellation. The Denali features an 8-inch driver information screen, hands-free power liftgate, and safety features that include all the previous options.

By comparison, the highest trim level for the 2019 Chevy Suburban is the Premier. It has an 8-inch Infotainment center with Navigation and the same Bose CenterPoint 10-speaker sound system, but it starts with the same engine as the lower trim levels, rather than the more powerful option. It has a wireless charging station, hands-free power liftgate, and the same safety features as the 2019 GMC Yukon XL Denali, but only has a 4-inch driver information screen, rather than a larger 8-inch screen standard.

So, Which Should I Choose?

For overall performance and interior space, these SUVs are essentially the same. When it comes to the details of what you get inside, however, point-by-point the 2019 GMC Yukon XL wins out. At each trim level, it offers better features in at least one way, and there are lots of small ways in which the GMC offering is superior.

You also get a fourth trim level to choose from with the Yukon XL, making it a more flexible choice—so you can get a lot of the features of the highest trim level. The fact that the Yukon XL Denali comes with the most powerful engine standard and the Suburban Premier does not is just the icing on the cake. The 2019 GMC Yukon XL is simply the better choice.

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