The Yukon takes all the engineering built into the new-for-'99 Sierra pickup and applies it to an SUV. The modular frame design allows the 11/42-ton Yukon and Yukon XLs to incorporate a coil-spring rear suspension for excellent on-road ride quality without compromising off-road ability (which is surprisingly good, considering the size of the truck). A slight rise in the Yukon's roof adds extra room to the truck, which is stuffed with new perks like rear audio outlets, side-impact air bags, and rear seats that recline. Two-wheel drive is available, and 4x4s get the AutoTrac computerized four-wheel-drive system used on the Sierra, which distributes torque where it's needed. The standard powerplant for the Yukon is the 275hp 4.8L Vortec 4800 V-8, with the 285hp 5.3L Vortec 5300 V-8 optional.
Yukon XL is a Suburban without the Suburban name (that's now a Chevy exclusive). Except for its extended length and different side doors, the 11/42-ton Yukon XL is very much like the Yukon. However, unlike the shorter Yukon, the Yukon XL is available as a 31/44-ton model and when ordered as such sprouts leaf springs in back to handle a heftier load. Also unlike the Yukon, the XL can be had with the 300hp, 6.0L Vortec 6000 V-8.
While the new Yukon gets all the glamour, the old body style and engineering marches on into 2000 as the upscale Yukon Denali. Unchanged in anticipation of its quick replacement for another generation, the Denali is still powered by the old 255hp, 5.7L Vortec 5700 V-8.
Having established itself in 1999, the Sierra pickup is virtually unchanged for 2000 except for the addition of a fourth door on extended cab models. Older versions of the Sierra continue in heavier-duty models.
In the realm of compact trucks, the Sonoma pickup is unchanged except for a revised version of the optional 190hp 4.3L V-6. That revised V-6 is also used in the Jimmy and superluxe Envoy SUVs, which are based upon the Sonoma truck platform. However, rumors are that GM is furiously working on new versions of the Jimmy and Envoy for 2001 that will feature V-8 engines as options for the first time.
Hondawww.honda.comHonda's two 4x4s-the Isuzu-built Passport and the built-in-Japan CR-V-enter 2000 pretty much as they were in 1999. The CR-V is unchanged, and the Passport gets a few tweaks.
The subcompact Civic-based CR-V got a power boost last year when the 2.0L, DOHC, 16-valve four swelled to 146 hp. Honda's Real Time 4WD system has the CR-V operating in front-drive at most times and sending power to the rear wheels when the going gets hairy. It's a single-speed system and more attuned to surviving a slippery road than any rugged trail. A front-drive version is also available.
A modified grille, new headlamps, and a new EX-L luxury package distinguish the 2000 Passport. The EX-L gets a two-tone paint job, body moldings, and a leather interior and (along with the EX) now stores its spare under the truck instead of inside. All two- and four-wheel-drive Passports are powered by a 205hp DOHC 24-valve V-6, wear 16-inch wheels and tires, and have independent A-arm front and solid-axle coil-sprung rear suspension, and the four-wheel-drive system features a dual-range transfer case. Honda will build a new, bigger SUV in the U.S. starting around 2001.
Infinitiwww.infiniti.comSince it was extensively revised as a '9911/42 model, the Infiniti QX4 enters 2000 as pretty much the same truck. Based on the Nissan Pathfinder, the QX4 uses an advanced four-wheel-drive system it calls All-Mode, which allows operation in automatic or manual modes with a selectable low-range. The engine is Nissan's familiar 170hp 3.3L SOHC 12-valve V-6, which provides modest power for the vehicle. Because it's an Infiniti, it comes crammed with all the zippy luxury items like leather seats, a killer stereo, and power everything. An all-new, more powerful QX4 is rumored to be on its way for 2002.