With its kissing cousin Silverado taking top ICOTY 2007 honors for the world's best truck, it's no surprise some of those winning ways brushed off on another GM contender. The GMC full-size sport utility, Yukon, won top spot in ICOTY 2007's Sport Utility - Most Resourceful category.
Every aspect of the husky Yukon got attention during its recent redesign, with the whole package riding on a new, stronger chassis with stability enhancements for ride comfort and improved handling. Those who think that hunky should also be funky can add a hitch-mounted bicycle carrier, taillamp guards, really usable power articulating running boards and a chrome fuel door for accent. Both Yukon and Yukon XL extended versions wear new wraparound front and rear fascias. There's not a whistle of air gap left in door and lid closures GMC brags. A windswept windshield equals less wind resistance and ekes out more fuel economy in addition to that gained from available Active Fuel Management.
Attention to function hasn't left stying out in the cold -- like those remote regions that the Yukon, with a fully boxed frame, can conquer. Wider set corners improve its stance. Exterior trim and new head and taillamps brighten its appearance while new, low-gloss instrument panel trim lends a softer look inside. Power fold-and-tumble second row seating eases access to third row.
Pack in a checklist of accessories and amenities such as touch screen navigator, flip down DVD, side curtain airbags as standard or optional, and it's clear that with this SUV only the Northern sky is the limit.
Acura MDX Gauging Acura's totally redesigned MDX must have been a bit of a quandary for RTM judges. Here's a vehicle with sound capabilities for doing sport utility duty, for handling road courses with more authority than ever before, for wearing a little more testosterone in its genetic makeup after years tending toward the distaff side. If that sounds a bit strange, just look at some of last year's photos. Pre-redesign, MDX had an almost (gasp) minivan characteristic to its nature. Great for many women. A back-away-from-it trigger for some reluctant men. Don't look for any such similarity any longer. Styling cues inside and out are de-feminized. Buttons and handles are masculinized. A track tuned suspension gives the male animal some more guts to play with when driving, even though its not as boldly aggressive as a totally off-road variety would be. In all, it seems a sound balance for both sexes, with enhanced function and style. Compromise anyone?
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Where there's an original, there's a way. And Jeep Wrangler is the acknowledged original sport utility that grew out of military duty more than a half century ago. That vehicle, that has stayed strikingly similar to its roots since then, has been fine for off-roaders. But some folks would like just a little more room, please. Jeep must have been listening. For the first time, it's stretched the limitations of its spunky little traveler with a four-door Unlimited version, although it's still not a Wrangler pretending to be anyone else's sport utility.
The Unlimited retains the boxy shape, round headlamps flat, seven-slot grille and high wheel wells meant for rock climbing, not for mellowed-out cruising. Inside it's well appointed, but sparse compared with softie CUVs. While this redone Wrangler Unlimited should be more at home on the highway, and can actually hold five plus cargo, the added length might just change its scamper factor. That could equal a little less flexibility on a course such as the Rubicon Trail. (Longtime Jeep purists will know what that means.)