That's because the redesigned '07, like its Cadillac Escalade EXT cousin, is, to put it simply, a "beast." If I were a soccer mom, I'd be more than a little paranoid (in either vehicle) of accidentally harming a child while backing without some assistance. The camera displays what's behind you on the navigation system's screen in the center console. Throw in the rear-parking assist, which buzzes when you get close to an obstruction, and I had some peace of mind.

I felt special and extremely secure sitting in the leather-appointed captain's chair of this insanely luxurious SUV. A couple of my favorite creature comforts are the XM satellite radio, 12-way adjustable heated seats, and sunroof. (For info on standard features, visit www.gmc.com/yukon/xl/specsInterior.jsp).

The gargantuan size of this vehicle may lull some drivers into thinking they would be invincible in an accident. Thankfully, designers at GMC know better. They have added a number of new safety features that GMC reports makes this '07 one of the industry's safest.

Roof-mounted head curtain air bags for all seating rows, for example, use one of the first rollover-protection sensors. It's on the vehicle's center tunnel and monitors vehicle acceleration and roll rate. If it detects an impending rollover, head curtain air bags deploy and stay inflated longer than those for side impacts because rollovers last longer. The curtains also help keep passengers inside the vehicle.

GMC also contends that crash avoidance is bolstered by widening the Yukon's stance and giving it a more-responsive suspension — including new rack-and-pinion steering and coil-over-shock suspension. The SUV frame is also stronger and stiffer, thanks to hydroformed frame rails. The fully boxed frame and more-efficient chassis component packaging is said to optimize crush progression in the front. Impact energy is more easily absorbed and vehicle-to-vehicle compatibility, a factor in head-on crashes with smaller vehicles, is also improved.

Under the hood, the XL came with the Flex-fuel E85 version of the 5.3-liter V8. It runs on E85 ethanol or any mixture of E85 and gasoline. The engine puts out 320 hp and 340 lb-ft of torque, and gets 15-city/21-highway mpg. Also available with XL trim is a new all-aluminum 366 hp, 6-liter V8 with variable-valve timing. VVT uses a cam phaser that optimizes camshaft timing. This reportedly improves low-rpm torque and high-rpm horsepower.

Starting with a base price of $37,665 the SLT package adds $4,135 worth of goodies. Add some other "must haves," including the nav system, polished aluminum wheels, power sliding sunroof and, of course, the rear-seat entertainment system, and the grand total topped out at $51,020.