You can almost hear the Yukon Denali Hybrid whispering, “C’mon baby, drive me.” Its king-size interior welcomes you with seductively supple leather seats, a sun roof, abundant cup holders, and a dashboard full of gadgets.
Such are the things that turn me on in a car. But as a mother who spends a lot of time in the car with my kids, I wondered how they felt.
My daughter was telling a friend about her “perfect dream car.” It needed a DVD player, seat warmers, a convertible top, a sun roof, Siruis XM radio that can be tuned from the backseat, heat/ac that can be controlled from the backseat, and four rows of seats so it can fit lots of friends. While many of those things are mutually exclusive (I don’t think you can have a sunroof and a convertible top), her list of dream features does show one thing: kids like to be in control. And the Denali offers a lot of backseat control.
My kids loved the Denali as much as I did. They loved being able to sprawl out in the back seat and be just a few inches farther away from each other. They loved the DVD player. They loved the backseat overhead air conditioning.
They also liked the ease of opening and closing the back of the car. We have to pull the back down and close it manually in our SUV. Oh, the hardship! But I do admit to loving the “press of a button” closure in the Denali. The spacious interior made it easy to pack for a long weekend road trip and still feel like you were just going for a drive to the market. And I could easily get used to the blind spot detection alerts on the side-view mirrors. It’s all the little conveniences put together that just make driving and traveling easier in the Denali. It made me feel special.
But back to the kids. We’ve never had a DVD player in our car. We’ve always tried to stick with music, conversation, and car games to while away the road trip hours. So our weekend with the Denali was a test of sorts. Do DVD players keep the kids from fighting? Do they keep parents sane in the car?
As with most parenting-related issues, the answer is, “It depends on your kids.” Mine are 8 and 14 and often don’t want to watch the same DVD. Cue fighting. On this particular road trip, we had them take turns. When it was the older child’s turn, he didn’t want to watch a DVD, but instead wanted to listen to music that his sister did not want to hear. Cue fighting.
What did mom and dad think? My husband was a little bothered by the DVD drop-down in the back because it obstructed a bit of his rear view. I wasn’t thrilled that we had to listen to whatever movie the kids watched. We could turn the audio to the back or have the kids use headphones, but we still weren’t able to listen to the radio up front. Our conclusion? For our family it’s better for the kids to use their laptops and headphones to watch movies. Though we’ll still try to engage them in car games and conversation as much as possible.
Thank you to General Motors for loaning us the GMC Yukon Denali for our weekend road trip. All opinions are my own.