GMC Yukon

The Car Connection GMC Yukon Overview

The GMC Yukon is a full-size sport-utility vehicle offered in two different body styles. There's a long-wheelbase Yukon XL, and the standard Yukon. In either form, the Yukon is GMC's largest vehicle, and its most capable utility vehicle when it comes to towing and hauling—as it should be, since it's based on the GMC Sierra pickup.

The Yukon shares most of its running gear with the Cadillac Escalade and Chevy's Suburban and Tahoe. It's a rival for those 'utes, as well as the Ford ExpeditionLincoln Navigator, Toyota Sequoia, Nissan Armada, and Infiniti QX80.

Like GM's other full-size sport-utes, the GMC Yukon entered a new generation for the 2015 model year, its first major rework since 2007.

The new GMC Yukon

For its biggest change in eight years, the 2015 Yukon adopted a more squared-off body, updated powertrains, and new fold-flat rear seats. Available in two body styles as before, the current Yukon rides on two wheelbases: the standard version's wheelbase is 116 inches, while the Yukon XL's is 130 inches. The styling is still traditional, but despite the very angular look, GMC says it's much more aerodynamically favorable than the outgoing 'utes. Compared to the previous-generation Yukon, materials and design have been updated throughout the cabin, making for a much more luxurious experience, particularly in Denali-trim examples.

To reduce weight and improve crash safety, the new Yukon's frame uses a larger percentage of high-strength steel. The suspension still depends on leaf springs and a live axle at the rear—with a standard locking differential—but the track is wider in back now, which improves stability and handling. Like the Sierra, the Yukon moves to electric power steering. Top-spec Denali models receive standard magnetorheological adaptive shocks, which improve both ride and handling. Towing maxes out at 8,500 pounds with proper equipment.

MORE: Read our 2017 GMC Yukon review

Powertrains are shared with the full-size Sierra pickup as well as the other GM SUVs. The standard engine is the same 5.3-liter V-8 found in the Sierra; in the Yukon, it's rated at 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. The upgrade engine is GM's new 6.2-liter V-8, with 420 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque—it's similar to the engine used in the Corvette Stingray. Both powerplants were teamed with a 6-speed automatic at launch, with a choice of rear- or four-wheel drive. An 8-speed automatic for the bigger V-8 came online part-way through the 2015 model year and it's likely to move to all engine combinations in future model years.

For 2017, the big update is the new availability of low-speed automatic emergency braking, an important safety feature.

GMC Yukon history

GM introduced the first Yukon for the 1992 model year. That original model was a two-door SUV version of the company's GMT400 family of trucks and utilities. The first four-door Yukon arrived in 1995, using the same basic V-8 engine and automatic transmission. Yukons of this generation were initially offered with either rear- or four-wheel drive. Changes over the early model's lifespan included the addition of OnStar, an all-wheel-drive option, and the fancier Denali trim level.

For the second-generation Yukon, GM moved its big trucks and SUVs to the GMT800 architecture, introducing new engines and transmissions along with them. A 275-hp, 4.8-liter V-8 was the base engine, while a 5.3-liter V-8 good for 295 hp was also available. Underneath, most versions of this Yukon pulled their weight with either rear- or four-wheel drive; the Denali kept the on-demand all-wheel-drive system as an exclusive. This second-generation Yukon was sold through the 2006 model year, over time gaining stability control, satellite radio, and rear-seat entertainment systems.

In 2007 GM began replacing all its full-size trucks and SUVs with new "GMT900" vehicles, and introduced new versions of the Yukon including a new four-door model—the Yukon XL, which replaced the former long-body GMC Suburban. The Denali returned, and the name was applied to the XL editions along with accompanying luxury trim. Engines included 4.8-liter V-8, the 5.3-liter V-8, and a 6.2-liter V-8 for Denali editions with up to 403 hp. A well-regarded Hybrid model was added in the 2009 model year, but was a slow seller. A 6-speed automatic became the standard transmission on all versions save for the 4.8-liter V-8 versions, which held fast with the 4-speed automatic (with that engine and transmission discontinued after 2009), and the Hybrid, which applied a specially engineered two-mode automatic for better fuel economy.

In this generation, the Yukon family of SUVs had its own distinctive styling inside and out, with a vast and well-trimmed interior, and options for a third passenger seat in the front row. Fuel economy on the Hybrid versions was exceptional—as high as 20 mpg city, 23 mpg highway—and the Denali editions were suitable Range Rover replacements for some.

This Yukon rolled on into 2014 essentially unchanged, although GM introduced some improvements in the later years of this generation, including trailer sway control (2012) and engine braking (2013). The Hybrid edition was dropped after the 2013 model year.

The Car Connection Consumer Review

Rate and Review your car for The Car Connection! Tell us your own ratings for a vehicle you own. Rate your car on Performance, Safety, Features and more.
Write a Review
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
2016 GMC Yukon 4WD 4-Door SLE

not a safe car , totally not reliable

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
the car has serious transmission problems, it suddenly breaks down, the dealer does not know how to fix it ,if somebody takes it to remote area like a desert they might die if not rescued, my Yukon was... + More »
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Yes
Sunday, November 22, 2015
For 2016 GMC Yukon

Love it except fpr

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
Seats are not level after folded down has a angle ,higher in the front than the rear.what do you suppose happens when transport items traveling down the road,? this really sucks!
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Yes
Sunday, March 27, 2016
2015 GMC Yukon 4WD 4-Door SLE

Great family vehicke

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
GMC has really stepped up it's game. From the dash to the amenities and everything in between. Super quiet going down the road. .you next one will have more features that are offered making a superb vehicle... + More »
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Yes
See all user reviews »
2017
The Car Connection
2017
The Car Connection
Stay up-to-date
Get updates about this model emailed to you.
  • New car reviews for this model by our editors
  • News including price changes, new models, or recall info
  • New incentives and rebates that are being offered for this vehicle