The GMC Yukon gets updated powertrains, new fold-flat rear seats, and a trimmer new look for the 2015 model year, following a year after the truck brand's complete renovation of its Sierra 1500 pickup truck.
The Yukon family of SUVs--Yukon, long-wheelbase Yukon XL, and luxurious Yukon Denali--adopt many of the changes applied to the Sierra, though GMC points out that the related SUVs don't share any body panels with the new full-size trucks.
Available in two body styles as before, the Yukon rides on two wheelbases: the standard version's wheelbase is 116 inches, while the Yukon XL's is 130 inches. Both are identical to the outgoing 2014 models, though overall length has grown by almost two inches. The styling is still traditional, but despite the very angular look, GMC says it's much more aerodynamically favorable than on the outgoing utes. Most models have projector-beam headlamps; Denali models have a distinctive grille and high-intensity discharge headlamps.
The cabin is covered in soft-touch materials; ambient lighting is available.
Powertrains are shared with the full-size Sierra pickup. There's no V-6 on the Yukon's spec sheet--and the former Hybrid edition isn't present, either. 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 will be GM's new 6.2-liter V-8, with 420 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque. Both powerplants will be teamed with a six-speed automatic, and a choice of rear- or four-wheel drive.
Both engines have direct injection and cylinder-deactivation technology for more responsiveness and better gas mileage. GM promises the best fuel economy in the full-size SUV segment, but hasn't released EPA estimates yet.
For better performance, the Yukon's frame is now composed primarily of high-strength steel, for better crash safety and structural rigidity. It's still a live-axle, leaf-spring design, but the rear track has been widened. A locking rear differential is standard. The Yukon also now has electric power steering, like the Sierra, and Denali models get a set of magnetically-controlled shocks. Maximum towing is rated at 8,500 pounds.
The Yukon's interior remake shares its sleeker look with the Sierra, but it's distinguished by a new flat-folding arrangement for the second- and third-row seats, with optional power assistance. Legroom is said to be improved in the second row. Interior storage is upgraded: the center console is large enough to store a notebook computer. Noise damping has been a special focus; the doors are mounted for less wind rustle, and the windshield and front glass are laminated for less sound intrusion.
The Yukon merits some of GM's newest safety technology. Along with the usual airbags and stability control, the Yukon also gets a front-center airbags when it's equipped with front bucket seats. Adaptive cruise control is an option, as are a lane-departure warning system with seat-mounted haptic alerts, blind-spot monitors, forward collision alerts, and front parking sensors.
Among the new and returning features on the Yukon utes are Bose audio; keyless entry; pushbutton start; an 8.0-inch LCD touchscreen interface; a head-up display; a power tailgate; a cargo-management system; and up to five USB ports located on the center console. A Blu-Ray DVD entertainment system will also be an option, as will wheels sized up to 22 inches.
The new GMC Yukon goes on sale in the first quarter of 2014. Pricing has not yet been announced.
- Revamped powertrains
- Fold-flat seats
- Denali's Magnetic Ride Control
- Cabin's suave new finish
- New look is hardcore straight-edge
- Hybrid edition is gone