2013 GMC Yukon Performance

7.0
Performance

The 2013 GMC Yukon lineup delivers strong acceleration and good ride quality no matter which model you get, although across the lineup the Yukon's vast size can get in the way of maneuverability and not everyone will appreciate the overly light steering.

A 320-horsepower, 5.3-liter V-8 coupled to a six-speed automatic is the powertrain combination for most of the Yukon lineup. As such, the Yukon and Yukon XL have strong acceleration, with a smooth, responsive transmission. A 403-hp, 6.2-liter V-8 is optional on the larger Yukon XL, and it's the choice for those who plan to tow frequently. It makes the Yukon even quicker and has a deep muscle-car exhaust note, but even with cylinder deactivation technology its fuel economy is unimpressive.

Strong, smooth powertrains are up for heavy loads, and a well-controlled ride helps build confidence.
Rear-wheel drive is standard, but all Yukons are offered with some sort of four- or all-wheel drive. The basic system has a single-speed transfer case; a more rugged setup with a two-speed transfer case can be had on either body style. Yukon Denali models have electronically controlled on-demand four-wheel drive. The Yukon Hybrid, covered elsewhere, has its own complex two-mode hybrid system with four-wheel drive.

The Yukon family isn't tremendously maneuverable, but the Denali especially handles surprisingly well on back roads; you'll quickly forget that you're piloting a 6,000-pound vehicle that can tow up to 8,600 pounds. Powertrain Gtade Braking, which is added to all non-Hybrid models for 2013, should help with stability when towing as well.

Ride quality is also superb, with motions absolutely smothered by the huge curb weight numbers and in most versions, by a big coil-spring suspension. Denali versions have Autoride, an electronically controlled set of shocks that flatten out the ride without inducing any roughness. Only cornering on choppy surfaces, or railroad crossings, will remind you that it's actually a body-on-frame truck. 

Keep in mind, if you get the Yukon XL, that you'll have one of the longest vehicles on the market, and fitting into conventional parking spaces might prove a challenge.

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