The GMC Yukon is a full-size SUV that is well into its third generation. Like the more luxurious Yukon Denali, the larger Yukon XL and the mechanically-identical Chevrolet Tahoe, the Yukon soldiers on with a rugged body-on-frame architecture that gives it excellent off-road and towing capabilities.
The Yukon stretches 202 inches long, 76.9 inches tall and 79.1 inches wide, dimensions that make it roughly the same size as the Ford Expedition, one of its main rivals. The bulk comes at a price, and the Tahoe tips the scale at 5,448 pounds with two-wheel drive and 5,567 pounds when equipped with the optional four-wheel drive system.
The Yukon boasts a cavernous interior with room for eight passengers spread out over three rows of seats. An available nine-person configuration swaps out the front bucket seats for a three-passenger bench.
The SUV offers 16.9 cubic feet of trunk space with nine passengers aboard. That figure goes up to 60.3 cubic feet with the third row removed, and 108.9 cubic feet with the second row folded flat. In addition to sheer cargo space, the SUV offers plenty of storage compartments scattered throughout the cabin and the industry's largest center console-mounted bin.
A color touch screen mounted towards the top of the center stack enables the passengers to control the navigation, audio and climate functions.
Under the hood
Two-wheel drive versions of the Yukon are powered by a Vortec 5.3-liter V8 engine with a cast-iron block that makes 320 horsepower and 335 lb-ft. of torque. It packs General Motors' Active Fuel Management technology which seamlessly switches between eight- and four-cylinder power in order to save gas. The behemoth returns 15 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway and can tow up to 8,500 pounds.
The 5.3-liter V8 engine found under the hood of four-wheel drive models is nearly identical to the one that powers rear-drive variants but its block is made out of aluminum in order to save weight. It makes 320 horsepower and 335 lb-ft. of torque while returning 15 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway, enabling four-wheel drive Yukons to tow a maximum of 8,200 pounds.
Both engines are linked to a six-speed automatic transmission and can run on either gasoline or E85 fuel. Rear-wheel drive comes standard and four-wheel drive is available at an extra cost.
Trim level breakdown
GMC offers the Yukon in SLE and SLT trim levels.
SLE comes standard with cloth upholstery, power front seats, power adjustable pedals, an ultrasonic rear park assist with a rear-view camera, a remote vehicle starter, tri-zone manual climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, rear audio controls and headphone input jacks, a six-speaker audio system and a three-month long subscription to SiriusXM Satellite radio.
Outside, SLE models feature body-colored door handles and a mirror caps, 17-inch aluminum wheels, halogen headlights, tinted windows and daytime running lights.
Buyers who opt for the SLT trim gain leather upholstery, a premium Bose sound system, heated front seats, a universal home remote and halogen fog lights.
Both trim levels can be equipped with an entertainment system that includes a remote-controlled DVD player with overhead displays and two seats of two-channel wireless headphones. A power sunroof and a wide palette of 20- and 22-inch alloy wheels are also available.
Other SLT-specific options include a heated steering wheel, a power-assisted second row seat release, heated second-row seats, auto-dimming exterior mirrors with integrated turn signals and a chrome package.
Offered only on four-wheel drive models, the Z71 Off-Road package includes a heavy-duty suspension with high-pressure, gas-charged monotube shocks, 18-inch wheels, an automatic locking rear differential, frame-mounted tow hooks, several skid plates and a high-capacity air cleaner. Body-colored fender flares, a more aggressive front bumper and bright chrome grille inserts create a more dynamic appearance.
Standard safety features include dual front, front side and side curtain airbags, traction and stability control systems, a tire pressure monitoring system and a wide array of accident assist functions provided by OnStar.
In addition to the aforementioned Ford Expedition, the Yukon's main rivals are the Nissan Armada and the Toyota Sequoia.