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By Jim Flammang
August 27, 2003
Vehicle Overview GMC’s Yukon full-size sport utility vehicle is closely related to the Chevrolet Tahoe and is based on General Motors’ full-size pickup trucks. The Yukon and Tahoe were redesigned for the 2000 model year and compete against such full-size SUVs as the Ford Expedition, Lincoln Navigator, and Toyota’s Land Cruiser and Sequoia.
GMC also sells a larger version, called the Yukon XL, which is comparable to the Chevrolet Suburban. The half-ton Yukons come with either rear-wheel drive or Autotrac four-wheel drive that includes Low-range gearing.
For the 2004 model year, the Yukon gains Hydroboost braking. This feature provides greater stopping power with less pedal effort in high-deceleration halts, and it is said to improve ABS performance. A tire-pressure monitor joins the standard equipment list, and the right front passenger gets a seat belt reminder. For the first time, a sunroof and DVD entertainment system for the rear seat can be installed on the same vehicle. New 17-inch six-spoke premium aluminum wheels are available on Yukons with the SLT option group.
A luxury Denali edition is equipped with permanently engaged all-wheel drive, leather upholstery and specific front-end styling. Standard Yukon Denali equipment includes a monochrome exterior color scheme, a nine-speaker Bose audio system with an in-dash six-CD changer, GM’s OnStar communication system, XM Satellite Radio and 17-inch tires. GM’s StabiliTrak electronic stability system is optional on the regular Yukon and standard on the Denali.
Exterior The differences between the Yukon and Tahoe are found mainly in the grille, where a prominent GMC badge is featured on the Yukon. The four-door Yukon is slotted between the midsize Envoy and the full-size Yukon XL. Built on a 116-inch wheelbase, the rear-drive Yukon measures 198.8 inches long overall, 78.9 inches wide and 76.7 inches tall (which includes the roof rack) and is equipped with standard 16-inch tires.
Interior The Yukon accommodates as few as seven and as many as nine occupants. Depending on the model, the front compartment may consist of two bucket seats or a three-place bench. A three-place middle bench and a three-place rear bench go into all standard Yukons, but separate second-row captain’s chairs are available. The folding middle and rear seats may be removed with the help of built-in wheels. Cargo volume is close to 105 cubic feet when the middle and rear seats are removed, but only 16.1 cubic feet with all of the seats in place. Adjustable pedals are available.
Under the Hood The regular Yukon gets a standard 285-horsepower, 4.8-liter V-8 engine; a 295-hp, 5.3-liter V-8 is optional. The Yukon Denali is equipped with a 325-hp, 6.0-liter V-8. The regular Yukon comes with either rear-wheel drive or an automatically engaging four-wheel-drive system called Autotrac. The Yukon Denali has permanently engaged all-wheel drive, and computer-controlled shock absorbers change their stiffness based on driving conditions. All engines work with a four-speed-automatic transmission.
Safety Dual-stage occupant-sensing airbags and antilock brakes are standard. Side-impact airbags and GM’s StabiliTrak electronic stability system are standard on the Denali version and optional on other Yukon models.