Slotting in price and equipment between the Chevrolet Tahoe and Cadillac Escalade, the GMC Yukon is the middle child among the sport utility vehicles on General Motors' full-size SUV platform. Competitors include the Chrysler Aspen, Ford Expedition, Nissan Armada and Toyota Sequoia.
Redesigned for 2007, the current Yukon is larger, more powerful and more fuel-efficient than its predecessor, with a trio of technologically distinct V-8 engines. These include a 5.3-liter V-8 with a fuel management system that deactivates four cylinders in low-load situations, and a 6.2-liter V-8 that packs 380 horsepower. Four-wheel drive is available, as are seating configurations for up to nine occupants.
For 2008, side curtain airbags are standard across the Yukon lineup, and a new rear-wheel-drive Yukon Denali joins the all-wheel-drive model. A hybrid version of the Yukon, which is covered separately in the Cars.com Research section, also debuts.
Up front, the Yukon holds a one-piece grille instead of the Tahoe's partitioned unit. Other differentiating details include taller headlights with jewel-like bezels and a wider, lower air dam. In profile, the two are largely identical: Both share the same blocky fenders, long rear-quarter windows and squared-off back end.
The Yukon is available in base SLE, SLT and luxury Denali trim levels. Seventeen-inch wheels are standard on all but the Denali edition, which upgrades to 18-inch wheels. The Yukon Denali also gets an Autoride real-time damping suspension, chrome exterior moldings and a power-operated rear liftgate.
Options across the Yukon lineup include 20-inch wheels and a moonroof. Power-extending running boards are also available.
The Yukon's dashboard carries the same shape as its redesigned GM siblings. That's good news, because the domed instrument panel, car-like dashboard and flush-mounted buttons are a vast improvement on the rectangular fixtures of previous Yukons, Tahoes and their like. SLE models have cloth seats and tri-zone manual climate control, while the SLT upgrades to leather and automatic climate control. Denali trim levels add heated first- and second-row seats, a Bose premium audio system and an available heated steering wheel.
Three available bench rows in the Yukon SLE allow seating for up to nine occupants. Uplevel models replace first- and second-row benches with captain's chairs, lowering total seating capacity to seven. The second-row seats fold forward, either manually or via an available power mechanism. The third row is removable, but it doesn't fold flat to the floor as some competitors' seats do. With both rows stashed away, maximum cargo volume is 108.9 cubic feet, which places the Yukon in the middle of the pack among the Expedition, Armada and Sequoia.
Under the Hood
On two-wheel-drive Yukons, a standard 4.8-liter V-8 produces 295 hp and 305 pounds-feet of torque. For four-wheel-drive models, the available 5.3-liter V-8 makes 320 hp and 340 pounds-feet; it's optional on two-wheel-drive Yukons.
The 5.3-liter engine features a cylinder-deactivation system that shuts down four cylinders under light-load situations, such as highway driving, for better fuel economy. City mileage remains roughly the same as the 5.3-liter engine in the previous Yukon, but highway mileage increases as much as 22 percent. The engine runs on either gasoline or ethanol-based E85 fuel. Both the 4.8-liter and 5.3-liter engines use a four-speed automatic transmission.
For maximum grunt, an all-aluminum 6.2-liter V-8 is standard on the Yukon Denali. It produces 380 hp and 417 pounds-feet of torque and runs through a six-speed automatic transmission. In addition to the new two-wheel-drive model, the Yukon Denali can have a permanent all-wheel-drive system that's distinct from the available part-time four-wheel drive on the Yukon SLE and SLT. When properly equipped, the Yukon can tow up to 8,200 pounds.
Standard safety features include four-wheel-disc antilock brakes and an electronic stability system that includes roll mitigation technology, which can apply individual brakes if sensors detect an impending rollover. Side curtain airbags that cover all rows of seats are also standard.
Cars.com Expert Reviews
|David Thomas||Cars.com National||October 4, 2007|
|Kelsey Mays||Cars.com National||August 1, 2007|
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