2003 Yukon New Car Test Drive
GMC Yukon offers a roomy cabin, impressive cargo-carrying capability, a nice ride, and a choice of V8 engines that deliver strong power for towing or tackling steep grades. Yukon Denali is a luxury version that adds a sumptuous interior, a bigger engine, and full-time all-wheel drive.
Either way, the Yukon is a good size for large families. Built on GM's excellent full-size truck platform, the Yukon is the same size and, in many ways, the same vehicle as the Chevrolet Tahoe and Cadillac Escalade. Yukon is 20 inches shorter than the Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon XL, making it much easier to park and garage. It is slightly smaller than the Ford Expedition, but longer and wider than the GMC Envoy, Chevy TrailBlazer, and Ford Explorer. Yukon is wider and shorter than the Envoy XL, giving it better stability in cornering and more comfortable accommodations for third-row occupants.
Yukon was completely redesigned for 2000, and the luxurious Yukon Denali was introduced for 2001. For 2002, GMC upgraded the automatic transmissions, designed a more efficient starter, built a more durable steering gear housing, installed new child safety seat anchors, and achieved an ultra-low emissions (ULEV) rating for the Vortec 5300 V8 engine.
2003 brings major revisions for improved comfort, safety, reliability, and emissions. The front seats are more sculptured for 2003. The brakes have been improved, the airbags are smarter, and optional Autotrac four-wheel drive is more sophisticated. StabiliTrak electronic stability control, power adjustable pedals, and multi-zone electronic climate control are standard on 2003 Yukon Denali and optional on other models. A rear-seat Panasonic DVD system is available for all models.
Three trim levels are available: SLE, SLT and Denali.
GMC Yukon SLE ($34,305 with two-wheel drive and $36,905 with four-wheel drive) comes loaded with automatic dual-zone air conditioning, a power adjustable split-bench front seat, anti-lock brakes, self-leveling suspension, CD stereo with nine Bose speakers, power windows, power door locks, fog lights, tinted glass, heated outside mirrors, leather wrapped steering wheel, and alarm. A 275-horsepower 4.8-liter V8 is standard; a 285-horsepower 5.3-liter V8 is optional ($700).
SLT trim ($36,635 with 2WD, $39,235 with 4WD) adds high-back bucket seats with leather inserts, rear seat audio controls, and assist steps. The 5.3-liter V8 is standard.
Yukon Denali ($48,505) is an upscale model that comes with a big 6.0-liter V8 engine, full-time all-wheel drive, StabiliTrak stability control, and a computer-controlled AutoRide suspension. Denali also comes equipped with nearly every desirable feature as standard equipment, including: heated leather 10-way power seats, On-Star driver assistance, nine-speaker Bose stereo with XM Satellite Radio capability and in-dash six-disc CD changer, and 17-inch alloy wheels. Denali options are limited, but include a sunroof ($1,000) and engine block heater ($35).