2020 Yukon New Car Test Drive
Closely related to Chevrolet's Tahoe and Suburban, the GMC Yukon and its extended-length Yukon XL companion continue to provide a traditional, truck-based SUV experience. Fitted with three rows of seats, the full-size SUVs may be old-school in theme, but they include abundant technology and capabilities for modern-day families. Despite their heft, GM's biggest SUVs manage to avoid feeling like relics from another era.
For the 2019 model year, GMC has added two option packages: the Graphite Edition and Graphite Performance Edition. Each is available for the SLT trim level. Both versions feature a darkened appearance, but the Performance version gets a bigger V8.
GMC's Yukon lineup includes the standard Yukon and lengthier Yukon XL. The extended version is 14 inches longer in wheelbase and 20.5 inches longer overall. Cargo capacity behind the XL's third-row seat is more than double that of the standard model.
Trim levels include base SLE, SLT, and near-luxury Denali, in addition to a value-priced Standard Edition. Denali trim pushes the Yukon into the realm of Cadillac's Escalade, which uses the same platform.
GMC offers a choice of two big V8 engines: a 5.3-liter that makes 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque, or a mighty 6.2-liter that packs a 420 horsepower, 460 pound-feet wallop. The smaller V8 mates with a 6-speed automatic transmission, but the 6.2-liter drives a 10-speed automatic. Both come with either rear-drive or four-wheel drive.
Fuel economy is reasonably good, helped by cylinder-deactivation technology at higher cruising speeds. With its husky ladder frame, a Yukon can tow as much as 8,500 pounds.
Few safety features are standard in the base model. Bucket seats include a front-center airbag.
Upper trim levels, including the Standard Edition, get an Enhanced Driver Alert package that includes forward collision alert, lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning, and low-speed forward automatic braking. SLT and Denali trim levels can have adaptive cruise control, as an option.
Full crash-test ratings for the 2019 Yukon are unavailable. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Yukon four stars overall, with five stars for frontal and side-impact tests. The Yukon XL fared worse, earning only a four-star score for frontal impact. Rollover prevention ? a calculated figure ? scored only three stars..
Prices do not include $1,295 destination charge.
Yukon SLE ($49,500 with 2WD, $52,500 with 4WD) comes with the 5.3-liter V8, cloth seat upholstery, three-row seating, 18-inch wheels, 8.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bose audio, front/rear parking sensors, rearview camera, and three-zone automatic climate control. Replacing the standard front bucket seats with a bench costs $250 extra.
Yukon SLT Standard Edition ($54,700 with 2WD, $57,700 with 4WD) adds leather-appointed front seats and a power liftgate. An impressive suite of active-safety features is standard, including GM's safety-alert seat.
Yukon SLT ($57,500 with 2WD, $60,500 with 4WD) comes with leather front-seat upholstery, heated front and second-row seats, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, keyless start, and power-folding second and third rows. Lane-change assist and blind-spot alert are standard.
Yukon Denali ($66,600 with 2WD, $69,600 with 4WD) substitutes the 6.2-liter V8 and adds upgraded Bose audio, active noise canceling, 20-inch wheels, and a magnetic suspension. Also standard are perforated leather-appointed seats, heated/ventilated front seats, and navigation. Options include power side steps and 22-inch wheels.
Yukon XL SLE ($52,400 with 2WD, $55,400 with 4WD) is similar to Yukon SLE, but on longer wheelbase.
Yukon XL SLT Standard Edition ($57,600 with 2WD, $60,600 with 4WD) is similar to Yukon SLT Standard Edition, but on longer wheelbase.
Yukon XL SLT ($60,400 with 2WD, $63,400 with 4WD) is similar to Yukon SLT, but on longer wheelbase.
Yukon XL Denali ($69,500 with 2WD, $72,500 with 4WD) is similar to Yukon Denali, on longer wheelbase..