The GMC Yukon has been fully redesigned and engineered for 2015 with a more powerful and more fuel-efficient power plant, a more up-to-date exterior and refined interior, and upgraded technological features that operate off an 8-inch touchscreen display that incorporates smart phone features.
But the thing that likely will be most appreciated by repeat customers is at the back, where the company has joined its competitors by installing fold-flat seats for the second and third rows.
Even better, these seats on the SLT and Denali upper trim levels operate with the push of a button, a feature that can be appreciated by everyone, not just mom drivers looking for more room to load groceries.
Yes, GMC is kind of late to the party with this feature, but at least it has gotten there.
The Yukon came into being in the 1992 model when it debuted as a two-door, six-passenger SUV replacing the GMC Jimmy. Both the Yukon and the Chevrolet Tahoe, its GM cousin, were slightly smaller than behemoth Chevy Suburban, which has been around since the 1930s and thus has the distinction of being the longest continuous use nameplate in production in the world.
The Yukon has continued to evolve and today is offered in two-wheel or four-wheel-drive configuration and in three trims — base SLE, SLT, and Denali. The latter was introduced in 1999 and takes the Yukon into luxury territory with its tech and comfort features and overall appearance.
Yukon may not have the brand panache of the Cadillac Escalade, but it does pretty much the same job and at a much cheaper price. The Yukon has a starting MSRP of $46,335, about $25,000 less than the Escalade. The larger Yukon XL starts at under $50,000
Even the Denali version of the Yukon — which makes standard such features as a 6.2-liter V8 engine rated at 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque (a 5.3-liter V8 with 355 hp and 383 lb.-ft. is standard on SLE and SLT trim), an eight-speed transmission, 20-inch alloy wheels instead of 18-inchers, HID headlights, magnetic ride control suspension, a Bose 10-speaker audio system, wireless phone charging capability, hands-free liftgage operation, second-row captain’s chairs — starts at $9,000 less than the Escalade.
Some options, like 22-inch wheels, power-retractable running board and a Touring package that includes a sunroof and rear entertainment system, are available only on the Denali and take it to even higher levels of luxury.
Though reviewers have given all versions of the Yukon good marks for ride quality, the Denali gets extra points because of the active noise cancellation system that is standard on the top-of-the-line version.
The larger engine in the Denali also gives it a pretty lively response, and for a large SUV the Yukon gets high marks for its handling. It’s not a cheetah, but neither is it a lumbering elephant when it comes to performance.
Also considering its size, the Yukon does fairly well when it comes to fuel consumption. It’s not a fuel sipper — no large SUV is — but with mileage figures varying between 18 miles-per-gallon combined city/highway to 16 mpg depending on the engine and configuration, it’s competitive in its class.
Speaking of size, one area where the Yukon does come up a bit short is in stowage, particularly behind the third row. Capacity is listed as 15.3 cubic feet, which could be a good-size trunk in a sedan, but much of that space is vertical and kind of wasted for most uses.
You really will want to take advantage of those buttons to lower those seats to get you more floor space.
For a look at the Denali version of the 2015 Yukon and more specs, check out the accompanying slide show.