The GMC Yukon is all-new for 2015. What hasn’t been obviously restyled or re-thought has been re-programmed, re-calibrated or re-engineered. The biggest news for the 2015 Yukon is more power and better fuel efficiency, third-row seats that fold to a flat floor, electronics that provide Siri eyes-free, text alerts, a Wi-Fi hotspot and a tailored new cabin that’s very quiet.
New safety systems feature prominently in the 2015 Yukon overhaul as well. A rearview camera and proximity sensors front and rear are standard on the 2015 Yukon, as is a center front-row airbag that works as a divider cushion in side-impact collisions. A head-up display, forward-collision warning with automatic braking, lane departure, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warnings are available on 2015 Yukon models.
The GMC Yukon is a full-size sport utility with room for five adults and up to nine passengers total. Yukon is built like a truck to handle rough use. It offers enough towing capacity to handle a four-ton trailer and has the versatility for cargo hauling.
Yukon’s interior layout looks more luxury sedan than any other GMC product. Although it offers a front bench seat, most models have a pair of front bucket seats flanking a center console that arcs up to the dash in well integrated fashion. Middle-row seats are individual bucket or three-across bench. The third row is a 60/40-split arrangement good for children.
Yukon runs a 355-hp 5.3-liter V8 and 6-speed automatic transmission with EPA ratings of 16/23 mpg City/Highway. Automatic four-wheel drive is available, as is a similar system with low-range gearing for off-highway work that can be towed behind your motorhome.
Denali is the top luxury model, powered by a 420-hp 6.2-liter V8 and 8-speed automatic, with EPA numbers of 15/21 mpg. The Denali 4WD system includes low-range. Yukon Denali has a unique instrument display and trim inside and out and adds features such as wireless phone charging, hands-free tailgate and a more sophisticated suspension.
Towing capacity is 8100-8500 pounds depending on model. Every towing aid available on the Sierra pickup, except trailering mirrors, is offered on Yukon. Most Yukon models will carry 1500-1650 pounds of personnel and baggage.
Yukon rolls down the road with nary a care, we found it stable, quiet and confidence-inspiring in challenging conditions. It can cart kids to practice, co-workers to lunch or boat to the lake with equal ease. If you require the ultimate in luxury, expect the price to almost double for a loaded Denali.
GMC Yukon competition includes the less-advanced but roomier Ford Expedition, Toyota Sequoia, Nissan Armada, Dodge Durango, as well as the related Chevrolet Tahoe. Yukon Denali competes with the Lincoln Navigator, Range Rover Sport, Infiniti QX80, Mercedes-Benz GL and Lexus GX.
If you do not need low-range 4WD or rugged truck construction, and have only a small lightweight trailer, a big crossover, such as the GMC Acadia, BMW X5 or Audi Q7 might be a better fit. If cargo volume and people space are paramount and ultimate luxury isn’t, a minivan will provide far greater third-row room, more cargo volume than the long XL version of Yukon, similar payload and better fuel economy in a smaller outside package.
On the other hand, if bigger is better, the Yukon XL bumps rear seat and aft cargo space considerably, is nearly as maneuverable, much easier entry/egress at the rear doors, at a premium of one EPA mile-per-gallon and $3,000. Skip a moonroof and rear-seat entertainment and you’re there.