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Bold and boxy, the GMC Yukon is like an offensive lineman wearing a crisp Hugo Boss suit. This truck is tall and full of macho cues, with its squared-off corners and commanding presence.
Dressed up in Denali guise, the Yukon looks a little too garish for us, but we rate the overall lineup an 8 out of 10 and consider it to be the cleanest design among full-size SUVs currently on the road. Inside, the Yukon is far more car-like than ever before, with few of the truckish cues seen in its predecessors. But everything's oversized here, with a big and broad center console that can store as big a belt buckle as you may see fit. That said, the console isn't included with bench seat models, as you might expect, and while we applaud GM for still offering room for three up front, you'll probably have to special order a Yukon or Yukon XL SLE if you want one so-equipped. Denalis are, as you might expect, a little swankier inside with their own trim, but the basic look is the same.
If you're shopping for a three-row family-hauler, you've got three choices: a minivan, a crossover, or a traditional SUV. For most drivers, the first two will suffice. But if you're inclined to tow heavier loads, the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL range is as good as it gets. The standard Yukon and Yukon XL models are motivated by GM's 5.3-liter V-8, which churns out 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque mated to a 6-speed automatic. Yukon Denali models get an upgrade to the 6.2-liter V-8, which produces a prodigious 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque and comes exclusively with a high-tech 8-speed automatic transmission. All variants are offered with rear- or extra-cost four-wheel drive.
The Yukon employs two technologies to improve power and performance, making these V-8s both capable and surprisingly fuel efficient, all things considered. Direct injection improves engine responsiveness and allows for more precise fuel metering, while cylinder deactivation can shut down half of the cylinders under low-load situations.
The cylinder deactivation process is seamless, notably only for the V-4 and V-8 indicators on the instrument panel.
Both models move along well with passengers and cargo aboard, with the Denali offering the expected boost in grunt. Opt for a two-wheel drive Yukon (not Denali) and you'll be capable of towing up to 8,500 pounds, while the rest of the lineup comes in a couple hundred less. But what's more important than that is just how confident these trucks feel with a trailer behind and tow mode engaged on the transmission.
A great deal of effort went into quieting the cabin of the latest Yukon, from special exterior design concerns like door seals to available active noise cancellation like that you'll find on Bose headphones. Even without the electronic aids, however, the cabin of the Yukon is quiet, allowing easy conversations at normal indoor volumes, something we certainly didn't say of its predecessor.
*This vehicle is Certified Pre-Owned and is eligible for our third party warranty program.