What's New for 2006
For 2006, the GMC Yukon receives additional standard equipment for all trim levels. Included in the update are OnStar, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and stability control.
GMC is no newcomer to the sport-ute game; it rolled out its version of a full-size SUV more than 30 years ago. Its current model, the Yukon, debuted in 1992. Formerly known as the Jimmy, the Yukon was built to be a rough-and-ready, go-anywhere sort of ride. Back when it first emerged, GMC described it as a "rugged, multipurpose family vehicle that's at home on and off the road," and the manufacturer has always seen to it that the vehicle is sturdy enough to live up to this promise. The 2000 model year brought with it a complete redesign for the Yukon. Its decade-old platform was replaced with a new frame that was stronger and more rigid than previous designs; the Yukon also got two new V8 engines that provided it with more horsepower than ever before.
In 2001, the upscale Denali model was moved to the new platform and in the process picked up a 6.0-liter V8 as well as numerous other luxury amenities. The Yukon continues to give drivers more of what has made the vehicle a favorite with those seeking transportation that efficiently handles both on-road and off-road adventures. With a roomy and comfortable interior, it makes a great weekend-getaway machine. If you want a full-size SUV that can handle passengers and cargo as well as it does a backcountry road, the 2006 GMC Yukon should be on your short list.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The GMC Yukon comes in three trim levels -- SL, SLE and Denali. The base SL boasts standard features like tri-zone manual climate control, keyless entry, cruise control, a CD player and OnStar. The uplevel SLE model is similar but grants access to additional features like power front seats, leather upholstery, satellite radio and rear audio controls via an SLT option package. Top-of-the-line Denali models come standard with just about every feature available, although items like a DVD-based entertainment system, second-row captain's chairs and a sunroof are still optional.
Powertrains and Performance
The 4.8-liter V8, offering 285 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, is standard on two-wheel-drive Yukons. A larger 5.3-liter V8 with 295 hp and 335 lb-ft of torque is optional and comes standard on four-wheel-drive Yukons. The Yukon Denali, which has a standard all-wheel-drive system, is the most powerful version thanks to a 6.0-liter V8 rated at 335 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque. All engines are connected to a standard four-speed automatic transmission. Properly equipped, the standard Yukon can tow up to 7,700 pounds, and the Yukon Denali can handle up to 8,100 pounds.
The Yukon has a tire-pressure monitoring system, dual-stage front airbags (with a passenger sensing system), stability control and four-wheel antilock disc brakes. Side airbags are standard on the Yukon Denali and optional on other trims. In NHTSA government crash testing, the GMC Yukon rated four out of a possible five stars for driver and front-passenger protection in frontal impacts.
Interior Design and Special Features
Inside, the 2006 GMC Yukon offers comfortable seating and simple controls, but the quality of interior materials could stand improvement. Second-row bucket seats are available when you order leather upholstery, as is a DVD-based entertainment system. An optional 50/50-split third-row seat gives the Tahoe nine-passenger seating capacity. With the third-row seats removed and the second-row seats folded forward, the Tahoe offers 104 cubic feet of cargo volume.
Any one of the Yukon's V8 engines delivers ample power in most situations. Those who pull a trailer often would be wise to opt for the 5.3-liter engine, as it provides a substantial bump in torque despite only 10 additional horsepower compared to the 4.8-liter V8. For the ultimate in luxury and towing power, the Yukon Denali is the best of this bunch. The suspension delivers a stable, smooth ride, regardless of whether it travels on or off pavement, while the steering is light enough to maneuver the big sport-ute easily in tight situations.