Looking for a truck-based vehicle that's capable of towing heavy loads and tackling off-road trails? The 2017 GMC Yukon might be a good fit. Here's a quick rundown of what we like, what we don't and the bottom line from the Edmunds editors.
JOSH SADLIER: This is Edmund's editor, Josh Sadlier, and here's an expert rundown of the 2017 GMC Yukon. The Yukon is a throwback to when SUVs were SUVs, based on trucks designed to be beasts of burden with some extra shelter for people sitting in the back. That's not the case with most SUVs these days. They're based on cars or car-like platforms, but the Yukon, still derived from GM's full-sized trucks got a 5.3 liter V8 under the hood, 355 horsepower. You can tow a lot. You can haul a lot. If you need that kind of capability to Yukon's one of the few vehicles left that's going to serve that purpose. Cargo capacity is hampered somewhat by the high loading floor. That's a Legacy problem stemming from the pickup truck underpinnings. But there's still plenty of cargo space and seating for up to nine inside, which makes the Yukon a very rare creature in today's market. We like the roomy second row seat in the Yukon. Plenty of room for adults in their, head room, leg room, whatever you like. Third row is a bit cramped, thanks to that high floor though. Moving to the front seats, you sit up nice and high. Again, there's plenty of space, and note the stylish dashboard. That's a change that GM made a few years ago to these full-sized SUVs, now a sleeker, more upscale look and feel from the driver's seat. The bottom line with the Yukon is that it's a great pick if you need its massive capabilities, but if you don't, would recommend trying some crossover SUVs to see if you prefer the way they drive. For more Edmund's expert rundowns, click the link to subscribe.
Built on GM’s full-size truck platform, the 2017 GMC Yukon will primarily appeal to shoppers who need a large SUV with moderate off-road capability that can transport a lot of people and tow a heavy trailer. The trade-off is that the Yukon is, at heart, a truck, so it doesn’t have the more nimble handling and comfortable ride of some of its car-based rivals. But for those whose requirements lean more toward regular boat-hauling than daily in-town chores, the Yukon could be the right choice.
The 2017 Yukon is a carryover model, so updates for this year are few. Some changes include the Teen Driver monitoring system, which is now standard, available low-speed forward automatic braking, heated and ventilated leather seats on the SLT trim level, an upgraded rear-seat entertainment system, active grille shutters and a new Dark Sapphire Blue Metallic exterior color.
The styling remains big and boxy, which makes for a good amount of interior space for up to nine passengers and a fair-sized load of stuff. But unless buyers opt for the longer Yukon XL model, they may find that cargo room is somewhat limited for such a large vehicle. The surprisingly car like and quiet interior design surrounds occupants with high-quality, soft materials and wood-grained trim. And various packages and accessories allow buyers to pile on as much luxury and convenience as they desire.
Standard power for the SLE and SLT trim levels comes from a 5.3-liter V8 engine that makes 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque and comes mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The higher-trim Denali is propelled by a 6.2-liter V8 that produces 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque and comes with a standard eight-speed automatic transmission. Four-wheel drive is an option on all models.
Despite its seemingly adequate output, the base engine has been criticized for sluggish throttle response, a condition exacerbated by late shifts from the standard six-speed transmission. Still, the 5.3-liter V8 has enough power to make the Yukon a capable highway performer, and once up to speed it’s smooth and quiet. But buyers looking for more power and quicker acceleration might want to consider the 6.2-liter engine.
Fuel economy for the Yukon equipped with rear-wheel drive and the standard engine is EPA rated at 19 mpg combined (16 mpg city/ 23 mpg highway). The two-wheel- drive model with the optional 6.2-liter V8 is rated at 17 mpg combined (15 city/ 22 highway). A dding four-wheel drive will drop the ratings by one or two mpg.
The base SLE Yukon comes very well equipped with such niceties as tri-zone automatic climate control, remote start and an infotainment system with eight-inch color touchscreen controls. The SLT trim level adds a number of comfort and convenience features, while the top-of-the-line Denali includes features like magnetic ride control, a head-up display and a navigation system. Whatever your choice, let Edmunds help you find the best 2017 GMC Yukon to meet your needs.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.