Now entering its third year in current form, the full-size Yukon holds fast to its traditional SUV values: uncompromising size, power, and capability. Add to that its abundant features and thoroughly modern design, and it’s obvious why the Yukon remains as relevant as ever.
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2017 GMC Yukon Overview
What's New for 2017
The Yukon gets some equipment revisions for 2017, starting with a newly standard Teen Driver feature that lets parents track driving habits. Active front aero shutters are new. Heated and ventilated front seats are now are standard with SLT trim. The rear infotainment system receives digital headphones and an additional USB port. Low-speed automatic braking now is available.
Choosing Your GMC Yukon
Most Yukons are powered by a 5.3-liter V8 engine that generates 355 horsepower. The line-topping Denali get its own 6.2-liter V8, whipping up 420 horsepower. Both engines use a six-speed automatic transmission and can be paired with four-wheel drive. Low-range gearing is standard on the 4WD Denali and optional on the other trim levels. Towing capacity reaches 8,500 pounds, thanks in part to a standard locking rear differential.
Fuel economy with rear-drive and the 5.3-liter V8 is estimated at 16 mpg in city driving and 23 mpg on the highway. Four-wheel drive lowers the highway figure by 1 mpg. With its 6.2-liter V8, the Denail gets an estimated o15/22 mpg (city/highway) with rear-drive, and 15/20 mpg with four-wheel drive.
The Yukon's third row folds completely into the floor, and a front bench remains available in case you need nine-passenger seating. Cargo space totals almost 95 cubic feet with all seats folded, or 15.3 cubic feet with all seats up.
As before, the Yukon is offered in three trim levels:
Judging by the level of standard equipment, there's no such thing a basic Yukon. By most standards, even the mid-level SLT qualifies as a luxury SUV. The Denali takes yet another sizable step upward; but in our view, the SLT version provides the best overall value.
2017 GMC Yukon Review
The 2017 GMC Yukon is a big, burly full-size SUV with style inside and out that can mind its manners as a comfy family hauler, but is still tough enough to pull a trailer with ease. But with a starting price that isn't exactly cheap, and an expansive options list, the Yukon can end up being a very expensive SUV.
Pricing and Equipment
Prices for the base Yukon SLE in the standard length start at $49,825 (including a $1,295 destination charge). While pricey, customers get plenty of standard gear for their money, including:
- A backup camera
- 18-inch alloy wheels
- An eight-inch infotainment system
- A Bose audio system
- Automatic climate control
- An optional three-person bench front seat (only available in the SLE trim)
The SLT and the Denali trims round out the Yukon lineup. The SLT, with a starting MSRP of $58,610, comes with everything (except the bench seat option) that's standard on the SLE, plus heated seats in the front two rows, ventilated front seats, leather upholstery and more. SLT buyers have the option of adding the Premium Edition package, which tacks about $4,000 onto the price tag, but adds 22-inch alloy wheels and interior chrome accents.
Upgrading to the Denali trim bumps the Yukon's starting price up to $67,260 and includes everything from the SLT, a lots of chrome, 20-inch wheels, and a long list of driver-alert technologies and infotainment features.
SLE and SLT trims use a 5.3-liter V8 engine that turns out 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque, while Denali models come with a 6.2-liter V8 engine that makes 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. The smaller engine teams with a six-speed automatic transmission to return at least 15 miles per gallon in the city and 22 mpg in the city, while the 6.2-liter works alongside an eight-speed automatic and nets at least 14 mpg city and 20 mpg highway.
All Yukon trims are available in either a standard wheelbase or an extended XL trim level that adds 14 inches between the axles and increases the maximum cargo space from 94.7 cubic feet to 121.1 cubic feet. Selecting the XL body adds $2,700 to the price tag. All-wheel drive adds $3,000 to all trims.
- Regardless of trim, the Yukon is a capable tower.
- The 6.2-liter V8 is surprisingly good at moving such a large vehicle.
- We were impressed with the way the Yukon rides. For a big, body-on-frame vehicle, it offers a refined and balanced ride.
- The six-speed transmission is a little slow on the uptake.
- The 5.3-liter V8 struggles when pushed hard.
- The numb steering gives the Yukon a boat-like character.
- The cabin has an extra-classy feel, especially in the trims that include leather seating.
- The Yukon is surprisingly quiet on the inside, easily allowing us to hold conversations in normal speaking voices on our test drive.
- XL versions offer a huge amount of cargo space.
- In non-XL versions, the rear seats are a little cramped, and there isn't much legroom to speak of in the third row.
- While the cabin materials are nice, the overall design lacks the elegance of some of the Yukon's European competitors. This is particularly true of the high-priced Denali trim.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
The Yukon's ride, especially with the Denali, really is terrific for such a big vehicle.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
The Yukon has a lot to offer, but at a substantial price. Our experience with this SUV was largely positive, and there aren't many bad things to say until you remember how much you have to pay to get your hands on one.
The Bottom Line
The Yukon is ideal for families with boats or trailers to haul. It offers a ton of power to get the job done, but this SUV is also a class act. It can pull your boat out to the harbor then get you to dinner in style. The only drawback is the price. Because the 2017 Yukon is so expensive, it would only be a practical choice for those who actually need a large SUV with towing capabilities.
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