Unlike other websites and magazines, our ratings are not based solely on a singular road test, but rather a more encompassing batch of criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value. When comparing vehicles using our Rating System, it's important to note that the rating earned by each vehicle correlates only to the models within its class. For example, a compact car cannot be compared to a SUV—They are different vehicles altogether.
You can interpret our ratings in the following way:
5-Star: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.
4-Star: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.
3-Star: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.
2-Star: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.
1-Star: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.
2018 GMC Yukon OVERVIEW
The 2018 GMC Yukon adheres to the decades-old formula of abundant passenger room mixed with truck-like capability. While most family haulers have switched to lighter and smaller platforms, the brawny Yukon can still haul a load and tow a trailer without breaking a sweat. The Yukon also packs enough features and premium touches to rival some luxury-branded SUVs.
What's New for 2018
The top-trim Denali gains a 10-speed automatic transmission and new grille design. Some option packages have been revised to better reflect buying habits.
Choosing Your GMC Yukon
The Yukon's standard 5.3-liter V8 engine produces 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. Paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, the 5.3-liter achieves an EPA-estimated 19 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving, or 18 mpg with four-wheel drive (a $3,000 option on all models).
The Denali get its own 6.2-liter V8 (420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque) and a 10-speed automatic transmission. This setup is EPA-rated at 17 mpg combined with both rear- and four-wheel drive. Low-range gearing comes standard on Denali models equipped 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. There's a total of 95 cubic feet of cargo space with all seats folded. The truly huge Yukon XL, covered in a separate entry, holds up to 121.7 cubic feet.
The Yukon starts out thoroughly equipped and gets more indulgent as you move up the trim levels:
Priced from $50,395 (including the $1,295 destination charge), the SLE comes standard with front and rear parking sensors, a power driver seat, tri-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition, automatic wipers, a nine-speaker Bose sound system with satellite radio, and an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The SLE rolls on 18-inch polished aluminum wheels. The optional SLE Value Package ($1,930) tacks on a power liftgate, power adjustable pedals, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a universal home remote, and 20-inch wheels. For safety, there's the Enhanced Driver Alert Package ($545) with lane keeping assist, automatic headlights, a vibrating alert in the driver seat, and collision mitigation with automatic emergency braking. A front bench seat is available on the SLE only as a $250 option.
For $58,495, the SLT carries the SLE's major options, plus leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats with passenger power and driver memory, heated second-row seats, power-folding second and third rows, and a heated power-adjustable steering wheel. Also standard are power-folding mirrors, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and a wireless device charger. The Open Road Package ($2,930) outfits with SLT with a sunroof, navigation, and a Blu-Ray entertainment system. The Premium Edition ($3,070) spruces up the outside with 22-inch chrome wheels and additional chrome trim. The Enhanced Security Package ($410) offers a vehicle alarm system with interior motion detectors and vehicle incline sensors. The Heavy Duty Trailering Package for the SLE and SLT ($580) includes a trailer brake controller, an air-leveling suspension, and low-range gearing on four-wheel drive models. So equipped, the Yukon has a towing capacity of 8,500 pounds.
The exclusive Denali ($67,495) gets the 6.2-liter engine and 10-speed transmission, an adaptive suspension, xenon headlights, and standard 20-inch wheels. Other upgrades include a head-up display, active noise cancellation, second-row captain's chairs, navigation, and a 10-speaker surround-sound system. The interior carries upgraded leather upholstery and wood trim. Most options are bundled into the Denali Ultimate Package ($6,980), which includes adaptive cruise control, power assist steps, and everything in the SLT's Open Road, Enhanced Security, and Huvy Duty Trailering packages (if not already standard).
With its bevy of interior upgrades, the SLT is better suited to long-distance travel than the SLE, especially when there's a full crew aboard. The most compelling reason for stepping up to the Denali is its more powerful engine. Buying one for luxury alone is hard to justify in our view.