The Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon are fully redesigned for the 2015 model year. Offering new styling, new interiors, new engines and a host of new features, the 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe and 2015 GMC Yukon are reasserting their standing as the leaders of the full-size-SUV segment. But given that the Tahoe and Yukon use the same chassis, feature the same engines, and even look the same, what's the difference between the two SUVs? We have the answer.
On the outside, a few factors distinguish the Tahoe from the Yukon. One is the grille: While the Tahoe uses Chevrolet's traditional crossbar grille, the Yukon offers two grille options, neither of which features a bar going through the grille and into the headlights like the Tahoe does. And speaking of headlights, the Tahoe's wrap around the SUV's front end and onto its fenders, while the Yukon's pull back toward its windshield. Each model has distinctive wheels. Perhaps the most obvious change is that, while the Yukon has a black-painted D-pillar, the Tahoe's is finished in the respective body color. That may not sound like much, but it's a consistent difference between GMC and Chevrolet SUVs.
There are virtually no interior differences between the 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe and its GMC Yukon counterpart. In fact, aside from the steering wheels -- and the infotainment system, dubbed MyLink in the Chevrolet and IntelliLink in the GMC -- the two SUVs offer identical interiors. The lone exception is the upscale Yukon Denali, which offers some extra high-end trim not found on the Tahoe. For the especially detail-oriented, the Tahoe also uses slightly different-colored night lighting than the Yukon, choosing a light blue over the GMC's red.
The Tahoe and base-level versions of the Yukon share virtually everything under the skin. That includes a new 5.3-liter V8 that boasts direct injection, cylinder deactivation, 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. The two SUVs also share a 6-speed automatic transmission and fuel economy ratings of 16 miles per gallon in the city and 22 mpg on the highway with 4-wheel drive or 16 mpg city/23 mpg hwy with rear-wheel drive.
Once again, the two SUVs only differ when you consider the Yukon Denali. The high-end Yukon model shares its engine with the Cadillac Escalade rather than the Tahoe. The result is that Yukon Denali models come with an exclusive 6.2-liter V8 that makes 420 hp and 460 lb-ft, returning 15 mpg city/21 mpg hwy with rear-wheel drive or 14 mpg city/21 mpg hwy with 4-wheel drive.
In order to assert its premium status, the Yukon (starting at $47,200 with shipping) offers a few more standard features than the Tahoe, which starts at $45,500 with destination. Extra items standard in the Yukon are front parking sensors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, keyless access and a 60/40-split folding rear seat, as opposed to the Tahoe's 50/50 rear seat. Yukon models also include GMC's IntelliLink system as standard, while Tahoe buyers must upgrade to an LT model for the highly similar MyLink feature.
In general, the Tahoe and Yukon continue this slight difference in features through all of the trim levels, with the Yukon positioned as a slightly more luxurious vehicle. The Tahoe LT, for instance, lags behind the Yukon SLT by not including features such as a heated steering wheel, rear cross-traffic alert and a blind spot monitoring system. The Tahoe LTZ ($60,000) is no match for the Yukon Denali ($63,500), which adds Escalade-like levels of equipment, including the more powerful 6.2-liter engine and a standard navigation system.
With that said, most features offered by the Yukon are optional in the Tahoe. For instance, the Yukon SLT's standard heated steering wheel is optional in the Tahoe LT, and the Yukon Denali's standard navigation system can be had with the Tahoe LTZ. The only truly exclusive feature offered by the Yukon is the Denali's 6.2-liter V8, along with some interior and exterior touches unique to Denali models.
When it comes to technology, the Yukon and Tahoe offer virtually no distinguishing features. Sure, some features are standard on one model and optional on another, but there are no gadgets that you can get in the Yukon that aren't also available in the Tahoe, and vice versa.
Even the infotainment systems don't offer any substantive differences. Both include smartphone app integration, Siri Eyes Free for iPhone users, text-to-voice capability, and voice control for various functions. They're both welcome revisions compared to the infotainment systems in the outgoing Tahoe and Yukon models, which left a lot to be desired in terms of convenience and connectivity.
Similar to the Technology offerings, you'll struggle to find any differences between the Tahoe and Yukon when it comes to safety. Once again, some Yukon models include a few standard safety features that are optional on the Tahoe, but there aren't any safety features that are exclusive to either vehicle.
The good news is that both the Tahoe and Yukon offer a wide variety of new safety equipment for the 2015 model year. There's adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, a backup camera, a blind spot monitoring system, a forward-crash alert system with automatic braking, and a lane-departure warning system that vibrates the driver's seat if the SUV starts to drift out of its lane. All features combine to finally bring the Tahoe and Yukon into the modern era of automotive safety technology.
If you're looking for a full-size SUV, the Tahoe and Yukon should be your first test drive, especially since they've been updated for the 2015 model year. New styling, new features and excellent new interiors all keep the two models far ahead of competition from aging rivals such as the Ford Expedition, Nissan Armada and Toyota Sequoia.
When compared to each other, though, the Tahoe and Yukon are surprisingly similar. We suggest picking whichever one you happen to like more or whichever model offers a better deal. The sole exception is the Yukon Denali, which distinguishes itself from the Tahoe with a larger engine and extra luxury touches. If that appeals to you, the Denali is a good choice, though we also recommend checking out the ultra-upscale Cadillac Escalade.