The full-size 2015 GMC Yukon received a stem-to-stern update with a sportier look, a stiffer structure, an improved ride, a more powerful base V8 engine and a long list of infotainment upgrades and new safety systems. It’s available in two sizes: short-wheelbase Yukon and long-wheelbase Yukon XL, the latter is about a foot and a half longer and is roughly equivalent to a Chevrolet Suburban.
New tech features for 2015 includes standard OnStar with 4G LTE connectivity and in-vehicle Wi-Fi for up to 10 devices, plus available wireless phone charging and a hands-free power liftgate. Safety advances include available lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning, side blind-zone alert and rear cross-traffic assist, plus adaptive cruise control.
The 2015 Yukon carries up to nine passengers or 94.7 cu ft. (121.1 cu ft in XL versions) of cargo with the second- and third-row seats folded. Both rear-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive are offered. Max tow capacity is 8,600 pounds.
What We Like
Hushed cabin; seating capacity; interior materials; ride quality on Denali model; towing capacity; comfortable first- and second-row seats; fold-flat rear seats; front seat center airbag
What We Don’t
Cramped third row on non-XL models
Fuel Economy & Engine Specs
The Yukon SLE and SLT are equipped with an updated, direct-injected 5.3-liter V8 rated at 355 horsepower with 383 lb-ft of torque. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel economy estimates are 16 miles per gallon in the city and 23 mpg on the highway for 2-wheel drive models, and 16 mpg city/22 mpg hwy on SUVs with 4WD.
Yukon Denali models upgrade to a 6.2-liter V8 with 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. It is EPA-rated at 15 mpg city/21 mpg hwy with 2WD and 14 mpg city/21 mpg hwy on 4WD models. Both engines feature active fuel management that saves fuel when coasting or highway cruising.
SLE and SLT models use a 6-speed automatic transmission while the Denali has an 8-speed unit. Both feature tap-up/tap-down gear selection, giving the driver easier manual gear control for grades, and a tow/haul mode for improved control of shift points under heavy loads.
Standard Features & Options
The 2015 Yukon is available in base SLE, mid-level SLT and luxury Denali trim.
SLE standard fare includes OnStar with 4G LTE and in-truck Wi-Fi hot spot, SiriusXM radio, Bluetooth phone connectivity, cloth upholstery, a power driver’s seat (standard front buckets or an optional split front bench seat), tri-zone automatic air conditioning, backup camera, fog lamps, cruise control, a leather-wrapped tilt wheel, keyless remote entry, 18-in alloy wheels, a 9-speaker Bose AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with an 8-in touchscreen, steering wheel controls, a HD radio and five USB ports, a conversation mirror, locking rear differential, split fold-flat second- and third-row seats, a 110-volt power outlet, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, intermittent wipers, automatic headlamps, ultrasonic forward and reverse sensing, rain-sensing wipers, power windows, heated mirrors and door locks and a remote start system.
SLT brings standard leather seat trim, heated power front seats with memory, a manual tilt/telescopic steering wheel, a power liftgate, a haptic safety alert seat, a proximity key, running boards, power adjustable pedals, forward-collision warning and lane-departure warning, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic assist.
Denali trim adds heated and cooled front seats, power folding heated second-row seats, a touchscreen navigation system, Bose 10-speaker surround sound, 20-in alloy wheels, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated rear seats, wood accents, a leather shift knob, wireless phone charging, a hands-free liftgate, push button start, Magnetic ride control shocks, a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel and active noise cancellation.
Key Yukon options include a head-up display, a power sunroof, power release second-row seats, 22-in alloys, adaptive cruise control, power retractable side steps and dual-screen Blu-ray DVD rear-seat entertainment.
The GMC Yukon offers a premium full-size SUV experience. Its truck like durability, roomy cabin and car like civility make it a popular used-vehicle choice as well. Luxurious Denali trim and 4WD versions fetch higher prices, especially in snowy climates.
For a good idea of the prices of used 2015 Yukons, check out the used-car values on KBB.com. You can also search the Autotrader Classifieds to see what models are for sale in your area.
The following safety recalls have been issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regarding the 2015 GMC Yukon:
There may be a sudden loss of electric power steering boost during vehicle operation.
Overheated exhaust pipes may melt nearby plastic parts.
Defective airbag sensing and diagnostic module software may fail to deploy the front airbags and seatbelt pretensioners in a crash.
On 4WD models, an electrical short may cause the transfer case to shift to neutral, allowing the vehicle to roll away or creating a sudden loss of power.
Overhead airbags may be punctured by roof rack hardware and not be fully inflated during deployment.
A loose automatic transmission cooler fitting may spray transmission fluid on a hot engine component.
Recall repairs are required by law, even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.
Safety Ratings & Warranties
The NHTSA rated the short-wheelbase 2015 Yukon at 4-stars overall with a 5-star rating for front- and side-impact performance, plus 3 stars for rollover resistance. The long-wheelbase Yukon XL only received 4 stars for front-impact performance.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety did not rate the 2015 Yukon.
GMC gave the Yukon a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty with free roadside assistance, a 6-year/100,000-mile corrosion-perforation warranty and a 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage.
A certified pre-owned (CPO) Yukon cannot be more than five years old or have greater than 75,000 miles on the odometer. Each CPO Yukon undergoes a 172-point inspection. Those that pass receive a 12-month/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, plus the transferable original 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage extends to six years and includes roadside assistance. Also included is a new 2-year/30,000-mile maintenance plan.
Other Cars to Consider
2015 Ford Expedition –- Ford’s largest SUV can tow up to 9,200 pounds. The 310-hp 5.4-liter V8 is less powerful than the Yukon’s base 5.3-liter V8, but the Expedition’s independent rear suspension rides better than GMC’s live rear-axle.
With fuel prices at a low ebb, the safety, security and trailer-towing ability of GMC’s full-size SUV is undeniable. We like the SLT model, which comes with leather trim and most of the standard features buyers want. And the Yukon Denali offers an unmistakable luxury experience rivaling that of the Cadillac Escalade. Look for a 4WD version if you live in a mountainous area, snow country or have to deal with a lot of unpaved roads. A certified pre-owned Yukon is optimal, but be sure to get a car history report and make sure all recall repairs have been addressed.