Styling is the main thing that sets these two large SUVs apart.
Throughout history, one of General Motors’ favorite practices has been to offer two versions of the same vehicle, differentiated only by the badges on their hood and the marketing and advertising strategies used to promote them. Nowhere is this more evident than in the relationship between the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon — two versions of the same vehicle set apart only by some exterior styling elements and the slogans used to promote them.
While the need for two identical full-size SUVs from GM is questionable, nobody will deny that the Tahoe and Yukon twins are excellent family vehicles that offer loads of space, great features, strong powertrains and good towing capacities. Here, we’ll outline the major attributes of these two vehicles across a number of different categories and highlight the few differences that exist between them.
Spoiler alert: This is really the only area in which these two SUVs differ. The Tahoe wears a slightly more rugged exterior design, while the Yukon is a little more upscale. Up front, the Tahoe comes with a trapezoidal-shaped grille that’s integrated with the headlights, while the Yukon wears a rectangular grille with rounded-off bottom edges and headlights that sit further out toward the edges of the front fenders. See the 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe models for sale near you
Both look better in their upper trim levels, as both gain features like chrome accents, bigger wheels and ‘premium’ metallic and pearlescent exterior color options. The Tahoe offers a sporty RST package, which gets you black Chevrolet bowtie emblems, unique wheels and an RST badge. The Yukon’s calling card is its Denali trim, which certainly looks the part, thanks to lots of chrome, big wheels and a unique grille design, but again, it offers the same features you can get on the Tahoe’s top trim. See the 2020 GMC Yukon models for sale near you
While these two vehicles are only vaguely similar on the outside, they’re basically identical on the inside and are really only differentiated by the logo on the steering wheel and the branding associated with their (also identical) infotainment systems.
Again though, the fact that these two vehicles share an interior isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the design is spacious, functional and easy to live with day-to-day for parents and kids alike. The first and second rows are roomy — the third row, less so, but it’s still plenty big for kids. Thanks to their boxy designs, these SUVs offer a lot of cargo volume.
Standard on both the Yukon and Tahoe are features like three-zone climate control, a power adjustable driver and front-passenger seat and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Items like leather seats, a sunroof, a head-up display, a wireless charging pad and rear-seat entertainment are introduced on upper trims.
As with just about everything else, the powertrain options in these two trucks are the same. Both come standard with rear-wheel drive and offer all-wheel drive as an option, with the tradeoff being improved traction in inclement weather at the expense of a couple of miles per gallon here and there.
The base engine offered in these trucks is a 5.3-liter V8 that puts out 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque and pairs with a 6-speed automatic. Fuel economy is reasonable, considering this engine’s output. The 5.3-liter V8 is rated at 15 miles per gallon in the city, 22 mpg on the highway and 18 mpg combined with RWD, or 15 mpg city/21 mpg hwy/17 mpg combined with AWD. When the vehicles are properly equipped, towing capacity is up to 8,600 pounds.
The optional engine available on upper trims of these two big SUVs is a 6.2-liter V8 that puts out a potent 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. The towing capacity is slightly reduced, coming in at a maximum of 8,400 pounds. The 6.2-liter comes paired with a 10-speed automatic and returns 14 mpg city/23 mpg hwy/17 mpg combined with 2-wheel drive, and gives up just one mpg on the highway with the addition of optional AWD.
Features and Technology
These SUVs use the same infotainment system, although its branded as ‘MyLink‘ in the Chevrolet and ‘Intellilink‘ in the GMC. Both systems offer Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a 4G LTE connection with wi-fi (if you’re willing to pay for a subscription) and optional navigation. Both trucks come with an array of outlets and USB ports scattered throughout their interiors.
Other features are about what you’d expect: a power rear liftgate, a power folding third-row seat, a sunroof, leather seats, a Bose audio system, a head-up display and more.
While they’ve not been tested by the independent third-party Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Tahoe and Yukon twins earn four out of five stars in testing conducted by the government-run National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Looking at the safety features included on these two SUVs brings up another difference, at least according to their respective online configurators: While both offer standard rear parking sensors, only the Yukon offers standard front parking sensors. This feature isn’t included on the base Tahoe. Both vehicles offer forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic detection, lane-departure warning with lane-keep assist and automatic high beams on all but the base trims. That’s a fairly comprehensive offering — we’d just like to see it included as standard across the board.
Buyers should see average reliability from both of these trucks. While GM tries to pass GMC off as a luxury brand, the marque does not come with a luxury-car warranty, as GMC offers the same 3-year/36,000-mile basic and 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty as Chevrolet.
Factoring in destination fees, the 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe carries a starting price of $50,790, while the Yukon starts at $50,895 — a whopping $105 more. The similarities with regard to pricing carry on through the trim levels as well. Fully loaded, both vehicles come in at about $77,000.
The Tahoe and Yukon are essentially the same vehicle with different exterior styling. Aesthetically, the Tahoe leans a little more toward sporty and rugged, while the Yukon is a little more posh and luxurious. Powertrains, feature content, interior designs, capacities and the like are all identical. Which one is right for you should come down to two things: Which one you like to look at more and which one your local dealer will give you a better deal on. Find a Chevrolet Tahoe for sale or Find a GMC Yukon for sale