$10,918 - $14,957

2009 GMC Yukon Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2009 GMC Yukon was new.


Performance: 8.4

Test drivers report that the 2009 GMC Yukon offers good power and reasonable performance for an SUV of its size.

  • "These are nice trucks to drive, with solid power, decent steering, and a good ride." - Car and Driver

Acceleration and Power

The 2009 GMC Yukon SLE and SLT come with a 4.8-liter V8. Buyers can trade up to a 5.3-liter V8 with GM's Active Fuel Management system, which shuts off four of the eight cylinders when they're not needed (while coasting or cruising on the highway, for example). The same engine is also available as a Flex-Fuel engine, which gives it the ability to run on E85 fuel instead of gasoline. The 5.3-liter V8 is standard on Yukon XL models. The Yukon Denali comes standard with a 6.2 liter V8 engine. It also has active fuel management technology. The regular Yukon engines are mated to four-speed automatic transmissions, while the Denali engine has an automatic six-speed transmission.

  • "Regular-length Yukons are muscular off the line and in highway passing/merging with the 5.3-liter V8. Despite its extra horsepower, the Denali's 6.2 feels only slightly stronger. The transmissions provide crisp, timely shifts, with the Denali's automatic having shift lever buttons for manual operation." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The 6.0 liter engine "was sluggish in almost every passing situation I could simulate." -- Cars.com
  • "Even a 4WD Yukon with the 5.3 V8 is fairly quick," -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

The 2009 GMC Yukon comes with a coil-over-shock front suspension and a five-link rear suspension. An optional Autoride suspension is also available. The Autoride system automatically adjusts the shocks for a smoother ride, depending on road conditions.

  • "Delivers a ride on the comfortable side, especially at city speeds." -- Automotive.com
  • "The ride itself could have been a bit cushier and quieter. Joints in the highway were extremely noticeable." -- Cars.com
  • "When turning corners or pulling to a stop, its excessive body-roll and dive made us feel like we were on a fishing trawler at high tide." -- CNET
  • "Aimed for the horizon on an interstate, there aren't many better cruisers." -- Edmunds
  • "Brakes offer no-drama stopping power, solid pedal feel," -- Consumer Guide.


Those reviewers that looked at the Yukon's towing ability came away disappointed. Other large SUVs, like the Nissan Armada and the Ford Expedition, can tow over 9,000 pounds. Yukon buyers who have basic towing needs should be fine, but those who regularly haul extremely heavy loads should consider other SUVs or trucks.

  • "Big trucks with big motors should handle big towing loads, yet even with the most ludicrously large V8 in this class, the 6.2-liter Denali wimps out at 7,400 pounds."--  Automotive.com
  • "When towing a heavy trailer, the Yukon performs admirably. It's able to maintain speed up long grades, albeit with some gear hunting and rather loud exhaust noise."  -- Edmunds

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