$14,772 - $20,399

2011 GMC Yukon Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2011 GMC Yukon was new.


Performance: 8.2

Test drivers report that the 2011 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 2011 GMC Yukon SLE and SLT come with 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 5.3-liter V8 is standard on Yukon XL 1500 models. The Yukon Denali comes standard with a 6.2-liter V8 engine, which also has active fuel management technology. All Yukons have a six-speed automatic transmission.

According to the EPA, two-wheel drive Yukons with the 5.3-liter engine and two-wheel drive should get 15 miles per gallon in the city and 21 miles per gallon on the highway. With the 6.2-liter engine and two-wheel drive, the Yukon gets 14 miles per gallon in the city and 18 on the highway. While these numbers aren’t stellar overall, they’re good for a large SUV.  If you want better fuel economy, you can go for the Yukon hybrid, but it costs so much more than the base Yukon that it may not be worth it.

In general, reviewers are positive about the Yukon’s powertrain.

  • "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 Denali shares the Escalade's potent 6.2-liter V8 and is thus notably quick for such a sizable vehicle."-- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

The 2011 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. While noting that the Yukon still drives like the large SUV it is, reviewers generally say the Yukon is easy enough to drive every day.

  • "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
  • "The 2011 GMC Yukon excels at highway cruising with a quiet cabin and a suspension that smoothes bumps and rough pavement without feeling sloppy when pointed through corners."-- 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. The maximum towing capacity for the Yukon is 8,500 pounds. If you go for a Yukon XL 1500, that decreases to 8,100 pounds. Opt for the Yukon XL 2500, however, and you can pull up to 9,600 pounds.

  • "It feels right at home when towing a trailer, however, cruising effortlessly and easily maintaining speed up long grades." -- Edmunds

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