$17,326 - $26,078

2012 GMC Yukon Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 GMC Yukon was new.


Performance: 7.9

Test drivers report that the 2012 GMC Yukon offers good power and a smooth ride, as well as capable towing prowess for an SUV of its size.

  • "The Tahoe and Yukon are full-size utility wagons with a solid range of capabilities, powered by an array of excellent and powerful V-8s.” -- Car and Driver

Acceleration and Power

The 2012 GMC Yukon SLE and SLT come with a 5.3-liter V8 engine that makes 320 horsepower and 335 pound-feet of torque. The Yukon Denali comes standard with a 6.2-liter V8 engine, which puts 403 horsepower and 417 pound-feet of torque to the ground. All Yukons have a six-speed automatic transmission. According to the EPA, two- and four-wheel drive Yukons with the 5.3-liter engine get 15/21 mpg city/highway. Two-wheel drive Denali models get 14/18 mpg , while all-wheel drive variants get 13/18 mpg. 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 or Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid, both of which get 20/23 mpg in both two- and four-wheel drive models.

In general, reviewers remark positively about the Yukon’s powertrain, saying it’s capable around town and on the highway. Upgrading to models containing the larger engine adds a significant amount of horsepower, but test drivers say that doesn’t come through in day-to-day driving.

  • "Regular-length Yukons are muscular off the line and in highway passing and 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. The Denali's automatic has 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

Test drivers say the 2012 Yukon handles like the large, heavy SUV it is, but it’s exceptionally smooth, especially when equipped with its optional Autoride suspension. All models come standard with rear-wheel drive, though four-wheel drive with a single-speed transfer case is available on all non-Denali trims.

  • "Despite being tall and heavy, Yukons suffer relatively little noseplow and body lean in turns, though you would never mistake these SUVs for sport sedans.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "What We Like: Smooth ride.” -- Cars.com
  • "Its relatively compact 39-foot turning circle also makes this GMC reasonably maneuverable in town. Still, the Yukon doesn't feel particularly agile in traffic and also exhibits some vagueness in its steering.” -- Edmunds


All models of the 2012 Yukon can tow more than 5,200 pounds, and the two-wheel drive Yukon XL 2500 can tow as much as 9,600 pounds. That’s more than the Nissan Titan, a full-size pickup truck.

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

Find the Best Price

Enter your zip code to get local pricing.

Get Dealer Quotes

To get dealer quotes, enter your zip code.

Search Used Listings

To search used listings, enter your zip code.

Change Location

Enter your zip code to see listings near you.

Please enter a valid zipcode

Best Price Program

Interested in a New?

Use the U.S. News Best Price Program to find great deals and get upfront pricing on the.