$28,870 - $39,860

2015 GMC Yukon Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2015 GMC Yukon was new.


Performance: 8.2

With a composed ride and V8 engines that deliver lively acceleration, reviewers say the 2015 GMC Yukon does a nice job of moving passengers and cargo down the highway in quiet comfort. They also say it handles confidently and is easy to drive for its size. The Yukon also gets good fuel economy for the class with the 5.3-liter V8.

  • "… you have a luxurious, comfortable and well-controlled full-size SUV that's as at home on the highway as it is on a twisting mountain road." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "If you're holding your breath anticipating that we'll tell you that the Yukon has precise handling and sporty moves, you should exhale now because no such review is coming. Considering the Yukon's weight of 5,500 pounds, tall ride height and massive length, however, GMC has done a remarkable job getting its body-on-frame behemoth to behave." -- AutoTrader
  • "Despite their size, all versions of these SUVs are surprisingly easy to drive." -- Motor Trend
  • “… the Yukon is still a capable workhorse, but it rides down a highway or up a mountain pass more efficiently, comfortably, quietly and confidently than ever before." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

The base 2015 Yukon and Yukon XL come standard with a 5.3-liter V8 engine that produces 355 horsepower. Denali trims come with a 6.2-liter V8 that makes 420 horsepower. Both engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The 2015 Yukon has an Active Fuel Management system that can deactivate four of the eight cylinders when they aren’t needed to conserve fuel. Rear-wheel drive is standard, while four-wheel drive is available. The EPA estimates that the base Yukon gets up to 16/23 mpg city/highway, which is good for the class. The 2015 GMC Yukon can tow up to 8,500 pounds. 

Automotive journalists agree that both V8 engines are powerful and give the Yukon smooth, brisk acceleration. They also agree that both engines are quiet, but some critics find that the transmission and gas pedal can be slow to respond when more power is needed.

  • "The 6.2-liter gives this lineman-sized SUV the quickness of a running back. With it, the Denali sprints from 0 to 60 mph in 6 seconds; the 5.3-liter is about a second behind. Both engines are commendably smooth, slipping into and out of fuel-saving four-cylinder mode with no indication beyond the readout in the instrument panel." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Both engines are quiet and smooth unless you punch it. And then there's plenty of muscle on tap." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "The only fly in the ointment is that the 6-speed automatic transmission (which is standard on all models) occasionally exhibits some delay before downshifting when the throttle is stabbed while underway." -- Consumer Guide
  • The 2015 GMC Yukon's 5.3-liter V8 engine is beefy enough to pull around a full complement of passengers and gear, yet plenty smooth and quiet. … We're less fond of the Yukon's lazy responses from the gas pedal and transmission, though. There's a noticeable delay for acceleration while pressing on the gas pedal at highway speeds or from a stop." -- Edmunds
  • "While driving around Lake Tahoe for three days, there was never a want or need for more power. All of the test vehicles handled the hills well, whether going up or down." -- Motor Trend

Handling and Braking

Test drivers say the 2015 Yukon has one of the more composed rides among large SUVs. They note its secure handling and say that the Yukon is easy to drive considering its size. Auto journalists mention that the Yukon is well-controlled in turns, and its suspension absorbs road imperfections well. The Yukon’s brakes also deliver good feedback, reviewers add.

  • "Beyond cosmetic upgrades, GM's done superb work on handling. These are still very large vehicles, but they're a piece of cake to pilot. In particular, since we got to test both long- and shorter-wheelbase trucks over mountain passes and in rain and snow between Nevada City, Calif., and Napa, Calif., we'd call out GM's effort on chassis stiffness, ride control, and steering rigidity." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "So long as the Yukon is not confined like a large bear in a small cage, it's able to run quite comfortably, negotiating winding roads, delivering acceptable levels of steering feedback and braking and returning highway fuel economy numbers that break the 20-mpg barrier." -- AutoTrader
  • "All versions of the Yukon we drove felt tauter and more controlled than their predecessors, particularly the Denali, which comes standard with magnetic-ride-control shock absorbers. Although you never forget that you're piloting three tons and 17 feet of truck, the Yukon and the Yukon Denali continue to respond accurately even when you push them." -- Car and Driver
  • "The 2015 trucks switch to electric power steering, and it's a well-tuned setup. We also were impressed with the improved pedal feel from the redesigned brake system." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "From a handling standpoint, there was good road feel and feedback to be had from the electric assist steering system and newly developed all-season tires. … Side to side wallow was minimized and the overall feel of the vehicle was one that flies in the face of its actual size." -- Left Lane News

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