2018 GMC Yukon

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MSRP: $49,100 - 71,900

2018 GMC Yukon Review

The 2018 GMC Yukon has an upscale interior that’s packed with features, and it's easy to drive compared to other large SUVs. Still, competitors have more room, and the base Yukon trails its rivals in terms of ride quality and power delivery. As a result, this GMC ranks toward the bottom of the class.

7.1

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: N/A
Performance: N/A
Interior: N/A
Safety: N/A
Reliability: TBD

Pros & Cons

  • Good handling for a large SUV
  • Smooth ride with upgraded suspension
  • Classy, well-equipped cabin
  • Dull throttle response with base engine
  • Bouncy ride with standard suspension
  • Cramped third row in standard-wheelbase models
  • Below-average predicted reliability rating

New for 2018

  • Denali trim gets a 10-speed automatic transmission
  • Minor changes to features and packages
  • Revised grille

Is the GMC Yukon a Good SUV?

The GMC Yukon is a decent SUV. Its engines never feel short on power, and it has a richer cabin than most rivals. While large SUVs aren't exactly fuel sippers, the Yukon gets better gas mileage than many class rivals. However, some competitors have smoother rides and higher towing capacities than the Yukon.

Should I Buy the GMC Yukon?

The Yukon is worth a look, especially if you want an upscale SUV that makes a good people hauler. However, most classmates outrank the Yukon. This GMC also has a higher starting price than most of its rivals.

Should I Buy a New or Used GMC Yukon?

The current generation of the GMC Yukon began with the 2015 model year, and there have been few major changes since then. The 2016 model added lane keep assist, while the 2017 added low-speed automatic braking. The 2018 Yukon gains a 10-speed transmission in the Denali trim. You can potentially save thousands of dollars by shopping for a used car instead of a new one, though older models may not have as many features. 

If you're interested in a used model, be sure to visit our overviews of the 2016 GMC Yukon and 2017 GMC Yukon. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Yukon »
We Did the Research for You: 22 Reviews Analyzed

Instead of basing our reviews on our personal opinions, we analyze the findings of the automotive press alongside data like reliability ratings and safety scores to help you pick the right new car for you. This review uses applicable research and data from every model year of the current generation, which runs from 2015 to 2018.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking vehicles since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To keep our reviews unbiased, we refuse pricey gifts and trips from automakers, and a third party handles the ads on our site.

How Much Does the GMC Yukon Cost?

The base Yukon SLE starts at $49,100, which is midrange among base prices in the class. The range-topping Denali trim starts at $66,200.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local GMC dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our GMC deals page.

GMC Yukon Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: GMC Yukon or Chevrolet Tahoe?

The Chevy Tahoe has a lower starting price than the Yukon, but these two General Motors SUVs are practically twins. They have the same engine options, features lists, and cargo capacities. The Yukon is slightly more upscale and offers a long-wheelbase model. The Chevrolet Suburban is the equivalent of the long-wheelbase Yukon XL. There are many similarities, so your choice between these two may boil down to personal preference. However, the Tahoe has a much higher predicted reliability rating and better safety scores, which results in its higher ranking.

Which Is Better: GMC Yukon or Ford Expedition?

The Ford Expedition is fully redesigned for 2018, and it ranks near the top of the class. The Expedition can tow more than the Yukon, and in standard-wheelbase versions, the Ford has more cargo space as well. Each SUV offers a long-wheelbase model, and both are similar in terms of cargo space. The Ford has slightly better fuel economy and a perfect predicted reliability rating of five out of five. We named the Expedition our 2018 Best Large SUV for Families. There's one catch: the Ford’s starting price is about $2,700 higher than the Yukon’s. Still, we think it's worth it to get a much better vehicle.

Compare the Yukon, Tahoe, and Expedition »

Yukon Interior

How Many People Does the Yukon Seat?

The Yukon seats eight in its standard configuration. An available front-row bench seat increases seating capacity to nine. Alternatively, second-row captain’s chairs do away with the middle seat, bringing occupancy down to seven.

The first- and second-row seats are supportive and spacious. Third-row comfort depends on whether or not you opt for the Yukon XL. The XL variant has a longer wheelbase and decent space in the last row, while the third row in the standard model isn’t roomy enough for adults.

Yukon and Car Seats

The Yukon has complete sets of LATCH child-seat connectors for all second-row seats and tether-only connections for all third-row positions. You may have some trouble finding some of the top tethers, and the second-row lower anchors don’t give you a lot of room to work with.

Yukon Interior Quality

The Yukon’s library-quiet interior is dressed to impress, with first-rate materials and a good build quality. Compared to class rivals like the Toyota Sequoia, the Yukon’s interior is near-luxury grade.

Yukon Cargo Space

With the standard-wheelbase Yukon, there’s 15.3 cubic feet behind the third row, which is room for little more than three sets of checked and carry-on luggage. Yukon XL models have 39.3 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats. Collapsing all the rear seats reveals 94.7 cubic feet in the standard model and 121.7 cubic feet with the XL. Because of the Yukon’s high cargo floor, loading and unloading can be a chore. Luckily, power-folding rear seats and a hands-free liftgate are available to make the process a little easier.

Yukon Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features include tri-zone automatic climate control, remote start, and an easy-to-use 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system with a nine-speaker Bose audio system. Also standard are a Wi-Fi hot spot, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto; these are typically add-ons with other models. For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Available options include navigation, a 10-speaker surround-sound system, a head-up display, wireless device charging, a sunroof, and a rear-seat Blu-ray entertainment system.

Read more about interior »

Yukon Performance

Yukon Engine: Go for the Big V8

A 355-horsepower V8 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission are standard in the Yukon. Denali models get a 420-horsepower V8 and a 10-speed automatic transmission. Throttle responses are timid in the non-Denali models, but flooring the gas pedal reveals plenty of power on tap. The Denali’s new-for-2018 10-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and makes good use of the brawnier V8's power.

Yukon Gas Mileage: A Little Better Than the Rest

The Yukon returns 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway with the base model. That’s better than what you get with the Nissan Armada or Toyota Sequoia, but its matches the Yukon’s corporate cousin, the Chevrolet Tahoe.

Yukon Ride and Handling: Magnetic Personality

While the Yukon does a great job of smoothing over jagged pavement, smaller bumps in the road can make the ride jittery. Models equipped with Magnetic Ride Control smooth out this problem and adapt to road conditions as they change. Despite the Yukon’s heft and size, body lean is controlled around turns.

Yukon Towing: Up to the Task

When properly equipped, the Yukon can tow up to 8,500 pounds. That’s enough for a trailer with a pair of jet skis, a small boat, or a four-wheeler. Still, you can tow more with the Ford Expedition, thanks to its 9,300-pound limit.

Read more about performance »

Yukon Reliability

Is the GMC Yukon Reliable?

The 2018 Yukon has a below-average predicted reliability rating of 2.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

GMC Yukon Warranty

The GMC Yukon comes with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, which is typical for the class.

Read more about reliability »

Yukon Safety

Yukon Crash Test Results

The 2018 GMC Yukon earns an overall crash test rating of four out of five from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It earns five stars in the frontal and side crash tests and a three-star rating in rollover testing.

Yukon Safety Features

All Yukon models come with a rearview camera with front and rear parking sensors. Teen Driver is also standard. It allows you to limit the volume and speed as well as monitor driving behaviors.

The Enhanced Driver Alert package adds forward collision warning, automatic high beams, lane keep assist, low-speed automatic emergency braking, and a driver’s seat that vibrates to notify you of safety hazards. Other stand-alone options include adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

Read more about safety »

Which GMC Yukon Model Is Right for Me?

The GMC Yukon comes in three trims: SLE, SLT, and Denali. All trims are available with four-wheel drive for $3,000 and a long wheelbase for $2,700. The base SLE trim offers plenty of features for the money. Still, if you can swing it, consider upgrading to the Denali. It features a more powerful V8 engine, without much of a decrease in fuel economy. It also comes equipped with Magnetic Ride Control, which improves ride quality and adapts to road conditions. Its added interior features also make it worth the extra dough.

GMC Yukon SLE

With a price of $49,100, the base Yukon comes with a 5.3-liter V8, a six-speed automatic transmission, and a good amount of standard features. All models come with a touch-screen infotainment system, a rearview camera, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, tri-zone automatic climate control, and a Wi-Fi hot spot.

For an additional $730, the Convenience package adds power-adjustable pedals, a power liftgate, and a built-in garage door opener. Or, you can get the SLE Value package for $2,430, which comes with all of those features plus 20-inch wheels. You can also add the Enhanced Driver Alert package for $545. It gives you forward collision warning, low-speed automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, automatic high beams, and GM’s Safety Alert Seat.

There are also a few stand-alone options. A front bench seat lowers the Yukon’s price by $250, while a rear-seat entertainment system increases the price by $1,995.

GMC Yukon SLT

The Yukon SLT starts at $57,200. It comes with all the features from the SLE, plus perforated leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, a power liftgate, a proximity key, and power-folding second- and third-row seats. You’ll also get all the contents of the Enhanced Driver Alert package in addition to rear cross traffic alert.

The Open Road package ($3,380) includes a sunroof, a navigation system, and a rear-seat entertainment system. There’s also the Heavy Duty Trailering package for $780. For extra safety tech, you can add adaptive cruise control and full-speed automatic emergency braking for $895.

GMC Yukon Denali

The crème de la crème of the Yukon experience is the Denali trim, which starts at $66,200. It features chrome accents, a revised grille, 20-inch wheels, and woodgrain interior accents. But it’s not all about appearances. The Denali also has a beefy 420-horsepower V8, a 10-speed automatic transmission, and the Magnetic Ride Control adaptive suspension. Other trim-specific add-ons include an 8-inch driver information display, a 10-speaker Bose surround-sound system, and a head-up display.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local GMC dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our GMC deals page.

See 2018 GMC Yukon specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2018 GMC Yukon satisfies most large SUV shoppers' needs. It offers plenty of features, an impressive interior, and competent road manners. Despite all that, the Yukon’s classmates are superior. Rivals offer more seating and cargo space, higher towing capacities, and lower starting prices.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The 2018 GMC Yukon occupies what little space there is between the related Chevrolet Tahoe and the Cadillac Escalade. Though less premium than the Escalade, it does offer a few more luxuries and features than the Tahoe." -- Edmunds
  • "Built in Texas and now in its fourth generation, the 2018 GMC Yukon and its longer sibling, the Yukon XL, are great choices for large active families and those who need to tow a boat or RV." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Despite the numerous choices in the expanding midsize-crossover-SUV field, there will always be strong demand for a full-size vehicle such as the 2016 GMC Yukon. For sheer passenger space … cargo volume and towing ability, many Americans simply can't forgo what the Yukon and the stretched Yukon XL are serving up." -- Autotrader (2016)
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