2020 GMC Yukon

Performance


#5 out of 6 in Large SUVs

MSRP
$50,600
U.S. News Best Price Program

2020 GMC Yukon Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.4

GMC offers the 2020 Yukon with two powertrains. Both engines offer ample power, though with the base engine’s slow throttle response, you may have to mash the gas pedal to extract its full force. The larger engine gets the SUV moving quickly, and its 10-speed automatic transmission feels more refined than the six-speed gearbox found in the base model.

The Yukon feels composed around corners for a large SUV. Models equipped with the available adaptive suspension system offers excellent ride comfort.

  • … the base V8 feels lethargic and unresponsive in normal driving. The 6.2-liter V8 is punchier and much more responsive, making the Yukon feel a bit less truckish." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • "On the road the new 2018 GMC Yukon wonderfully combines the attributes of a full-size luxury sedan, a muscle car and a Peterbilt. It's smooth, comfortable and quiet on the highway, maneuverable, powerful and easy to drive in the city, and like a big rig it scares off pesky other drivers looking down at their phones." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • "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 (2015)

Acceleration and Power

The Yukon comes standard with a 355-horsepower 5.3-liter V8 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It has good muscle for most driving situations, though you may need to press the pedal closer to the floor to unlock the engine's available power.  

The top-of-the-line Denali’s available 6.2-liter V8 engine, rated at 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, can get this full-size SUV going much quicker. It's paired with a refined 10-speed automatic transmission.

The 2020 Yukon gets decent fuel economy numbers for the class. Models with the base engine return an EPA-estimated 15 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. Models with the larger engine get 14/23 mpg city/highway. Those estimates are slightly above average for a large SUV.

When properly equipped, the Yukon can tow up to 8,500 pounds.

  • "Its standard 5.3-liter V8 is wonderfully muscular. We’ve used it to pull trailers and RVs, climb grades and swoop along freeways. It pairs with a perfectly bearable 6-speed automatic transmission." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The base V8 feels strong, but only if you really stomp on the gas. Otherwise, the Yukon's sluggish throttle response and soft brake pedal make for a disconnected driving experience." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • "The only fly in the ointment is that the 6-speed automatic transmission … occasionally exhibits some delay before downshifting when the throttle is stabbed while underway." -- Consumer Guide (2015)

Handling and Braking

With its standard suspension, the Yukon delivers a smooth and pleasant ride. It even does a good job of absorbing large road imperfections, though some smaller road bumps can rattle the cabin. The available adaptive suspension system adjusts the ride in real time to smooth things out and give this GMC tighter handling.

The Yukon has composed handling with limited body roll around corners. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and four-wheel drive is available.

  • "Despite its old-school construction, the 2020 Yukon is definitely keeping up with modern times in regard to ride quality. This is a big, substantial SUV that exhibits fine road manners, but still feels like it could pound a rough road into smooth submission. The optional adaptive suspension provides even more ride comfort through constant monitoring and adjusting to further flatten the bumps." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • The standard suspension handles large bumps well without feeling overly floaty or bouncy, but vibrations from smaller imperfections and rough roads do get translated into the cabin. The Denali's adaptive setup is a marked improvement on all paved surfaces." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • "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." -- Popular Mechanics (2015)
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2020 GMC Yukon

MSRP: $50,600 - $73,500

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