2019 GMC Yukon Review

Yukon

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2019 GMC Yukon Overview

The venerable GMC Yukon is a part of a breed of full-size, traditional, three-row SUVs. It was given a complete redesign in 2015. Since then, a few rivals--namely the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator --have been significantly improved, so for 2019, it gets some minor updates.

GMC equips the Yukon with one of two powertrains. The standard setup is a 5.3-liter V8 engine with 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. For even more power, there’s a 6.2-liter V8 that offers 420 hp and 460 lb-ft, plus a 10-speed automatic transmission. Both engines come standard with rear-wheel drive (RWD), while four-wheel drive (4WD) with a two-speed transfer case-- which lets the driver choose between five different drive settings -- is optional. The 4WD system comes with an “AUTO” mode, so that both axles will automatically engage if and when additional traction is required. The Yukon can tow as many as 8,500 lbs. Fuel economy for the 5.3-liter is as high as 16 miles per gallon city, 23 highway, and 19 combined on regular fuel, or 14, 23, and 17 for the 6.2-liter on premium fuel.

The trim spread has not changed, so the 2019 Yukon continues to be offered in SLE, SLT, and Denali grades. The SLE trim, the base trim, comes with the 5.3-liter engine, 18-inch wheels, remote start, projector-beam headlights, tri-zone automatic climate control, seating for 8 occupants, a BOSE sound system, and an 8-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A Convenience package adds an auto-dimming rearview mirror, power adjustable pedals, a hands-free programmable liftgate, and a garage door opener.

The SLT trim gets the 5.3-liter engine and everything from SLE along with the Convenience package, as well as 18-inch machined alloy wheels, perforated leather upholstery, heated and cooled front seats, power-release second-row seats, power-folding third-row seats, and a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Open Road Package throws in a power sunroof, a rear-seat DVD player, and navigation.

The Denali is its own sub-model, and brings true luxury appointments to the Yukon. All Denalis get the bigger 6.2-liter engine, unique chrome exterior accents, a special mesh grille, Denali badging, and 20-inch wheels. Standard features include everything from the SLT trim, plus real wood veneers, magnetic suspension, navigation, second-row bucket seats (reducing seating to seven) an 8-inch instrument cluster LCD, a head-up display, an integrated trailer brake controller, and HID headlights with LED lighting signatures. The Denali Ultimate package adds everything from the SLT Open Road package, along with an enhanced alarm and premium 22-inch wheels. For 2019, there are new colors for Denali: Dark Sky Metallic, Pepperdust Metallic, and Smokey Quartz Metallic.

GMC has added a couple of new packages to the mid-grade SLT trim for 2019 to really up the feature content and add personality. The Graphite Edition gets special 22-inch wheels, blacked-out exterior trim, and an upgraded suspension to handle higher payloads. Meanwhile, Graphite Performance Edition brings the 6.2-liter engine, an 8-inch instrument cluster LCD, a 170-amp alternator, a two-speed active transfer case (for 4WD models), and magnetic suspension.

On the safety front, the Yukon has a size advantage while still delivering on the safety front. There’s a reversing camera and standard airbags all around, plus a front-center airbag that deploys between the two front seats to keep occupants from colliding with each other. Teen Driver is another standard feature, allowing parents to monitor their children’s driving performance, set limitations, and even get report cards emailed to them. The Enhanced Driver Alert Package, standard on SLT and Denali and optional on SLE, includes forward-collision alert, a safety alert driver seat -- which provides haptic feedback to the driver-- along with automatic high-beam control, lane-keep assist, and low-speed forward automatic braking. SLT and Denali also get blind-spot monitoring, lane-change assist, and rear cross-traffic detection. Finally, adaptive cruise control is available for SLT and Denali.

The Yukon has been a common sight on American roads since its debut. Still, it’s clear that GMC is committed to making sure it’s a competitive offering on the market.

Updated

Kyree is new to the automotive journalism scene, but has voiced snarky public opinions about cars for quite some time. When he's not drooling over the latest European luxury sled, he's designing web experiences or writing backend code.

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