GMCs full-size sport utility vehicle is closely related to the Chevrolet Tahoe and is based on General Motors full-size pickup trucks. Both the Yukon and Tahoe were redesigned for the 2000 model year, and they compete against such full-size SUVs as the Ford Expedition, Lincoln Navigator, and Toyotas Land Cruiser and Sequoia. GMC sells a larger version, called the Yukon XL, which is comparable to the Chevrolet Suburban. The Yukon comes with either rear-wheel drive (RWD) or four-wheel drive (4WD). According to Automotive News, Yukon sales have risen sharply from 56,297 units in 2000 to 77,254 units in 2001.
A fancier Denali edition equipped with permanently engaged 4WD, leather upholstery and specific front-end styling joined the lineup for 2001. Standard Yukon Denali equipment includes a monochrome exterior color scheme, front and rear air conditioning, 11-speaker Bose audio, two-tone leather upholstery, GMs OnStar communication system and a heavy-duty towing package.
GMs StabiliTrak electronic stability system is available for 2003, and this feature comes standard on the Denali edition. Sculpted seats are new, optional adjustable pedals are available with or without a memory feature, and the instrument panel and console have been restyled. A Panasonic DVD backseat entertainment system and second-row captains chairs join the options list. The Denali edition also adds an XM Satellite Radio.
The differences between the Yukon and Tahoe are found mainly in the grille, where a prominent GMC badge is featured on the Yukon. The four-door Yukon is slotted between the midsize Envoy and the king-size Yukon XL. The Yukon measures 198.8 inches long overall, 78.8 inches wide and 73.6 inches tall in RWD form. The SUV has a 116-inch wheelbase and is equipped with 16-inch tires.
The Yukon accommodates as few as five to as many as nine occupants. The front may consist of two bucket seats or a three-place bench, and the seating configuration depends on the model. A three-place middle bench and a three-place rear bench go into all Yukon models. The folding middle and rear seats may be removed with the help of built-in wheels. The Yukons cargo volume is close to 105 cubic feet when the middle and rear seats are removed.
Under the Hood
The regular Yukon gets a standard 275-horsepower, 4.8-liter V-8 engine, and a 285-hp, 5.3-liter V-8 is optional. The Yukon Denali is equipped with a 320-hp, 6.0-liter V-8. The regular Yukon comes with either RWD or an automatically engaging 4WD system called Autotrac. The Yukon Denali has permanently engaged all-wheel drive, and computer-controlled shock absorbers change their stiffness based on driving conditions. All engines work with a four-speed-automatic transmission.
Dual-stage occupant-sensing airbags are new for 2003. Antilock brakes and side-impact airbags are standard. StabiliTrak is optional in all of the Yukon trim levels except the Denali, where it comes as standard equipment.