GMC Yukon Performance
Test drivers report that the 2012 GMC Yukon offers good power and a smooth ride, as well as capable towing prowess for an SUV of its size.
- "The Tahoe and Yukon are full-size utility wagons with a solid range of capabilities, powered by an array of excellent and powerful V-8s.” -- Car and Driver
Acceleration and Power
The 2012 GMC Yukon SLE and SLT come with a 5.3-liter V8 engine that makes 320 horsepower and 335 pound-feet of torque. The Yukon Denali comes standard with a 6.2-liter V8 engine, which puts 403 horsepower and 417 pound-feet of torque to the ground. All Yukons have a six-speed automatic transmission.
According to the EPA, two- and four-wheel drive Yukons with the 5.3-liter engine get 15/21 mpg city/highway. Two-wheel drive Denali models get 14/18 mpg , while all-wheel drive variants get 13/18 mpg. While these numbers aren’t stellar overall, they’re good for a large SUV. If you want better fuel economy, you can go for the Yukon Hybrid or Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid, both of which get 20/23 mpg in both two- and four-wheel drive models.
In general, reviewers remark positively about the Yukon’s powertrain, saying it’s capable around town and on the highway. Upgrading to models containing the larger engine adds a significant amount of horsepower, but test drivers say that doesn’t come through in day-to-day driving.
- "Regular-length Yukons are muscular off the line and in highway passing and merging with the 5.3-liter V8. Despite its extra horsepower, the Denali's 6.2 feels only slightly stronger. The transmissions provide crisp, timely shifts. The Denali's automatic has shift-lever buttons for manual operation.” -- Consumer Guide
- "The Denali shares the Escalade's potent 6.2-liter V8 and is thus notably quick for such a sizable vehicle.” -- Edmunds
Handling and Braking
Test drivers say the Yukon handles like the large, heavy SUV it is, but it’s exceptionally smooth, especially when equipped with its optional Autoride suspension. All models come standard with rear-wheel drive, though four-wheel drive with a single-speed transfer case is available on all non-Denali trims.
- "Despite being tall and heavy, Yukons suffer relatively little noseplow and body lean in turns, though you would never mistake these SUVs for sport sedans.” -- Consumer Guide
- "What We Like: Smooth ride.” -- Cars.com
- "Its relatively compact 39-foot turning circle also makes this GMC reasonably maneuverable in town. Still, the Yukon doesn't feel particularly agile in traffic and also exhibits some vagueness in its steering.” -- Edmunds
- "It feels right at home when towing a trailer, however, cruising effortlessly and easily maintaining speed up long grades.” -- Edmunds