The current-generation 2015 GMC Yukon has only been on the market one year, yet GMC is already giving it a few updates. For 2016, the Yukon lineup now offers a more comprehensive Driver Alert Package, two new 22-inch wheel designs to choose from, a hands-free liftgate for SLT models, two new exterior colors, and a capless fuel-filler neck.

Though minor, the changes help the Yukon stay a head of its highly competitive rivals, including the newly refreshed 2015 Lincoln Navigator. For the most part, however, the Yukon lineup – which includes the Yukon, Yukon XL, and the Denali-spec trims on each – carries over from 2015 unchanged. That’s not a bad thing, however, as the Yukon’s recent reworking brought a slew of very welcomed (and needed) updates to GMC’s full size SUV.

Those changes include fold-flat second and third row seats that no longer need to be removed to achieve a flat load floor; upgraded powertrains that include GM’s latest EcoTec3 technologies; a more upscale interior design with better finishings; and a bolder, more sharpened exterior look that replaced the outgoing 2007 through 2014 Yukon’s JELL-O-mold-like styling.

The newest generation of Yukon, along with its GM corporate twin, the Chevrolet Tahoe, Suburban, and Cadillac Escalade, will likely carry on for several more years without a major refresh. That won’t stop General Motors from giving them some minor updates along the way, however, as evidenced by these updates still so close to the vehicle’s launch.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 GMC Yukon.

  • Year:
  • Engine:
  • Transmission:
    six-speed automatic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    355 @ 5600
  • MPG(Cty):
  • MPG(Hwy):
  • Torque @ RPM:
    383 @ 4100
  • Displacement:
    5.3 L
  • 0-60 time:
    7.5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:


You’ll be hard-pressed to tell the difference between a 2015 and 2016 Yukon. The exterior design hasn’t changed, though some of its electronic features have. For mid-grade SLT trim levels, the Yukon now comes standard with the hands-free liftgate feature. The option allows users to swing their foot under the rear bumper to open and close the liftgate. As in 2015, the feature is standard on the Denali trim.

"The exterior design hasn’t changed, though some of its electronic features have."

GMC’s list of available wheels has grown by two, and now includes the new 22-inch designs as options on all trim levels. The “base” SLE trim level along with the mid-grade SLT trim level come standard with 18-inch wheels with both the 20- and 22-inch wheels coming as optional extras. The range-topping Denali trim comes standard with 20-inchers while also offering the 22-inch wheels as an option.

The Yukon also expands its color palette by two new shades. Crimson Red Tintcoat is available on all three trim levels while White Frost Tricoat is optional on SLT and Denali trims. Both shades come at an additional charge.

Making its way onto the Yukon free of charge (both in money and static electricity, I hope) is a new capless fuel filler neck. Now customers don’t’ have to worry about under or overtightening the fuel cap, or even losing it altogether. The system includes a gasketed fuel door to keep dust and debris from getting into the fuel tank.

Mounted inside but facing outward is GMC’s updated Driver Alert Package. The safety package now includes Lane Keep Assist. The function monitors the road ahead, and if it detects the driver is leaving the traffic lane without signaling or moving the steering wheel, the system gently corrects the steering angle to maintain the lane.

Included within the Driver Alert Package is GM’s Intellibeam automatic headlight feature that automatically turns the high beams on and off as traffic conditions change. And as with the 2015 Yukon, a backup camera comes standard, helping with avoiding obstacles when in reverse and hooking up a trailer.

Exterior Dimensions

Yukon Yukpn XL
Wheelbase (in / mm) 116 / 2946 130 / 3302
Overall length (in / mm) 203.9 / 5179 224.3 / 5697
Overall width (in / mm) 80.5 / 2044 80.5 / 2045
Overall height (in / mm) 74.4 / 1889 74.4 / 1890
Track (in / mm) front: 68.7 / 1745
rear: 68.7 / 1744
front: 68.7 / 1745
rear: 68.7 / 1744
Minimum ground clearance (in / mm) 2WD: 8 / 205
4WD: 8 / 205
2WD: 8 / 205
4WD: 8 / 205
Step-in height (in / mm) 2WD: 22 / 559
4WD: 22 / 559
2WD: 22 / 559
4WD: 22 / 559
Ground to top of load floor (in / mm) 2WD: 35.9 / 912
4WD: 35.9 / 912
2WD: 34.1 / 867
4WD: 34.1 / 867
Approach angle (deg) 2WD: 15.3
4WD: 15.3
2WD: 15.3
4WD: 15.3
Departure angle (deg) 2WD: 23.2
4WD: 23.2
2WD: 20.9
4WD: 20.9


The inside of the Yukon is a welcoming place, though nothing has changed for 2016. Every Yukon trim comes with fold-flat second and third row seats, making the job of hauling large cargo much simpler. Optional for those folding seats is a power-fold function, making light work of the transformation between people mover and cargo hauler. For those with their hands full of cargo, the Yukon’s hands-free liftgate offers several programmable settings for lift height, keeping the paint from swapping with the garage roof.

"Every Yukon trim comes with fold-flat second and third row seats, making the job of hauling large cargo much simpler."

Behind the wheel, the driver has view of the standard eight-inch infotainment screen running GMC’s IntelliLink software. SiriusXM satellite radio and 4G LTE Wi-Fi services come standard for three months, after which owners can choose to extend their service contracts. Navigation is also optional. Denali version come with an upgraded instrument cluster that features a second eight-inch display with three selectable themes and an optional heads-up display.

Rear seat passengers have the option of a dual screen Blu-ray/DVD system on Yukon XL models. Wireless headphones allow the kids to watch a movie without disturbing mom and dad up front.

Of course, safety is a big deal these days, and the Yukon doesn’t skimp. The SUV includes the segment’s only Front Center Airbag. Upon a side impact, the bag inflates from the inboard side of the driver’s seat, protecting both the driver and front passenger from colliding together. This is on top of the front airbags, side curtain airbags, and dual seatbelt pretensioners.

All told, the Yukon’s interior falls between the more utilitarian (yet still very swanky) Suburban’s and the high-rolling Cadillac Escalade’s. This middle-child position puts GMC in a unique spot that sort of limits its audience to those wanting things to be just right. Goldilocks, your SUV is waiting.


Like all current GM trucks and SUVs, the Yukon comes with the EcoTec3 version of the LS small block V-8. The standard engine is the 5.3-liter V-8 that offers 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. Coming standard on the Denali trim is the mighty 6.2-liter V-8. Basically the same LT1 engine founding the Corvette Stingray minus a few parts, the V-8 kicks out 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque.

"Both engines’ EcoTec3 technology includes Active Fuel Management, Variable Valve Timing, and Direct Fuel Injection."

Both engines’ EcoTec3 technology includes Active Fuel Management, Variable Valve Timing, and Direct Fuel Injection. The three attributes help conserve fuel while allowing the engine to produces strong horsepower and torque numbers.

The 5.3-liter comes mated to GM’s Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission, while the 6.2-liter gets GM’s newest eight-speed automatic, the Hydra-Matic 8L90. Expect both transmissions to be replaced in the next few years with a 10-speed automatic unit GM is co-developing with Ford.

The Yukon can also be had with 4WD. Two different systems are offered: the first being a single-speed transfer case that behaves more like an AWD system and the second being an electronically controlled, two-speed transfer case that offers both high and low range gears, as well as 2WD and Auto modes. An Eaton G80 automatic locking rear differential is also offered on both the 2WD and 4WD models.

Drivetrain Specifications

EcoTec3 5.3L V-8 (L83) EcoTec3 6.2L V-8 (L86)
Type 5.3L V-8 6.2L V-8
Displacement (cu in / cc) 325 / 5328 376 / 6162
Bore & stroke (in / mm) 3.78 x 3.62 / 96 x 92 4.06 x 3.62 / 103.25 x 92
Block material cast aluminum cast aluminum
Cylinder head material cast aluminum cast aluminum
Valvetrain overhead valve, two valves per cylinder, variable valve timing overhead valve, two valves per cylinder, variable valve timing
Ignition system coil near plug, platinum-tipped spark plugs, low-resistance spark plug wires coil near plug, platinum-tipped spark plugs, low-resistance spark plug wires
Fuel delivery direct fuel injection with Active Fuel Management direct fuel injection with Active Fuel Management
Compression ratio 11.0:1 11.5:1
Horsepower 355 HP @ 5,600 RPM 420 HP @ 5,600 RPM
Torque 383 LB-FT @ 4,100 RPM 460 LB-FT @ 4,100 RPM
Recommended fuel regular unleaded premium recommended but not required
Maximum engine speed (rpm) 5800 6000
Estimated fuel economy (city / hwy) 16 / 23 (2WD)
16 / 22 (4WD)
15 / 21 (2WD)
14 / 21 (4WD)


GMC has not announced any price differenced between the 2015 and 2016 model years, though there will likely be a small increase of a couple hundred dollars. For 2015, the standard Yukon lists for $47,740. Prices escalate well into the $80,000 area with a fully loaded Yukon XL Denali.

Yukon SLE 2WD $48,935
Yukon SLE 4WD $51,935
Yukon SLT 2WD $57,420
Yukon SLT 4WD $60,420
Yukon Denali 2WD $65,715
Yukon Denali 4WD $68,715
Yukon XL SLE 2WD $51,635
Yukon XL SLE 4WD $54,635
Yukon XL SLT 2WD $60,120
Yukon XL SLT 4WD $63,120
Yukon XL Denali 2WD $68,415
Yukon XL Denali 4WD $71,415


Lincoln Navigator

Like the 2015 Ford Expedition, the Navigator is totally refreshed for 2015, offering a more refined interior, updated powertrains, and new styling that doesn’t look 20 years old. Three rows of seating offer room for seven and its body-on-frame design offers respectable towing performance to the tune of 9,000 pounds.

Power comes from Ford’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6. The twin-turbo gasser offers up 380 horsepower and a respectable 460 pound-feet of torque while helping fuel economy improve over the outdated 5.4-liter V-8 in the outgoing model.

Prices start at $62,475, putting it more in competition with the Yukon Denali trim and well under the $72,000 starting price of the Escalade.

Read our full driven review here.

Lexus GX460

The GX460 is one of the older designs still on the market, though it received a minor facelift for 2014. The GX offers a similar body-on-frame design with an honest 4.6-liter V-8 under the hood. Three rows of seating offer room for seven and their folding configuration offers plenty of room for hauling cargo. Perhaps the best aspect of its aging design is the GX’s tried-and-true 4WD system that comes from its foreign Toyota cousin, the Land Cruiser Prado.

And thought a V-8 makes its home between the frame rails, it only produces 301 horsepower and 329 pound-feet of torque, making the GX a pit poky compared to its rivals. Still, a starting price of roughly $50,000 undercuts the Lincoln and lands only slightly above the GMC.

Read our full driven review here


The GMC Yukon hasn’t changed much for 2016, but the minor updates to its safety and convenience features give it a slight bump toward the top of the body-on-frame luxury SUV pile – a place where it is used to being. With prices and sizes to fit a wide range of budgets and family lifestyles, the Yukon, Yukon XL, and Yukon Denali models offer capability, functionality, and luxury unmatched by nearly every other competitor.

Sitting in between the Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban and the decked out Cadillac Escalade, the Yukon caters to that upper middle class clientele while still offering many of the same utilitarian features found on the Chevy and luxury items found in the Caddy. And with looks to kill, it seems the GMC is proving that being the middle child isn’t so bad after all.

  • Leave it
    • Get’s pretty pricy with options
    • Stuck between the Tahoe/Suburban and Escalade

Truck Finder:

Competing Vehicles

Press Release

The GMC Yukon family of full-size SUVs provides the capability, refinement, safety, performance and connectivity discerning customers expect. For 2016, Yukon, Yukon XL, Yukon Denali and Yukon XL Denali expand the Enhanced Driver Alert Package; and add two 22-inch wheel options, hands-free liftgate for SLT models, two new exterior colors and a capless fuel fill feature.

The Yukon was all new for the 2015 model year, distinguishing itself with bold exterior styling, a precision-crafted interior and a more standard features designed to broaden the appeal of already one of the industry’s most popular family of full-size SUVs.
The Yukon’s distinctive Denali models provide an exclusive collection of design, performance and upscale interior amenities. More than half of all Yukons sold are Denali models.
Yukon at a glance
Yukon SLE and SLT models are powered by advanced EcoTec3 engines that deliver more horsepower and torque with the segment’s best V-8 fuel economy. EPA-estimated highway fuel economy is 23 mpg with the standard 5.3L engine (2WD models).

Yukon Denali’s exclusive 6.2L engine makes the most power in the segment – 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. It’s matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission that further enhances efficiency and refinement.

Yukon and Yukon XL share design and powertrain elements. The Yukon XL wheelbase is 14 inches longer (20 inches longer overall) for greater third-row legroom and more than double the cargo room behind the third-row seat.

The 2016 Yukon lineup includes:

Fold-flat second- and third-row seats that enhance cargo capability and convenience – including an available power-folding feature
Easier entry/exit
Cargo management system that includes a cargo net
Available power rear liftgate with multiple programmable height settings

Available hands-free liftgate operation (standard on SLT and Denali)
Wireless phone charging (standard on SLT and Denali)

Standard eight-inch-diagonal color touch screen radio with enhanced IntelliLink and available navigation
Eight-inch-diagonal customizable driver display with three available user themes and available head-up display (Denali models)
Multiple USB ports and accessory power outlets – including a 110-volt three-prong outlet – to support electronic devices of all kinds
Available Blu-ray/DVD rear-seat entertainment system with dual screens on Yukon XL
Conversation mirror in the overhead console that provides a panoramic view of the rear seats
Available keyless entry and push-button start.

The Yukon lineup also incorporates technologies to help protect the driver and passengers before, during and after a collision. They include a forward radar system and the segment’s only Front Center Air Bag (models with front bucket seats), which deploys from the inboard side of the driver’s seat and inflates between the driver and front passenger, providing added protection for both front occupants in side impacts.

For 2016, the Enhanced Driver Alert Package adds Lane Keep Assist. When activated, it gently steers the vehicle back into its lane when it detects the driver is inadvertently leaving the intended lane of travel. The package also adds IntelliBeam headlamp technology, which automatically turns on and off the vehicle’s high-beam headlamps according to surrounding traffic conditions. The automatic high beams stay on until the system detects an approaching vehicle’s headlamps or follows a vehicle’s taillamps.

Bold styling, enhanced refinement
Inside and out, bold styling advances GMC’s professional grade credentials with elements precision-executed for beauty and function. Yukon’s more aerodynamic exterior also improves highway efficiency and contributes to its quiet ride.

Projector-beam headlamps are standard on Yukon and Yukon XL. The distinctive Denali models are instantly identifiable by their signature chrome grille and unique exterior appointments, including exclusive high-intensity discharge headlamps.

Additional exterior features include:

Inlaid doors fit into the body side openings instead of over the top of the body, to reduce wind noise and improve aerodynamics
Laminated windshield and front door glass to enhance quietness
Lightweight aluminum hood and liftgate panels improve efficiency
Standard rear spoiler on the liftgate hides the rear window wiper
Hands-free liftgate operation
Illuminated, power-retractable assist steps available on Denali
Eighteen-inch wheels are standard on SLE and SLT, with 20- and 22-inch wheels available
Twenty-inch wheels are standard on Denali, with 22-inch wheels available
New, standard capless fuel fill feature, which eliminates the risk of under- or overtightening the cap.

The hands-free liftgate allows a customer with a keyless entry fob – and full hands – to open and close the liftgate by waving his or her foot under a sensor beneath the rear fascia. It is standard on SLT and Denali.

Two new exterior colors – Crimson Red Tintcoat (SLE, SLT and Denali) and White Frost Tricoat (SLT and Denali) – are available for an additional charge.

Interior details
Inside, the Yukon’s precisely crafted interior features a quiet cabin, authentic materials and premium infotainment choices.

Examples of attention to detail include a soft-touch instrument panel, console and door panel materials with French seam stitching and purposeful use of ambient lighting in functional areas, including first- and second-row foot wells and the center console. A Bose sound system is standard on all models.

Denali models feature active noise cancelation technology to make the interior quieter.

Additional interior highlights include:

An 8-inch-diagonal Color Touch radio with GMC IntelliLink is standard on SLE and SLT; and an 8-inch-diagonal Color Touch radio with navigation is standard on Denali and available on SLT
Bose nine-speaker audio system is standard on SLE and SLT
Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound premium 10-speaker audio system is standard on Denali
Tri-zone automatic climate control system is standard on all models
Multicolor driver information center is standard on all models – with a larger, 8-inch-diagonal customizable display standard on Denali
A rear-seat entertainment system with Blu-Ray/DVD player, wireless headphones, USB port and SD card slot is available on SLT and Denali
Push-button starting is standard on SLT and Denali and remote vehicle start is standard on all models
Power-adjustable pedals are standard on SLT and Denali, and available on SLE
Five auxiliary power outlets are standard on SLT and Denali, and available on SLE
A rear-vision camera system is standard on all models
Cloth-trimmed front bucket seats are standard on SLE, and a 40/20/40-split front bench seat is available
Perforated, leather-trimmed seats – including heated/cooled front bucket seats – are standard on SLE and Denali
Heated second-row outboard seats are standard on SLE and Denali
Power-folding 60/40-split bench third-row seat is standard on SLE and Denali
Heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel is standard on SLE and Denali
Wireless phone charging is standard on SLT and Denali
A power-operated sunroof is available on SLT and Denali.

IntelliLink and OnStar 4G LTE
GMC Yukon’s IntelliLink infotainment system offers passengers more choices for their increasingly plugged-in lifestyles. It is easy and intuitive, is highly customizable and is capable of linking multiple devices such as smartphones, SD cards and MP3 players.

A Text Messaging Alerts feature for smartphone users with Bluetooth profile (M.A.P.) reads incoming texts through the vehicle’s speakers, and Siri Eyes Free for iPhone iOS 6 and iOS 7 users enhances connectivity and convenience. It’s voice-controlled to help keep phones safely stowed and drivers’ hands on the wheel.

OnStar with 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot provides a mobile hub for drivers and passengers to stay connected. The hotspot is on whenever the vehicle is on and comes with a three-month/three-gigabyte data trial.

4G LTE is the most current and fastest mobile data network – 10 times faster than 3G and 100 times faster than the previous generation of OnStar hardware. It also offers stronger, broader coverage than smartphones on the same network.

At the time of purchase, six months of OnStar Guidance includes all of OnStar’s advisor-based safety and security features, including Automatic Crash Response and Stolen Vehicle Assistance, as well as turn-by-turn navigation.

Five years of OnStar Basic Plan includes RemoteLink Key Fob Services, allowing owners to remotely start and lock/unlock a car (if properly equipped), and activate the horn and lights from anywhere with a data connection. It also includes OnStar Advanced Diagnostics, which runs monthly checks of a vehicle’s engine, transmission, anti-lock brakes and more, and Dealer Maintenance Notification, which sends diagnostic report directly to a preferred dealer to simplify service scheduling.

More capable, more comfortable
The Yukon lineup delivers greater capability and greater refinement through new and enhanced chassis and suspension systems. A fully boxed frame – composed of more than 75 percent high-strength steel – supports a quiet and controlled ride. Shear-style body mounts attached to the frame significantly improve stiffness and contribute to the Yukon’s smooth ride.

Yukon’s driving experience is further enhanced with:

Wide rear track that contributes to a more planted stance
Electric variable-assist power steering system enhances fuel economy and tailors steering assist to vehicle speed
9.5-inch rear axle and standard automatic locking rear differential
Standard StabiliTrak electronic stability control, tow/haul mode, trailer sway control, auto grade braking and hill start assist
Four-wheel-disc brakes with Duralife™ brake rotors that offer up to double the service life
Denali models include third-generation Magnetic Ride Control, a real-time damping system that delivers more precise body motion control by “reading” the road every millisecond and changing damping in just five milliseconds.

Advanced powertrain technology
The Yukon family is powered by the EcoTec3 engine family. A 5.3L V-8 is standard in Yukon and Yukon XL models and an exclusive 6.2L engine is standard in Denali models, delivering the segment’s best horsepower and torque – SAE-certified 420 horsepower (313 kW) and 460 lb-ft of torque (623 Nm).

EcoTec3 engines feature state-of-the-art technologies including direct injection, cylinder deactivation, continuously variable valve timing and an advanced combustion system designed to make the most of power, torque and efficiency across a broad range of operating conditions. The precisely controlled combustion enables a higher compression ratio for greater power and efficiency.

The 5.3L V-8 is matched with the Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission, while the 6.2L in the Denali features the Hydra-Matic 8L90 eight-speed automatic transmission.

Designed and built by GM, the 8L90 features smaller steps between gears, compared to the previous six-speed automatic, keeping the engine within the sweet spot of the rpm band to make the most of its horsepower and torque to optimize performance and efficiency.

A wider 7.0 overall gear ratio spread provides a numerically higher 4.56 first gear ratio, helping drivers start off more confidently with a heavy load or when trailering.

Safety technologies
Yukon models are equipped with standard and available driver-alert technologies that add layers of crash-avoidance protection, as well as enhanced occupant protection in the event a crash occurs.

For 2016, the Yukon’s Enhanced Driver Alert Package adds Lane Keep Assist. When activated, it gently steers the vehicle back into its lane when it detects the driver is inadvertently leaving the lane of travel. The package also adds Intellibeam headlamp technology, which automatically turns on and off the vehicle’s high beam headlamps according to surrounding traffic conditions. The automatic high beams will stay on until it detects an approaching vehicle’s headlamps or preceding vehicle’s taillamps.

Other safety features include the segment’s first Front Center Air Bag (front bucket seat models). This feature deploys from the inboard side of the driver’s seat and inflates between the driver and front passenger, providing added protection for both front occupants in side-impact crashes.

Active safety features use camera, radar and ultrasonic sensors to help avoid crashes. Yukon includes the GM-patented Safety Alert Seat that vibrates if the system determines the driver is at risk of colliding with another vehicle. A standard rear vision camera shows the area immediately behind the vehicle in the audio system screen. It’s especially helpful when hooking up a trailer.

Additional standard and available driver alert technologies include:

Side Blind Zone Alert
Rear Cross Traffic Alert
Forward Collision Alert
Adaptive Cruise Control with Front Automatic Braking.

Along with driver alert features, standard chassis control crash-avoidance technologies include GM’s StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover mitigation technology, trailer sway control, hill-start assist and four-wheel, four-channel anti-lock brakes. An available trailer brake controller conveniently monitors trailer brakes.

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