By on July 2, 2014

2015 GMC Yukon SLE front 34 left

Until a decade or so, if you wanted a three-row SUV your choices were pretty much limited to body-on-frame offerings, most of which were related to a pickup truck. But now, even GM’s own GMT960s (Enclave, Acadia), provide similar amount of interior space to this Yukon. Furthermore, they are less expensive, more efficient, and easier to drive. It’s possible to argue that the biggest, if not the only, advantage of these body-on-frame V8-powered SUVs is their towing ability.

So why do GM, Ford, Nissan, and Toyota still bother with these dinosaurs?

2015 GMC Yukon SLE rear 34

The simple answer is because people are buying them. Spend time on this nation’s roads this summer and you’ll see full-size SUVs loaded up with summer essentials, often towing boats, campers, or project cars. The merits of three-row unibody “trucks” aside, a full-size V8-powered SUV still holds appeal for many consumers.

2015 GMC Yukon SLE interior dash

Climb into the driver’s seat of this Yukon SLT 4×4 and prepare to be overwhelmed. Surrounding you, the driver, are:

  • 37 dash buttons,
  • 8 dash knobs,
  • 13 steering wheel buttons,
  • 13 door buttons,
  • 6 gauges,
  • 2 screens,
  • 1 shifter with a button,
  • 1 multi-functional stalk,
  • 3 toggle switches
  • 8 roof buttons,
  • 2 12v receptacles,
  • 4 USB ports and

It’s not as bad as it sounds, since many of those buttons are for secondary controls. That said, many of those secondary buttons could be combined with others or simply eliminated. Even grouping them to one area that’s hidden from view (Lexus does that) would visually clean up the interior. In daily driving, however, where most drivers just switch between presets, drink coffee, occasionally input a destination, take a phone call, or vary the temperature setting by a few degrees, the interior layout will suit most people just fine. Perhaps the center screen could be positioned more toward the driver as opposed to being in the middle of the very wide dash.

Where the interior does fall a bit short is in the quality of materials used. Self-appointed plastics experts will rightfully complain about flimsy feeling panels and a lack of soft-touch materials. The leather, with its contrasting stitching, a mark of luxury de jour, also does not seem soft or of high quality. A GMC is supposed to feel better than a Chevy but not as good as a Caddy. In the case of this particular GMC, the interior still seems average at best.

2015 GMC Yukon SLE interior details

GM’s biggest challenge seemed to be designing the two rows of rear seats. To be safe and comfortable, the seats have to be big. Buyers also want the functionality of a flat cargo floor. Furthermore, no one wants to pull heavy seats out of vehicles anymore, therefore the seats have to fold flat. In addition to all that, the middle row had to provide easy access to the third row, making the final design both complicated and compromised.

The solution to this was to raise the floor in the rear section of the vehicle, creating a compartment in the back, and making it even with the level of the folded third row. The middle row, (captain’s chairs in this tester, but a bench is available), is even with the third row when folded. This makes for a flat loading floor but takes away from overall cargo volume. The third row folds and raises with a push of a button. The middle row folds down with a push of a button, or via a lever, but needs to be raised manually. The middle seats also fold and tumble forward for passenger access to the third row. Nissan has a much nicer solution in its Pathfinder that even allows a rear-facing baby seat to remain in place when the seat is folded forward.

The power hatch has two settings: fully open or three-quarters open, to avoid potential impact with a garage roof. The rear window also opens independently of the hatch which is handy for dropping small things into the cargo area. The problem with that window is that it is only fourteen inches high, a relatively small opening for such a big vehicle. With the third row seats folded, the cargo area is generous. 12v outlets, cubbies, covered storage bin, and cargo tie down hooks further increase the functionality, but there is no cargo cover.

2015 GMC Yukon SLE tailgate trunk cargo

Notice the raised floor from the bottom of the the tailgate opening. Ignore the crib.

This Yukon is one of the quietest SUVs I have ever driven; wind noise and engine noise are basically absent, surprising given its large surface area and upright design. Gone, too, is the V8 burble. The ride is very smooth and it takes a sizable pothole to jolt the passengers. One of Yukon’s drawbacks is visibility; both A- and D- pillars are very thick, windows are relatively short, side mirrors are small, and when the optional rear entertainment screen is opened it completely blocks the inside rear view mirror. There are blind spot sensors, parking sensors, and a backup camera, but no surround view display, which would be very beneficial.

The Yukon, when equipped with the Max Trailering Package (ref. code NHT), is rated to tow 8200lbs (8500lbs for 2WD models). The package includes a 3.42 axle ratio, trailer brake controller, a self-leveling suspension, and a 2” receiver with a 7-pin connector. The receiver is hidden behind a cover which is held by two wing nuts. Roof rails are standard on the SLT.

Despite the rugged looks and a 22” step-in-height, the ground clearance is only eight inches, but the front air dam looks even closer to the ground. The twenty inch polished wheels are wrapped around in 275/55-20 Continental all-season tires that say “EcoPlus Technology” on them. While they seemed great on the highway I would not venture too far off pavement.

2015 GMC Yukon SLE interior rear details

EcoTec3 is the new series of GM’s V6 and V8 engines. The Yukon is powered by a 5.3-liter V8 version which produces 355 horsepower and 383 lb.-ft. of torque. The OHV engine is sporting new(-ish) technologies such as direct fuel injection, cylinder deactivation, and variable valve timing, and mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Loaded up with my family and a day’s worth of kids’ stuff, the engine pushed the 5700lb vehicle effortlessly in all situations but struggled to achieve 15mpg in heavy-footed mixed city/highway driving, short of EPA’s rating of 16 city, 22 highway mpg. Those wishing for more power can step up to the Denali and its 6.2-liter 420hp/460tq engine.

For 2015, the Yukon SLE 2WD starts at $47,330. The starting price for this SLT 4WD is $57,735. The Sun and Entertainment Package which consists of a sunroof, nav system, and rear seat DVD player (component input but no HDMI) adds $3255, less a $500 credit. 20″ wheels add $1400, second row bucket seats  are $590. The Max Trailering Package is a bargain of the bunch at $650, and an alarm is $395. Total MSRP with destination charge for the reviewed Yukon is $64,520.

For comparison, an equally loaded up Nissan Armada Platinum is $56,395 and its fancier Infiniti QX80 cousin is $80,245. A Toyota Sequoia is $65,410 and a Ford Expedition Limited is $61,113, all more or less equally loaded.

Yikes! That’s a lot of money, particularly when compared to the Pilots and Highlanders of the world. How much do you really want one of these? Enough to pay 5 Series money? Not to worry; if you’re not interested, someone else will be, and they’ll be tailgating you on the freeway shortly.

2015 GMC Yukon SLE side

Kamil Kaluski is the east coast editor for Hooniverse.com. Read his ramblings on eastern European cars, $500 racers, and other miscellaneous car stuff there. 

General Motors provided the vehicle for this review.

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101 Comments on “Review: 2015 GMC Yukon SLT...”


  • avatar

    “So why do GM, Ford, Nissan, and Toyota still bother with these dinosaurs?…The simple answer is because people are buying them. Spend time on this nation’s roads this summer and you’ll see full-size SUVs loaded up with summer essentials, often towing boats, campers, or project cars. The merits of three-row unibody “trucks” aside, a full-size V8-powered SUV still holds appeal for many consumers.”

    While, I’m Not a fan of the interior designs, I applaud GM for not falling into the liberal-taxation scam, “greener”, false-N.O.A.A data perpetuated trap and taking away the V8 options. Give these trucks cylinder deactivation and start/stop technology and you’ll save some fuel, but ultimately the buyers DEMAND a V8.

    If you need the space, but don’t want the guzzling, you can buy one of those silly little turbocharged 4-cylinders in some econobox CUV.

    Hopefully you can get the GM V6 or a Pentastar V6 with an 8speed.

    I wouldn’t mind having a smaller displacement Twin Turbo V8 to save fuel, but Diesel or Turbo Diesel might do better for those of us who intend on towing.

    One of my uncles is HEARTBROKEN over Ford’s lack of a V8 in the new Navigator. It’s time for me to tease him into one of these GM trucks or an Escalade. He needs to tow a trailer which sometimes will have a car or car parts on it.

    I’ve driven these new trucks. Amazing that beasts like this can still exist.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      “One of my uncles is HEARTBROKEN over Ford’s lack of a V8 in the new Navigator.”

      With luck, you’re exaggerating. Then again, if he’s related to you, perhaps not, in which case he needs a life and/or a sense of proportion.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Curses! Ralph Nader and I were once again out-smarted by GM which figured out our trap to spread liberalism, tax corporations, falsify climate data on an obscure website, and take away everyone’s V8s.

      I sure hope no one tips them off to our secret, diabolical plan to steal all the cheese on the moon and everyone’s tinfoil hats.

      • 0 avatar
        challenger2012

        Too late! I tipped them off. And I purchased options on cheese. By the way, have you seen the prices of Tin these days? The Tea Party types are switching to aluminum, just like Ford. It’s cheaper and lighter.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          “Tin” is usually slang for any lightweight metal, be it aluminum or steel. I know that’s how it is when we put up a “tin shed”…

          But I’m in on the joke, too.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      “Heartbroken” over a torquier, quieter, better engine? That’s an odd position.

      I can’t believe he’d give up the Navi’s IRS — which makes it better for what these vehicles are used for 95% of the time — in exchange for two cylinders that don’t bring any actual benefit.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I really hope your joking, the navigators IRS rides better than these trucks SRS? That’s not even the least bit funny, the navigator vs escalade is like an ox cart and a rolls Royce, I don’t even like this new iteration but don’t try to compare two opposites.
        Not going to entertain your comment about a 6 cyclinder luxury vehicle, oxymoron to the max.

        • 0 avatar
          doctorv8

          Here we go again, Hummer!

          Yes indeed, the Navigator with its IRS rides smoother than the pickup truck based live axled GM triplets. And, it makes for a much more elegant packaging solution for the third row, ass opposed to that retarded raised floor seen in the picture above. Hopefully, when this platform gets redone in 2025, they’ll catch up to where Ford (and Nissan, and Toyota) were in 2003.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            So either your a Ford fan boy, or your comparing a suburban from the 80s to these. There is no comparison the expeditions IRS is absolutely terrible, and sales prove that, only GM gets decent sales in this category, and only GM offers a solid rear, your really can’t be making this argument with a straight face whereever your sitting right now.

            Honestly you have to be a Ford fanboy, sales number prove you wrong, its not like its an opinion.

          • 0 avatar
            doctorv8

            1) Ford Fanboy? There are several Corvettes, Buicks, and Cadillacs in my garage that say otherwise.
            2) I sold my 2013 GT500 off, largely because the clunky rear axle ruined an otherwise great car.
            3) Seriously, we’ve had this discussion on TTAC before….the GMs sell better DESPITE the SRA, not BECAUSE of it.
            4) for the love of God, please learn the difference between “your” and “you’re.” It’s the internet equivalent of nails on a chalkboard.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Sounds more like a vanity thing for you, can’t have someone telling you what you have isn’t great, “better trade it in for something that makes people like me!”

            No reason for me to even bother with these fallacies, anyone looking to buy in this category will be down to the GM trio with little time. There is no comparison, the GMs are grossly beating every single competitor.

            The GMs cost more, have less brand cache to people spending that much money, lost the edge that sells SUVs, apparently have inferior interiors, and certainly don’t look as good as they have in the past. Yet sales are doing well. The solid rear end is an asset to the lineup, without it the sales numbers will do the same as the expedition and the armada. If consumers wanted IRS then silverados would come with them, numbers don’t lie, no matter how much it hurts your irrational hatred of SRA.

          • 0 avatar
            doctorv8

            “Sounds more like a vanity thing for you, can’t have someone telling you what you have isn’t great, “better trade it in for something that makes people like me!”

            Right. My self esteem is largely based on ownership a 10 year old SUV. You, my friend, need to stop drinking the GM Kool Aid.

            A solid rear axle is the most cost effective, efficient engineering solution for a pickup truck, in which durability and towing capacity are paramount. That’s why Silverados (and F150s) use them with tremendous success. When you make a truck into a 7 passenger pseudo luxury SUV, refinement counts. Clearly, GM beancounters don’t care about this since they continue to sell well. You cut costs where it makes sense. Same reason Camaros had SRAs until 2002, but the shifting to a global platform allowed a cost effective and far superior IRS with the 2010 model. You going to tell me the 2002 Camaro rode/handled better than the new one?

            Go for a ride down a bumpy road sitting in the 3rd row of this Tahoe, and then do the same thing in a Navigator or a GL550. If you could in fact accomplish this without your GM blinders on, you’d see what I and others here are talking about.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I’ve spent a lot of time in the back of all of these vehicles because they’re very common airport shuttles. The Navi (or Expedition) is hands-down the most comfortable to ride in. It’s great for a truck and not that much worse than a luxury sedan. The Suburban/Escalade feels like a normal truck, with slight judders through the frame over even small bumps from the rear axle bouncing around. The further back you sit, the more you notice the difference.

      • 0 avatar
        Z71_Silvy

        Better? Why? Because it’s high strung and drinks fuel like a V8?

        Torquier? Yes, because of turbos, which, when used, require MORE fuel to be used.

        Quieter? Doubtful. But that’s more on the vehicle than the engine.

        Egoboom is a joke. And has no place in a luxury vehicle or any other vehicle other than a farm tractor.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    The last generation Yukon was an absolute beauty, especially in the Denali trim. This thing is just hideous.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      Actually, everytime I see one of the new Yukon, Tahoe or Escalades I’m struck by just how imposing and ‘boss’ they look. I’m not a big SUV fan by any stretch of the imagination, but damn, I’d pick one of these up in a heartbeat if I had that kind of coin to toss around (and to put into the gas tank…yikes!).

      Surprised the transmission is only 6 speed and that there isn’t a solid V6 option available. Suppose those will be coming down the road?

    • 0 avatar
      cpthaddock

      Agree re. Yukon Denali. Somehow that all went horribly wrong with the Arcadia Denali … a co-worker who has one of these always refers to it as “the denaaaaaahli”, ugly pronunciation meet ugly car.

    • 0 avatar
      VenomV12

      Seriously, they took good looking trucks and just made them dog ugly.

    • 0 avatar
      gaudette

      They look like the tits in person. Pictures don’t do it justice.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    A couple of points. If you really need three rows all the time you likely want the XL version with more wheelbase.

    “Gone, too, is the V8 burble.” BOO! HISSSSSSSSSS! I’ve driven a school district Suburban with 5.3 V8 to Albuquerque a few times (130 odd miles one way) and that engine note is the best thing about piloting that beast. It is the whole reason to buy something with a descendant of the original SBC under the hood.

    And now a question. Are those gauges truly functional or are they fancy idiot lights? I only ask because few manufacturers give you true gauges now a days. Did the oil pressure rise and fall with RPM? Kudos to GM if they’ve kept that feature.

    And YE GODS! the prices of these things. Back in the 80s a 6.2 ltr diesel 4×4 Suburban could be had basic enough and utilitarian enough that my uncle used it for pulling his grain wagons out of fields at harvest time. Not something I would attempt with these $50,000+ dollar Cowboy Cadillacs.

  • avatar
    Mike N.

    It’s insane what the stickers on Tahoes/Yukons/Suburbans are these days. That’s not much less than a well equipped GL350 BlueTec (diesel), though the Yukon is wider.

    BTW, the Infiniti QX-80 is not related to the Armada, it’s basically a Nissan Patrol, though older versions of the QX-56 were related to the Armada.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      The prices are insane, but the sales figures point to success, even with fuel prices going back up.

      I’d love to peek behind the curtain to see what the margins on these puppies are. Must be astronomical.

    • 0 avatar
      cpthaddock

      Yes, the Infiniti is like the Lexus Landcruiser in terms of it’s design origin and objective. Easy to miss that though since the Infiniti has done a great job of staying completely under most people’s radar.

    • 0 avatar
      gaudette

      The sticker doesn’t mean much. They drop 10k on the pickups easily once you sit down and get a price. It’s much easier to adjust credits and rebates monthly according to market conditions than changing msrp.

    • 0 avatar

      I knew the QX80 was the Patrol, but didn’t know the Armada was different. The QX80 used to be called the QX56 last year – you mean the previous generation? I reviewed the QX for Hooniverse, excellent vehicle except for its looks.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Denali me! ArmourAll that cheap plastic! Mass & quietness appeals over mileage. Fat margin for GM. If Nissan’s are CVT? No tow.

    This new pick of airport limo now panther’s dead. Can’t yet tell if 2 or 4.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I can’t stand how these look, the GMT900 grew on me…. Slightly…… Just as it was leaving, granted I would still rather buy a new GMT800 over either of the successors.

    They need to just drop the traverse and Acadia, put these in that spot and bring back a utilitarian SUV as was meant.

    They definately have no qualms making up losses and break evens on smaller cars using these funds. There’s no way they don’t make $15-20+k on each and every k2xx vehicle sold.
    Other than price one would have to be a fool to purchase the Acadia or traverse over one of these.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      One would have to be a fool to get better handling, ride, fuel economy, and more interior space (particularly with the seats folded)?

      The fact is that unless you tow these vehicles are not well thought out.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Look we get it a suburban ran over your puppy, get over it, the Acadia and traverse can’t hold a candle to the K2xx trucks.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          They can’t hold a candle to them… in terms of drinking fuel, taking up space, and driving like boats.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Does everything have to drive like a tight Euro car? FWIW the third world topography I routinely drive through is tough on tight suspensions, I will gladly take the boat to absorb the feel and keep my quite and comfy.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            As far as preferred ride quality, to each his own. But a boat-like ride correlates pretty well with poor grip, poor transient response, and poor braking ability. Those are safety factors that affect other drivers. If every Suburban driver conscientiously left extra space and time, then I wouldn’t care. To say the least, they don’t.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            No offense intended, but have you ever driven a true 60-70s land yacht? And secondly what’s the newest GM trio you’ve driven, not ridden in, driven?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Haven’t driven the new one yet; I drove a couple of rental GMT900 trucks, and, yes, they drive like boats.

            Defending them by saying they are better than a ’60s land yacht is like defending the Chinese human rights record by saying it’s better than the North Korean one.

            Of course, that’s a perfectly acceptable tradeoff if a truck is needed. The reason I get so cranky about these vehicles is because so few of the owners, especially in the city, ever use any of the truck capabilities.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            I agree that the Suburban’s ride is better than the North Korean human rights record.

          • 0 avatar

            dal20402
            I don’t think the Tahoe handles or brakes much worse than any regular car. These are police specs but I doubt the consumer version is much worse. On the handling and brake testing the last gen Tahoe was very similar to the impala and Taurus
            http://www.michigan.gov/documents/msp/VehicleTestBook2011_Web_mil_341027_7.pdf

  • avatar
    fozone

    Dinosaurs are OK, unless you rely on them for the bulk of your profits.

    Auto execs in the US seem to have short memories….

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Your making zero sense

      There’s nothing dinosouresque about these vehicles
      The profit margin on these alone could purchase a new vehicle
      They are obviously selling well.

      The dinosaur “argument” is rediculous it fails to recognize that these vehicles are selling extremely well, less advertising than the economy cars yet more profit per sale. If anything economy cars are the dinosaurs dragging down the companies.

      Relying on economy cars alone for income leaves you in fiats European division dilemma.

      • 0 avatar
        fozone

        There is *everything* dinasaur-esque about these trucks.

        The profit margins are so high because this is nothing more than a warmed-over work truck with leather. It required no extraordinary investment, engineering, or ingenuity on GMs part. They even went cheap on the interior bits (read the review) — $60k? Really?

        This type of product is exactly what bankrupted the big-3 before — they ignored the bread-and-butter segments, relying on the profits that trucks like these provided. Which was great — until it suddenly wasn’t.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          “This type of product is exactly what bankrupted the big-3 before”

          The bankruptcy was caused by the lack of alternatives, not by the trucks themselves.

          The Detroit car alternatives have since improved considerably. They may not be class leading, but they’re no longer at the back of the pack by a wide margin. You can’t possibly believe that a Fusion is in the same league as a Tempo or that a Cruze is as hopeless as a Cavalier.

          • 0 avatar
            fozone

            Very true, GM’s cars have gotten better (though still not class-leading.)

            But these trucks are a symptom (or at least a symbol) — they look like a very ‘old GM’ way of doing business. Coasting. Not really giving a toss. “Hey, the margins are high — why should we invest? Let’s just keep churning out the same stuff, our customers don’t care, they are paying list for these things. Is it 5:00 yet?”

            But these trucks wouldn’t look out of place in 2005, let alone 2014.

            Some obvious sins:

            * The homely (even to GMT900 fans) exterior. Subjective, but judging from the reviews i’ve read…

            * The cheap interior (did they never sit in a Land Cruiser? A GL350? Or any other aspirational truck? Is benchmarking no longer done?)

            * The lack of design innovation — for the huge dollars they are charging, did they ever think of trying new materials like aluminum to trim the curb weight from “elephant” to “walrus”? Or how about making a real attempt to improve the packaging? I’m stunned by how little room there is inside in spite of its size.

            … and so on.

            I personally don’t want to foot the bill for another bailout, so i’m hoping that these trucks really are just a side-show, and GM is laser-focused on vehicles that can actually sell reliably outside of Texas and the Middle East when the next economic downturn happens.

          • 0 avatar
            challenger2012

            Sir You and fozone are correct. Detroit cared only about Trucks and SUV’s. And they couldn’t give a Rat’s Ass about cars. Thus, no concern was every placed in producing cars. The Truck F*cks at Detroit thought only losers and P*ssies drove cars, and the cars Detroit built showed this in design and quality.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        This is a dinosaur in every way. Giant on the outside, no bigger than a typical large CUV on the inside, live-axle bouncies in the ride despite tons of money and effort spent in a futile effort to quell them, horrid fuel economy, and stops and turns like a truck.

        Unless you tow there is no quantifiable way in which it’s better than an Acadia. The difference is about people’s self-image and nothing more.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        You’re

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          When buying a large utility vehicle, handling isn’t that important. It’s not a friggin sports car. Interior space, seat comfort, towing capacity are things one looks for. Handling and driving dynamics are not.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            And in interior space and seat comfort the Acadia soundly beats this thing. It doesn’t squeeze the humans out of the way to make room for the ladder frame.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      LOL at the greenies that think these are dinosaurs.

      Their ignorance is astounding.

  • avatar
    cpthaddock

    I was looking for the three maids a milking and the partidge in the pear tree on that list of buttons and doo-hickeys.

  • avatar
    turboprius

    One of my friends has a previous gen Yukon XL Denali. I rode in it a few times during the season, and the second row had as much room as my mom’s RAV4. Softback front seats, thankfully, but disappointing for a big boat. The third row is decent (for a third row), but my head was banging against the roof. It had an excellent ride, was really quiet, and the seats still felt comfy. But the short wheelbase version, while comfy, is extremely overpriced. I could buy an Odyssey Touring Elite and a ten year old Tahoe with 100K miles (for the towing), and that’d STILL cost less than a loaded short-wheelbase version.

    For 70 grand (the new Suburban), I’d expect a body-on-frame SUV with Odyssey Touring Elite-style options, 45+ inches of second row room, 40+ inches of third row room, enough headroom (with a sunroof) for 7+ footers, and the current towing abilities.

    Many tell me my family should have a Suburban, since we’re so tall, but honestly, there are a lot more vehicles that provide more space for cheaper. Good review.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    The new trucks just look disgustingly cheap compared to the old ones and the new pricing is nothing short of crazy. I have no idea why anyone would buy one of these over a Mercedes GL or Infiniti QX unless you were getting a Suburban or getting GMS pricing or a super cheap lease? I’d rather get a loaded Navigator over these, it might be as old as the hills inside, but it is still $63K loaded.

    I have a neighbor with a Suburban and a Mercedes GL, both the same color and both parked outside next to each other and you can get see the night and day difference in quality just from the exterior.

    The side profile on the new trucks just looks weird, not good at all, just off. Even on the new Escalade it does not look good, the previous gen Escalade looks better on the outside.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Well, I don’t like the way the QX looks, but once you get into the $70-$80K Yukon Denali range, a GL-Class is much more appealing, in my opinion.

      • 0 avatar
        VenomV12

        The GL is pretty much a no-brainer in that price range although personally I kind of like the Infiniti better, to hell with you people that think it is ugly and looks like a Beluga whale, which it does, but whatever.

  • avatar
    Silence

    The rear raised section is nothing other than cheap, lazy engineering. The space back there continues getting smaller every generation; soon, it’ll be good for a small lunch cooler.

    Interior materials are bad for a 45k vehicle, and a complete laugh at this price point.

    One step above the previous generation, but three steps behind the competition (except Ford).

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    I own a vehicle in the ‘beast category’ like this, always will, but GM is moving away from what I look for in one. For my needs, GM really screwed up the cargo area by raising the floor so “it’s flat.” This dropped the cargo space way too much. GM also reduced rear seat comfort by lowering the seats; this probably turned some executive-yes-man’s Excel spreadsheet cell “green” for headroom. (Half of GM’s recent products have uncompetitive rear seats lately, it seems.) I don’t care for the styling of this 2015 redesign either, in or out; the 2014 Suburban was probably my favorite ever. The 2015 is like a gingerbread house of clutter, clutter, clutter. Being a long term owner of such vehicles, the fuel economy ratings are impressive, but I don’t want $5000 of potential future repairs to save me 2 MPG. In all, such shortcomings are disturbing, and just another example of GM committee-think by people who get free cars to drive and don’t buy their own.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I just drove a Sierra today. Very nice truck, though I struggled to understand why the passenger window was auto DOWN, but not auto UP. Weird. And the entire test drive of highway and local driving averaged 10mpg after the salesman added gas.

  • avatar
    Chetter

    I drive a Tahoe because I’m 6’4″ 250 lbs with 37 inch arms. Most sedans, CUVs, including the Acadia, are not comfortable for me. As long as they keep offering it, I for one will keep driving them.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      Chetter: “I drive a Tahoe because I’m 6’4″ 250 lbs with 37 inch arms.”

      I’m almost exactly your size, including arm length. I find it hard to believe you must own a Tahoe for comfort. Lots of far smaller cars are perfectly comfortable for me.

      You should look around more; you could almost certainly save a lot of money on your next vehicle.

  • avatar

    I don’t have an answer for why Nissan bothers with the Armada because that bloatmobile was garbage in 2008. The Patrol-based QX, however, is a different story.

    Also, the road presence these new GMTs have is absolutely stunning. I am by confession a GM fanboy, but I’m very happy to see these still have ‘the look’ that big GM SUVs have always had. And – quite frankly – a combination of ‘the look’ and the powertrains have always more than made up for any shortcomings big GM SUVs have.

  • avatar
    Madroc

    “[T]hey’ll be tailgating you on the freeway shortly.”

    Would that that were so. A big improvement over “conducting a telephone conference at 62 MPH in the left lane while maintaing Blue Angels-quality wingtip-to-wingtip formation with the truck in the right.” Perhaps one day. A guy can dream.

    I’ve seriously never been tailgated by one of these things.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      I don’t know if it’s that I take more notice of big vehicles tailgating me or if big vehicles tend to tailgate more often but my perception is that, when I’m being tailgated, it’s by something big.

  • avatar
    01 ZX3

    Honestly, the Expedition is the better choice. It has more space and a third row that is actually usable. Not to mention the seats all fold flat without taking a big chunk out of the cargo space.

  • avatar

    Kind of amazed (but pleased) that the column shifter is still around. Never liked console shifters in trucks.

    • 0 avatar

      I kept reaching for the column shifter in my own car for two days after this vehicle went away.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      I don’t know quite what to think of the presence of a column shifter. On one hand, I don’t really care for any full-size pickup/SUV without a flip-down console/middle seat in the front row. On the other hand, that’s literally the same shifter from a Work Truck-trim Silverado.

  • avatar
    George B

    I don’t get the pricing for the Yukon. Different size, but the Dodge Durango looks better proportioned and more expensive for tens of thousands less money. The Durango benefits from the Mercedes GL platform without the Mercedes maintenance costs. The Dodge Durango gets the ZF 8 speed automatic vs. 6 speed in the Yukon.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      It is puzzling that the Durango doesn’t sell better. It truly is fantastic looking and that HEMI is a gem.

      • 0 avatar
        dieselone

        I agree, the Durango is a very impressive SUV. I had a ’00 Suburban which I traded for an ’07 Expedition. I definitely like the interior packaging of the Expedition much better. When it was time to replace the Expedition, I looked hard at the Durango, really like it too. Ended up with a ’14 Ram Crew Cab Laramie. Mainly due to needing more towing capacity than the Durango. If not for towing Capacity, I likely would have bought a Hemi Durango.

        I don’t know why the Durango doesn’t sell more. I can say from experience the Hemi/8speed is a pretty sweet combo.

        I decided against another full-size mainly due to price. A fully loaded pickup is 20k cheaper. I don’t need the 3rd row anymore.

        Overall I’m not particularly impressed with redesigned GM full-size SUV’s nor the refreshed Expe/Navi. But the raised floor in the GM twins takes the cake for half-assed in my opinion.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Absolutely beautiful vehicle, inside and out.

    I just love the look of the Yukon XL Denali, it reminds me of an MRAP APC. I will strongly consider one for my next vehicle purchase if an F-250 doesn’t come first.

  • avatar
    NN

    These vehicles–along with the Corvette–are really the best vehicles GM produces. The powertrain, the presence, the history, durability/reliability, etc. It doesn’t matter if people don’t tow boats but still want them. They make you feel like king of the road.

    But man, the prices are stupid. It’s a stark comparison to the high end minivans reviewed here recently, which top out at 45k with all the features this Yukon has save for 4wd, and tons more space. That’s 20k less–and even that’s too much! The Quest LE that I reviewed here last week bought CPO was less than 1/2 the sticker on this Yukon and has an interior crafted of materials that are twice as nice.

    On the other hand, looking at the sales figures (18k Tahoes/Suburbans alone last month) of these things, don’t be surprised if GM’s profits go through the roof despite all their recalls.

  • avatar
    BrandonHarlow

    AND THEY WILL BE OUTDATED WITHIN A YEAR WHEN GM ANOUNCES ALUMINUM BODY DESIGN LOL!

  • avatar
    mechimike

    I drove a 1977 GMC Suburban throughout the late 90′s/ early 2000′s, and it routinely averaged 14 mpg. The truck had close to 200,000 miles on it when it finally got towed away. It gave all it had, and then some.

    I used to mow lawns for beer money. I had an old Cub Cadet tractor. I could drive the tractor into the Suburban. The steering wheel of the tractor was the only problem- so I simply removed the nut on the wheel so I could pull the wheel off as I drove the tractor in.

    That ‘burban had a 3.73 rear, a 350 with a 4 barrel carb, and got 14 mpg in mixed driving. 1 mpg progress?

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Should have brought that thing to Minnesota. I would have let you hook my SeaRay Sundancer to the back of it and see how it handles close to 4 tons. Always wondered how these things tow with those 3:42 gears. My sexy ’07 Tahoe has 3;73 gears and is an excellent tow vehicle, summer and winter.

    • 0 avatar
      Frylock350

      I used to have an 07 with the 3.73/4sp and now have a 13 with the 3.42/6sp. Due to the 6sp the ratio in 1st would be comparable to you putting 4.10s in your truck. The 3.42/6sp is a better towing companion than the 3.73/4sp.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        Thanks for the reply. Excellent comparison. Now I want one with the 6 speed for towing but my plan is to drive our ’07 into the ground so i’ll just have to live with the 4sp.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s a little far, maybe next time.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        I know. My point is that until you tow a trailer heavy enough to require tandem axles with your family or friends loaded inside you’ll never understand or appreciate these vehicles and their capability. These vehicles are built to tow and us boaters, snowmobilers, RV’ers, racers, etc., with families and friends love them. Did you figure out that Yukon even lets you monitor trans temp?

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    I’m an actual buyer/owner of these trucks, specifically the Suburban. I do use it to tow, but I’d probably buy it anyways. My commute to work consists of various modes of public transit, so my personal vehicle mostly serves for errands and frequent road trips. I unquestionably find them well worth paying 5-series money for. I’ll address some of the common themes in this thread.

    First I’d like to point out one of the biggest benefits of a Suburban for me. What most people don’t realize about these beasts is just how airy and open these big BOF GM’s are inside. They have a high roof and a low beltline (like 80s’s sedan low) and a very wide interior. That leads to an interior that feels bright and airy. The visibility is excellent and there’s certainly no DLO fail. Its a small thing you don’t notice on a spec sheet that makes a ton of difference on the road.

    Secondly these beasts are 81″ wide. That’s means nothing (other than full-size trucks) can compete with them on shoulder and hip room.

    Now onto the complaints…

    “An Acadia/Traverse/Pilot handles/rides/drives better and is more efficient/affordable”
    I’ve test driven an Acadia and a new Ford Explorer and I’ve been in a Honda Pilot. They’re not the same. They feel insubstantial in comparison. The ride quality of the Suburban is better than anything for road trips. Its ride quality is comparable to a Town Car with less float. It absorbs bumps and road imperfections without transmitting them to your spine, but also doesn’t float or undulate. The Pilot’s and Acadia’s ride struck me as choppy/bouncy with the Ford being even worse. All of them lack the interior room of a Suburban. You can put 4/8 sheets of plywood in a Suburban. Try that in a Pilot. When you’re using all three rows the Suburban’s cargo area is absolutely massive versus an Acadia, and even more so vs a Pilot Lastly all of the vehicles are Transverse A/FWD. The Suburban is longitudinal 4/RWD. I vastly prefer RWD and a longitudinal engine. In fact its my most basic requirement for a vehicle. Apart from the Acadia they all have swoopy aero styling, which I personally fine repulsive. I like more upright traditional Detroit styling with long flat hoods you can see over and flat/low beltlines.

    “What about the Dodge Durango?”
    I’m a Durango fan. It checks off many of the Suburban’s boxes: a torquey V8, longitudinal engine with RWD, masculine styling, and can tow a substantial amount. The R/T package also has excellent handling for a big SUV. However it has three big demerits versus the Suburban for me: 1) the ride quality is MUCH harder, 2) substantially less interior room, 3) the beltline is relatively high and roof relatively low. It feels more intimate and cave-like than a Suburban. There’s also no chance of fitting 7 people plus their luggage, something the Suburban does quite well.

    “A minivan has twice the space at 1/2 the price”
    Compare to a Tahoe, yes. Compared to a Suburban, less so. A minivan may offer more cubic feet (low floor + high roof = space) but it doesn’t offer the length. It has less usable space than a Suburban with all three rows occupied. The minivan offers nearly identical second row legroom, but less third row legroom and less cargo area. The Suburban just has more room. When I travel with family I rent minivans. The Toyota Sienna is not only roomy, but has a reasonable price tag and comfortable interior. However the ride quality is hard, the NVH is meh, and torque steer abounds. The Chrysler T&C torque steers even worse, though its handling is shocking for a minivan. The Suburban is simply far more enjoyable to drive. Its smoother, quieter, and rides better than any minivan I’ve ever been in. Additionally all minivans are FWD.

    “At that price might as well get a GL”
    At the price of a GL the GM SUVs are massively loaded. You can get a Tahoe LS for $45k. Additionally the GM SUVs are rock solid reliable and will last for as long as you care to own it. I put over 80,000 miles on my first GMT900 with nothing besides routine maintenance and wear items. Should you get unlucky and develop a problem, GM’s SUVs are inexpensive to repair, the Merc? Not so much. Then there’s the simple fact that they’re simply not competitors. The GL is substantially smaller than a Suburban, its more the size of the last BOF Explorer.

    “insert midsize CUV here has as much second row legroom”
    Yup. Midsize CUVs have colossal legroom. A GMC Terrain has 40″ of rear legroom. Take that S-class! Now seat three adults in that row… All joking aside midsize CUVs like Terrain, Rav4, etc are fantastic vehicles and I often recommend the class to people who ask my advice as to what car to get. They offer similar fuel economy to a midsized sedan with more interior and cargo room along with better ingress/egress for older relatives and a perfect height for loading/unloading children. For many people they’re the best choice of vehicle. Its just a same they’re so uninteresting to drive. That all said I don’t expect my Suburban to have substantially better second row legroom. It’s designed to provide three rows of seating AND a decent cargo area. Physics is physics, the Suburban is x inches long, and its RWD, there’s only so much length to divvy up.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      As a former Suburban owner, well said. I’m only in a crew cab pickup now becuase I don’t need the 3rd row of seating, but do need a small bed for tools and stuff. When I did need the seating space, the Suburban couldn’t be beat for practicality. The fuel consumption was never far off from a minivan or comparable crossover either. The additional practicality was worth a few mpg.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      “What most people don’t realize about these beasts is just how airy and open these big BOF GM’s are inside.”

      The new generation took a big step backwards in that regard. The hood and dash are higher, the seats are lower, the pillars are thicker, the center console has gotten enormous.

      They’re still not as bad as cars, but they’re not GMT800s anymore either.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      You have very different ideas of what makes for a good ride than I do. I can’t imagine describing any of the unibody vehicles you named as “hard-riding” — I think they’re way too soft, floaty and uncontrolled, but at least they aren’t as much so as a Tahoe, Burban, or Town Car.

      I get the sense that perceptions of ride and handling depend very heavily on the geography of the perceiver. People where most roads are flat and straight are fine with a much greater degree of float than people (like me) who are from places where the hills are steep and every road is narrow, curvy, or both.

      Also, the real space complaints are about the standard-length — notice that this review is of a Yukon, not a Yukon XL. Yes, the XL/Burban has more room inside, but it’s also the length of a frigate.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I doubt you’ll ever notice the length difference of the suburban when driving. If someone told me the size of the burban was unwieldy I’d strongly question ever riding with them in anything whether smart car or moped.

        Personally I would much rather have the removable seats in the back, they weren’t in the least bit heavy which is the complaint I seem to hear??, throw them in the garage and you have tons of space.

        The raised floor is stupid, but granted so are plastic bumpers sitting 5 inches off the ground on a truck.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Again, this depends on your setting. I used to drive 60′ transit buses for a living and I can confirm that in the city a Burban is quite unwieldy. It won’t fit in my garage, it won’t fit into any parking spaces (whether angled or parallel) anywhere I ever go, and it’s so wide that to get through some alleys you have to fold the mirrors in. If you live in the country or the exurbs, none of that probably ever matters.

          My last Burban rental was in Washington, DC, to carry 6 people when the rental company was out of minivans. It was a certified pain in the asss.

          • 0 avatar
            Z71_Silvy

            60′ transit bus aside, I would seriously question your competency as a driver if you can’t drive a rather small Suburban in the city.

            I drive a full size truck into Minneapolis every day and it really isn’t that hard.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            “I would seriously question your competency as a driver if you can’t drive a rather small Suburban in the city.”

            You need to get out more. Minneapolis has spoiled you. It has nothing like the streets of Georgetown in it.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        In terms of actual physical size, a Yukon XL or Suburban is really no bigger than a full-size pickup with a topper/camper shell. As a car, it’s huge, but as a vehicle, it’s really very small. I grew up on both standard-length (RC/LB, CC/SB, etc.) pickup trucks as well as medium-duty straight trucks and tractors of all shapes and sizes, so driving my uncle’s Yukon XL in anything short of a cramped parking lot is not the hardest thing. Granted, it’s easier in a small car, but everyone should learn in as big a vehicle as possible.

  • avatar
    JohnnyFirebird

    The air dam / spoiler bugs me, although I believe it’s in deference to fuel economy. I bet GMC offers a dealer-installed kit that takes that useless bit of plastic out. Front bumpers seem to be nearing ground level in most new cars and trucks. Sure, they’re not going offroad, but they are hitting speed bumps and steep driveways, and that’s a painted surface that’s going to get scuffed within months.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Even on the GMT800s, the manual showed the (relatively easy) method of removing the air dam–no kit needed, just take out a few plastic screws. Not that that has any standing on whether it’s still the same on the newer ones. And AFAIK, the dam is molded black plastic, not painted. It would still get scuffed, though.

      Part of the perception of newer trucks/SUVs looking so big (not that it’s just perception–the grilles really are taller) is that the air dam makes the ground clearance look less, so it’s solid vehicle from 2″ above the ground to about 4′.


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