2020 GMC Yukon

2020 GMC Yukon Review: Down To Business

by Michael Butler

The GMC Yukon, now in its fourth generation, has been with us for quite some time, and while others have moved forward in terms of design and engine technology, the Yukon seems to have been trapped in a time bubble of sorts. Its exterior design looks like it could belong in any of the two decades past, and the same goes for its choice of 5.3- or 6.2-liter V8 options producing between 355 and 420 horsepower. So it might look and drive like an old-school SUV, but we appreciate its honesty and no-nonsense personality. The 2020 Yukon is due for replacement, which means it doesn't get much in the way of updates, but with a good spread of standard features, the Yukon doesn't need much tinkering with; it's an honest premium SUV that offers a good ride, loads of cargo space and enough power to get the job done. The Yukon goes up against the likes of the Ford Expedition and Buick Enclave.

2020 GMC Yukon Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 Yukon?

The fourth-generation GMC Yukon has been around for six years and is set to be replaced soon. This means that the 2020 car doesn't receive too much in the way of updates. What does change is the variety of exterior paint colors on offer: Carbon Black Metallic makes its debut, while Pepperdust gets cut from the list.

Pros and Cons

  • Interior space
  • Strong towing capability
  • Quiet cabin
  • Powerful engine options
  • Questionable reliability
  • Below-average cargo space
  • Third-row legroom
  • Doesn't like tight spaces

2020 GMC Yukon Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
SLE
5.3-liter V8 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$50,600
SLT Standard Edition
5.3-liter V8 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$54,800
SLT
5.3-liter V8 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$57,800
Denali
6.2-liter V8 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$67,700

Yukon Exterior

When it comes to the exterior design of the 2020 Yukon, GMC clearly hasn't received the memo. The design can best be described as basic and brutish and shrugs off any sort of design flair in favor of the traditional American SUV look. To some, this bold but aging look, represents the quintessential SUV, and you can't really fault them - but just look at the Ford Explorer: it makes the Yukon look ancient. GMC tries to hide the Yukon's aging face under a mountain of bling, which includes massive wheels, chrome trimmings and badging that adds a sense of modernity, but not much. The standard wheel size is 18-inches, and Denali cars get 20-inch rollers, but for those who like to ruin ride quality, a set of 22-inch wheels is also on offer. Base cars get halogen headlights while the Denali gets high-intensity discharge projector-beam units. Features such as a hands-free power liftgate on SLT models and above makes the exterior of the 2020 Yukon more livable.

2020 GMC Yukon Front View GMC
2020 GMC Yukon Rear View GMC
2020 GMC Yukon Front View 1 GMC
See All 2020 GMC Yukon Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The 2020 GMC Yukon is classified as a full-size SUV and measures up against the likes of the Ford Explorer. The Yukon measures in with a total length of 203.9 inches, over six inches shorter than the Expedition, and rolls on a 116-inch wheelbase. Excluding the wing mirrors, the Yukon measures 80.5 inches wide and is 74.4 inches tall. Ground clearance is a useful eight inches. The 2020 GMC Yukon doesn't attempt even in the slightest to conceal its curb weight: the base model weighs in at 5,379 pounds, while the range-topping 4WD Denali with its extra equipment weighs in at 5,743 lbs.

  • Length 203.9 in
  • Wheelbase 116.0 in
  • Height 74.4 in
  • Max Width 80.5 in

Exterior Colors

Driving a large SUV is one of the most significant status symbols in American culture, and signifies that you have made a success of your life: if you drive a big black SUV, you're the man. But soccer moms and those less concerned with their status in life also drive SUVs, so a balance between bling and mundane needs to be struck. GMC does it well, and offers multiple colors for the Yukon. The only no-cost option available is Summit White; after that, GMC will start charging extra. Metallic colors include Dark Sapphire Blue, Satin Steel, and Smokey Quartz, all for $495. If you want to show off your metal, you can opt for the White Frost Tricoat for $1,095, a color that isn't available on the base SLE.

Yukon Performance

It goes without saying that a large SUV such as the Yukon requires a reasonably large amount of power to pull its considerable weight around town, and what is the easiest way to accomplish that? By fitting a V8 engine under the hood, of course. In base trim, the Yukon belts out an adequate 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque, which is enough to happily lug around this large SUV. In town, there's enough low-down torque to pull the Yukon around with convincing pace, and out on the highway, the base engine will happily cruise along at illegal speeds. For those who like the idea of a large SUV, but want the go of smaller performance cars, the 6.2-liter V8 engine is a must with its 420 hp and 460 lb-ft. It pulls the Yukon with anger and feels rapid. With the HD trailering package equipped, the 5.3-liter V8 Yukon will tow a maximum of 8,500 lbs. Impressive stuff.

2020 GMC Yukon Front View 2 GMC
2020 GMC Yukon Rear View 1 GMC
2020 GMC Yukon Wheel GMC

Engine and Transmission

There's no replacement for displacement, especially when it comes to hauling heavy metal units such as the 2020 GMC Yukon. Instead of going with smaller capacity turbo engines such as the 2.3-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine found under the hood of the Ford Explorer, which produces 300 hp, or the more powerful 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 producing 400 hp, GMC has stuck with a set of naturally-aspirated V8 engines that get the job done reliably. The base engine is a 5.3-liter V8 producing 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. This engine offers ample pulling power and should suit most needs, especially for those who do most of their driving in town. If it's more power you're after, GMC offers a Corvette-sourced 6.2-liter V8 engine producing 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. This engine gives the Yukon some serious attitude, and it feels quick, to say the least. 5.3-liter cars come equipped with a smooth-shifting six-speed auto, while 6.2-liter cars get a ten-speed auto. All Yukon SUVs get a limited-slip differential as standard, as well as Tow/Haul transmission modes for pulling heavy stuff.

  • Engines
    5.3-liter V8 Gas, 6.2-liter Turbo V8, 6.2-liter V8 Gas
  • Transmissions
    10-Speed Automatic, 6-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    4X4, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The Yukon will never be the face of automotive handling prowess, not even in its own class, and with good reason; it's tall, heavy, and is equipped with a basic suspension and chassis setup. Get behind the steering wheel of the 2020 GMC Yukon, and the first impression is that of a whale or a very large barge. Trying to point the Yukon in a certain direction is met with a slow response, and does not inspire a ton of confidence. The basic suspension setup is built for soaking up low speed suburban road imperfections, and on the highway, it feels as comfortable as any premium sedan. Denali models sport an adaptive suspension setup, which surprisingly offers a much less comfortable ride. Brake pedal feel is linear, and bringing the Yukon to a halt isn't half as scary as it might seem.

Yukon Gas Mileage

Getting close to 40 mpg from gas-powered cars isn't that shocking anymore, and with the help of hybrid electric systems, those numbers are being pushed ever further. Some manufacturers have introduced such fuel-saving measures in their offerings, but if you're looking for fuel economy, you're not going to find it here. The EPA rates that the Yukon will do a best of 15/22/18 mpg city/highway/combined in 2WD 5.3-liter guise. That's not an impressive figure by any stretch of the imagination. The significantly more powerful 6.2-liter version, also in 2WD guise, will do 14/23/17 mpg. That's not a bad compromise for all that extra power. 4WD variants lost one mpg on highway and combined cycles. With a 26-gallon fuel tank, the 2020 GMC Yukon will be able to travel between 442 and 468 miles on a single fill-up. The 5.3-liter V8 can run on E85, but this sees the consumption rate dip dramatically, and you should see a maximum range of only 338 miles.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    26.0 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 15/22 mpg
* 2020 GMC Yukon SLE 2WD

Yukon Interior

Once inside the cabin of the 2020 GMC Yukon, this large SUV feels spacious, and its large windscreen and side windows lighten up the interior for an even airier feeling. Looking at the actual design and layout reveals a car that lags behind the competition: everything is where it's supposed to be, but we can't help but feel that the overall design, and especially the dashboard, feels decidedly early 2000s. The fact that there are a good amount of standard features makes this issue seem less significant. In base form, the Yukon offers basics such as cloth seats and a number of manually adjustable bits such as the steering column and day/night rearview mirror. Stepping up to the SLT trim helps the Yukon grasp back some premium credit with leather seats and a leather steering wheel, but if you're after a luxurious experience, the Denali with its active noise cancelation and other nice-to-haves is the one to go for.

2020 GMC Yukon Steering Wheel Controls GMC
2020 GMC Yukon Central Console GMC
2020 GMC Yukon Start/Stop Button GMC
See All 2020 GMC Yukon Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The 2020 GMC Yukon's large and boxy exterior translates into a roomy interior with more than enough space for eight average-sized adults. However, upper trim models can seat seven with second-row bucket seats, and a front-row bench on SLE models means you get seating for up to nine. Despite the Yukon's good ground clearance of eight inches, getting in and out is made easier thanks to the fitment of standard side steps. Once inside, the Yukon offers 42.8 inches of headroom in the front, 38.7 inches in the second row, and 38.1 in the third row. Legroom is a massive 45.3 inches in the front, 39 inches for the second row, and a tight 24.8 inches for third-row passengers.

  • Seating capacity
    8-seater
  • Front Leg Room 45.3 in
  • Front Head Room 42.8 in
  • Rear Leg Room 39.0 in
  • Rear Head Room 38.7 in

Interior Colors and Materials

GMC's luxury identity struggles to shine through on the base model SLE, which comes standard with cloth seats, and the rest of the cabin offers little to impress either. For a more premium feel, you'll have to go for the SLT or above, which gets standard leather seats, and in the case of the SLT your choice of perforated Jet Black, or Cocoa and Dune. Top-of-the-range Denali cars get premium carpeted floor mats with an embroidered logo, and optional extras on lower-trim cars include premium all-weather floor mats and illuminated front door sill plates. The overall impression is that the GMC Yukon fails to deliver on its luxury promises, and the overall choice of materials and built quality is below that of class leaders such as the Audi Q7 or Buick Enclave.

Yukon Trunk and Cargo Space

If you're looking for a large SUV to haul the kids around in, then the 2020 Yukon is a good bet. With three rows of seating, the second and third being collapsable, the 2020 Yukon offers class-competitive trunk and cargo space. Behind the third row, the Yukon offers 15.3 cubic feet of space, which is more than enough for a serious trip to the grocery store. Fold the 60/40 split-folding third-row bench seat, and that space increases to a large 51.7 cubic feet. With the second-row seats folded, there are a massive 94.7 cubic feet of space on offer. That should be enough space to fit two or three mountain bikes with ease.

2020 GMC Yukon Armrest Storage GMC
2020 GMC Yukon USB Charger GMC
2020 GMC Yukon Speaker GMC

Yukon Infotainment and Features

Features

Under that boxy exterior, you'll find a well-equipped interior that, in higher trims, offers a truly premium experience; but the GMC Yukon never gets close to offering Audi Q7 levels of luxury and refinement. In base form, the Yukon offers the basics. These include a 4.2-inch diagonal color driver information center, 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity, cruise control, as well as front and rear park assist and tri-zone climate control. The SLT Standard Edition adds features such as front and rear 12-volt power outlets, theater-style interior lighting, leather seats, power-adjustable pedals, and a universal home remote. Second in command is the SLT, which adds heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, power-folding second-row seats, as well as a power-adjustable steering column. The top of the range Denali adds an eight-inch driver display, active noise cancelation, a head-up display, power-adjustable second-row seats, and wireless charging. Available driver assistance tech includes adaptive cruise control, advanced forward collision alert, and automatic emergency braking.

Infotainment

Every 2020 GMC Yukon comes fitted with an eight-inch infotainment display that is nestled between the driver and front passenger air vents and above the volume and tuning controls. Due to the vastness of the dashboard, the eight-inch display looks small: a ten-inch display would suit this layout better. The display in the Yukon offers large and easy to read icons but looks outdated when compared to the system offered in the Ford Expedition. Standard infotainment features include AM/FM/SiriusXM satellite radio streaming, HD Radio, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, and voice recognition. Sound is channeled through a nine-speaker premium Bose sound system. The Denali includes integrated navigation with a trial subscription to SiriusXM Navigation. You also got a more advanced Bose Centerpoint surround sound system with a total of ten speakers. An optional rear-seat infotainment system is available on request.

Yukon Problems and Reliability

The Yukon has lived a reasonably trouble-free life up until 2020, with only three recalls being issued between 2018 and 2019. Unfortunately, 2020 brings with it another two recalls, both of which are rather serious. The first recalls were issued in October of 2019 and were for a software malfunction that would cause unintentional braking. The second was due to the fuel system missing a pressure regulator. GMC will back the 2020 Yukon with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty, which includes corrosion protection. You also get a five-year/60,000-mile drivetrain warranty, a one-year/one-visit maintenance plan, as well as a six-year/100,000-mile rust-through warranty, and five years or 60,000 miles of roadside assistance.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain Note:
    Qualified Fleet Purchases: 5 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Rust-Through:
    6 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance Note:
    Qualified Fleet Purchases: 5 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Maintenance Note:
    1 Year \ 1 Visit

Yukon Safety

Your first line of defense is the Yukon's sheer size: be it reindeer, or a Honda Civic, the Yukon will decimate everything in its line of fire, which is obviously a good thing when you're the one behind the steering wheel. The NHTSA has put the Yukon through its paces, and it returned with an overall score of four out of five stars. Not bad, but not great either. The IIHS, on the other hand, is yet to test the 2020 car. GMC has made sure to offer the Yukon with all the modern driver assistance features that we've come to know and appreciate, but you'll have to cough up some extra dough if you want these equipped to your Yukon. So, once again, we will say that its sheer size is probably its most significant safety measure.

US NHTSA crash test result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Key Safety Features

The Yukon gets all the basics you'd expect to see on a car built in 2020. Safety features found across the range include hill start assist, electronic stability control, as well as seven airbags, including seat-mounted side-impact airbags for the driver and front passenger, as well as head-curtain airbags for front and rear passengers. Front and rear park assist are also standard, as is a rearview camera. From the SLT and upwards, you get standard automatic emergency braking, and Denali trim cars also get a head-up display unit. Available driver assistance tech includes adaptive cruise control-advanced and forward collision alert.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 GMC Yukon a good SUV?

We live in an age of 5G networks, holographic pizzas, and tiger cults, which can get a bit overwhelming at times. The same goes for our cars: they're starting to do without gas engines, and offer more screens than any person would ever need, but this can get a bit too much for the regular guy on the street that just wants a car that can handle the basics. Enter the GMC Yukon. This large SUV operates in the premium luxury end of the SUV market, but unlike other competitors, takes a more old-school approach to things. The way the Yukon drives and carries itself, in general, reminds us of days gone by when cushy suspension wasn't frowned upon, and all American SUVs looked the same. The 2020 Yukon does come with its fair share of modern-day amenities, but it doesn't bombard the driver. Instead, it offers reliable V8 power, a comfy ride, and a no-nonsense interior that is easy to live with. Sure, it might not be as refined as its European rivals, but it puts in an honest day's work, and we commend it for that.

🚘What's the Price of the 2020 GMC Yukon?

With four trim levels on offer, as well as the option of going rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel drive, the 2020 Yukon is available across a fairly wide price range. The base model, or SLE, starts things off with an MSRP of $50,600. This price does not include tax, registration, or a destination fee of $1,295. Next in line is the SLT Standard Edition, which goes for $54,800. The SLT will cost you $57,800, and the top of the range Denali takes a big leap in price to $67,700. Choosing to go for an AWD model will add $3,000 to the asking price. Fully kitted, the Denali will set you back closer to $80,000. For comparison, the Ford Expedition Platinum, a very capable and premium-feeling car, will top out at $73,935.

2020 GMC Yukon Models

GMC offers the 2020 Yukon in four trim levels, starting with the SLE, and followed by the SLT Standard Edition, SLT, and finally, the Denali. Powering the Yukon is either a 5.3-liter, 355-hp V8 with six-speed automatic gears, or a 6.2-liter V8 with a ten-speed auto transmission.

SLE models offer standard features such as 18-inch bright machined aluminum wheels and a power rear liftgate on the outside, while the inside offers a 4.2-inch diagonal color driver information display, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity, cruise control, front and rear park assist, as well as tri-zone climate control and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

SLT Standard Edition models add to the base offering with standard 12-volt power outlets, theater dimming and delayed entry and exit lighting, leather-appointed front bucket seats, power-adjustable pedals, and a universal home remote.

The SLT comes with a number of premium features, including heated and ventilated driver and front passenger seats, keyless open, a heated steering wheel, power-folding second-row seats, and a power-adjustable steering column.

Top of the range Denali models include 20-inch bright machined aluminum wheels, an eight-inch driver info display, active noise cancelation, a head-up display, and wireless charging.

See All 2020 GMC Yukon Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

From the base model, right up to the range-topping Denali, GMC offers a healthy amount of optional extras to suit every taste. The base model SLE is available with the SLE Value Package, which for $2,430, adds 20-inch aluminum wheels, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, power-adjustable pedals, a rear power programmable liftgate, and a universal home remote. Another mentionable package is the $545 Enhanced Driver Alert Package, which adds IntelliBeam headlights, forward collision alert, lane-keep assist, and lane departure warning. SLT models are offered with the Open Road Package, which includes navigation, SiriusXM NavTraffic, a power sunroof, and a rear-seat infotainment system, all for $3,430. The range-topping Denali is available with the Denali Premium Package, which consists of a power sunroof, power-retractable side steps, 22-inch alloy wheels, and wheel locks, all for $5,360.

🚗What GMC Yukon Model Should I Buy?

Since the Yukon can't stick with the true luxury offerings in its class, we would skip the Denali and go for the cheaper, but no less capable, SLT. For a price cut of $9,900, you lose out on that 420 hp 6.2-liter V8 engine and a few odds and ends, but the SLT offers the same great ride quality, cargo space, and overall comfort. For $57,800, the SLT offers you a 355 hp 5.3-liter V8 engine with a six-speed automatic transmission as well as a healthy amount of standard features; the exterior gets 18-inch alloy wheels and halogen projector-beam headlamps, as well as a set of roof rails and a power liftgate. On the inside, the SLT includes tri-zone climate control, leather seats, and an eight-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, among other features. The SLT strikes the best balance between price and features.

Check out other GMC Yukon Styles

2020 GMC Yukon Comparisons

Chevrolet Tahoe Chevrolet
Ford Explorer Ford
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
GMC Yukon355 hpTBC$50,700
Chevrolet Tahoe 355 hp16/20 mpg$49,000
Ford Explorer 300 hp21/28 mpg$32,765

2020 GMC Yukon vs Chevrolet Tahoe

The Chevy Tahoe is a household name for anyone who's ever driven or been driven in an SUV, and as some might know, is based on the same platform as the GMC Yukon. Not only do these cars share a platform, but they also share engine and transmission options. The Tahoe occupies a space slightly below that of the GMC, which is a more luxury-oriented brand. This means that the Tahoe provides much the same SUV practicality for less money, although it misses out on certain premium features. Due to their similar setups, there is little difference in ride comfort and the overall driving experience, and the same goes for interior space and cargo capacity. The Yukon does, however, offer a more refined interior and a superior list of features. If you're looking for Yukon levels of space and good ride comfort, but don't mind missing out on some more premium features, then the Tahoe will get the job done every time.

See Chevrolet Tahoe Review

2020 GMC Yukon vs Ford Explorer

The Ford Explorer is all-new for 2020, which already gives it an advantage over the Yukon, which is close to retirement. To add to that, the Explorer is also one of the best-selling SUVs on the market. There are two turbocharged engines on offer: a 2.3-liter EcoBoost producing 300 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, or a 3.0-liter V6 EcoBoost producing 400 hp and 415 lb-ft - or 365 hp and 380 lb-ft depending on trim. The turbocharged engines make the Expedition the better car to drive on a daily basis. The Explorer also offers great interior and overall cargo space, and with a large number of trims on offer, there is something for everyone. We appreciate the Explorer's long list of standard features, impressive towing capability, and the performance of the ST version. Things that don't come across as well are the dull interior, cramped third-row seating, and pricey options. We'd still go with the younger and more capable Explorer, though.

See Ford Explorer Review

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