2022 GMC Yukon

By June 1, 2022

The GMC Yukon is one of the longest SUVs made, with its extended wheelbase model seating nine passengers. Not surprisingly, it has big power, vast space inside, a smooth ride and its top model offers luxury to spare. For 2022 its biggest engine, a 6.2-liter V-8, becomes available on the AT4 offroad-ish model, while infotainment software on all models takes on a Google platform.

The rugged Yukon has sharp lines, and isn’t shy about flashing its giant grille. The cabin is less overstated and softer, with a handsome dash and large screens; the Denali has classy wood and leather.

The long-wheelbase version is called the XL, and its name is spot-on. Its wheelbase is more than 13 inches longer, at 134.1 inches versus 120.9 inches, while its length is 225.2 inches compared to 210.0 inches.

The standard engine is a 5.3-liter V-8 making 355 horsepower, while the upgrade V-8 is a 6.2-liter with 420 horsepower. There’s also a 277-hp turbodiesel, a 3.0-liter 6-cylinder with huge torque for towing.

The smaller V-8 has good and smooth acceleration, and its 10-speed transmission provides sharp shifts. It has four-wheel drive and an optional electronic limited-slip differential. The stock wheels are 18 inches but they can grow to 22 inches by clicking the option box.

The most expensive models have adaptive dampers that are very capable, thanks to their complex mechanics, along with air springs. They make the ride comfortable and the steering feel like it’s tuned well.

The 5.3-liter V-8 is EPA rated at 15/20/17 mpg with either normal or long wheelbase, and with rear-wheel drive. The 6.2-liter V-8 gets 14/20/16 mpg. The turbodiesel-6 earns 21 mpg city, 27 highway, 23 combined with RWD with 4WD it gets 20/26/22 mpg.

The NHTSA only gives the Yukon four stars overall for safety, with three stars for its ability to resist a rollover. The IIHS hasn’t tested it yet.

Automatic emergency braking is standard, while other important safety equipment is optional, including adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, active lane control, rear camera mirror, a surround-view camera system, and other camera views for towing.

Model Lineup

Made in Texas, the Yukon comes as SLE, SLT, AT4 and Denali editions, with standard or XL lengths.

For $53,745 the Yukon SLE comes with cloth seats, a 10.2-inch touchscreen with Google interface and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and 18-inch wheels. Four-wheel drive is $3,000 and the XL adds $2,700.

For $56,745 the SLT adds leather, heated and cooled front seats, wireless phone charging, 9-speaker Bose sound system, and 20-inch wheels.

The $68,195 AT4 with 4WD is for off-roading, with its 20-inch knobby tires, hill descent control, tow hooks and skid plates.

For $70,095 the Denali adds wood trim, camera systems, the suspension with adaptive dampers and air springs, 14 speakers, heated second-row seats, a power-folding third-row seat, but other top features remain optional.

The Yukon warranty is 3 years or 36,000 miles.


The Yukon’s sharp lines are important to keep its massive size in check. It has a giant grille, LED headlamps in the shape of a “C,” and wide chrome trim. Keeping it from being too boxy, the roofline tapers a bit, and there’s some sculpting on the broad sides.

The Denali has its own honeycomb grille, while the AT4 has black trim, red tow hooks and skid plates you can see.


The cabin features a 10.2-inch touchscreen, digital gauges, and a manual gear selector. The audio and climate controls line up under the screen, as they should. The Denali instrument panel is more upright, its touchscreen integrated, and boasts matte wood and metallic trim to go with its leather. It looks good while remaining understated.

We haven’t gotten in the base SLE model, with its cloth seats. But in the other models, the power front seats are very comfortable, and with tilt/telescoping adjustment to the steering wheel, it’s easy to find a commanding view of the road ahead. Still, the rear view is partially blocked by the headrests and roof pillars.

The available captain’s chairs in the second row are also comfortable (with optional heating), with plenty of head room and leg room back there.

Even the standard Yukon, at 210 inches long, can fit nine passengers, if they can climb up that high to get in it.

Leg room in the XL is 42.0 inches, as big as it gets; tall adults can fit in the third row, if they have to, where they will have almost 35 inches of leg room and enough head room.

The standard Yukon has 25.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row, and 122.9 cubic feet behind the first row. The XL is 41.1 and 144.7 inches, respectively.

The cargo floor is high because the whole vehicle is high, and that’s where a power tailgate helps. But it doesn’t lower the lift.

Driving Impressions

The SLE, SLT, and AT4 use the 5.3-liter V-8 that makes 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. On paper its performance is quite a bit down from the 6.2-liter V-8, but it feels nearly as powerful. It’s strong from a standing start and pushing up hills, and it can tow more than four tons, with rear-wheel drive. Its 10-speed automatic transmission isn’t fazed.

Still, the 6.2-liter V-8 with 420 horsepower, available in the Denali and AT4, makes acceleration effortless, and it feels a tad smoother, though the 10-speed here sometimes searches for gears.

The third engine, a 3.0-liter turbodiesel-6 making 277 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, comes standard in the Denali, and optional on the AT4. It’s smooth and does the job, but at a higher price and a higher long-term cost for fuel.

The Yukon’s ride is excellent, with adaptive dampers and air springs that can lower the body for better aerodynamics at higher speeds, or raise it for more ground clearance if needed. We got seat time in a Denali with the big 22-inch wheels, which usually stiffen the ride, but not in this case as the ride remained placid.

The handling is satisfactory for such a large SUV. It has an independent suspension front and rear, and electric steering. The Yukon can forge flooded roads with the air suspension raised and then run down the freeway at 80 silent and smooth miles per hour, its steering-wheel balance gives it solid lane stability, while the electric power steering is very responsive especially considering its curb weight and high center of gravity.

Most Yukons are able to tow 7,800 pounds, but there’s a tow package for the 355-hp RWD models that enable towing of 8,400 pounds. Another option is the electronic limited-slip differential that brings more traction off-road or on slippery surfaces, such as pulling out from an uphill stop sign in rain, snow or ice.

Final Word

The 2022 GMC Yukon pairs poised looks with confident performance. It’s big, roomy, and a strong tow vehicle, while it’s also an effortless long-distance cruise. The Yukon SLT offers a lot of value, though plush Denali versions have an unmistakable appeal.


—by Sam Moses with driving impressions by The Car Connection

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