2015 GMC Yukon

What's new for 2015? Car shoppers who are in the market for a traditional full-size SUV have only a handful of choices these days. But among this group, one of the most compelling is the 2015 GMC Yukon. It blends traditionally rugged truck construction and V8 towing capacity with amenities and features one might expect from a full-fledged luxury SUV.

Sandwiched between its corporate siblings, the Chevrolet Tahoe and pricier Cadillac Escalade, this year's fully redesigned Yukon shows off a new look inside and out. It also boasts some innovative and improved features as well as a choice of two V8 powertrains that are both more powerful and fuel-efficient than those sold last year. As a result of these improvements, the Yukon is still a capable workhorse, but it rides down a highway or up a mountain pass more efficiently, comfortably, quietly and confidently than ever before.

For the first time in the Yukon, the third-row seat folds into the floor instead of having to be removed (a key convenience that most rivals adopted years ago). Power-actuated second- and third-row seating is a new option as well, allowing those of small stature to more easily manage what used to be a cumbersome operation.

Another notable upgrade is a new 8-inch touchscreen interface with added smartphone integration functionality. Finally, the most up-to-date electronic safety features find their way into the Yukon's roster, including lane-departure warning, a blind-spot monitor and frontal collision warning and mitigation.

Exterior Highlights
Body-on-frame SUV available in SLE, SLT and Denali trim levels

The 2015 GMC Yukon is a body-on-frame SUV available in three trim levels: SLE, SLT and Denali. Seating for eight is standard, but there are two optional seating arrangements: second-row captain's chairs drop the count to seven and an available 40/20/40 front bench seat increases it to nine.

The base Yukon SLE comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, a locking rear differential, front and rear parking sensors, heated power-adjustable manual-folding mirrors, automatic wipers, a tilt-only leather-wrapped steering wheel, tri-zone automatic climate control, premium cloth upholstery, power front seats (eight-way driver seat and four-way passenger seat, both with power lumbar), a 60/40 split-fold second-row bench seat and a 60/40-split fold-flat third-row seat. Also standard are remote engine start and entry, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and OnStar. For infotainment, an 8-inch touchscreen with the GMC IntelliLink interface (which includes voice control and smartphone app integration) is standard, as is a rearview camera. Audio is covered with a premium nine-speaker Bose sound system with HD and satellite radio, a CD player, five USB ports, an auxiliary audio jack and an SD card slot.

If you want nine-passenger capacity, you'll need to get the SLE, as the optional front bench seat is only available on this trim level. All Yukons are prepped for towing and feature a 2-inch receiver and seven-pin harness, but an HD Trailering package is also available on both SLE and SLT that includes specific gearing, a trailer-brake controller, an air suspension with increased capacity and leveling, and low-range gearing when combined with 4WD models.

For the Yukon SLE, a Driver Alert option includes forward collision alert, lane-departure warning and a vibrating safety alert seat. The SLE's Convenience package adds an auto-dimming rearview mirror, power-adjustable pedals and a power liftgate.

The SLT model includes the both the Driver Alert and Convenience packages and adds rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring, power-folding mirrors (auto-dimming driver side), keyless ignition and entry, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a heated steering wheel, driver memory settings, heated and ventilated front seats (10-way with four-way lumbar), heated second-row seats (power fold-and-tumble 60/40 bench), power folding third-row seats and ambient interior lighting.

Options include second-row captain's chairs (heated and power fold-and-tumble), an enhanced alarm system and adaptive cruise control with crash-imminent braking. A sunroof and a rear entertainment system with a Blu-ray player are either stand-alone options or, when combined with the optional navigation system, part of the Sun, Entertainment and Destination package.

To the SLT's standard features, the Yukon Denali adds a unique grille, a more powerful V8 engine, 20-inch alloy wheels, an adaptive magnetic suspension, a trailer-brake controller, xenon headlights, a reconfigurable digital instrument panel, a premium Bose 10-speaker surround-sound audio system, active noise cancellation, the navigation system and second-row captain's chairs (heated and power fold-and-tumble). Optional for the Denali are power-retractable assist steps and a Touring package that adds the enhanced alarm system, the sunroof, chromed 20-inch wheels, the rear entertainment system and a head-up display. Also available are 22-inch wheels.

High-quality materials, crisp graphics on gauge cluster, large and intuitive infotainment display, supportive seats, rearview camera

The overall quality and design of the 2015 GMC Yukon's interior is noticeably improved compared to those of the previous generations. Materials are of a high quality, and the gauge cluster's crisp graphics are a snap to read day or night. The large, central infotainment display is intuitive to navigate and its graphics/pictograms are simple and easily interpreted.

In terms of seating, the front seats are comfortable and reasonably supportive. The available power-releasing second- and full-power up/down third-row seats work with ease. Given the very cumbersome nature of the previous-generation Yukon's third-row seat removal procedure (not to mention their attractiveness to "smash-and-grab" thieves), we're happy to see GM has finally integrated the third row firmly into the truck's floor.

Standard safety equipment on the 2015 GMC Yukon includes antilock disc brakes, traction control, stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. An airbag located between the front bucket seats (when so equipped) aids in side-impact crashes. Also standard is OnStar, which includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking, stolen vehicle assistance and turn-by-turn navigation. Front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera are standard on every Yukon.

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