Capital One updated this review with test-drive impressions/additional information on April 29, 2022
The 2022 GMC Yukon and extended-length GMC Yukon XL are full-size SUVs with seating for up to nine people, as much as 144.7 cubic feet of cargo space, and the ability to tow a maximum of 8,400 pounds when properly configured and equipped. Gasoline V8 and diesel turbocharged six-cylinder engines are available to power the SUV's rear wheels. In addition, four-wheel drive (4WD) is an option for most versions of this large SUV.
What's New for the 2022 GMC Yukon?
Following a complete redesign for 2021, the 2022 Yukon models add a standard 12-inch digital instrumentation display and upgraded infotainment systems featuring a built-in digital assistant and conversational voice recognition technology. Also, the off-road-oriented GMC Yukon AT4 is newly available with the most powerful engine option, a 6.2-liter V8 making 420 horsepower.
2022 GMC Yukon Price and Configurations
Two versions of the 2022 Yukon are available. The Yukon is the standard-wheelbase model, while the Yukon XL is the long-wheelbase model with more third-row seat legroom and significantly more cargo space. The Yukon and Yukon XL are available in four trim levels, and base prices range from the mid $50,000s to the high $70,000s.
GMC Yukon SLE – At its base price, the Yukon includes 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and taillights, side assist steps, heated outside mirrors, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. A hands-free keyless entry system is standard, along with remote engine starting, cruise control, cloth upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, triple-zone automatic climate control, and a 12-inch digital instrumentation panel.
The infotainment system includes a 10.2-inch touchscreen, wireless smartphone integration, GMC Connected Access capability including Wi-Fi, and satellite radio. In addition, a rear-seat reminder system and Teen Driver monitoring technology are standard, along with a GMC Pro Safety package that includes forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and lane-keep assist systems.
GMC Yukon SLT – This more upscale version of the Yukon adds 20-inch polished alloy wheels, additional chrome trim, and a hands-free power rear liftgate. Inside, the SLT features leather seats, heated and ventilated front seats, wireless smartphone charging, and a premium sound system. This version of the Yukon also includes blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and a Safety Alert Seat that vibrates to draw the driver's attention to possible safety situations.
GMC Yukon AT4 – The AT4 trim is the Yukon best suited to off-road driving. It has standard 4WD, a revised front end for an improved approach angle, a front skid plate, red tow hooks, and a heavy-duty air filter. It rides on exclusive 20-inch alloy wheels wrapped in all-terrain tires and comes with hill descent control and a Magnetic Ride Control adaptive suspension.
Additional standard features include a power-adjustable heated steering wheel, heated and power-release second-row seats, a power-folding third-row seat, and three years of complimentary GMC Connected Services (not including Wi-Fi).
GMC Yukon Denali – Denali trim denotes the most luxurious version of the Yukon. It builds on the SLT with a standard 6.2-liter V8 engine, Magnetic Ride Control adaptive suspension, unique 20-inch alloy wheels, an exclusive grille design, and satin chrome exterior trim.
The GMC Yukon Denali also has an exclusive dashboard design, a power-sliding center console, a power-adjustable heated steering wheel, a heated and power-release second-row seat, and a power-folding third-row seat. This version of the SUV also features a premium surround-sound audio system, three years of complimentary GMC Connected Services (not including Wi-Fi), a head-up display, a surround-view camera system, and rear pedestrian detection.
2022 GMC Yukon Review and Test Drive
Test Drive QuickTakes:
Serving as an alternative to the more popular Chevrolet Tahoe in the General Motors stable of full-size SUVs, the GMC Yukon assumes a premium position between the Tahoe and the much more expensive Cadillac Escalade. Along with the Caddy and Chevy, the GMC Yukon got a complete redesign for the 2021 model year. With it, all three SUVs adopted independent rear suspension designs that dramatically increased third-row passenger room and cargo space while improving the overall ride and handling qualities.
This year, GMC offers its most powerful engine choice in the Yukon AT4 trim level, which the company packages for maximum off-roading capability. Additionally, the 2022 Yukons get a new Google-based infotainment system with fresh graphics and underlying technology and a new digital instrumentation display. It is also worth mentioning that the 2022 GMC Yukon—and all full-size SUVs—faces the pressure of high gas prices. However, GMC offers a remarkably efficient turbodiesel engine option for the Yukon, which can take some of the sting out of an owner's fuel bill in exchange for a reasonably priced upcharge, though our test vehicle was not equipped with that engine.
To enhance the AT4's off-roading capability, GMC restyles the front end to improve the SUV's approach angle and adds a metal skid plate under the front bumper. However, these modifications are incompatible with the Duramax's space requirements, so the AT4 is available only with the Yukon's standard 5.3-liter and optional 6.2-liter gasoline V8 engines.
For this 2022 GMC Yukon review, we test-drove the AT4 with the 6.2-liter V8 in Southern California. It came with the AT4 Premium Plus, Technology, and Max Trailering option packages, plus heated second-row captain's chairs with power release for easier third-row access and a power sliding center console. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) came to $80,580, including the $1,695 destination charge. GMC provided the vehicle for this Yukon review.
2022 GMC Yukon Review: The Design
With its reworked front styling, red recovery hooks, functional skid plate, and machined-surface 20-inch wheels wrapped in all-terrain tires, the Yukon AT4 does more than look the part of a rugged off-roader. It is surprisingly capable when the pavement turns to dirt, and the dirt turns to more challenging terrain.
Interior quality is hit-and-miss, a blend of appealing upper cabin materials with hard plastic lower surfaces. This is common in full-size SUVs, so the Yukon isn't an outlier with regard to the approach. Furthermore, GMC's latest effort represents a substantial improvement compared to the previous-generation Yukon.
The Yukon AT4 includes exclusive perforated black leather with caramel-color inserts and matching contrast stitching. Polished metallic trim adds an upscale vibe, and a strip of dashboard plastic that resembles carbon fiber underscores the AT4's role as the lineup's performance model.
Controls are laid out logically, and GMC uses a combination of knobs and buttons for the triple-zone automatic climate control, stereo, and infotainment system functions. The knobs have a knurled metallic finish, while the buttons have a matte black surface with white markings. That said, I am not a big fan of the dashboard-mounted, push-button transmission controls.
Power retractable running boards are available, and they're necessary to enter and exit the Yukon AT4 easily. Climb aboard, and 10-way power-adjustable front seats await. They're comfortable, and in the AT4, they're heated and ventilated. The steering wheel is heated, too, and the Yukon supplies padded locations to rest your arms and elbows.
In the second row, heated captain's chairs are equally comfy, and the Yukon's third-row seat effortlessly accommodates adults. In short, there is a ton of room in this SUV.
Interior storage space is also generous, and the test vehicle had the optional power sliding center console option. It slides back toward the second-row seats to put the cupholders and rear climate controls within easy reach of the rear-seat passengers while simultaneously revealing a storage tray between the front seats.
The AT4's standard hands-free power liftgate opens to reveal 25.5 cubic feet of storage space. You can expand that to 72.6 cu-ft by folding the third-row seat using buttons located in the cargo area. However, if the second-row captain's chairs are moved all of the way back in their tracks, the third-row seats won't fold flat, which necessitates extra steps that are a hassle – especially if you are in a hurry.
Maximum cargo capacity with the second- and third-row seats folded down measures 122.9 cu-ft. GMC says a Yukon equipped with the 6.2-liter V8 engine and 4WD can carry up to 1,616 pounds of passengers and cargo and tow up to 8,000 lbs of trailer.
2022 GMC Yukon Review: The Technology
GMC makes two significant changes to the 2022 Yukon's technology stack (so to speak). First, every Yukon now has a 12-inch digital instrumentation panel instead of analog gauges with a driver information center. Second, the 10.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system switches to a Google Built-in design with new graphics and operational capabilities.
Rouse the Google-supplied digital assistant, and it recognizes naturally spoken commands just like your smartphone does. You can use voice commands to control the navigation, phone, stereo, and climate systems. The technology is also Amazon Alexa compatible and comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and SiriusXM 360L satellite radio service. With AT4 trim, GMC Connected Services is complimentary for three years, but like all Yukon models, access to the free Wi-Fi hotspot lasts for just one month.
Based on my testing, the new Google Built-in technology is neither better nor worse than what GMC previously offered. In fact, I think I preferred the Yukon's previous infotainment tech. It was already terrific at interpreting naturally spoken voice commands and often responded faster to them than the new Google-based technology. And while flat, minimalistic design is the hot trend in tech right now, the old system offered a more colorful collection of icons and graphics.
Frankly, I wish GMC had instead invested the cash spent switching to Google Built-in on delivering something better than a nine-speaker Bose premium sound system.
During the evaluation, the new infotainment system impressed me in some ways and confused me in others. For example, when asking for directions to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C., the system correctly referred to that location as the White House. After I thought I had canceled that request, I asked for directions to a hospital. I got them for George Washington University Hospital in D.C. rather than a local one in Ventura County, California, where I was driving the SUV.
Similarly, I told Google that I wanted to listen to reggae music. But instead of offering a reggae channel on SiriusXM 360L (I was already listening to satellite radio), the system suggested using apps like Spotify or Pandora.
In addition to the new infotainment system, the test vehicle had a dual touchscreen rear-seat entertainment system. Unfortunately, GMC doesn't make it obvious how you turn the screens on, so I didn't. Meanwhile, the available 15-inch head-up display did more than supply helpful information. Its controls are mounted on the dashboard, to the left of the steering wheel, making it easy to program the content and adjust the screen.
Switching now to safety features, the Yukon AT4 has a standard GMC Pro Safety Plus package. It includes:
- Forward-collision warning
- Pedestrian detection
- Automatic emergency braking
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Lane-departure warning
- Lane-keeping assistance
- Automatic high-beam headlights
Additionally, the AT4 has these standard features:
- Safety Alert Seat that vibrates to get the driver's attention
- A rear-seat reminder system so that drivers don't accidentally leave someone or something important in the SUV
- A Teen Driver monitoring and report card technology complete with a new Buckle to Drive requirement
- Front and rear parking sensors
- A surround-view camera with forward-view capability
That's a long list of safety features. Unfortunately, however, the test vehicle did not have adaptive cruise control or lane-centering assistance, standard systems on a basic Toyota Corolla. Granted, not everyone wants this level of semi-autonomous driving assistance. But given the Yukon's as-tested price, they should be present.
Those features I could assess worked as intended during the evaluation, except for the lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist systems. They proved inconsistently effective and often too subtle about issuing warnings or performing steering corrections. In turn, this made it hard to trust the technology.
As far as crash-test scores go, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the Yukon a four-star overall rating. It misses a higher five-star rating due to its mediocre three-star rollover resistance score. Also, in the frontal-impact test, the Yukon earns four-star protection for the front-seat occupant.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has not assessed the Yukon for crash protection.
2022 GMC Yukon Review: The Drive
Like last year, the Yukon AT4 has a standard 5.3-liter V8 engine producing 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. New for 2022, you can also get an available 6.2-liter V8 cranking out 420 hp and 460 lb.-ft. of torque. GMC bolts both of these gasoline V8s to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Unfortunately, the Yukon's impressively efficient 3.0-liter turbodiesel inline six-cylinder engine remains exclusive to the Yukon SLE, SLT, and Denali trim levels.
Because GMC makes it for off-roading, the Yukon AT4 has upgraded powertrain cooling and a standard Autotrac four-wheel-drive system with a two-speed transfer case. It rides on 20-inch alloy wheels with machined finish surfaces, wrapped in 275/60R20 all-terrain tires. A Magnetic Ride Control adaptive damping suspension is also standard, and the revised front styling results in a generous 32-degree angle of approach for improved clearance while driving off the beaten path.
The test vehicle had two crucial upgrades. The first is an Active Response 4WD system, which adds Traction Select driving modes and an electronic limited-slip differential to improve the Yukon's capabilities on different types of terrain. The second is a Four-Corner Air Ride Adaptive Suspension, which is self-explanatory.
As alluded to above, I took the Yukon off-roading on moderately challenging terrain, where it effortlessly shrugged off rocks, ruts, and dirt moguls. I also drove it at 35 mph over a series of speed humps in my neighborhood, and they barely registered as the air suspension soaked them up and dispersed the impact energy. Similarly, the Yukon AT4 pummeled speed bumps in a local strip-mall parking lot into submission, but not without allowing some shudder and shake to shimmy up through the Yukon's underlying architecture.
No matter where or how I drove the Yukon AT4, that four-corner air suspension proved nothing short of brilliant. On local mountain roads, it erased nearly all of the negative handling traits you might expect from a heavy, high-riding, full-size SUV rolling on all-terrain rubber. It quelled unwanted ride, body, and roll motions and made the Yukon feel more responsive and athletic on pavement than you'd ever guess.
Putting the excellent suspension aside, the Yukon AT4 drives like a typical full-size SUV. The optional 6.2-liter V8 engine gives the Yukon all the power it needs and then some, and the 10-speed automatic transmission is remarkably well behaved. However, fuel economy is abysmal. The EPA says a Yukon AT4 with the 6.2-liter V8 should get 16 mpg in combined driving, but the test vehicle returned 14.7 mpg on the evaluation loop.
Consider yourself warned about the 6.2-liter V8's thirst for fuel. And if you want an efficient Yukon and can live without the AT4 model's specific upgrades, try one with the optional Duramax turbodiesel engine. You'll be astounded by how efficient it can be.
Is the 2022 GMC Yukon a Good SUV?
Though the GMC Yukon was already popular, the SUV's redesign for 2021 brought dramatic improvements to the ride, handling, passenger comfort, and cargo volume. In all of these respects, the latest Yukon is competitive. Plus, it offers an affordable turbodiesel engine option that returns impressive fuel economy. However, the Yukon still falls short of some rivals regarding towing capacity. Also, unless you absolutely need this vehicle's cargo volume and trailering capability, a traditional three-row crossover SUV might better serve you.
GMC Yukon Competitors for 2022
Because GMC positions the Yukon as a premium SUV, its most natural competitor is the new-for-2022 Jeep Wagoneer. However, it also competes against the Ford Expedition and Expedition Max, the Nissan Armada, and the Toyota Sequoia. The Chevrolet Tahoe is essentially the same as the GMC Yukon, so consider it if you prefer its styling and wish to save a little money. Chevy's alternative to the Yukon XL is called the Suburban.
GMC Yukon Features
With two body lengths, three engines, four trim levels, and seating for up to nine people, the 2022 GMC Yukon and Yukon XL offer a little something for just about any full-size SUV buyer.
2022 GMC Yukon Safety Features
- Teen Driver – Standard teen-driver monitoring system that produces a driving report card for parents
- Rear Seat Reminder – Standard feature reminds the driver to check the back seat before leaving the SUV
- GMC Pro Safety – Standard collection of collision warning and collision avoidance technologies
- GMC Pro Safety Plus – Available upgrade adding blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert*
- Safety Alert Seat – Available feature vibrates to warn a driver of a potential collision threat*
2022 GMC Yukon Technology
- Infotainment system – Standard 10.2-inch touchscreen with a built-in digital assistant
- Smartphone connectivity – Standard wireless support for Apple and Android devices
- GMC Connected Services – Standard capability, with a free trial to service on AT4 and Denali
- Rear camera mirror – Available feature shows a camera-based view of what's behind the SUV*
- Surround-view camera – Available feature shows a top-down surround view of the SUV*
2022 GMC Yukon Specs
- 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel inline six-cylinder, 277 hp and 460 lb.-ft. of torque*
- 5.3-liter V8, 355 hp and 383 lb.-ft.
- 6.2-liter V8, 420 hp and 460 lb.-ft.*
- 10-speed automatic transmission
- Rear-wheel drive (RWD) or four-wheel drive (4WD)
- EPA Fuel Economy Ratings: 16-17 mpg combined (gas V8s); 22-23 mpg (diesel engine)
2022 GMC Yukon Interior
- Bench front seat – Available feature with SLE trim*
- Leather upholstery – Available feature*
- Heated and ventilated front seats – Available feature*
- Heated second-row seats – Available feature*
- Premium sound system – Available with nine or 14 speakers*
*Availability is subject to specific trim level selections