2013 GMC Yukon and Yukon XL Preview

Jeff Youngs | Mar 04, 2013
  • Heated steering wheel upgraded
  • Powertrain grade braking is now included in normal driving mode
  • All-terrain tires are available with Off-Road option package
  • Last model of the current generation, prior to introduction of new platform for 2014


 The GMC Yukon is a full-size SUV, built for rugged use and for towing heavy loads. It is similar to the Chevrolet Tahoe. In extended-length Yukon XL format, it is the same size as the Chevrolet Suburban. The Denali version of the Yukon compares with the Cadillac Escalade. The Yukon is often used for commercial and professional purposes, but is less popular as a police vehicle than its Chevrolet-badged counterparts. This is likely the last year for the current Yukon platform, as a new one is scheduled to be introduced for the 2014 model year. The Yukon can seat up to nine people, though it is most often configured to seat eight. The Yukon XL comes in a half-ton and a three-quarter-ton model, known respectively as 1500 and 2500. The Yukon is available in three trim levels: SLE, SLT and Denali. It is available with 2-wheel or 4-wheel drive (2WD or 4WD).

Exterior Features

Colors for the 2013 GMC Yukon include white, black, Silver Ice, Champagne Silver, Mocha Steel and (at a premium charge) Black Granite, Crystal Red, and White Diamond. Wheels are available in various designs, ranging from 17 to 22 inches. Standard features include side and center luggage rack rails, assist steps, and daytime running lights. Exterior upgrades on the upper trim levels include a power liftgate, chrome door handles, power heated mirrors, chrome front grille, upgraded wheels, and upgraded tires.

Interior Features

The Yukon SLE trim level comes with power front bucket seats, some other power accessories, second row 60/40 split-folding bench seat, third row 50/50 split-bench removable seat, floor console, Bluetooth capability, Bose premium sound system, and 3-zone climate control. The SLT trim includes available leather upholstery, fog lights, locking rear differential, power-adjustable pedals, remote ignition, and other enhancements. The Denali trim adds a distinctive grille, heated and cooled driver and front passenger seats and second-row seats, rear air suspension, premium leather upholstery, premium sound system, premium interior lighting, hard-drive-based navigation system, and enhanced safety features. To create maximum cargo space, the third-row seats must be removed, but a total of 108.9 cubic feet of space, and a cargo length of 81.4 inches, can be achieved in the Yukon. The Yukon XL offers a maximum 137 cubic feet of cargo space.

Optional Features

Stand-alone options on the 2013 GMC Yukon include 22-inch wheels, heavy-duty towing package, power-retractable running boards, off-road package, sunroof, and a rear-seat entertainment system. Many of the enhancements featured on the upper trims are optional on lower trims. The Sun, Entertainment, and Destinations package includes a full year of SiriusXM satellite radio and NavTraffic service, audio system with navigation, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, and third-row DVD screen. The Texas package and the Regional Value package add communications capabilities, towing equipment, and special badging. Additional amenities include a rearview camera system and power sunroof, among others. The Off-Road Suspension package includes 18-inch aluminum wheels with on/off-road tires, Skid Plate package, recovery hooks, unique front fascia, monotube shocks and wheel flares, and chrome grille inserts. The AutoRide real-time damping system is standard on the Yukon Denali and available on SLT models. This system varies shock absorber settings in real time to respond to changing driving conditions.

Under the Hood

The Yukon's standard engine is a 5.3-liter V-8 rated at 320 horsepower, that produces 335 lb.-ft. of torque and is flex-fuel capable. That same engine is standard on the Yukon XL 1500; the Yukon XL 2500 upgrades to a 6.0-liter V-8 engine that delivers 352 horsepower. A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard. The Yukon has a towing capacity of 8,500 pounds and a maximum payload of 1,600 pounds. The 2500's towing capacity is 9,600 pounds and it has a gross vehicle weight of 8 tons.

Fuel Economy

EPA fuel-economy figures for the 2013 GMC Yukon/Yukon XL are:

  • Yukon: 15/21/17 mpg (city/highway/combined)
  • Yukon XL 1500: 15/21/17 mpg
  • Yukon XL 2500 2WD: 10/16/12 mpg
  • Yukon XL 2500 4WD: 10/15/12 mpg


Safety features on the 2013 GMC Yukon include 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, front, rear, and third-row air bags, dual front-seat side-mounted air bags, remote anti-theft alarm system, rear door child safety locks, dusk-sensing headlights, delayed headlight turnoff, stability control, traction control, and a tire-pressure monitor. Many other safety features are available. In crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Yukon and Yukon XL received an overall rating of 4 stars (out of 5 stars), 5 stars for front- and side-impact crash protection, and 3 stars for rollover crash protection.


The Yukon's Active Fuel Management technology delivers maximum power when needed and conserves fuel when less power is needed. On level roads, the system automatically deactivates four of the eight cylinders, and reactivates all cylinders on an incline or when the driver accelerates. The manufacturer also addresses sustainability issues: After the vehicle's useful life, 85 percent of it is recyclable.
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