2015 GMC Yukon and Yukon XL Preview

John Tews | Sep 17, 2013
  • Yukon and Yukon XL models return
  • All new, inside and out
  • Redesigned front seats
  • Greater second-row leg room
  • Tighter third-row leg room
  • Smaller cargo capacities
  • New safety features
  • New infotainment technology
  • New powertrains with greater tow ratings


The redesigned 2015 GMC Yukon and Yukon XL models arrive in the first quarter of 2014, serving as a step up from the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban and to bridge the gap between the Chevy models and the redesigned 2015 Cadillac Escalade. Full-size SUVs all, the new 2015 Yukon lineup competes against a range of rugged sport-utes including the Ford Expedition and Expedition EL, Nissan Armada, and the Toyota Sequoia. The luxurious Yukon Denali versions are an alternative to the Infiniti QX80, Lexus GX 460, and the Lincoln Navigator.

Exterior Features

In redesigning the 2015 GMC Yukon, engineers improved aerodynamics through the use of inlaid door frames and a lower roofline, and lightened weight by installing an aluminum hood and tailgate. A by-product of the Yukon's new design is less interior noise on the highway, and GMC says that laminated front window and windshield glass helps to further quiet the SUV's cabin.

All 2015 Yukon models are equipped with LED running lights and LED taillights. Choose the luxury-oriented Denali trim level, and the Yukon includes HID headlights, a unique grille design, lots of extra brightwork, and standard 20-inch aluminum wheels.

Interior Features

GMC is planning to offer an extensive list of standard features for the new Yukon models, every one of them equipped with keyless passive entry with push-button starting, premium sound system, and IntelliLink technology.

Inside, the new 2015 Yukon models have soft-touch surfaces where occupants are likely to touch the interior, and new front seats with dual-density foam and a ventilated design. While 9-passenger seating with a front bench seat is standard, most Yukon models will have front bucket seats separated by a center console designed to carry a laptop computer. The second-row bench seat can be replaced by optional bucket seats.

As was true before, the Yukon XL is an extended-wheelbase version of the standard Yukon, one offering greater second- and third-row seat room and more cargo capacity. While this remains true for the 2015 models, both versions lose third-row leg room and maximum cargo volume in this redesign. In the Yukon, third-row leg room drops nearly an inch, while the Yukon XL loses 16.3 cu. ft. of maximum cargo space.

Positive gains are made with regard to second-row leg room, especially in the standard Yukon. Also, thanks to a third-row seat that now folds flat to maximize cargo volume rather than requiring removal, expanding the available space is easier than ever.

Optional Features

Depending on the trim level, options for the 2015 Yukon include a power tailgate with programmable height settings, power-folding third-row seat, power sunroof, premium audio system, navigation system, rear-seat entertainment system, and premium leather seats with heating and ventilation for front-seat occupants.

Denali models are fitted with standard Active Noise Cancellation technology, custom configurable instrumentation, and a Magnetic Ride Control suspension, among other upgrades.

Under the Hood

A new 5.3-liter V-8 engine is standard in the 2015 GMC Yukon and Yukon XL, generating 355 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 383 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,100 rpm. Select the luxurious Denali trim level to get a 6.2-liter V-8 churning out 420 horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of torque at the same points in the rev range as the 5.3-liter V-8.

Each engine is equipped with variable valve timing, direct fuel injection, and Active Fuel Management technology to conserve fuel. Under low driving-load conditions, Active Fuel Management operates the engine on just 4 of its 8 cylinders, thereby maximizing fuel economy. A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard, and offers manual shift capability, tow/haul driving mode, and powertrain grade braking.

All 2015 GMC Yukon models come standard with rear-wheel drive (2WD). A 4-wheel-drive (4WD) system is offered as an option, while Denali versions can be fitted with an optional all-wheel-drive (AWD) system. The new Yukon's maximum trailer-tow rating is 8,500 pounds when properly specified and equipped.

In addition to these powertrain enhancements, the 2015 Yukon is equipped with rust-resistant Duralife brake rotors designed to last twice as long as conventional parts, a new electric steering system, and a refined suspension paired with wider wheels and tires for what GMC claims are improved ride and handling characteristics. Redesigned aluminum wheels sized up to 22 inches in diameter are also available.


Every 2015 Yukon is equipped with a free 6-month subscription to OnStar telematics, which includes safety-related services including Automatic Crash Response, Crisis Assist, and Emergency Services. Additionally, all Yukon models have trailer sway control, and those equipped with front bucket seats and a center console have a new front-seat center-mounted air bag that deploys to protect front-seat occupants from injury following an impact that has occurred on the opposite side of the vehicle.

Additional safety features include a reversing camera with rear cross-path detection, front and rear park-assist sensors, lane-departure warning, and a Safety Alert Seat that vibrates whenever a threat is present. The new 2015 Yukon can also be fitted with a Front and Rear Automatic Braking system, Lane Change Assist system, and an adaptive cruise control system that includes forward-collision alert.


The new 2015 Yukon lineup is equipped with standard IntelliLink technology, which includes an 8-inch color touch-screen infotainment system with Bluetooth hands-free calling, Bluetooth music streaming, premium sound system, and a variety of USB and SD card slots, along with multiple power outlets. The IntelliLink system can be upgraded with a navigation system, and the Yukon is offered with a rear-seat entertainment system with a Blu-Ray DVD player. Denali models are exclusively available with a head-up display.
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