GMC Yukon Through the Years

The GMC Yukon has been proving itself as a capable full-sized SUV since 1992. Find out how the Yukon maintained its strong presence through the years.

30 Years Later: the GMC Yukon Still Going Strong

2007 GMC Yukon -

2007 GMC Yukon – |  Shop GMC Yukon on

When the GMC Jimmy was rebadged as the GMC Yukon in 1992, executives at General Motors probably weren’t expecting a hit, but that’s exactly what they got. Over the past three decades, the Yukon has become a favorite in the full-size SUV market. GMC created a lasting legacy with a vehicle capable of handling bumps on the road, hauling cargo, and comfortably fitting the entire family in an upscale cabin.

The Yukon name refers to the Yukon territory of northern Canada, reflecting the toughness and durability it takes to survive in the territory that borders the state of Alaska. This SUV isn’t just popular in North America, but also in the Middle East, winning over consumers and critics alike in that region. With 2022 models starting at just over $50,000, this vehicle isn’t the cheapest buy out there, but you certainly get a lot of SUV for your hard-earned dollars!

First Generation (1992-1999)

1992 GMC Yukon -
1992 GMC Yukon -
  • The first-generation GMC Yukon was revealed in 1992.
  • All 1992 models were made in two-door configurations with two trims: the SL and SLE.
  • The original Yukon was a rebadged GMC Jimmy, twin of the Chevrolet K5 Blazer
  • It could seat six passengers.
  • Under the hood were a five-speed manual, or automatic, transmission and a 210-horsepower 5.7-liter V8 engine with 300 lb-ft of torque.
1992 GMC Yukon -
1992 GMC Yukon -
  • There were no changes for the 1993 model.
  • For the 1994 Yukon, the grille was updated, composite headlamps were added, and guard beams were put on the side doors.
  • An all-new four-door version of the Yukon was launched in 1995, available in two-wheel drive (2WD) or four-wheel drive (4WD).
  • Bigger than the Ford Explorer or Toyota 4Runner, the 1995 GMC Yukon was nearly a foot longer than the previous model.
  • The 5.7-liter V8 returned in 1995, adding 55 horsepower to the output. It made up to 200 horsepower with 360 lb-ft of torque.
1996 GMC Yukon -
1996 GMC Yukon -
  • Heated front seats and rear air conditioning were optional additions to 1995 models.
  • A two-door 2WD model became available starting with the 1996 Yukon.
  • A Vortec 5700 5.7-liter V8 engine adds 50 additional horsepower and 25 more lb-ft of torque.
  • The 1997 model wasn’t offered as a two-door model.
  • A combination CD/cassette stereo, remote keyless entry, and power lock switch for the cargo compartment became standard features on 1997 GMC Yukon SLT models.
1999 GMC Yukon Denali -
1999 GMC Yukon Denali -
  • GM removed the two-door model from the 1998 Yukon.
  • Carpeted floor mats, a powered driver’s seat, and a theft-deterrent system were standard features with the 1998 Yukon.
  • GMC added AutoTrac full-time all-wheel drive for the 1998 model.
  • The GMC Denali started as a luxury version of the GMC Yukon starting with the 1999 model year.
  • The 1999 Denali, which was later rebadged as the Cadillac Escalade, was GM’s answer to the Lincoln Navigator.
  • The 1999 Denali was the first full-size SUV to feature GM’s OnStar communication system.

Second Generation (2000-2006)

2000 GMC Yukon -
2000 GMC Yukon -
  • The follow-up GMC Yukon was launched in 2000.
  • Based on the same platform as the GMC Sierra pickup, it primarily competed with the Ford Bronco.
  • 4.8-liter, 5.3-liter, and 6.0-liter V8 engines make 275 horsepower, 285 horsepower, and 300 horsepower respectively. That 6.0-liter V8 also gets 355 lb-ft of torque.
  • The 2000 Yukon had significant enhancements like optional rear-seat audio controls, a new center console with a large storage compartment, and a new audio system.
  • It also had a more aerodynamic profile.
2001 GMC Yukon -
2001 GMC Yukon -
  • Updates to the interior included more comfortable seats, a fresh dashboard, and new door panels.
  • Side-impact airbags were also added to the 2000 GMC Yukon.
  • The 2001 Denali was given a 6.0-liter engine and standard AWD.
  • Other 2001 GMC Yukon models didn’t receive many updates.
  • 2002 GMC Yukon engines were ultralow emission certified (ULEV) to meet California standards.
2005 GMC Yukon -
2005 GMC Yukon -
  • Visible changes for 2003 GMC Yukon models include aluminum wheels for the SLT trim.
  • Tri-zone climate controls, a redesigned center console, XM satellite radio, and an entertainment system with DVD capability are all part of several cabin upgrades.
  • 2004 GMC Yukon models were given a tire-pressure monitoring system, optional 17-inch wheels, and a chrome exhaust tip.
  • All models in the 2005 GMC Yukon lineup came with an overhead rear liftgate.
  • An optional touchscreen navigation system was also added to the 2005 GMC Yukon.
  • Steering wheel-mounted audio controls and updated OnStar navigation are two of the minor updates that came with a 2006 GMC Yukon.

Third Generation (2007-2014)

2007 GMC Yukon -
2007 GMC Yukon -
  • The 2007 GMC Yukon hit the market with a new platform.
  • It was available in 4WD, RWD, or AWD.
  • It was overhauled with several engine options: a 4.8-liter V8, a 5.3-liter V8 or a 6.2-liter V8 that was exclusive to the Yukon Denali. The engines provided up to 380 horsepower. 305 lb-ft of torque was made with the 4.8-liter V8. The 5.3-liter V8 made 340 lb-ft of torque and the 6.2-liter made 417 lb-ft of torque.
  • The outside design of the 2007 Yukon was made to be more angular.
  • The cabin was redesigned to give a more upscale feel with chrome-accented instruments and new door panels.
  • No major changes were included with the 2008 Yukon.
2011 GMC Yukon 5.3L V8 -
2011 GMC Yukon 5.3L V8 -
  • The 2009 GMC Yukon Denali was updated with a new six-speed automatic transmission.
  • Bluetooth was added as a standard feature for the 2009 GMC Yukon.
  • Power-folding second-row seats were an option for the 2010 GMC Yukon.
  • A power liftgate, rear parking sensors, navigation, and a backup camera were other notable features on some of the 2010 Yukon trims.
  • Horsepower increased in the 2011 GMC Yukon with the 5.3-liter V8 getting 320 horsepower and the 6.2-liter V8 getting 403 horsepower.
  • General Motors updated the navigation system in the 2012 GMC Yukon.
2013 GMC Yukon -
2013 GMC Yukon -
  • A heated steering wheel became standard on higher-level 2012 trims, too.
  • The 2013 GMC Yukon didn’t have any major changes.
  • The base model started at $21,700.
  • Between 10 and 15 mpg could be achieved in city driving, while highway driving ranged from 15 to 21 mpg.
  • For the 2014 GMC Yukon, remote ignition, power-adjustable pedals, and a rearview camera became standard features on the SLE trim.
  • The 2014 GMC Yukon dropped the 4.8-liter V8, keeping the 5.3-liter V8 and the 6.2-liter V8 as the two engine options.
  • Fuel efficiency increased in 2014 Yukon models, ranging from 13 to 15 mpg in the city and 18 to 21 mpg on the highway.

Fourth Generation (2015-2020)

2015 GMC Yukon -
2015 GMC Yukon -
  • For the start of the fourth generation, the 2015 GMC Yukon cut weight to achieve better fuel efficiency.
  • The new Yukon weighed between 5,466 lbs. and 6,009 lbs. thanks to lightweight aluminum liftgate panels and an aluminum hood.
  • The 2015 Yukon, available in RWD or 4WD, got 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.
  • Even though it weighed less, the 2015 Yukon was approximately 20 inches longer overall with almost 14 more inches in the wheelbase.
  • It came with a new direct-injected 5.3-liter or 6.2-liter V8 EcoTec3 engine under the hood.
  • The 5.3-liter engine made 355 horsepower while the 6.2-liter V7 made 420 horsepower.
2015 GMC Yukon 5.3L V8 -
2015 GMC Yukon 5.3L V8 -
  • Second and third-row power-folding seats made the cabin more versatile.
  • AWD was dropped as a drivetrain option starting with the 2015 GMC Yukon, but GM kept RWD and 4WD as options.
  • Lane keep assist became available starting with the 2016 GMC Yukon models.
  • 2016 GMC Yukon models also included standard tech features like a WiFi hotspot, an eight-inch touchscreen, a Bose audio system, and Apple CarPlay.
  • A teen driver monitoring system became standard in 2017 GMC Yukon models.
  • A head-up display was a standard feature in the Denali trim of the 2017 GMC Yukon.
2018 GMC Yukon -
2018 GMC Yukon -
  • In 2018, GMC launched a special edition Yukon with chrome trim, 20 or 22-inch polished aluminum wheels, and other personalization options.
  • A 10-speed automatic transmission was offered in the 2018 Denali trim, while lower trims maintained the six-speed automatic transmission.
  • Minor changes in the 2019 Yukon included a new Graphite Performance Edition package for the SLT trim.
  • That package upgraded the engine, transmission and suspension.
  • It also added a head-up display and improved navigation.
  • 2020 GMC Yukon models remained unchanged.

Fifth Generation (2021 – Present)

2021 GMC Yukon -
2021 GMC Yukon -
  • The 2021 GMC Yukon debuted with an all-new GMT T1XX platform.
  • It includes independent suspension and Magnetic Ride Control.
  • The standard engine in a 2021 Yukon is a 5.3-liter V8 making 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque.
  • This engine is paired with a 10-speed transmission.
  • A 420 horsepower 6.2-liter V8 that makes 460 lb-ft of torque is also available.
2022 GMC Yukon lineup -
2022 GMC Yukon lineup -
  • The 6.2-liter V8 is mated to a 10-speed transmission, and takes just 6.6 seconds to get from 0 to 60 mph, making it one of the fastest in its segment.
  • A 277-horsepower turbodiesel also later joined the lineup.
  • The 2021 Yukon has nine available camera views, the most in the segment.
  • The 2021 lineup consists of the SLE, SLT, Denali and the all-new 4WD-only AT4.
  • For the 2022 GMC Yukon, the 12-inch digital driver display is now standard on every model.
  • A 420-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 engine is available in the AT4, making 460 lb-ft of torque.
2022 GMC Yukon -
2022 GMC Yukon -
  • Now standard on every 2022 Yukon is a 12-inch digital gauge cluster.
  • Engine options include a 277-horsepower 3.0-liter six-cylinder diesel that makes 460 lb-ft of torque, a 355-horsepower 5.3-liter v8 that makes 383 lb-ft of torque, and a 420-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 that makes 460 lb-ft of torque.
  • A 10-speed automatic transmission is standard throughout the lineup.
  • The 2022 GMC Yukon made our list of the Best Full-Size SUVs of 2022.
  • The 2022 Yukon also ranked on our list of the 10 Best SUVs for Towing.
2023 GMC Yukon Denali Ultimate -

2023 GMC Yukon Denali Ultimate – |  Shop GMC Yukon on

  • For a one-on-one comparison, look at Head-to-Head: 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Wagoneer vs GMC Yukon XL.
  • For more details on specs and features, see our full review of the 2022 GMC Yukon XL.
  • The 2023 Yukon Denali Ultimate will arrive in the fall.
  • This brand-new vehicle includes 16-way power front seats with a massage feature, an 18-speaker Bose audio system, and etched metal speaker grilles.
  • It will also have head restraint-based speakers for front-row passengers.

For even more SUV options, read our article on the Best SUVs for Families. We also published a list of the Best Used SUVs Under $10,000.

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Jesse Batson

Jesse Batson earned his journalism degree from South Dakota State University. No stranger to newsgathering and reporting, Jesse spent 13 years in TV news. 10 of those years were spent working in Charlotte, NC, home of NASCAR. A highlight of his time there was being able to take a lap around the Charlotte Motor Speedway. His interest in vehicles, starting with Matchbox cars, a Big Wheel, and the Transformers, evolved into taking photos of motocross events. Now, he puts his research skills to use on car culture, reviews, and comparisons.

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