Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A red 2023 Yukon Denali is shown from the front at an angle.

Let’s Find You the Right GMC Yukon

Small SUVs work for some people, but if you have a big family and need to fit a lot of passengers or a ton of stuff into your vehicle, nothing beats a full-size SUV. Narrowing down your options to something like the 2023 GMC Yukon is a great start, but even with that in mind, you still have a lot of decisions to make. The Yukon is a stunning SUV that has two different models, three different engines, and five different trims available––this creates about 20 different options when you’re shopping for the latest GMC Yukon.

If you’ve ever sat at your computer and looked at specs and options across 20 different tabs in your favorite browser, then you know it’s an impossible task. There’s some good news, however: I’m here to make things a lot simpler for you. I’m going to take you through all of these options in a simplified and streamlined way so you can see what each one offers and decide which is right for you. I can’t tell you which GMC Yukon you should choose, but I can make it a lot easier to decide for yourself.

Yukon vs Yukon XL

The first way we’re going to simplify this decision is by choosing either the standard 2023 GMC Yukon or the larger Yukon XL. You’ll find the same engines and trim levels available on both of these vehicles, so it really just comes down to how much room you want inside your SUV. These are both full-size models, but the Yukon XL has a longer wheelbase and greater length overall, so that’s an important consideration when it comes to your choice. The Yukon XL might honestly not fit into your life, so consider these options carefully. Let’s look at the differences:

GMC Yukon

  • Overall Length: 210 in
  • Third-Row Legroom: 34.9 in
  • Rear Cargo Space: 25.5 cu.ft.
  • Total Cargo Space: 122.9 cu.ft.

GMC Yukon XL

  • Overall Length: 225.2 in
  • Third-Row Legroom: 36.7 in
  • Rear Cargo Space: 41.5 cu.ft.
  • Total Cargo Space: 144.7 cu.ft.

You can see that the differences between these two models are significant––they continue across pretty much every measurement behind the front seats, providing a lot more overall cargo space. Choosing between the Yukon and Yukon XL is one of the easiest things to decide because you can come up with a good idea of how much room you need inside. Both models have three rows of seating for up to nine passengers, depending on the options you choose, so it really comes down to overall size, cargo space, and room for folks in the third row.

A white 2022 GMC Yukon AT4 is shown from the front while driving off-road.

Three Engine Options

Next up, you should decide which engine you want in your Yukon. Both the Yukon and the Yukon XL have the same three engines to choose from, so you don’t have to worry about any issues there. The tricky thing, however, is that while there are three engines offered overall, any particular trim only has two engines for you to choose from. It can help to decide on a specific engine you want before looking at other options, but it might be best to be a bit flexible here unless there’s something you absolutely need. The three engines are:

5.3L V8 Gas Engine

  • 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of Torque
  • 8,400 lbs Towing Capacity

6.2L V8 Gas Engine

  • 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of Torque
  • 8,200 lbs Towing Capacity

3.0L Duramax Turbo-Diesel

  • 277 hp and 460 lb-ft of Torque
  • 8,100 lbs Towing Capacity

One thing worth noting is the size of the Yukon XL means its maximum towing capacity is about 100 lbs lower than the Yukon with the same engine. That’s not a huge difference, but I wanted to mention it. The available 6.2L V8 is probably the most fun to drive with its impressive performance, while the standard engine gives you slightly higher towing––probably not enough to be the difference maker, however. The available diesel engine is a bit of a novelty and something you won’t find on any other full-size SUV out there. Now let’s take a look at the five trims available for the 2023 Yukon.

Yukon SLE

The SLE is the starting trim for the 2023 Yukon, and it comes with 18-inch wheels wrapped in all-season tires, LED headlamps, and a manual liftgate. Inside the SLE, you’ll find a 10-way power driver’s seat and an eight-way power front passenger seat, along with a 10.2-inch infotainment display and a 12-inch color Driver Information Center. This trim comes with a six-speaker sound system, standard interior lighting, and cloth seating. It has excellent standard safety features, including a Forward Collision Alert, Front Pedestrian Braking, and Front and Rear Park Assist.

Yukon SLT

Next up, the SLT trim builds on the standard features in numerous ways, including 20-inch wheels and tires, plus a hands-free power liftgate. You get a 10-way power driver’s seat and front passenger seat with the SLT, along with the same excellent displays found with the SLE trim. One of the most notable upgrades for the SLT is the inclusion of a nine-speaker Bose audio system that sounds fantastic, along with a memory function in the driver’s seat that’s perfect if you frequently have multiple people driving your SUV. Several advanced safety features are available on the SLT that you can’t get on the starting trim, including Enhanced Automatic Emergency Braking and an HD Surround Vision system.

Yukon AT4

If you’re interested in taking your full-size SUV off-road, then you should take a good look at the AT4 trim and everything it offers. The AT4 has a performance front skid plate, heavy-duty air filter, hill descent control, and a high-approach-angle front bumper, all designed for hitting the trail. It comes with 20-inch wheels wrapped in exclusive all-terrain tires, along with red recovery hooks and a number of other off-road-focused features. Inside, you’ll find similar features to the SLT, though a 15-inch head-up display is available, and you get a heated steering wheel plus perforated leather-appointed seating. The AT4 is only available with 4WD, but you can pick either the standard 5.3L V8 engine or the more-powerful 6.2L V8.

Yukon Denali

The Denali trim has traditionally been the peak of luxury and sophistication in the GMC lineup and remains an amazing option. It features standard 20-inch wheels with available 22-inch wheels, plus a gorgeous exterior with an optional panoramic power sunroof. The interior of the Denali drips with elegance and includes a standard 15-inch head-up display plus a 14-speaker Bose Surround with CenterPoint audio system. It has perforated leather-appointed seating with tri-zone automatic climate control, a wireless charging pad, and essentially all of the available safety features for the Yukon.

A grey 2023 GMC Yukon Denali Ultimate is shown from the front at an angle while parked in a driveway.

Yukon Denali Ultimate

New for the 2023 model year, the Denali has been topped by the incredible Denali Ultimate trim, which represents a new standard for unparalleled luxury. With the Denali Ultimate, you get 22-inch wheels wrapped in all-season tires, plus excellent standard features, including a panoramic power sunroof, power-retractable assist steps with LED perimeter lighting, and much more. Inside, luxury is taken to the next level with standard 16-way power-adjustable driver and front-passenger seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and an incredible 18-speaker Bose Performance Series sound system. The Denali Ultimate features full-grain leather seating, all the available safety features, and GMC’s innovative Super Cruise hands-free driving system. The Denali Ultimate is only offered with 4WD, and you can choose either the 6.2L V8 engine or the available turbo-diesel.

Which Yukon Is Right for You?

Now that you have a sense of what each of the two models, three engines, and five stunning trims offers, it should be easier to narrow down your options. For size and interior space, you can pick either the standard Yukon or the larger Yukon XL. The five trims give you a wide range of options for overall performance, functionality, luxury, and tech features to make driving easier and more enjoyable. Ultimately, your lifestyle, budget, and preferences will help guide you in deciding which model is perfect for you.