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2012 GMC Yukon

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2012 GMC Yukon Review

Big, brawny and capable

Reviewed by Automotive on

With tough body-on-frame construction and two lengths, the 2012 Yukon is GMC's largest and most traditional SUV. While many manufacturers are trending away from these types of vehicles, for those who need to tow up to 9600 pounds or seat up to 9 people, few SUVs come close.

Available in rear- or four-wheel drive models, the Yukon can be optioned with four V-8 engines ranging in size from 5.3 liters to 6.2 liters depending on model, and producing anywhere from 320 to 403 horsepower. All of this comes at the cost of fuel economy, of course, which is why GMC offers a hybrid drivetrain across all models except the Yukon XL. The Yukon Hybrid gets 20 mpg city and 23 mpg highway, even with a large 6.0-liter V-8 providing most of the 322 total horsepower.

The Yukon is available in regular and XL sizes, with luxurious Denali trim applied to both. The top-of-the-line is the Denali Hybrid is based on the shorter Yukon, and includes all of the luxury as well as increased fuel economy. Not much has changed for the 2012 GMC Yukon, save for some new exterior colors and the availability of an Appearance package.

The Range

Bodystyle: Full-size SUV
Engines: 5.3-liter V-8 (iron block) 5.3-liter V-8 (aluminum block), 6.0-liter V-8, 6.2-liter V-8
Transmission: six-speed automatic
Models: SLE, SLT, XL 1500, XL 2500, Denali, XL Denali, Hybrid, Denali Hybrid

What's New

For 2012 the Yukon gets two new paint colors: Crystal Red Tintcoat and Quicksilver Metallic. Yukon XL models with the rear seat entertainment package now get a DVD screen for the third row, and Yukon SLT models get heated leather front seats and steering wheel, standard. Hill start assist and trailer sway control are standard on all models, to prevent mishaps when towing large trailers.


There's no mistaking the large, boxy Yukon for anything other than a traditional SUV. Denali models get a chrome honeycomb grille and optional 22-inch chrome wheels, while Hybrid models get conspicuous badging to reflect the part.


Every Yukon has three rows standard, and with an available front bench seat you could conceivably seat up to nine passengers. The Yukon's power fold-and-tumble second row seats offer easy access to the third row. Touch-screen navigation comes on all models with satellite radio, Bluetooth, a 10-speaker sound system, weather and traffic updates, OnStar, and Time Shift Recording capability for taking notes on the fly.

Performance & Handling

The Yukon comes standard with a 5.3-liter V-8, with an additional heavy-duty 5.3-liter V-8, a 6.0-liter V-8 or a 6.2-liter V-8 also available. All models are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The Yukon's truck frame employs a coil-over-shock front design and a rack-and-pinion steering setup. The five-link rear suspension can be augmented with GM's Autoride real-time damping system which comes standard on Denali models, featuring electronically controlled shocks designed to automatically adjust to changing road conditions.


All Yukon models come with side curtain airbags for all passengers. The Yukon's front-seat belt pretensioners are linked to the vehicle's sensing system and are designed to reduce the effects of rear-end impacts. GM's StabiliTrak stability control system with traction control is standard, as well as anti-lock brakes.

EPA Fuel Economy

Yukon, Yukon XL 1500 (SLE or SLT) RWD/4WD: 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway
Hybrid: 20 mpg city/23 mpg highway 6.2L V-8: 14 mpg city/18 mpg highway

You'll Like

  • Highly configurable
  • Available hybrid
  • Upscale Denali trim

You Won't Like

  • Big and heavy
  • Balky third row

Sum Up

Big, brawny and capable

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Toyota Sequoia
  • Ford Expedition
  • Infiniti QX56
  • Nissan Titan

See the New 2015 Yukon.

Front & Driver Side View