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2008 GMC Yukon

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2008 GMC Yukon Review


With seating for up to nine people, substantial towing capacity and aspirational appeal, GM's biggest family haulers have in the past accounted for more than 60 percent of full-size SUV sales. GMC's version, the 2008 Yukon, bridges the gap between its Chevrolet Tahoe and Cadillac Escalade siblings with a lineup that includes a base model priced similarly to the Tahoe, as well as a distinctive Denali model that can approach Escalade prices when fully loaded. While the last-generation Yukon continues to serve millions of families well, the impressive 2008 Yukon all but antiquates the model it replaces.

You'll Like This Car If...

Even if you don't need its maximum seating or towing capacities, the 2008 GMC Yukon shines on enough levels to satisfy the needs and tastes of almost any full-size SUV buyer. That it also has some of the category's best fuel mileage is a definite plus.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Unlike the Ford Expedition, Dodge Durango and Nissan Armada, none of GM's new full-size SUVs feature a fold-flat third-row seat. The rearmost seat is removable in two 50-pound sections, but for anyone that's grown accustomed to the convenience of a fold-flat third row, this could be the Yukon's deal-breaker.

What's New for 2008

With the promise of 25-percent better fuel economy, the Yukon Hybrid makes its debut later in the model year. New for 2008 are standard head-curtain side airbags on all models.

Driving the Yukon
Driving Impressions

With a stiff, fully-boxed frame, revised suspension and greatly improved steering and braking characteristics, the 2008 GMC Yukon is by far the best handling full-size SUV ever to wear a...

... GMC badge. It responds with confidence to both the driver and the road while also providing more accurate feedback. Crisp and alert around town (for a tall SUV weighing well over 2.5 tons, of course), comfortable and stable on the highway, the latest Yukon provides the driver a level of confidence unapproached by its predecessors - an experience good enough to qualify GMC's newest full-size SUV as one of the category's best.

Power Fold-and-Flip Second Row
Accessing the third row is made easier with power fold-and-flip second-row seats that can also be activated by driver or front passenger via roof-mounted switches.

Rearview Camera
Vehicles this big benefit the most from rearview cameras that let the driver see what's lurking behind the back bumper.

2008 GMC Yukon Details
2008 GMC Yukon photo Interior

The 2008 GMC Yukon's interior can be configured with any number of seating positions from six to nine, with each row available in two- or three-passenger layouts. Other seating options include leather, first-row heated seats and power fold-and-flip second-row seats (all standard on the Denali). Getting past the seats, the Yukon's passenger cabin is so attractive, comfortable and refined as to make the previous generation's cabin feel downright old-fashioned. Where lower-cost materials still exist, they aren't as conspicuous as in the past. Again, the vehicle's weakest link in some people's eyes will be the lack of a fold-flat rear seat.


The 2008 GMC Yukon and Chevrolet Tahoe are most differentiated up front, with each sporting its own grille, hood, fascia and headlights. The variation continues down the sides and to the back with unique trim, wheels and taillamps. Yukon Denali models are further distinguished by a signature perforated grille, modified headlights and taillamps, revised front and rear fascias, distinctive 18-inch wheels (with unique 20-inchers available), chrome-accented side moldings and unique side steps.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

A base Yukon features a four-speed automatic transmission (as does every non-Denali), two-wheel drive and a 4.8-liter V8 engine. Other standard features include manual dual-zone air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, power heated mirrors, eight-speaker AM/FM/CD-MP3 sound system with auxiliary audio input, OnStar, cruise control, Driver Information Center, auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass and outside temperature display, height-adjustable leather steering wheel and a cloth interior featuring a 40/20/40-split bench up front (with power driver's portion) and 60/40-split bench in the middle row - a third-row seat is optional. Outside, a base Yukon is equipped with 17-inch aluminum wheels and a tow package. Standard safety equipment includes driver and front-passenger airbags, three-row head-curtain airbags, electronic stability control with rollover mitigation, tire pressure monitoring system and Antilock Braking System (ABS).

Optional Equipment

Yukon powertrain options include a traditional 5.3-liter V8, a Flex-Fuel 5.3-liter V8 capable of running on gasoline and/or E85 ethanol, plus a four-wheel-drive system. The Yukon Denali's exclusive powertrain consists of a 6.2-liter V8, six-speed automatic transmission and full-time all-wheel-drive system. Optional equipment that's standard on Denali includes a power liftgate, power fold-and-flip second-row seats, ultrasonic rear parking assist (standard on SLT), power-adjustable pedals, upgraded audio system, automatic climate control, active damping system and power-folding exterior mirrors. Optional even on Denali are a rearview camera, power-retractable side steps, navigation system, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, 20-inch wheels and a power sunroof.

Under the Hood

The Yukon powertrain lineup consists of four V8 engines, four- and six-speed automatic transmissions (the latter with tap-up/down gear selection), plus two-, four- and all-wheel drive. A Flex-Fuel version of the 5.3-liter V8 performs almost identically to the gasoline-only 5.3-liter engine but will also run on E85 ethanol - a "biofuel" produced in part using renewable materials like corn. Both 5.3-liter engines feature cylinder deactivation technology that imperceptibly "turns off" four cylinders under light loads and helps the Yukon achieve what GM claims to be the best fuel economy in the category. Maximum towing capacity on four-wheel-drive models is 8,200 pounds.

4.8-liter V8
295 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
305 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/19

5.3-liter V8
320 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
340 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 (2WD), 14/19 (4WD)

5.3-liter V8 Flex-Fuel
310 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
335 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 (2WD, gasoline), 11/15 (2WD E85), 14/19 (4WD, gasoline), 11/14 (4WD E85)

6.2-liter V8
380 horsepower @ 5500 rpm
417 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/18

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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