The 2022 GMC Yukon that showed up at my door a week ago for seven days was in constant use, chauffeuring a small masked crowd from one town to another, hauling guitars and groceries, hammering around in the mountains or just enjoying the look of this big, quirky vehicle out my kitchen window. Four trims are on deck – SLE, SLT, AT4 (our tester, starting at $66,300) and Denali. The AT4 also comes in a slightly nicer XL trim.
You have a big journey here, bigger than even your little problems anyway, and that’s a great feeling. As you walk up to the Yukon at night, the foot rails flicker to life like Broadway lights as if to say “Good evening, sir.”
If it weren’t for some infernal design quirks, this would be a slam-dunk thumbs up review. Let’s look at the good stuff first.
Its appearance is lean, with its two angry red “reset hooks” up front as well as satin chrome accents on the grille, authoritative badging front, sides and rear, and GMC’s signature C-shaped LED headlights and taillights.
It rolls sweetly on extremely rugged 22″ light machined aluminum rims with premium paint. I didn’t ride off-road, but if you watch the videos you’ll see that clearance or minor rock crawls aren’t an issue. An assortment of There are other premium wheels available too, it looks appropriately rough and tough, but also polished and proper.
Inside, there are four unique Denali-exclusive interior color themes and each is suitably high-end, with premium leather seating surfaces, Denali-Exclusive Fractal stitching and authentic wood accents. When you walk in and sit down, it feels big, it feels plush, it feels homely and safe. You can easily chauffeur a crew and have no complaints about the amount of space available, even the big and tall ones.
“Max” and “ProGrade” drop packages are here for extra coin, and next year we’ll see an Enhanced Trailer Technology package, which adds a 13-camera drop package with the option of an interior accessory camera. Anything that lets you see what’s going on back there is a big deal, right?
My engine was a chunky, powerful V8 that made 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, with predictably low mileage – around 21 MPG. Check out other configurations here. The power was there when I needed it, but if I wanted to roll at my leisure there was no problem, I was just a big, gentle elephant, graceful and delicious. When you have a boat like this, slow is as much fun as fast. The throttle/wheel/brake combination was almost perfect, with no abrupt grabs or grabs, as was the mountain slalom I did at speed – no loss of control, no tire screeching, the vehicle just took what I threw at it.
Inside technical stuff
The big news for this year is the 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster that replaces the eight-inch one. Google Automotive is built in, giving you access to Google Maps, Google Assistant and Google Play Store. The sound system is suitably crunchy up top, bass-y down low and fills the vehicle. Each front seat passenger controls their own climate.
*I dislike push button shifts and I disliked this one even more, having to pull up a gear to get it to engage. Once engaged, it was smooth sailing all the way. Where it was annoying was when you had to reverse, drive, reverse, drive, reverse, drive, like on a small street, turn around. With a stalk, you don’t have to take your eyes off the road. With retractable snaps, you have to look for them between each shift.
*The ignition button is located directly in front of the steering wheel, making it difficult to start and stop the vehicle.
*The vehicle, like others in this class, is intended to be unlocked when you approach the driver’s door with the fob in hand or on your person. It didn’t, not even once.
*I could never get my Droid to come through the sound system. It synced easily, yes, but once it synced, pressing the “music note” button just brought me to the radio. I needed the famous “Source” button so I could activate my Droid through the sound system, but either it doesn’t exist or they’ve renamed it something you have to look up to find – pressing every button didn’t work. I don’t use Apple Car Play or Android Auto because I don’t want their apps on my phone – there are enough apps there.
I am now sitting in a cafe at 11pm writing to you with page 154 of the manual open in front of me and I don’t see where “The Source” is – or what someone thought would be a completely different name to call It. I’d love it if a GM rep tricked me by emailing me and telling me there’s something obvious I’m stupidly overlooking. But by that time the vehicle will be gone.
Other than that, it’s a sweet ride. Check out everything you need to know here.