The 2022 GMC Yukon that showed up at my door a week ago for seven days was put to constant use, chauffering a small masked mob from one town to another, hauling guitars and groceries, hammering it around the mountains or just enjoying the look of this big, bangin’ vehicle out my kitchen window. Four trims are on deck – the SLE, SLT, AT4 (our tester, starting at $66,300) and Denali. The AT4 also comes in a slightly fancier XL trim.
You have a big ride here, bigger than one’s petty problems, anyway, and that’s a great feeling. When you walk up to the Yukon at night, the footrails blink to life like Broadway lights as if to say “Good evening, sir.”
If it weren’t for a few infernal design quirks, this would be a slam-dunk thumbs-up review. Let’s look at the good stuff first.
Its looks mean business, with its two angry red “recovery hooks” up front as well as satin-chrome accents on the grille, authoritative badging front, sides and rear, and GMC signature C-shape LED headlamps and taillamps.
One sweetly rolls on ultra-rugged 22″ bright machined aluminum wheels with premium paint. I did not go off-road, but if you watch the vids you’ll see it’s not a problem with clearance or minor rock-crawling. An assortment of other premium wheels are available, too. Bottom line, it looks suitably rough and tough, but also polished and proper.
Inside, there are four unique Denali-exclusive interior color themes and each are appropriately high-end, featuring premium leather seating surfaces, Denali-Exclusive Fractal stitching and authentic wood details. When you get in and sit, it feels large, it feels plush, it feels homey and secure. You could easily chauffer a crew and get no complaints as to the amount of room available, even the big and tall.
“Max” and “ProGrade” trailering packages are here for extra coin, and for next year we’ll see an Enhanced Trailering Technology Package, adding a 13-camera trailering bundle with the option for an interior accessory camera. Anything that lets you see what’s going on back there is a great thing, yes?
My engine was a gulpy, powerful V8 making 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, with predictably low mileage – around 21 MPG. Check out other configurations here. Power was there when I needed it, but if I wanted to roll at my leisure, that wasn’t a problem, I was just a big, gentle elephant, graceful and dainty. When you have a boat like this, slow is just as much fun as fast. The accelerator/wheel/brakes combo was near-perfect, with no abruptness or grab, as was the mountain slalom I did at speed – no loss of control, no screeching of tires, the vehicle just took what I threw at it.
Inside tech stuff
The big news for this year is the 12.3 inch digital gauge cluster which replaces the eight-inch one. Google Automotive is built-in, giving you access to Google Maps, Google Assistant, and the Google Play Store. The sound system is suitably crispy on top, bass-y- on bottom, and fills the vehicle. Each front passenger controls their own climate.
*I dislike push button shifts and I disliked this one even more, having to pull up on a gear to get it to engage. Once engaged, it was smooth all the way. Where it was annoying was when you had to reverse, drive, reverse, drive, reverse, drive, as on a small street, turning yourself around. With a stalk, you need not take your eyes off the road. With pull-up pushbuttons, you have to look for them in between each shift.
*The ignition button is placed directly in front of the steering wheel, making it awkward to start and stop the vehicle.
*The vehicle, like others in this class, is supposed to unlock when you approach the driver’s door with the fob in your 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 synced, pushing the “musical 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 it either doesn’t exist or they’ve named it something you have to look up to find – pushing 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 on there.
I’m now sitting in a coffee shop at 11 PM writing to you with page 154 of the owner’s manual open in front of me and I do not see where “Source” is – or whatever someone thought would be a great different name to call it. I would love it if a GM rep made a fool of me by emailing me and telling me it’s something obvious that I am stupidly overlooking. But by that time, the vehicle will be gone.
Aside from that, it’s one sweet ride. Check out everything you need to know here.