2022 GMC Yukon offers engine options, comfort

2022 GMC Yukon offers engine options and comfort. Contributed

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2022 GMC Yukon offers engine options and comfort. Contributed

No argument here: Large SUV impressive, fun to drive.

Circular arguments are the worst. You get nowhere quickly. This week’s tester sparked such a discussion with a couple of people who follow me on social media. It was about the 2022 GMC Yukon Denali with a 3.0-liter turbo diesel engine. One school of thought was that a vehicle of this size must have a V8 engine. But then the same person mentioned how much of a gas guzzler that would be. Then you bring up the smaller Duramax engine and they mention how expensive diesel fuel is. You can’t win with some people

And yes, there’s some give and take when it comes to the Yukon but thankfully there are options too, so that you make this large SUV whatever it is you want. For the record, my tester was not only the top-of-the-line Denali trim (hubba hubba) but was also the more fuel-efficient turbo diesel engine.

If you go strictly by the horsepower numbers, the diesel-powered Yukon looks sluggish. With “only” 277 horsepower, the smaller diesel engine seems to need more horses. But then it overcomes all those things with 460 pound-feet of torque, which is the most torque offered for this year’s Yukon. So it comes down to what do you need/want the Yukon for? If it’s towing and some better fuel economy, then the 3.0-liter Duramax is the way to go.

If it’s sheer, fun-to-drive performance then the new 6.2-liter V8 AT4 engine will be the go-to choice. And then there’s also the tried-and-true base V8 engine which has 355 horsepower but only 383 pound-feet of torque.

As such, my tester was enjoyable. And you can’t go wrong with a Duramax, to be honest. It still has that sound of a diesel but because it’s smaller, it’s a little less obnoxious. A 10-speed automatic transmission never lets the turbo get ahead of it and is one of the better transmissions available today. Two-wheel drive is available, but my tester came with four-wheel drive.

The 120.9-inch wheelbase plus the size and girth of this behemoth does offer up a little body roll at higher speeds and as such the Yukon is less-than-agile, but it’s also doubtful someone is buying this vehicle for rally racing.

The stout looks starts with its chiseled exterior. The Yukon doesn’t try to look small; it embraces its size with a bold, chain-mesh-like grille and chrome accents. The Yukon does lose some of its bold styling and personality on the back end, with a rather boring back side. This is really the only flaw in the exterior aesthetics is that as nice as it is on the front and even on profile, the looks start to fall off toward the back.

The point of SUVs like the Yukon is to offer comfort for a large family. The Yukon is intended to be a high-end vehicle (as opposed to the more toned-down Chevy Tahoe). And the Yukon, especially with the Denali trim accomplishes that. The interior is lavish, comfortable and spacious.

My tester was the standard cabin, as opposed to the XL variety, which is gigantic. With the “XL” room, the Yukon didn’t disappoint in legroom, headroom and shoulder room, even in the third row. Behind the third row there’s 25.5 cubic feet of cargo room with that area expanding to 72.6 cubic feet with the third row fold flat and an impressive 122.9 cubic feet with all rear seats folded down.

General Motors’ infotainment systems is ideal. It has all the technology you could want, but is also intuitive with a nice combination of touch features, plus buttons and knobs. A 10.2-inch seems small for such a large vehicle, but flows well within the center stack.

My tester came equipped with option rear seat mounted infotainment screens as part of the Denali Ultimate Package. This would be a perfect set up for families with children who may be addicted to their electronic devices. The Yukon is an ideal family vehicle as such, even without the pricey Ultimate Package.

With ample legroom and shoulder room, and comfortable seats, there’s room to stretch out for road trips. Throw a recreational vehicle onto the hitch, thanks to the maximum tow package and this is a weekend warrior vehicle ready for trips to the lakes.

With the aforementioned 3.0-liter Duramax diesel, the Yukon has impressive fuel economy. It’s rated at 20 mpg/city and 26 mpg/highway. In a week’s worth of mostly suburban driving, I averaged more than 22 mpg. In a vehicle that weighs nearly 6,000 pounds that’s great.

The Yukon is a step up from the Chevy Tahoe. As such the base price of my tester was $72,500, which sounds expensive enough. Add on the Denali Ultimate Package with the rear seat entertainment plus a slew of features like sunroof, assist steps, max trailering and a lot more and the final price of my tester went sky high to $83,395.

That’s where any circular arguments usually come to an end with a dismissive, well can you afford that anyway? The answer is usually over and the circular argument is over. One thing that is inarguable is the impressive nature of this large SUV.

Jimmy Dinsmore is a freelance automotive journalist. Email him at jimmydinsmore73@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @driversside

2022 GMC Yukon Denali

Price/As tested price................................................ $72,500/$83,395

Mileage.......................................... 20 mpg/city; 26 mpg/hwy

Engine............................................. 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel

Horsepower................................. 277 hp/460 lbs./ft.

Transmission................................. 10-speed automatic

Drive Wheels................ Four-wheel drive

Final Assembly Point................ Arlington, TX