Buying A Used GMC Yukon, Here’s What to Look for! (Buyer’s Guide!)


When you are in the market for a used car, the process of finding a good one can be very complicated. Even more frustrating is when you are looking for the crème de la crème state-of-the-art full-size truck-based used GMC Yukon. 

You may be overwhelmed by what to look out for to avoid making a wrong purchase. 

This detailed buyer’s guide for GMC Yukon will go in-depth into what you should look out for when shopping for a GMC Yukon. 

What Should you Look for When buying a Used GMC Yukon? 

Several factors affect the choice of used GMC Yukon you should buy, including:

  • Body Style
  • Performance and Powertrain
  • Braking Power and Handling
  • Interior and Comfort
  • Design: Blend of New Stuff and Classic body-on-frame design
  • Space and Practicality
  • Safety and Reliability
  • Advanced Infotainment System
  • Driving Experience
  • Budget and User experience

If you are looking for a vehicle that combines the heavy-duty performance of a truck and the luxury comfort of an SUV, you may not find a better brand than the GMC Yukon. 

This lineup of full-size SUV trucks has a little bit of both sides; luxury and comfort. Whether you are looking for a truck that will offer you a refined drive in the city or the highway, the GMC Yukon has got you covered. 

The Yukon has been designed to give the impressive balance of opulence, dynamism, and stellar off-road ability. These SUVs will fit both on your worksite and your daily commute. 

They are the ultimate workhorses that come standard with amazing features and advanced technology. Therefore, when shopping for a used GMC Yukon, there are many factors you should consider beforehand so that you get value for your money. 

While toughness is essential, the lineup of used GMC Yukon sold today offers both toughness and aggressively rugged outlook in a user-friendly manner. 

If you are looking for a high-quality full-size SUV, an all-in-one package of elegance, improved style, and luxury, the GMC Yukon lineup is a viable option.

This SUV will offer you fuel efficiency and excellent on and off-road performance without breaking the bank

1. Desired Body Style and Functionality

The moment you enter a dealership or an auto showroom for GMC Yukon, the first thing that will strike your eye is the beauty and elegance of these vehicles. Therefore, before you set out to look for a GMC Yukon vehicle, you should consider which particular body style you wish to buy. This will inform you of the model lineup or trim levels that will appeal to you. 

The used GMC models fall into four categories, which include: 

  • SUVs (Yukon)
  • Trucks
  • Van/Minivans
  • Crossovers

SUVs

These are probably the most popular body style out there. Yukon SUV is designed to be rugged, with an aggressive grille and exterior design. 

But at the same time, they offer a comfortable and smooth ride, thanks to their luxurious interior. 

If you are looking for a family-friendly experience that will not set you back thousands of bucks, then the Yukon SUV lineup is a great choice. 

For this, you have a wide variety of models and trim levels to choose from. These include: 

  • GMC Yukon
  • GMC Yukon Denali
  • GMC Yukon XL 
  • GMC Yukon XL 1500
  • GMC Yukon XL 2500
  • GMC Yukon SLE & SLT
  • GMC Yukon AT4

GMC Yukon is a predominantly full-size truck-based SUV introduced way back in 1992 and has been in circulation to date.

Therefore, depending on your trucking needs, the Yukon lineup offers a wide range of trims to fit. 

2. Performance and Powertrain

Once you have established the body type you need, Yukon SUVs come with different powertrains and performance. Each build of Yukon was released in other years and featured unique powertrains. 

This was important to offer clients a wide variety of capabilities. This range from the 210-hp 5.7-liter V8 engine that premiered back in the 90s to the latest innovative and influential top-of-of the line 420-hp 6.2-liter V8 Denali of 2021. 

Therefore, when shopping for a used GMC Yukon, your expected power output will be a crucial aspect to consider.

Older models offer less horsepower in comparison to the new, improved models that have been released recently. The latest models, i.e., Yukon SLE, SLT, and AT4, come with even more advanced premium performance features, bold, and impressive designs. 

3. Braking Power and Handling 

Driving a full-size truck Yukon SUV is only fun when you know you have the best braking power and easy handling. Buying a used Yukon will save you cash in the long run, but still offer you the best user experience. 

Depending on the year of release, these models will have varying braking power and handling capability. 

From the onset, the GMC Yukon Denali has shown high handling capacity and superior braking power that cuts across all its trim levels. 

For this model, GMC managed to combine comfort and smooth ride typical of GMC motors, but still maintain an easy handling experience. 

A used Yukon that has not been constrained will run comfortably years after it was purchased. This makes them a suitable choice when you are looking for a second-hand SUV. 

GMC Yukon will navigate all kinds of twisty roads and provide adequate and fair levels of braking and steering. 

The Yukon will, at the same time, provide highway fuel economy irrespective of the year of manufacture. A well-maintained used GMC Yukon will respond very well even when pushed to the limit. 

4. Interior and Comfort

Interior ambiance and comfort are among some of the top features that new buyers will look for when searching for a used Yukon.

Luckily, throughout the Yukon lineup, all the models and trims are fitted with a high-class premium internal design to match the stylish exterior look. 

If you are looking to buy a used Yukon, you ought to check the inside to confirm that the lining material is intact and still offers the much-acclaimed comfort and luxury that the Yukon full-size truck-based SUVs are known for. 

Regardless of the year of release, Yukon trucks have a history of maintaining their stunning interior and posh looks for many years. 

Provided the maintenance procedures of the vehicle are carried out religiously, you should rest assured that the used GMC Yukon SUV will give you excellent interior comfort and driving experience. 

The passenger cabin of used GMC, regardless of the year of release, is high quality and attractive. They come standard with controls and gauges, which can easily be accessed and read in the cabin.

Some trims like the 2016 GMC Yukon and later come equipped with an intuitive central large display quicker than previous models. 

This model also comes default with sound-deadening features hence offering the passengers and driver a hushed ambiance that is typical of luxury cars. 

Therefore, when shopping for a used GMC Yukon, you should ensure that these default features are intact so that you can have a smooth and comfortable ride in the SUV.

5. Design: Blend of New Stuff and Classic Body-On-Frame Design

Design is an essential factor to look at when searching for a used GMC Yukon. These truck-based SUVs are known for their unique combination of new stuff and technology with the classic body-on-frame design that is typical of the old Yukon SUVs. 

The iconic blend of a tough V8 engine and body-on-frame construction is a signature style for most GMC truck-based SUVs. 

This gives the vehicle a larger towing capacity than typical crossovers. 

Yukon truck-based SUVs have a higher level of firmness and burliness; hence they can still offer a friendly user experience even after several years of use by the first owner. 

These vehicles are sturdy and will still carry a considerable weight several years down the line. 

Also, if you consider carrying many passengers, the Yukon is your best choice. This beast can easily carry nine passengers. 

This is something that conventional minivans may not be able to handle or provide. 

Besides this roomy interior design and ample legroom for your passengers, they will all have a comfortable experience insider the vehicle. 

This is one of the core reasons why many people, especially those with large families, consider buying a Yukon to vans or minivans. 

6. Space and Practicality

Another factor to consider when looking to buy a used GMC is the space and practicality for your desired work or towing need. 

The Yukon is designed to offer ample space both for your cargo and your passengers. 

Therefore, depending on the trim level that you can afford, it is necessary to check the space both in the trunk and the passenger carriage whether it fits your capacity. 

The seats on the front row of most of the models and trim levels are sturdy and pleasant. 

They come with an option of installing bucket seats or the upfront 40/20/40-split bench, including the conventional 2nd-row bench that provides a level of seating flexibility that is not seen in rivals and other vehicles today. 

The GMC Yukon also features the power releasing 2nd-row seats that make it easy to get into and out of the 3rd-row seats. 

These are some of the standard features you should look for when shopping for a second-hand GMC Yukon. 

However subtle, these features will offer you and your passengers the much-needed comfort when driving in harsh terrains. 

Something else of utmost importance when shopping for a used GMC Yukon truck-based SUV is the carrying capacity of the cargo. Whether you are looking for a truck for your family adventure or a workhorse for your heavy lifting, the Yukon is a good option.

The new generation Yukon comes with greater carrying capacity on the third row. These can easily fold up into the vehicle floor, offering more carrying space. 

This has substantially improved load carrying because you no longer have to wrangle the third-row seats in and out. 

Therefore, when looking for a used GMC Yukon to buy, consider buying one that has these advanced features. 

7. Safety and Reliability

Safety and reliability are crucial when it comes to choosing an SUV. Whether you plan to use it for carrying cargo or for your daily commute, your safety is a priority. 

Therefore, whichever model year of GMC Yukon you settle for, it should have the necessary safety features. 

Fortunately, across all the models released, GMC Yukon SUVs all come with excellent safety features. It is because of this that Yukon has for many years standing received impressive NHTSA ratings for its high level of safety. 

Most of the Yukon trims have received a four-star rating out of five, ranking them among the topmost secured vehicles. 

Yukon received a five-star rating for comprehensive frontal-impact protection and side-impact safety, making it a good option for a used full-size truck-based SUV. 

When shopping for a used GMC Yukon, you should look for the following safety features, which may vary from one trim level to another: 

  • Complete frontal impact protection
  • Forward collision warning and auto-braking
  • Lane-keeping assist
  • Warning for lane deviation
  • Seat with a vibrating safety alert
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Cross-traffic alert in the rear

8. Advanced Infotainment System

The infotainment system plays a vital role in how classy and comfortable the interior ambiance will be. The GMC Yukon is not an exception. 

For a memorable driving experience, the GMC Yukon comes fitted with an advanced high-tech infotainment system. 

However, it is essential to note that this will vary from one model to another. The features will also be unique, depending on the trim level. 

For instance, those GMC Yukon manufactured in the early to mid- ’90s will lack some standard features with the latest Denali models. 

Therefore, when shopping for a used Yukon, care should be taken to ensure it has the standard infotainment features that you desire. These features are simple and easy to use; they include: 

  • Intuitive touchscreen
  • Large icons that are easy on the eye and touch
  • Easy to select the desired menu
  • Some trims and model years, like the 2016 Yukon, come standard with 4G LTE connectivity. 

Therefore, advanced infotainment features make the GMC Yukon what it is; thus, care must be taken when choosing a used one. 

You should ensure it has all the features that will complement your driving needs and give you a fun-to-drive experience. 

9. Driving Experience

This will vary from one person to another, and it is for this reason that GMC Yukon comes in different trim levels and models to match your driving experience. 

Yukon SUVs that were released in the early 90s are stable and are fun-to-drive. 

The latest models released from the early 2000s to date come standard with even more features, though subtle, that complement the potent powertrain to give you an even pleasurable driving experience. 

Though powerful, the V8 engine common in most of the models and trim levels offers a quiet and smooth ride both in the city and on the highway—making the Yukon a good choice for both off-road and on-road adventures. 

Besides, it can still haul heavy cargo and carry many people (up to nine), depending on the year, model, and trim level. 

Whether you are looking for a Yukon to haul cargo or carry your entire family, these workhorses will do this without breaking a sweat. 

While at it, these massive beasts will still give you an easy and comfortable luxury ride. 

10. Budget and User Experience

The cost of the Yukon will vary from one year to another. The latest models will cost slightly more than the older models and trim levels. 

This is major because of the extra features that come standard in newer models to make your driving experience even more pleasurable. 

Therefore, when shopping for a used Yukon, your budget will determine the trim level you can afford and the minimum features that you will have. GMC Yukon is designed to last for many years, and therefore, an old model will still offer you the desired driving experience. 

When shopping for used GMC Yukon SUVs, you should search for one that has no records of NHTSA safety recalls. 

Also, ensure you buy one that offers a three-year bumper-to-bumper 36,000-mile warranty with a five-year power train 60,000-mile warranty. 

These will give you the peace of mind that you require when driving your vehicle. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the best years to buy GMC Yukon?

Any Yukon vehicle from the generation starting in 2015 is good to buy. However, every five years, Yukon usually upgrades all its models; thus, any pick from 2015 or earlier is a used GMC best pick. 

Also, the subtle difference from one Yukon model to another in the same generation makes it irrelevant to categorize them in the best to the worst Yukon SUVs. 

Therefore, when shopping for a used GMC Yukon SUV, you can concentrate on whatever generation comes fitted with the minimum features that you desire. 

With the newest generation debuting in 2015, any vehicle before that is an excellent used GMC Yukon alternative. Other generations of Yukon include: 

  • 2nd Generation GMC Yukon – 2000 – 2006
  • 3rd Generation GMC Yukon – 2007 – 2014

2nd Generation GMC Yukon – 2000 – 2006

Depending on your budget, you may consider going back in time to save some bucks. The older generation of Yukons that date back to the early 2000s are still on the road and are performing well, thanks to the durability of the Yukon models. 

These SUVs were built and designed to last longer, provided the maintenance schedule is followed. 

The 2nd Gen Yukon offers a pleasurable handling and riding experience. They feature front-seat side airbags, which came standard throughout this generation. 

However, if you are shopping for a used GMC Yukon that offers improved stability control, you will need to look for a 2003 or newer model. 

But if you are shopping for a Yukon Denali, keep in mind that the second generation of that full-size truck-based SUV begins in 2001; the 2000 model is more similar to its 1st Generation counterpart. 

Thus, you should look out for models with variable build quality across the whole second-generation Yukon lineup. 

But if you prefer a 1St Gen Yukon, those released between 1996 and 1999 are your best shot since they come with the new V8 engine for more power and torque. 

3rd Generation GMC Yukon – 2007 – 2014

GMC Yukons from the third generation are among the best picks if you look for a second-hand Yukon with a pleasurable user experience. 

In reality, the Yukon distanced itself from rivals by making high-end features standard in most of its releases. 

This generation of Yukon features special equipment and comes in unique styles, which informed the production of models that preceded them. 

You may find Yukons from 2009 and the latest models more enticing. This is because they have in-built features meant to make your driving experience enjoyable. 

For instance, the third-row seating, Bluetooth phone connectivity, and rearview camera systems come standard with these models. 

From 2009, there were also modifications to the airbag system, which improved the safety experience of models from this generation. Also, during this period, crossover SUVs became popular. 

Therefore, when shopping for these SUVs, be alert for these subtle, but critical features. These SUVs remain among the best-used SUVs on the market today. 

What are the worst years to buy the GMC Yukon? 

The 5th Generation Yukon SUVs are ranked among the worst years to avoid. These are years from 2015 to 2020. 

According to GMCproblems and Carcamplaints, the 2015 Yukon registered the highest number of complaints and hence was ranked the top worst GMC Yukon to avoid. 

Car complaints compiled a list of all complaints received by GMC Yukon owners from 1993 until 2020. Some models registered more complaints than others, according to their survey. 

But the 2015 Yukon had more than any other models. Several factors were considered when ranking the vehicle, including the cost of repair and maintenance, driving conditions, and the average mileage when the problem was registered. 

What are some of the common problems with the GMC Yukon?

  • The need for replacement of the tail light assembly at about 60,000 miles. They are expensive at about $760. 
  • The air conditioner is not working – This occurs at about 65,000 miles and costs over $1,000 to resolve. 

What do customers say about the GMC Yukon?

So, what are customers saying about the GMC Yukon? According to reviews registered in Edmunds, Carcomplaints, and other reliable online sources, customers think that GMC Yukon:

  • Has a versatile engine and good option for both highway and off-road adventures
  • Has responsive and active four-wheel experience with a fun-to-drive experience
  • The 5th Generation models have more high-tech features that make driving the GMC Yukon pleasurable
  • They come with a powerful V8 engine and a comfortable interior and get decent mileage per gallon compared to other SUVs of their class
  • It has a spacious interior for adults and an additional third row with a huge cargo space compared to its rivals
  • The Yukon XL comes with a long-wheelbase, which enhances its off-road ability and makes it a go-to family-friendly vehicle.

John Nelson

You can find John stringing a hammock from the back of his SUV to a tree camping in the outdoors most weekends during warmer weather. John loves the outdoors and the freedom four-wheel-drive vehicles offer.

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