The Chevrolet Tahoe and the GMC Yukon are full-size SUVs from car manufacture General motors, making these two corporate cousins. Initially, Chevy and GMC sold different-sized SUVs called Blazer and Jimmy, respectively, when they were first produced in the early 1990s. All this changed when GMC rebranded the Jimmy to the Yukon in 1991, which also provoked Chevrolet to offer a full-sized SUV in order to compete with the Yukon. This gave birth to the Tahoe a few years later, in 1994. Since then, models of the Tahoe and the Yukon being produced have always shared plenty of similarities. But are these two models entirely the same? That is why I sought to find out if they are indeed cut from the same cloth, and below were my findings.
Are Chevy Tahoe And GMC Yukon The Same?
So, are Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon the same? Yes and No. Here is why. Initially, these models used to be like twins, with the only differences coming from the badges and the prices. However, recently General Motors has made significant strides to differentiate the Tahoe and the Yukon, which offer bigger models: the Suburban and the Yukon XL, respectively.
When you compare newer models of these two cars, you will find small differences in their styling and additional features, highlighted below, but the mechanicals will always be the same.
To evaluate the differences between the two models, I shall be comparing them in different categories and shall be using the newest 2021 models. For the trim levels’ specificity, I shall be using the Tahoe Premiere Four-wheel drive Versus the GMC SLT, which will be a popular choice for most buyers if the trend from previous years continues.
First up, I will be comparing both the exterior and the interior, features that you will get from them and whether they have value for your money. When you approach the Tahoe Premiere, you will first notice that it comes with modern standard 20-inch polished wheels and assist panels that ease access to the truck.
On the top, these are roof-mounted side rails that will further enhance this vehicle’s cargo capabilities. When you head back to the sides, you will see the beautifully designed side-view mirrors that come with a driver’s side auto-dimming feature that will prevent the driver’s blinding but bright lights from the back. They are also power-folding for convenience and heated to increase visibility when they mist up in cold conditions.
There is a power liftgate at the back of the vehicle that allows opening and closing through hands-free access. This can be activated by moving your foot below the rear bumper with the key in your pocket, and the tailgate will open.
The height to which the tailgate opens can be adjusted according to your preference. All the lighting from the exterior of the Tahoe uses LED lighting, including the headlights, taillights, and daylight running lights. Tahoe’s wipers come with a rain-sensing feature that automatically turns on when the vehicle detects that it is raining.
Getting into the Tahoe is easy with a smart keyless entry system that provided access to the car or locks it by pressing a button on the door handle when the key is in your pocket.
Heading to the interior, it comes with leather trim around the vehicle. The front two chairs offer a luxurious first-class sitting experience and are 12-way power-adjustable to help you find the perfect sitting position all the time. They also come with four-way lumbar support to support your back during long trips.
Heating and ventilation in three steps is also available to warm you are during those cold winter days and cool you during the summer for the front two seats. The second row of seats is not left out as it offers heating for the two outboard seats.
The new Tahoe offers plenty of technology, including the Chevy infotainment 3 premium system displayed on a 10.2-inch color touchscreen that is strategically placed high in the middle of the dashboard.
It comes with Apple Car Play and Android Auto that provides seamless integration with your phone. Additionally, it also has Bluetooth SiriusXM and connection navigation. The Tahoe offers premium audio through its strategically placed ten-speaker Bose system that ensures you get crisp music.
As for the GMC Yukon SLT with the luxury plus package, it shares plenty of features with the Tahoe. It comes with the same sized 20-inch six-spoke polished aluminum wheels.
It also comes with the same roof-mounted side rails and the same hands-free power liftgate. The rain-sensing wipers are also shared on both models. Exterior lighting is also still exclusively LED on the DRLs, headlamps, fog lights, and taillights. The luxury plus package offers the same power-folding, driver’s side dimming, and heating functions such as the Tahoe.
Getting into the interior is also similar to the Tahoe with a smart keyless entry system. The interior is finished in leather all around, similar to the Tahoe. The seat features are identical to the Chevy, except the heating on the second row of seats is included on the added package and not on the base model.
The technology inside is similar to the Tahoe but not entirely the same. The infotainment screen sizes are identical and feature the same technology, but there isn’t navigation included in the Yukon SLT model.
This can be bypassed by adding some cash that will add navigation and a rear seat media system. Sound quality is the same as the Tahoe, only that it is projected through a nine-speaker system instead of 10.
What are the engine options on the Yukon and the Tahoe come?
Both engines on the Yukon and the Tahoe come in a ten-speed automatic transmission that can be married with three available engine options. The base is a 5.3-liter V8 engine that is capable of producing 355 horsepower with 385 lb-ft of torque.
The second engine is a 6.2-liter V8 option that is capable of producing a massive 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. Both these engines are the ones that were used in the previous generation but now come with cylinder deactivation technology that is smarter. A stop-start feature is also included.
The third available engine is a 3.0 liter inline-six turbo-diesel option that has previously been used on the Sierra and Silverado trucks. This smaller capacity engine produces an impressive 277 horsepower with an even remarkable 460 lb-ft of torque, which is the highest among the three. This engine is the most fuel-efficient, posting a 30 miles per gallon rating when on the highway.
Are the new Tahoe and Yukon models bigger than previous generations?
Both the new Tahoe and Yukon models are based on the new T1 platform that is also the same that is used on the GMC Sierra and the Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks. This means that the Tahoe and Yukon models get to be bigger on the exterior for a bolder look and bigger on the inside for a spacious interior.
Even the smaller Tahoe and Yukon models boast an increase on their wheelbase by nearly 5 inches to 120.9 inches up from 116.0 inches. The length of these two SUVs is also increased from 204 inches to 210.7 inches, which means passengers sitting in the second and third-row seats will experience more legroom, ensuring that every passenger is comfortable.
Cargo space is also increased to 122.9 cubic feet up from 94.7 inches. The main reason for the jump in cargo space is mainly due to the switch to a rear independent suspension.
Which is better between the Tahoe and Yukon in terms of traction and off-road capabilities?
The GMC Yukon is a better vehicle when it comes to off-roading, and here is why. The Yukon comes in an Active Response 4WD system that is a more advanced drive system than that in the Tahoe.
It works by managing power distribution and traction to the wheels depending on the driving situation that you are in by using an electronic limited-slip differential.
The electronic limited-slip differential is mainly used in performance vehicles to maintain grip in the tires. Its application on the Yukon enables it to perform better in off-road situations and places with low grip causing cars to slide.
Both the Chevrolet Tahoe and the GMC Yukon are excellent vehicles, with both having their personality and strengths.
The one you pick will ultimately be based on how they appeal to you aesthetically, as that is the main difference. The 2021 Yukon comes in 3 trims, while the Tahoe comes in 5 trims, making it easy to find the ones that suit your needs.