By Cars.com EditorsMay 13, 2009
About the video
Cars.com's Dave Thomas takes a look at the 2008 GMC Yukon. It competes with the Chrysler Aspen and Ford Expedition.
Hi, I'm Dave Thomas of cars.com and we're here with the 2008 GMC Yukon. Now with high gas prices and a bad economy, you might be wondering who on earth is buying a full-size SUV these days.
But we're going to take you around the Yukon and show you what it offers that a regular three row crossover can't. I'm not going to lie to you and say, "all SUV's don't look alike." For the most part they do, they're just big and boxy. So what GMC does to dress it up is they offer a $2,000 Chrome package. That means you get a Chrome grill, Chrome tow hooks, you even get Chrome side view mirrors, and of course, 20 inch Chrome wheels. Another difference between the Yukon and its crossover siblings is that it's a little roomier and a little bit nicer inside. Now at a $6,000 difference in price, is it that much nicer? Probably not, but I always find the seats a little bit more comfortable, a little bit roomier, so if you're on long drives, they're really terrific. There's also a lot more storage compartments, places to put your phone, your water bottles. So there's lots of that kind of stuff, too. There are two big reasons you would choose a full-size SUV like the Yukon over crossover, like the Acadia, and those are towing and true four wheel drive. Now the towing aspect, the Yukon can tow 8,200 pounds, got a big tow hook right here. So if you're a boater and you have big camper, this is what you need. You actually need this kind of power and this kind of towing capacity to get you where you need to go with a boat in tow or a big camper in tow. Now the Acadia is no slouch, it tows 5,200 pounds with the 2009, it's got a little bit more power. So 5,200 pounds, if you have jet skis, motorcycles, ATVs, that'll work for you. And that has all wheel drive, true four wheel drive in Yukon. If you're towing on gravel roads, things like that, and you need that low gear, definitely you need the Yukon. And those are really the big differences there. While the Yukon's a great SUV to drive, it has one fatal flaw, and that's a third row of seats. And our tester's got a power lift gate. It's only a $400 option, I use this all the time. It works with a keyless remote entry. So if you have groceries or whatever, you can throw them right in. It's terrific, it's a big thumbs up. What doesn't get a thumbs up is this third row. And not only does a GMC Acadia crossover have a third row that falls flat into the floor, but even full-size SUV, truck based SUV competition from Ford, like the Expedition have seats that fold flat on the floor. And now why is that important? Because if they don't like the Yukon's, it's a really clumsy process of folding them forward instead of down into the floor. So you gotta fold them forward like that. They leave these huge anchors exposed. So it's not even a really, truly flat floor. And when they're folded forward, they take up a lot of space. So you're losing a lot of cargo room for that. One other thing to consider when you're looking at a full-size SUV versus a crossover is a step in height. Now you might not think of that right away, but just check out where this rail is to get in. And that's not even the full step in height, that's over a foot off the ground. The real step in height's up here. So you have to put your foot in, grab a handle and kind of slide yourself in. One of the best things about the Yukon is it's really easy to drive. It comes standard with a V8 engine with a lot of horsepower, but that's not even the best part. The best part is it feels like a smaller SUV than it really is. So it's easy to park, it's easy to drive. You can pass on the highway and it's easy to steer. There's just nothing wrong with the way it drives. So hopefully I've done a good job walking you around the 2008 Yukon. Now the 2009s are coming to dealers' lots really soon. There's absolutely nothing different between the 2008 and a 2009, so this video will serve you just as well. And hopefully also did a good job explaining why you need a full-size SUV like the Yukon versus a crossover, like the Acadia. For additional information on this car or any other go to cars.com and our blog, Kicking Tires.