Best & Worst GMC Yukon Years

We've ranked all GMC Yukon models for every generation so you can avoid picking the worst GMC Yukon years and pick the best one.

In this guide, I’ll break down the latest GMC Yukon generations, highlighting the best GMC Yukon years to buy and the worst GMC Yukon years to avoid.

Drawing on reliable sources like NHTSA, Consumer Reports, and J.D. Power, this guide delves into detailed assessments of each model year, considering safety ratings, owner feedback, and recall data to provide a trustworthy guide.

Focusing on the best and worst years for the GMC Yukon, I’ll spotlight each model year’s reliability, performance, safety, technology, common owner-reported problems, and average resale values.

Let’s dive right in!

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Table of ContentsShow

GMC Yukon Generations

The GMC Yukon, known for its robust capability and spacious interior, first made its mark in the automotive world with impressive features catering to off-road adventures and family comfort.

Over the years, it has evolved through various generations, each marked by technological advancements and design overhauls.

Here is a table showcasing all GMC Yukon generations from 2000 to the present.

GenerationYears
2nd Generation (GMT800)2000-2006
3rd Generation (GMT900)2007-2014
4th Generation (GMTK2UC/G)2015-2020
5th Generation (GMT1YC)2021-Present

Understanding these generations is crucial, as each brings its own features, improvements, and occasional issues, which can be pivotal in making an informed decision.

GMC Yukon Best, Neutral, and Worst Years

When it comes to determining the best and worst years for the GMC Yukon, our rankings takes various aspects into account, including but not limited to:

  • Owner-reported reliability (surveys)
  • Annual maintenance costs
  • Safety ratings
  • Consumer Reports reliability scores
  • Consumer Reports owner satisfaction scores
  • NHTSA recalls, investigations, and complaints
  • Edmunds owner ratings
  • JD Power owner ratings
  • Kelley’s Blue Book (KBB) owner ratings
  • VehicleHistory owner ratings
  • Cars.com owner ratings

We’ve combined ratings from these respected sources in the graph below.

GMC Yukon Car Smite Score Combined Overall Score

Following this, we’ve categorized each model year of the GMC Yukon into the best, neutral, and worst years.

GenerationBest YearsNeutral YearsWorst Years
2nd Generation (GMT800)2005
2006
N/A2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
3rd Generation (GMT900)2012
2013
2014
2009
2010
2007
2008
2011
4th Generation (GMTK2UC/G)2018
2019
2020
20172015
2016
5th Generation (GMT1YC)2022
2023
2024
N/A2021

“Neutral Years” have a balanced mix of positives and negatives, making them decent choices but not the top recommendations.

Some factors, like NHTSA recalls, can significantly impact a car’s ranking. The more complaints and recalls, the more it reflects negatively on the car’s reliability and safety.

Let’s dive into the best, neutral, and worst years of the GMC Yukon.

Best & Worst Years for GMC Yukon 2nd Generation (2000-2006)

GMC Yukon 2nd generation 2000 model
The 2000 GMC Yukon

The second-generation GMC Yukon, from 2000 to 2006, offered a blend of robust performance, utility, and enhanced comfort, catering to families and off-road enthusiasts alike.

2005 and 2006 are GMC Yukon’s best years in its second generation, while the worst years to avoid span between 2000 and 2004.

The Best Years: 2005, 2006

The best years for the second-generation GMC Yukon, 2005 and 2006, stood out for their reliability and improved features.

They were equipped with powerful engine options, including a 5.3L V8 engine, known for its reliability and decent fuel efficiency for its class, averaging around 14 city/19 highway MPG.

These models offered a smooth 4-speed automatic transmission, ensuring a comfortable driving experience.

Trim levels like the SLT and Denali provided upscale amenities, including leather seats, advanced audio systems, and enhanced safety features like stability control.

While these years did see some recalls, they were fewer compared to earlier models, mainly addressing minor issues and not affecting the overall reliability significantly.

The Worst Years: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004

The earlier model years of the second-gen GMC Yukon, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004, received many complaints and recalls, so they are wise to avoid.

The 2000-2002 GMC Yukon models were notorious for fuel system issues, including fuel pump failures and leaks, which were serious concerns for safety and reliability.

These years also struggled with brake and electrical system and steering problems, such as corroded brake lines and ABS issues, loss of power steering, and power window failures, leading to potential safety hazards.

The 2001 Yukon was significantly recalled due to the crankshaft position sensor, causing engine stalling.

The 2003 and 2004 GMC Yukon models introduced additional problems, particularly with the electrical system, like inaccurate readings from instrument clusters.

These models were also part of recalls addressing overheating fuel pump wires, fractured power steering pump driveshafts, brake line chaffing, and unwanted ABS activation.

See NHTSA 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 GMC Yukon recalls and complaints.

Best & Worst Years for GMC Yukon 3rd Generation (2007-2014)

GMC Yukon 3rd generation 2007 model
The 2007 GMC Yukon

The third-generation GMC Yukon, which spanned from 2007 to 2014, is noted for its more refined aesthetics, improved cabin features, and enhanced driving dynamics.

2007, 2008, and 2011 are the worst third-generation GMC Yukon model years to avoid, while the best years to buy are from 2012 to 2014.

The Best Years: 2012, 2013, 2014

The 2012, 2013, and 2014 GMC Yukon models are widely recognized as the best years of this generation for their reliability and overall quality.

These years had robust engine options, including the widely praised 5.3L V8, paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission, offering a balance of power and efficiency with an average fuel economy of around 15 city/21 highway MPG.

In terms of safety, these models came with advanced features such as electronic stability control, traction control, and a comprehensive airbag system.

The Denali trim offered luxury touches like premium leather seats, a high-quality Bose sound system, and advanced technological features, including a rear-view camera and parking sensors.

Notably, these years had fewer recalls and customer complaints, especially compared to the earlier years, enhancing their desirability in the used car market.

The Neutral Years: 2009, 2010

The 2009 and 2010 GMC Yukon models, while not as highly acclaimed as the best years, still offered a decent balance of performance and reliability.

These models were also equipped with the 5.3L V8 engine paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission and offered fuel efficiency similar to the best years.

Safety features were consistent with the later models, though these years did see some recalls related to airbags and electrical issues.

The SLT and Denali trims continued to provide upscale interior features and technological enhancements, making them a good option for those seeking a balance between luxury and value.

The Worst Years: 2007, 2008, 2011

What GMC Yukon years to avoid? Our research shows that the 2008, 2007, and 2011 models are the worst years of the third-generation GMC Yukon.

The 2007 and 2008 models faced significant challenges with the airbag system, with numerous reports of airbag failures.

Dashboard cracks and door actuator failures were common complaints, alongside engine and transmission performance issues.

The 2011 GMC Yukon struggled with these issues, with additional problems related to electrical systems and steering components.

Recalls for these years addressed issues like airbag malfunctions and heated windshield washer module short circuits.

See NHTSA 2007, 2008, 2011 GMC Yukon recalls and complaints.

Best & Worst Years for GMC Yukon 4th Generation (2015-2020)

GMC Yukon 4th generation 2015 model
The 2015 GMC Yukon

The fourth generation of the GMC Yukon, introduced in 2015, marked a leap in the Yukon’s evolution, with a more refined and luxurious approach coupled with robust engineering.

Model years from 2018 to 2020 are the fourth-generation GMC Yukon’s best years, while the worst years to avoid are 2015 and 2016.

The Best Years: 2018, 2019, 2020

What year is the most reliable GMC Yukon? What is the best year for the GMC Yukon? The 2018, 2019, and 2020 GMC Yukon models are the fourth generation’s most reliable and best model years.

These models offered powerful engine options, including the 5.3L V8 engine standard on most trims and the more potent 6.2L V8 on the Denali, delivering impressive performance for a full-size SUV.

The average fuel economy was around 16 city/23 highway MPG, which is commendable for its class. These years featured a 10-speed automatic transmission that provided a smooth and responsive driving experience.

Safety was a priority, with features like adaptive cruise control, forward collision alert, and lane-keeping assist.

The Denali trim continued to offer luxurious amenities, such as a premium Bose sound system, leather-appointed seating, and advanced infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

The Neutral Years: 2017

The 2017 GMC Yukon served as a transitional year in the fourth generation. While it didn’t reach the highs of the best years, it still offered a solid performance.

Equipped with the 5.3L V8 engine and a 6-speed automatic transmission, it provided a decent balance between power and efficiency.

Safety features were comprehensive, including a rearview camera and parking sensors, although it lacked some of the advanced driver assistance features introduced in later models.

The SLT and Denali trims provided a touch of luxury with leather seating and enhanced technology, making it a good choice for those looking for a blend of comfort and value.

The Worst Years: 2015, 2016

Backed by our thorough research, I wouldn’t recommend the 2015 and 2016 GMC Yukon models for their higher number of consumer complaints, recalls, and lower reliability ratings.

These models were plagued with issues related to inoperative taillights and power steering loss, which led to several recalls.

The 2015 GMC Yukon had problems like overheating exhaust components, posing a fire risk, and transfer cases unintentionally shifting to neutral.

These years also saw recalls related to transmission oil cooler lines and power brake vacuum pump performance issues.

Due to these reliability concerns, these models are considered the worst GMC Yukon years to avoid in the fourth-generation lineup.

See NHTSA 2015, 2016 GMC Yukon recalls and complaints.

Best & Worst Years for GMC Yukon 5th Generation (2021-Present)

GMC Yukon 5th generation 2021 model
The 2021 GMC Yukon

The 5th generation GMC Yukon, introduced in 2021, marked a significant leap in design and technology, boasting a more spacious interior, improved ride quality, and advanced tech features.

With a staggering number of recalls, 2021 is the worst GMC Yukon year you should avoid, while the best years to buy span 2022 onwards.

The Best Years: 2022, 2023, 2024

The 2022, 2023, and 2024 GMC Yukon models excel with their robust powertrain options, including a 5.3L V8, a more powerful 6.2L V8, and a new 3.0L Duramax turbo-diesel engine.

The latter stands out for its fuel efficiency, offering an impressive balance of power and economy, with an estimated 21 city/27 highway MPG for the 2WD version. These years also feature a 10-speed automatic transmission providing smooth and responsive shifts.

These models’ safety features include forward collision alert, automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, and blind-spot monitoring.

Trim levels range from the well-equipped SLE to the luxurious Denali, each offering varying degrees of comfort and technology. The Denali trim offers a unique interior design with premium materials and advanced features like a head-up display and a rear camera mirror.

Technological advancements are notable, with a 10.2-inch diagonal GMC Premium Infotainment System, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and an available rear-seat media system.

The Worst Years: 2021

The 2021 GMC Yukon, despite being the introductory model of the 5th generation, faced some teething issues.

Early adopters reported minor glitches in the infotainment system and occasional hiccups in the transmission system.

However, these issues were largely addressed in the subsequent years, refining the vehicle’s overall performance and reliability.

The 2021 model still offered robust engine choices, and the new AT4 trim aimed at off-road enthusiasts, but it fell slightly short of delivering the polished experience found in the later models.

Necessary recalls for this model concerned airbag malfunction indicator light failures, daytime running lights, fuel pump failures, seat belts, and loss of power steering assist.

See NHTSA 2021 GMC Yukon recalls and complaints.

GMC Yukon Resale Values

This graph below shows the average resale values of GMC Yukon across different years.

GMC Yukon Average List Price

Conclusion

As we conclude, it’s clear that GMC Yukon models from 2005, 2006, 2012-2014, 2018-2020, and 2022-2024 stand out as the best and most reliable years to buy, while years like 2000-2004, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2015, 2016, and 2021 are wise to avoid.

What’s your experience with the GMC Yukon, and how does it align with our discoveries?

Share your thoughts and insights in the comments below!

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Jonathan Eckert

Jonathan is an ASE-certified mechanic with over 22 years of hands-on experience in the automotive industry. His expertise spans a wide range of vehicles, but he specializes in diagnosing and repairing Japanese cars. His previous workplace highly commended his meticulous attention to detail, and that's exaclty what he uses at Car Smite to craft the best guides for each purpose.