Chevrolet Tahoe vs. GMC Yukon: Compare SUVs

Full-size SUVs aren’t for everyone, but they have their place. They work best for the family that tows a boat, camper, or trailer and needs a lot of space and carrying capacity. For the average family, though, they’re big and unwieldy, and they drink a lot of gas. 

The Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon share their basic designs, though the Yukon also comes in a longer wheelbase model to take on the Chevy Suburban as well. GMC positions the Yukon slightly upscale from the Tahoe, offering more equipment by model and higher-end Denali models that exceed the top of the Tahoe range for features and luxury. That also means Tahoe buyers can save a little money. 

Both vehicles go up against rivals such as the Ford Expedition, Jeep Wagoneer, and Toyota Sequoia. When it’s time to spend the money, though, which one is the better, the Tahoe or Yukon? Let’s dive in and find out. 

2023 Chevrolet Tahoe

Tahoe vs. Yukon prices and features

  • Base Tahoe costs about $56,000

  • Base Yukon costs about $3,000 more

  • Best picks: Tahoe ST, Yukon SLT

How much is a Chevy Tahoe?

Chevrolet offers the Tahoe in LS, LT, Z71, RST, Premier, and High Country trim levels. The base Tahoe costs about $56,000, and four-wheel drive adds $3,000 more. Standard features include a 4.2-inch digital information display in the instrument cluster, an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 10-way power-adjustable driver seat and an 8-way front passenger seat, remote start, a limited-slip rear differential, and 18-inch alloy wheels. 

We recommend moving up to the LT for more than $61,000. It gets leather upholstery, heated front seats, a 10.2-inch touchscreen, a 12.0-inch digital instrument cluster, a 9-speaker Bose audio system, wireless smartphone charging, and a power tailgate. Buyers can also go for the off-road-oriented Z71 for about $66,000 and the street-performance oriented RST for about $64,000. 

At the top of the lineup is the High Country, which costs about $75,000 and comes loaded with a Bose 10-speaker audio system, a surround-view camera system, a head-up display, cooled front seats, heated second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, memory for the driver seat, a power-folding third-row seat, a power tilt and telescoping steering column, a rear camera mirror, rear cross-traffic alerts, blind-spot monitors, magnetic dampers, and 22-inch wheels

The Tahoe comes with a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty.

How much is a GMC Yukon?

The Yukon comes in SLE, SLT, AT4, Denali, and Denali Ultimate trims. The SLE starts at about $59,000 and comes standard with the same features as the Tahoe, plus LED fog lights, a 12.0-inch digital instrument cluster, and a 10.2-inch infotainment touchscreen.

Buyers might want to move up to the SLT model, which costs about $65,000, and adds heated and cooled leather front seats, driver seat memory, wireless smartphone charging, a 9-speaker Bose audio system, blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alerts, a power tailgate, and 20-inch wheels. 

The $95,000 Yukon Denali Ultimate pushes into luxury vehicle territory with 16-way power-adjustable front seats, a Bose 18-speaker audio system, a head-up display, cooled front seats, heated second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, memory for the driver seat, a power-folding third-row seat, a power tilt and telescoping steering column,  a rear entertainment system, magnetic dampers, an air suspension, four-wheel drive with a 2-speed transfer case, an electronic limited-slip differential, an integrated trailer brake, a panoramic sunroof, retractable side steps, 22-inch wheels, and a host of additional safety features.

The Yukon carries the same warranty as the Tahoe.

Advantage: It’s a draw; the Yukon comes with more features but costs more.

2023 Chevrolet Tahoe

Tahoe vs. Yukon performance

  • Both have a 355-hp 5.3-liter V-8 standard

  • 6.2-liter V-8 and 3.0-liter turbodiesel inline-6 available for both

  • Independent rear suspensions create smooth ride

The Tahoe and Yukon are two sides of the same coin. They share a platform and powertrains, so they perform almost identically. Both come standard with a 5.3-liter V-8. that makes 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque, which creates strong acceleration and good power across the rev range. The step-up is a 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8 that sounds a delightful growl and improves take-off and passing response. Buyers can also get a 3.0-liter turbodiesel inline-6 that makes only 277 hp but a V-8-like 460 lb-ft of torque. It is strong from a stop and offers the best fuel economy at up to 24 mpg combined, but it loses steam at highway speeds. All engines are mated to a smooth-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission. The max towing capacity is 8,400 pounds for both SUVs.

Every Tahoe and Yukon is equipped with an independent rear suspension that delivers a smooth ride. The ride gets even better with the available magnetic dampers, which also aid handling. The available air suspension helps wrangle some of the size and weight of these vehicles, but they’re big, cumbersome through corners, and hard to maneuver in tight quarters. The only difference between the two is the Yukon’s XL body style that adds 15.2 inches of length and about 150 pounds. It’s the equivalent of the Chevy Suburban and it’s even more to handle than the standard wheelbase version.

Advantage: Draw. 

2023 GMC Yukon

Tahoe vs. Yukon off-road and 4×4 systems

  • Four-wheel drive optional for both

  • 2-speed transfer case optional as well

  • Tahoe Z71 and Yukon AT4 models best for off-roading

Both the Tahoe and Yukon come standard with rear-wheel drive and offer two versions of four-wheel drive. The base version detects slip and can send power to the front wheels when needed. An upgraded version has a 2-speed transfer case and a 4Lo setting for low-speed traction when off-roading. An Auto mode also detects slip at the rear and sends power up front when needed. This version can also be run in 2WD mode or in 4Hi. A mechanical limited-slip differential on rear- and four-wheel drive versions that can lock the rear wheels together when one experiences slip; a faster-acting electronically controlled version is offered as well.

The Tahoe offers a Z71 model that comes with some other off-roading features. They include hill descent control, a front skid plate, red recovery hooks, a unique front fascia to improve the approach angle, and the upgraded 4WD system. An off-roading package includes an electronic limited-slip differential, magnetic dampers, and an air suspension. The Yukon’s off-roader is the AT4 model. It gets the Z71 equipment, plus the magnetic dampers. Buyers can also choose a package with the eLSD and air-suspension to improve ultimate off-road performance. 

Neither the Tahoe nor the Yukon is ideal for off-roading. Neither comes with a terrain management system like some competitors to tune the various vehicle systems to work with different surfaces. They’re also too long and wide to handle tight spaces or have the clearances needed to tackle steep hills. They do ride high, however, and their air suspensions can raise the ground clearance to help them clear off-road obstacles. They’ll work for a family vacation to a campsite, but they’re not the choice for off-road hobbyists.

Advantage: Draw.

2023 GMC Yukon Denali Ultimate

Tahoe vs. Yukon size, space, and seating capacity

  • Both are behemoths with lots of space

  • Yukon offers bigger XL model

  • Both seat up to eight

How big is the Chevy Tahoe?

It’s a monster. It spans 210.7 inches long, has three rows of seats that accommodate seven or eight passengers, and carries a big cargo hold. It has spacious first- and second-row seats, and a third row that has decent room for a pair of adults even if it is a little tricky to access; three adults won’t be happy back there, but three well-mannered kids might be. At 34.9 inches, third-row legroom is better than what you get in many plane seats. 

Cargo space is also generous at 25.5 cubic feet behind the third row, 72.6 cubic feet behind the second row, and 122.9 cubes with both back rows folded down.

How big is the GMC Yukon?

In its standard form, the Yukon is the same size as the Tahoe. However, the Yukon XL stretches another 15.2 inches. The extra length improves passenger and cargo space. 

The XL adds almost two inches to third-row legroom, and expands cargo space behind the third, second, and first rows to 41.5, 93.8, and 144.7 cubic feet respectively.

Advantage: Yukon, but the Chevy Suburban would like a word.

2023 GMC Yukon Denali Ultimate

Tahoe vs. Yukon styling

  • Both are big and bold

  • Yukon dresses things up a little more

  • Yukon Denalis have a nicer interior

The Tahoe and Yukon use essentially the same sheetmetal but differentiate themselves with different grilles, lighting, and trim. Both are tall, blunt, and blocky, but there’s an understated elegance to all that mass. The Chevy grille stretches wide, while the GMC grille sits high and proud in the middle of the SUV’s nose. There’s a hint of a Coke-bottle shape in the flanks of both, and the sloped C-pillar shape breaks up a design featuring mostly right angles. 

The Yukon XL adds its 15.2 inches of extra length behind the front doors, and it shows especially in the cargo area. Different models of both have different trims, though the Yukon tends to wear more chrome.

Inside, the Tahoe and Yukon have the same basic interior for most trims, though the Yukon gets a larger 10.2-inch touchscreen standard even on the base trim. Both interiors have clean lines, utilitarian knobs and dials, and touchscreens that pop up from the dashboard. The Yukon, however, gets a different design at the Denali level, with a touchscreen that is integrated with the dash. It also boasts higher quality materials, including wood, full-grain leather, and more bits of metallic trim. 

Advantage: Yukon for the Denali cabin.


2023 Chevrolet Tahoe

Tahoe vs. Yukon safety

  • Both get four stars from the NHTSA

  • Automatic emergency braking standard on both

  • Yukon offers more optional safety features

How safe is the Chevy Tahoe?

Both the Tahoe and Yukon get 4 stars from the NHTSA and no crash-test scores from the IIHS. They both come with the same standard safety features and both offer GM’s advanced Super Cruise system that allows for hands-free driving. 

The Tahoe gets standard automatic emergency braking, front and rear parking sensors, active lane control, automatic high beams, and a rear seat reminder system. Also available is GM’s Super Cruise that controls the steering, brakes, and throttle on more than 200,000 miles of mapped roads in North America as long as the driver is paying attention. Buyers can also get reverse automatic braking, blind-spot monitors that work with a trailer, adaptive cruise control, a rear camera mirror, rear cross-traffic alerts, automatic parking, a surround-view camera system.

How safe is the GMC Yukon?

With the same available safety features and the same structure, it’s exactly as safe as the Tahoe. 

Advantage: Draw.

2023 GMC Yukon

Which is better: Tahoe or Yukon?

Effectively the same vehicle, and Tahoe and Yukon fight to almost a draw. The numbers show it, with the Yukon earning a TCC Rating of 6.3 out of 10 and the Tahoe getting a 6.2 rating. The Yukon wins out for its better looks and greater space in the XL body style. 

However, the Tahoe will be the better choice for some because it saves a few bucks off of rather high prices for both. The Yukon gets more equipment to justify its prices, but not all of that equipment is necessary for those who want to stick to a budget. 

Winner: the 2023 GMC Yukon, but just barely.




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