From the March 1992 issue of Car and Driver.We took a GMC Yukon far north—north of Alaska’s Yukon River and 360 miles north of the Arctic Circle—as the rescue truck for our stable of 4wd minivans. The vans were riding on all-season tires, which a right-thinking Alaskan never uses in winter. Our Yukon was the exception—it had real monster-mudder tires and a winch with 125 feet of cable in case a van or two slipped off the icy Dalton Highway. New this year, the Yukon replaces the big Jimmy sport-utility wagon. The body is based on the 1988 GMC and Chevy pickups, and it’s three inches longer than the previous Jimmy. Chevy’s Blazer is identical to the Yukon.
The Yukon does two things exceptionally well: it carries a big bunch of stuff, and it looks good. Its styling is unobtrusive: It wouldn’t be out of place parked in the lot at Skinny Dick’s Halfway Inn between Fairbanks and Nenana. Nor would it be turned away from valet parking at Le Dome on Sunset Boulevard.But one thing it doesn’t do particularly well is travel fast over slick roads. This is a truck, remember, with a wagon body on it. It steers like a truck. We detected about an inch of play and a numb on-center feel in the steering of our test Yukon.Its ride is also truck-like, and hitting a bump with the right-front wheel sends a big slow-motion jiggle through the frame all the way to the left rear.Our Yukon was powered by the standard 210-hp, 5.7-liter V-8, bolted to a four-speed automatic transmission (a five-speed manual is available). All Yukons come with part-time four-wheel drive that you can engage “on-the-fly.” We left it engaged the entire trip.
David DewhurstCar and Driver
Even Chevy’s not-much-lighter, V-6-powered Astro can match the Yukon’s 10.4 seconds to 60 mph. Adding to the impression of sloth is a stiff throttle pedal, apparently engineered for a driver wearing something as heavy as a trucker’s Tony Lamas. We also needed heavy feet to engage the standard ABS when our Yukon was in 4wd, and sometimes we could lock a front wheel.Still, there’s more to the Yukon than good looks. The interior is roomy—the front seats are more spacious than those of any of the minivans on our trip. The driving position places the steering wheel far enough back that six-foot-plus drivers don’t need the arms of NBA forwards to reach it. It’s a tough climb over the folding front seatbacks and into the rear three-person bench, but once you’re in the seat, space is generous. With the seats in place, the cargo capacity is larger than in any of our five minivans. With the rear seat folded, it has twice the cargo volume of the Mazda MPV.We never had to pull a van out of a frozen ditch, and we looked good not doing it. And we’re doubtless among the small number of people who will ever drive the Yukon over the river that bears the same name.
1992 GMC YukonVEHICLE TYPEfront-engine, rear-/4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 2-door wagon
PRICE AS TESTED$26,335 (base price: $20,113)
ENGINE TYPEpushrod 16-valve V-8, iron block and heads, 1×2-bbl throttle-body fuel injectionDisplacement: 350 in3, 5733 cm3Power: 210 hp @ 4000 rpm
CHASSISSuspension (F/R): control arms/live axle
DIMENSIONSWheelbase: 111.5 inLength: 188.0 inCurb weight: 5048 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS60 mph: 10.4 sec100 mph: 50.5 secRolling start, 5–60 mph: 10.4 sec1/4 mile: 17.8 sec @ 75 mphTop speed: 105 mphBraking, 70–0 mph: 208 ftRoadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.74 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMYObserved: 12 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMYCombined/city/highway: 14/13/17 mpg
c/d testing explained
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