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2002 GMC Yukon Pros and Cons at TrueDelta: Using the 02-06 Tahoe/Yukon for towing, a good idea? by rjsquirrel



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I use my Yukon primarily for towing and hauling, this review is mostly about that - in case you are wondering if you should get a used one for that (they are quite inexpensive used).

Reviewed: 2002 GMC Yukon

4dr SUV 285-horsepower 5.3L V8 4-speed automatic 4WD w/low range

Why the 2002 GMC Yukon?

Driving position & visibility

Three quick points

  • Exterior Styling: The 92-00 were too plain. The 00-06 too baroque. The new ones are "just right". So no points there for my '02.
  • Interior Styling: Looks like a truck interior. No problem with that.
  • Visibility: I chose it over the Ford Expedition of the same vintage mostly because it has great visibility outwards, and the Ford... didn't.

Off-road capability

I have found the Yukon to be sort of a multi-sport athelete. It can do lots of things but doesn't really excell at any of them. You can:

  • Haul 7 people. The last two will either be very small or rather uncomfortable
  • Bring stuff home from the Hardware Store (by folding all but 2 seats).
  • Go offroad - it has a good 4wd system with a low range and auto-locking rear axle. You will wish it had more ground clearance and that the running boards were easy to remove (they aren't).
  • Drive long distances (but see below on "seat comfort")
  • Tow (has a hitch and 7-pin plug with prewiring for a brake controller)

Reliability & durability

Reliability has been a mixed bag. It came from the factory with a radiator that leaked into the tranny-oil cooler. GM fixed that under warranty. The computer in the radio died, which drained the battery. The replacement was DOA. Now I have an aftermarket head unit. A couple of little items (the washer bottles, for example) have broken, but I have never worried about the powertrain or the soundness of the body or chassis; and the interior and exterior have held up very well.

Why Not the 2002 GMC Yukon?

Front seat support & comfort

This is a GM car. Every one that I have owned or driven seemed like it was designed by engineers who were given a checklist, a budget, and the expectation that they would never have to own one. Both of the front seats have leather, 10-way power, memory, heat. Pretty nice, right? And they feel great. For the first hour. The second hour you find that you are squirming around to adjust to the seat rather than vice-versa. After the third hour there is only hate. Seriously, I have owned Jeeps (several) with the basic forward-back adjustable seats. I would take any of those seats over this for a long drive.


So - lets talk about towing. This is also a mixed bag.

  • Pro - The hitch and wiring are well integrated. The truck tows with aplomb, with adequate power and minimal adverse yaw. It has a useful tow/haul mode.
Con - The gearing. It is very tall. My trailer is well under the 7200# the truck can alledgedly tow. It is a camper, so has quite a bit of frontal area. On a flat highway, the truck can _just_ pull it in 4th (of 4). Add a slight grade or wind and you can drive for hours in 3rd, which is still ok. When 3rd doesn't cut it, things are not so good. Second gear is very low, and the engine becomes noisy and thrashy at higher RPMs when there isn't enough load to keep it busy. So moderate hills result in slow but very noisy progress because the truck really wants agear between 2nd and 3rd. Advice - hold out for the 6 speed in the later models.

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