2022 GMC Yukon AT4 Review Update

Christian Wardlaw, Independent Expert | Mar 13, 2022

Introduction - Find the best GMC deals!

For 2021, GMC redesigned the Yukon full-size SUV. Perhaps the most important among the many improvements, GMC switched the Yukon to an independent rear suspension design that allowed for a lower interior floor, in turn adding significant third-row-seat passenger room and more cargo space. Plus, the SUV’s driving dynamics improved, especially when equipped with the new adaptive air suspension.

GMC also added a new Yukon AT4 variant to the lineup. Equipped with standard 4-wheel drive (4WD), a revised front end offering greater ground clearance, skid plates, and all-terrain tires, the Yukon AT4 is ready for off-roading right off the assembly line. It is part of a growing AT4 sub-brand within GMC, similar to the upscale Denali lineup of trucks and SUVs.

As a follow-up to the complete redesign, the 2022 GMC Yukon sees a handful of changes:

  • Standard 12-inch digital instrumentation display
  • New Connected Infotainment System debuts
  • A 6.2-liter V8 engine is now available in the Yukon AT4

These changes are few, but nevertheless surprising considering the latest Yukon is only a year old.

Previously, J.D. Power reviewed the 2021 GMC Yukon Denali. This review focuses on the Yukon’s updates for 2022 and assesses the Yukon AT4 equipped with its new, more powerful V8 engine.

What Owners Say About the GMC Yukon - Find the best GMC deals!

2022 GMC Yukon AT4 White Front Quarter View

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

The GMC Yukon competes in the Large SUV market segment. According to data collected from verified new-vehicle buyers for the J.D. Power 2021 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, 65 percent of new GMC Yukon buyers are male (vs. 60% for the segment), and the median age of a new Yukon buyer is 54 years, the same as for the segment.

As part of the APEAL Study, owners rated the Yukon in 10 primary categories. Listed below in descending order, you’ll find their preferences from their most favorite thing about the vehicle to their least favorite:

  • Exterior styling
  • Driving feel
  • Feeling of safety
  • Interior design
  • Powertrain
  • Driving comfort
  • Setting up and starting
  • Getting in and out
  • Infotainment system
  • Fuel economy

In the 2021 APEAL Study, the Yukon ranks second out of five Large SUV models.

What Our Independent Expert Says About the GMC Yukon - Find the best GMC deals!

In the sections that follow, our independent expert analyzes a Yukon AT4 equipped with the following options:

  • 6.2-liter V8 engine
  • AT4 Premium Plus package
  • Power-sliding center console
  • Power-release second-row bucket seats

The price of the test vehicle came to $79,105, including the $1,695 destination charge.

Does the Yukon AT4 Come in a Diesel?

2022 GMC Yukon AT4 6.2-liter V8 Engine

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

No, the 2022 GMC Yukon AT4 does not come with the company’s excellent 3.0-liter turbodiesel inline 6-cylinder engine. The reason is that the modifications GMC makes to the Yukon AT4’s front end to improve the approach angle don’t play nice with the Duramax diesel’s intercooler. So, you need to settle for a gasoline V8.

Previously, the GMC Yukon AT4 came only with a 5.3-liter V8 engine. Now, for 2022, AT4 buyers can get the more powerful 6.2-liter V8 available in the Yukon Denali. The V8 makes 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, gains of 65 hp and 77 pound-feet of torque. Both engines pair with a 10-speed automatic transmission.

In addition to the reworked front end, the 2022 Yukon AT4 includes standard 4WD, unique 20-inch aluminum wheels wrapped in all-terrain tires, a heavy-duty air filter, an adaptive damping suspension, hill-descent control, recovery hooks, and skid plates. Add the optional Four Corner Air Ride Adaptive Suspension and the AT4 offers a 32-degree angle of approach, two extra inches of ground clearance, and impressive ride and handling qualities.

Beyond the mechanical upgrades, the AT4 builds on SLT trim with:

  • Automatically dimming exterior mirrors
  • Heated power tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel
  • Memory for the driver’s preferred settings
  • Heated second-row outboard seating positions
  • Power-folding third-row seat

The test vehicle also had the AT4 Premium Plus package. It adds numerous features to the Yukon AT4, including:

  • Premium Capability package (Active Response 4WD, limited-slip rear differential, air suspension)
  • Technology package (head-up display, surround-view camera, pedestrian alert system)
  • Max Trailering package (enhanced engine cooling, integrated trailer-brake controller, hitch guidance, hitch view, smart trailer integration, trailer coverage for the blind-spot warning system)
  • Panoramic sunroof
  • Rear-seat entertainment system
  • Power-retractable side steps
  • Perimeter lighting

How is the GMC Yukon AT4 to Drive?

When equipped with the newly optional 6.2-liter V8 engine, the Yukon AT4 has no trouble getting out of its own way. There is plenty of power here for merging safely onto highways, and a robust reserve of torque for picking your way down a gnarly trail. According to GMC, the AT4 with the 6.2-liter V8 can tow 7,500 pounds and carry 1,956 lbs. of payload.

The downside to the 6.2-liter V8 is, of course, fuel economy. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, when paired with 4WD, the engine should return 14 mpg in the city, 19 mpg on the highway, and 16 mpg in combined driving. Furthermore, the EPA says this engine requires premium fuel.

During the evaluation, the Yukon AT4’s 6.2-liter V8 averaged 14.7 mpg. Multiply that by the 24-gallon fuel tank and you can count on stopping at the gas station every 325 miles or so. Considering that Yukon owners are least happy with this SUV’s fuel economy, the 6.2-liter V8 engine option can only serve added disappointment on this front.

Powertrain aside, the Yukon AT4 is remarkably civilized no matter where you drive it. On pavement, the adaptive air-ride suspension masterfully controls body motions, providing a smooth and unfettered ride whether you’re on the freeway or crossing a mountain range on two-lane roads. Of course, the Yukon’s sheer size is a liability in narrow situations, but people who live in wide-open places with wide-open spaces shouldn’t have much trouble wielding this big SUV.

Off-road, the AT4’s packaging adds capability and confidence. Drivers feel as though the AT4 can handle more rugged terrain than other versions of the Yukon, and that’s true. Again, though, the SUV’s size can become a liability on tighter trails—especially if you find yourself needing to make a three-point turn due to impassable conditions. That’s where the Technology package’s surround-view camera comes in really handy.

Other Changes for the 2022 GMC Yukon

2022 GMC Yukon AT4 Interior Dashboard

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

GMC makes two significant technological updates to the 2022 Yukon. The first is a standard 12-inch digital instrumentation panel. Drivers can select between four different themes and configure the display to personal preferences.

The second is a new connected infotainment system with a 10.2-inch touchscreen display. The highlight of this system is Google Built-in technology, which equips the Yukon with Google Assistant, Google Maps, and Google Play access. With AT4 and Denali trim levels, GMC provides three years of complimentary connected services to power Google Built-in. The SLE and SLT get a one-month trial of the Google features.

If you’d rather not pay up, don’t worry. You can wirelessly connect your smartphone via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The system also continues to offer access to a Wi-Fi hotspot, and GMC includes one free month of service before you’ll need to pay for a Wi-Fi plan. Wireless smartphone charging is also standard on all but the base Yukon SLE.

The test vehicle also had GMC’s dual-touchscreen rear-seat entertainment system. It includes two 12.6-inch touchscreen displays, wireless content streaming from a smartphone via Wi-Fi, two Bluetooth-enabled sets of headphones, and two HDMI ports.

Is the GMC Yukon’s Connected Infotainment System Better?

Based on my evaluation, I’d say the new connected infotainment system is not a substantial improvement over the technology it replaces. In some ways, it is superior, such as real-time Google Maps updates and a vehicle-data sharing function that can help improve navigation. But in others, such as the Google Assistant capabilities, it isn’t any better than what GMC offered in last year’s Yukon.

As a side note, it is worth programming your destination into the new system, even if you know where you’re going. My family needed to drive into Los Angeles the day before the Super Bowl. Heading into town on the 101 freeway, my wife looked at Sigalert and told me to exit and take the beach route. What a mistake. We sat, mired in Saturday afternoon traffic on Pacific Coast Highway with very few alternative route options, and then crawled from Santa Monica into Hollywood for a family gathering.

It took nearly three hours to travel 50 miles to her sister’s house, and the Yukon AT4’s 6.2-liter V8 averaged 12.2 mpg. Ugh. I can’t help but assume that all the new Google gee-wizardry could have saved us from ourselves. At least the SUV proved supremely comfortable.

It is worth noting that neither my 11-year-old nor my 13-year-old wanted to use the rear-seat entertainment system, preferring their iPad and iPhone instead. However, any vehicle that costs this much money deserves better than a 9-speaker Bose premium sound system. At a minimum, GMC should make available to AT4 buyers the same 14-speaker Bose Centerpoint surround-sound system that it offers on the Yukon Denali. But even that setup leaves an audiophile wanting.

Independent Expert Opinion - Find the best GMC deals!

2022 GMC Yukon AT4 White Rear Quarter View

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

Large SUVs have enjoyed a renaissance of sorts, and verified owners of the 2022 GMC Yukon indicate that it is one of the best models in the segment. However, automakers’ fortunes with traditional body-on-frame sport utility vehicles rise and fall with the strength of economic headwinds, and, at the moment, they’re blowing mighty hard.

Unless you need the AT4’s added off-roading capability, I strongly encourage you to consider the SLE, SLT, or Denali equipped with the Duramax diesel. Last year, during a family trip, I drove a 2021 Chevy Suburban equipped with the Duramax, and it effortlessly returned 21.4 mpg. Granted, most of the driving took place on highways, but still.

Alternatively, suppose you don’t need a full-size SUV at all, and you’re considering a Yukon just because you like them. In that case, General Motors offers alternatives in the Buick EnclaveCadillac XT6Chevrolet Traverse, and GMC Acadia. Each is more fuel-efficient than a Yukon, but can’t tow as much weight, carry as much cargo, or offer as comfortable a third-row seat.

Christian Wardlaw is a veteran digital automotive journalist with nearly 30 years of experience in test-driving vehicles. He has held editorial leadership roles with Edmunds, J.D. Power, the New York Daily News, and others. In addition to JDPower.com, his work has appeared in numerous new- and used-car buying guides, newspapers, and automotive industry trade journals, including Autotrader, Capital One Auto Navigator, CarGurus, Kelley Blue Book, WardsAuto, and more.

The opinions expressed in this review are the author’s own, not J.D. Power’s.

No portion of these reviews may be reproduced, distributed, publicly displayed, or used for a derivative work without J.D. Power’s written permission. © 2022 J.D. Power

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