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The only new vehicles you can buy with the GMC nameplate are trucks and SUVs. In the latter category, there’s the compact Terrain and midsize Arcadia. And the 2023 GMC Yukon is a three-row full-size SUV featuring a cavernous interior and powerful engine choices. The Yukon typically attracts more critical acclaim than its siblings. However, it also competes in a crowded segment. Where do the 2023 GMC SUVs fall short, and are any still worth buying?

The 2023 Yukon is a hit among GMC SUVs

GMC SUV: 2023 GMC Yukon
2023 GMC Yukon SLT | GMC

Although the 2023 GMC Yukon is the highest-ranked GMC vehicle on U.S. News, it still lags behind most of its rivals. The Chevy Tahoe and Chevy Suburban, along with the Ford Expedition, all received higher overall scores. U.S. News named the Jeep Wagoneer the best large SUV for 2023, beating the rest by a sizable margin.

The GMC Yukon is still worth checking out because it offers three powertrain options, whereas some SUVs provide only one. The base engine is a 5.3-liter V8 making 355 hp, and an available 6.2-liter V8 harnesses 420 hp. 

Those who want to save money on gas can opt for the 277-hp turbodiesel, which earns up to 21/27 mpg city/highway. Each engine pairs with a 10-speed automatic transmission that draws few complaints from automotive experts.

Some body roll is unavoidable in an SUV of the GMC Yukon’s size, but critics say the strong brakes restore confidence. The Yukon can be optioned with an independent rear suspension or an adaptive air suspension, both offering pleasant rides. The latter is standard on the Denali Ultimate and available for the regular Denali and AT4 models.

The Yukon SLE is the only trim that can be had with a three-person bench seat for the cabin. Otherwise, the Yukon seats seven or eight riders. Many critics agree the first two rows offer ample legroom and support, but that tapers off in the third row.

Regardless of seating capacity, the 2023 Yukon boasts impressive cargo space, totaling nearly 123 cubic feet. Folding down the third row alone provides over 72 cubic feet.

What about the 2023 GMC Acadia?

The 2023 GMC Acadia also is placed behind most of its midsize SUV rivals on U.S. News. The Acadia has a much lower rating than the Yukon overall, partly due to its underwhelming interior. Though the cabin has some softer surfaces, most material is dull black plastic.

The GMC Acadia also isn’t very accommodating if you’re stuck in one of the two third-row seats. These passengers have barely 30 inches of legroom. And with every seat in use, this GMC SUV provides only about 13 cubic feet of storage space behind the back row. 

Still, the legroom and seat comfort in the first two rows satisfy most critics. The GMC Acadia also earns praise for its user-friendly infotainment controls and efficient base engine. And unlike the Yukon and Terrain, the Acadia is one of the most affordable SUVs in its segment.

What does the 2023 GMC Terrain offer?

Like the Acadia, the 2023 GMC Terrain’s interior quality is slightly below what critics expect for a premium SUV. Because this small crossover doesn’t have a third row, reviewers don’t have many complaints about the seating accommodations. However, expect tepid acceleration from the turbo-four engine on the highway. 

Still, the GMC Terrain earns praise for its braking performance and smooth handling. Its suspension isn’t as smooth as the Yukon’s, but it’s far from the worst setup. With a few touch-ups, the Acadia and Terrain could match their full-size sibling’s caliber.


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