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Yukon Do It: 2015 GMC Yukon designed to haul

Sections: Chassis

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2015 GMC Yukon Photo Shoot 031

(Lyndon Johnson photo)

The 2015 GMC Yukon, based as it is on the latest GM truck underpinnings, is practically built to haul whatever you can stuff inside it. Lucky for its driver, the Yukon is endowed with a few simple features that make loading easier.

I knew I would need to put the 2015 GMC Yukon’s hauling capacity to the test at some point during the week it was in my employ. I had a recliner in need of minor repairs, and my trusty Ford Ranger was loaded with junk waiting to be hauled off. I was heartened by the Yukon’s big, square-shaped cargo opening and interior. It would be a tight squeeze getting my big, comfyrecliner back there, but if I laid the chair on its back, I reasoned, it might just fit.

Things started off great on the first day of my test. I noted that the cargo area with the third row upright was scant in our 2015 GMC Yukon, which was the regular-length model, not the XL (Xtra Length?) version that gets a few more inches back there. With more than 700 newspapers needing to be delivered, I immediately began looking for ways to lay down the third row seats. In no time, I realized there were buttons on the right side of the cargo area that would activate the third row’s power folding feature, roughly tripling cargo space at the expense of making the Yukon a four-passenger vehicle instead of a seven-passenger affair. No matter, I had papers to haul — and with the third row seats folded flat, I fit them in with plenty of room to spare.

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These buttons would fold forward both rows of rear seats in the 2015 GMC Yukon. The buttons on the left would fold the middle row seats flat — and if pressed a second time, would fold the seats forward. Pressing again did not, unfortunately, cause the middle row seats to come back to their full, upright position. (Lyndon Johnson photo)

I later noted not only were there two buttons to fold the third row seats flat — split 60/40 — but there were also two buttons for folding the middle row seats flat, as well, creating a fully flat loading area. I won’t publicly admit how long it ultimately took me to realize pressing those buttons a second time after the middle seats were folded flat caused them to fold forward, creating a sort of storage well ahead of the flat-folded third row.

These power folding seats would make it easy to flip the seats down if, say, you found yourself trying to load something too large for the current cargo configuration, have your arms too full with the junk you’re trying to load, and — hands up if you’ve been there — there’s nothing on this earth that is going to convince you that setting down said junk to readjust the seats is a good idea. Similarly, the 2015 GMC Yukon’s power opening tailgate makes it easy to get into the cargo hold when you’re too preoccupied with carrying something to be bothered with tugging at a hatch — just press the rubberized button on the backside of the tailgate handle, and the Yukon does the rest.

So the weekend came, and it was moment-of-truth time: Would the recliner fit? Unfortunately, no. A small turn-down at the top edge of that very square cargo opening was enough to keep the recliner from sliding in on its back — which was, as I had predicted, the best way to try to get it in the back of the Yukon. No other angle came close. With another three or four inches of clearance at the top of the cargo opening, the result may have been different.

A couple more final notes on the 2015 GMC Yukon’s cargo-carrying prowess:

1. In an era of SUVs that are ditching the feature, it was nice to see the all-new 2015 GMC Yukon has retained the ability to open its rear hatch glass independently of the tailgate. While the opening behind the glass is smaller than you might imagine, looking at the big, square backside of the Yukon, it could still prove very useful for loading small items quickly and/or hauling long items such as lumber that just wouldn’t quite lay flat in the rear quarters for a few miles between the hardware store and your home.

2. Capacity, thy name is the 2015 GMC Yukon. The four-wheel drive version we tested could carry a maximum payload of 1,635 lbs. It could tow up to 8,200 lbs. It had an interior volume of 120.8 feet. Its fuel tank held 26 gallons of motion lotion. If you can’t haul your stuff with the 2015 GMC Yukon, get smaller/lighter/less stuff, man. Declutter.

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This little storage bin in the rearmost of the 2015 GMC Yukon’s cargo area could hold more than meets the eye. Perhaps a good place to stow your shotgun when you go out “birding,” as they call it? (Lyndon Johnson photo)

3. The handy storage tray in the rearmost section of the cargo area was awesome for storing tools and, in theory, could be a good hidey-hole for the assault weapon of your choice. Because ‘Merica. Myself, I hauled around some of my late grandfather’s hand tools — including a hatchet that would make the palm of Lizzie Borden tingle — plus a vintage projector screen and other odds and ends for the majority of our test week.

Disclosure: GMC provided the vehicle, insurance, and a tank of gas.

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  • Aaron

    Up until this current 2015 model Yukon/Tahoe with power folding third row seats, you would’ve had the extra 4-6″ inches of clearance to load that recliner by simply removing the 3rd row seats. My current Yukon will most likely be staying with me longer because of this. I was hoping to upgrade to the 2015 model but since I frequently carry taller items in the cargo area, I am highly disappointed with the new design.