Chevy Suburban vs. GMC Yukon XL: Compare SUVs

The Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon XL are pure America. These full-size three-row SUV provide plenty of everything, including space, power, equipment, and options.

The 2023 Chevrolet Tahoe and 2023 GMC Yukon are cousins that share their underpinnings, powertrains, features and most options. The chrome-laden GMC Yukon Denali meets its match in the new Suburban High Country edition. Both push pricetags of nearly $100,000. 

The general difference between the two comes down to how much you want to spend and how strong you like your vehicle’s snout. Both earn strong TCC Ratings, but which one noses out the other? Let’s take a look. 

2023 Chevrolet Suburban

Suburban vs. Yukon XL trims and prices

  • Suburbans start around $57,000

  • Base Yukons cost $60,495—and require OnStar

  • Best picks: Suburban LT and Yukon SLT

How much does a Chevy Suburban cost?

You’ll save money by buying a Suburban—more if you stick to base models. The Suburban LS has a sticker price of $57,295, which includes power front seats, remote start, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. We like the Suburban LT for about $65,000 (plus $3,000 for four-wheel drive). March through the RST, Premier, and Z71 trims to get to the most expensive Suburban High Country, and you’ll pay about $90,000 with a few options.

How much does a GMC Yukon XL cost?

With a base price of more than $60,000, the Yukon XL comes with a bigger 10.2-inch touchscreen than the Suburban, but is otherwise the same. The big caveat: GMC forces buyers to take a $1,500 bundle of OnStar connected-vehicle services, which you may not want, use, or need. If you can stomach that, opt into the Yukon XL SLT for about $67,000 and save money over the more expensive AT4 and the fabulous but very pricey GMC Yukon XL Denali Ultimate.

Winner: Chevy Suburban

 

2023 Chevrolet Suburban

Suburban vs. Yukon XL performance

  • 2023 Yukon specs include big V-8 option

  • 2023 Suburban specs top out with 420-hp V-8

  • Performance? Almost identical

Are the GMC Yukon XL and Chevy Suburban 4WD?

Most versions can be had with four-wheel drive. It’s standard on high-end versions like the Denali Ultimate, and available electronic limited-slip differential helps with traction in snow, mud, and rain. Knobby off-road tires and skid plates can be fitted.

How fast are the GMC Yukon XL and Chevy Suburban?

Base versions of both vehicles sport a 355-hp 5.3-liter V-8 with plenty of pull, teamed to a sometimes fiddly 10-speed automatic. For more expensive but stronger towing power, the 3.0-liter turbodiesel inline-6 gets better fuel economy, but also costs more for fuel. The top-line 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8 has tremendous acceleration and a great soundtrack, too. 

An excellent ride in either vehicle belies a big, bruising look. In both, an independent suspension can be improved with air springs and adaptive damping that can raise or lower the vehicle for better off-road performance or highway efficiency—a good thing—and can offset the ride impacts generated by big 22-inch wheels. Neither SUV handles like a well-tuned crossover, but their mass dissolves at highway speeds thanks to precise steering.

Winner: A draw

 

2023 GMC Yukon

Suburban vs. Yukon XL towing and hauling

  • Tow ratings differ by 100 lb

  • Base engines work harder

In either the Yukon XL or Suburban, towing can be a cinch—though ratings are far lower than some full-size pickup trucks. The Yukon XL with a trailer-tow package can pull up to 8,400 lb. The Suburban checks in a 8,300 lb when it’s configured with rear-wheel drive and the 5.3-liter V-8. The overall tow ratings may be lower, but vehicles with the more powerful V-8 and turbodiesel may feel less strained than the still-strong base V-8.

Winner: GMC Yukon XL, by 100 lb

 

2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali

Suburban vs. Yukon XL cargo space and utility

  • Up to 9 passengers

  • Huge cargo space

  • Adult-size third-row seats

Both the Yukon XL and Suburban can be configured to seat up to nine passengers, while still carrying a massive amount of gear in their cargo spaces. Utility’s no question—the main question is whether it’s too much space for some who’d be better served by a crossover SUV instead.

Most of these SUVs come with a pair of front buckets seats, a set of captain’s chairs or a three-person bench in the middle row, and a fold-away bench seat in the third row. An option for a front bench seat brings the total capacity up to nine, but adults shouldn’t count on more that two riding in the wayback—and getting back there will require some gymnastics, despite fold-down middle-row seats.

By the numbers, the Yukon XL and Suburban can fit more than 41 cubic feet of stuff behind their third-row seats, or 145 cubic feet behind the front seats. Small items will find a home in the dozen or so pockets, bins, and consoles located throughout the cabin.

Winner: A draw

2023 Chevrolet Suburban

Suburban vs. Yukon XL fuel economy

  • V-8s are thirsty for fuel

  • Diesel costs more and fuel prices are higher, too

No one’s going to call these large SUVs fuel efficient, even with cylinder deactivation. Base models match up with EPA fuel economy ratings of 17 mpg combined. The most efficient versions get the turbodiesel and its EPA combined ratings of 24/23 mpg—but those versions cost extra not just for the powertrain, but also for the diesel fuel per gallon. At worst, the big V-8 models tip the EPA scales at about 16 mpg combined.

Winner: Neither

 

2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali

Yukon XL vs. Suburban technology and features

  • Big touchscreens rule

  • Apple CarPlay/Android Auto are wireless

  • Denali Ultimate is the ultimate GM SUV

Which GMC Yukon should I buy?

With prices that start at more than $60,000, the GMC Yukon XL has Champagne tastes, even in base versions with cloth seats and 18-inch wheels. Suburbans cost a little less at about $55,000 for the LS model—but the GMC does come with a 10.2-inch touchscreen, while the Suburban makes do with an 8.0-inch touchscreen. Both screens deliver wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, though.

We like the Yukon XL SLT—which costs about $65,000 and has leather, 20-inch wheels, wireless smartphone charging, and Bose audio—more than the AT4 edition and its rugged look.

How much is a fully loaded GMC Yukon?

It’s possible to spend almost $100,000 for a Yukon XL Denali Ultimate and its Super Cruise adaptive cruise control, 12-speaker Bose sound, and fine leather interior. 

Which Chevrolet Suburban should I buy?

The Suburban LS’ cloth upholstery is fine, and so is its touchscreen interface and power front seats. Still, we’d spend more for the LT and its 10.2-inch touchscreen, which also sports GM’s new Google-based operating system, with Google Maps and Assistant. The LT also gets a power tailgate, heated front seats, Bose audio, and leather.

How much is a fully loaded Chevrolet Suburban?

Skip ahead past the RST, Premier, and Z71 trims to land on the Suburban High Country, which bundles a luxurious interior with a few options and asks for about $90,000.

All versions of both carry a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty that comes with one free service appointment. 

Winner: GMC Yukon Denali Ultimate

 

2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali

Suburban vs. Yukon XL exterior and interior

  • High base prices for both, but cloth interior is standard

  • Both have angular, handsome style

  • Polished interiors—especially Denali and High Country

Is the GMC Yukon a good-looking SUV?

It’s handsome and dressy, in a low-key way. The Yukon XL has a 15-inch stretch in its rear doors, which doesn’t affect the way it carries itself. It’s a simple look but done well—and the extra length of the XL offsets the massive front end and its C-shaped accents. AT4 models wear some off-road cues that might appeal to those who use it as a tow appliance, first and foremost. Inside the Yukon has a soothing and sedate look, with luxurious touches of metallic trim and leather.

Is the Chevrolet Suburban a good-looking car?

It’s also handsome, if a little more conservative inside. The sharp details on the Suburban’s front end don’t upset the balanced and streamlined shape it delivers from the sides and the rear, even in the blacked-out RST and high-riding ZL1 specs. The interior has a push button shifter, which we don’t care for, but has a well-organized functionality that cleans up nicely in High Country trim.

Winner: GMC Yukon XL

 

2023 Chevrolet Suburban with Super Cruise

Suburban vs. Yukon XL safety

  • Super Cruise is super

  • NHTSA scores aren’t so good

  • IIHS remains silent

The Suburban and Yukon both carry standard automatic emergency braking, but both share a four-star overall rating from the NHTSA that’s below par, especially for such new designs. Options range from blind-spot monitors to active lane control and a surround-view camera system; there’s also a rear camera mirror and Super Cruise, GM’s marvelous driver-assist setup that permits hands-free driving on about 300,000 miles of mapped North American roads. It’s not “self-driving”—it’s better than that misleading misnomer.

Winner: A draw

 

2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali

Winner: GMC Yukon XL

Either SUV remains a strong choice for any driver that needs lots of space and lots of tow capacity. We give the 2023 GMC Yukon a TCC Rating of 6.5 out of 10, with a standout score for styling that only gets more convincing in its most expensive Denali models. (Read more about how we rate cars.) The Suburban slots in just shy of the GMC at a TCC Rating of 6.2 out of 10, with a lower styling score but otherwise identical scores. If it’s value at the top of your list, the Suburban can be less expensive—and could be the better choice. Otherwise, GMC’s biggest SUV remains our favorite of this pair.

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