Have you ever heard of someone talking about sister cars? These are automobiles which are manufactured under the same parent company, have many of the same looks and features, but with different monikers for make and model slapped on the side. For example, the and Chrysler Town & Country. Both are made by the Chrysler Corporation, have many of the same features, are sold on the same lots, but each have their own personality and style. The same can be said for the and the . They are sisters, yes, but they are not the same vehicle. We’ve checked out Car and Driver, Consumer Reports, Edmunds, and Motor Trend, to see which one of these sisters is the ugly step-sister and which one is the fairest of them all.
Powertrain: Both vehicles come with GM’s 5.3L V8 engine, pumping 320 hp and 335 lb-ft. of torque. However, that is the only available choice on the Tahoe, whereas the Yukon also offers the 6.2L V8 which ups hp and torque significantly. Towing capacity is nearly dead even with the Tahoe rated at 8,200 lbs. properly equipped and the Yukon able to handle 8,400 lbs. Both offer 4WD and the choice of a two-speed transfer case with low-range gearing, but the Yukon adds available AWD to the Denali. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard for either one and fuel efficiency is also equivalent at 14/20 mpg (city/highway).
Braking/Safety/Handling: Being the sister vehicles they are, build quality is relatively dead even. Crash test scores were perfect across the board for both models, aside from the 3 stars given to both on the rollover rating, but SUVs never perform well in that category to begin with. Both had a braking distance of 134 feet, and both come standard with OnStar, full-length side-curtain airbags, stability control, and a blind-spot warning sensor. Not much difference here.
Cargo/Hauling: With cargo space at 109 cubic feet on both models, they’ve bested much of their competition in hauling capacity. However, removing the third-row seats on either model can be burdensome as they are both bulky and heavy. With towing capacity being nearly dead even as well, this race just can’t seem to get any closer.
Comfort/Interior: When you step into the interior of either of these animals, you’ll wonder which one you’re sitting in. One of the only differences is the emblem displayed on the center of the steering wheel. Both offer an attractive cabin, which is a step up from many previous GM SUVs. Driving position could be awkward for some as neither model employs a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, thought the Tahoe’s does tilt.
Amenities/Options: Repetition, here we come. The Bose stereo system, OnStar, the navigation package, power-adjustable pedals, power liftgate, 22-inch wheels, remote start, satellite radio, and heated front seats are all available options on both models. Some of the differences are the Tahoe’s use of a tri-zone climate control, opposed to the dual-zone control of the Yukon, and the minor styling touches that come with the Yukon when it’s stepped up to the Denali series. The convenience package of the Tahoe also eliminates the rearview camera where the SLT model of the Yukon not only adds it, but pairs it with the rear parking assist.
Value for the $: Here’s the category it really comes down to. Being so similar, one would expect the price to be just as similar. In truth, they are similar in number, but not in product. The MSRP for the Tahoe starts at $37,280, compared to $38,020 for the Yukon. Options and trim levels can run the Tahoe to $53,615, and the Yukon to $55,995. When looking at those numbers, there isn’t much difference to see. However, the top option for the Yukon employs an AWD system and a more powerful V8 engine, therein lies the dissimilarity.
Winner: Comparing apples to apples, the 4WD Tahoe’s top trim model with the 5.3L V8 runs $53,615. The same engine and 4WD option from the Yukon will top the price out at $46,665. Saving the extra $7,000 and getting many of the same features makes the Yukon the best value in this matchup.