The recent IIHS study looked at driver deaths that occurred between 2015 and 2018 for vehicles from the 2017 model year, plus “earlier models with the same designs and features.” The figures show estimated risks for 2017 models, but stretch back as far as the 2014 model year if the vehicles in question have not been redesigned over the given time period.
As a reminder, the GMC Yukon, as well as its corporate cousin, the Chevrolet Tahoe, were both introduced with an all-new fourth generation for the 2015 model year. The latest fifth-generation models recently debuted for the 2021 model year.
According to the recent IIHS study, the GMC Yukon XL 1500 4WD has an average driver death rate of 0 per million registered vehicle years. The rate includes multiple-vehicle crashes, single-vehicle crashes, and single-vehicle rollovers.
Other vehicles listed at the same rate include the Infiniti QX60 2WD, the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque 4WD, the Lexus NX 200t 4WD, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan 4WD, the Porsche Cayenne 4WD, and the Volkswagen Golf.
As the IIHS points out, the GMC Yukon has physics on its side in a collision, given its large size and mass.
“Smaller vehicles offer less protection for the driver in crashes, and their lighter mass means that they take the brunt of collisions with larger vehicles,” said IIHS senior vice president of vehicle research, Joe Nolan.
The IIHS points out that very large SUVs, including the GMC Yukon, showed the lowest overall death rate of any vehicle category. The average rate for the very large SUV vehicle category came to 15 fatalities per million registered vehicle years, whereas “minicars” had the highest rate at 82 fatalities per million registered vehicle years.