IT’S A BEST BUY BECAUSE:

GMC’s “big and bigger” full-size SUVs offer ride quality, passenger comfort, and all-around refinement that belies their tough-truck looks.

BUT…

Prices are high, V8 fuel economy is low, and their sheer size can make parking these vehicles a chore.

WORTH NOTING:

The Yukon XL is an extended-length, extended-wheelbase version of the Yukon.

WHAT IS IT?

The Yukon and Yukon XL are GMC’s body-on-frame full-size SUVs, and both were redesigned last year. These vehicles share their basic platform with the Cadillac Escalade and Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban, which were also redesigned for 2021. The Yukon is similar to its Chevrolet cousins, but it gets slightly more upscale styling and interior materials, as well as unique trim levels such as the flagship Denali luxury model and the new-for-’21 AT4—a premium off-road-oriented trim level. The Yukon’s standard engine is a 355-hp 5.3-liter V8; Denalis come standard with a 420-hp 6.2-liter V8. A 3.0-liter Duramax diesel inline six that makes 277 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque is optional. All engines are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, and both gasoline engines include GM’s Dynamic Fuel Management and engine stop/start technologies. Standard safety features include forward collision alert with automatic emergency braking, front pedestrian braking, rear park assist, and automatic high-beam headlights. Available safety technologies include a surround-view camera display, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, blind-spot alert, and rear pedestrian alert. An available trailering package includes a Hitch Guidance with Hitch View feature that offers up to nine camera views, as well as a trailering app with trailer profiles and the ability to monitor the trailer’s tire pressure and temperature.

WHAT’S NEW?

In addition to some minor revisions in standard/optional equipment, the Yukon AT4 is now available with the 6.2-liter V8 as an option to the base 5.3, and a Denali Performance Black Package is available for the Denali and Denali XL.A “Buckle to Drive” feature in the Teen Driver mode restricts the vehicle from being shifted out of Park if the driver’s seat belt is not buckled.

FUEL ECONOMY

With the 5.3 engine, the Yukon and Yukon XL are EPA-rated at 16 mpg city/20 mpg highway with rear-wheel drive. With 4-wheel drive, they’re rated at 16/20 and 15/19, respectively. With the 6.2 engine and RWD, the Yukon is rated at 15/20 and the XL is rated at 14/20; with 4WD, both are rated at 14/19. Premium-grade gas is required for the 6.2 engine; the 5.3 runs on regular gas. The turbodiesel engine is rated at 21/27 with RWD and 20/26 with 4WD.

VALUE IN CLASS

The large SUV class is for shoppers who need maximum passenger and cargo capacity, and off-road/towing capabilities as well. The downsides of poor fuel economy, cumbersome exterior dimensions, and a “truck-y” ride are usually part of the bargain, but the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL are surprisingly easy to drive for their size, and they offer excellent all-around refinement and a long list of nicely designed technology and convenience features. The upscale AT4 and Denali models offer unique features that give them a distinctive look and feel.

BASE PRICE RANGE $51,600 – $75,200
BODY STYLES 4-Door Wagon
AVAILABLE ENGINES 355-HP, 5.3-Liter V8; 420-HP, 6.2-Liter V8; 277-HP, 3.0-liter Turbodiesel 6-Cyl.
DRIVE WHEELS Rear or Four-Wheel Drive
BUILT IN USA
EPA FUEL-ECONOMY RANGE 14-27 MPG

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