IT’S A BEST BUY BECAUSE:
With their redesign for 2021, GMC’s “big and bigger” full-size SUVs make great strides in ride quality, passenger comfort, and all-around refinement.
Prices are high, V8 fuel economy is low, and their sheer size can make parking these vehicles a chore.
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 are redesigned for 2021. These vehicles share their basic platform with the Cadillac Escalade and Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban, which are 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 a new option. 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.
The redesigned Yukon gets fresh styling on a larger chassis (the regular-length model is 6.1 inches longer overall than before, on a 4.9-inch longer wheelbase), with an independent rear suspension for improved ride and handling. Interior highlights include a push-button gear selector mounted to the left of the standard 10-inch infotainment touchscreen, as well as a range of newly available features such as an 8-inch digital instrument cluster display, 15-inch head-up display, and dual-touchscreen rear-seat media system. 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.
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. Fuel-economy numbers for the turbodiesel engine were not available as of this writing.
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 new GMC Yukons are surprisingly easy to drive for their size, and they offer much-improved 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||$50,700 – $74,100|
|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|
|EPA FUEL-ECONOMY RANGE||14-20 MPG|