GMC Yukon Denali
GMC Yukon Denali
GMC Yukon Denali

2021 GMC Yukon Denali

Pros: Expansive passenger and cargo room; available diesel engine; towing ability

Cons: Tight-quarters maneuverability; pricey options can drive up already high base prices

CG Says: GMC’s full-size SUVs—the Yukon and the extended-length Yukon XL—are redesigned for 2021, gaining new features, more interior room, and a standard independent rear suspension that improves ride and handling. These plus-size SUVs grow even bigger with their redesign;  the Yukon gains 6.1 inches in overall length and the Yukon XL is almost an inch longer. The Yukon XL, which is 13.2 inches longer in wheelbase and 15.2 inches longer overall than the standard-length Yukon, is related to the Chevrolet Suburban, while the Yukon shares its basic architecture with the Chevrolet Tahoe. Thanks to the larger dimensions and less bulky independent rear suspension, the cargo volume behind the third-row seat increases by 10.2 cubic feet for the Yukon and 2.2 cubic feet for the Yukon XL. Third-row legroom is greater by 10.1 inches in the Yukon and 2.2 inches in the XL.

 

The previous 355-horsepower 5.3-liter V8 and 420-hp 6.2-liter V8 engines carry over, but now have Dynamic Active Fuel Management systems that can run on two, four, six, or eight cylinders as driving conditions warrant. The previous Active Fuel Management system could only deactivate up to four cylinders. A 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder turbodiesel with 277 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque is expected later in the model year. All engines are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission; previously, the 5.3-liter V8 had a 6-speed automatic. Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection is now standard. Other available safety features include trailer-side blind-spot alert, lane-keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control. Also available is an adaptive air suspension that can raise or lower the vehicle. According to GMC, about 60 percent of Yukon/Yukon XL buyers choose the topline Denali model. Along with its plusher interior trim, the Denali now has a unique dashboard that sets it apart from base models. There is also a new off-road-oriented AT4 model that comes with standard 4-wheel drive, a 2-speed transfer case, hill-descent control, skid plates, and all-terrain tires. Yukon’s available electronic limited-slip differential and power-sliding center console are not offered on Tahoe and Suburban. Those who need the room and towing ability of a large SUV will be well served by a Yukon or Yukon XL. The new version is even roomier (especially in the third row) and independent rear suspension adds refinement. The luxurious Denali is a less expensive (although still pricey) alternative to the Cadillac Escalade.

The Facts
Class Large SUV
Body Style(s) 4-door wagon
Passenger Count 7-8
Drive Wheels rear-wheel drive, 4-wheel drive
Manufacturer GMC
Nation of Manufacture USA
Base Prices Yukon SLE: $51,995
4WD Yukon SLE: $54,995
Yukon SLT: $59,095
4WD Yukon SLT: $62,095
4WD Yukon AT4: $66,095
Yukon Denali: $70,190
4WD Yukon Denali: $73,190
Yukon XL SLE: $54,695
4WD Yukon XL SLE: $57,695
Yukon XL SLT: $61,795
4WD Yukon XL SLT: $64,795
4WD Yukon XL AT4: $68,795
Yukon XL Denali: $72,890
4WD Yukon XL Denali: $75,890

Base Engine
5.3-liter V8 (SLE, SLT)
Horsepower
355
Std. Transmission
10-speed automatic
Avail. Transmission
NA
EPA City Range (mpg)
15-16
EPA Hwy Range (mpg)
19-20

Optional Engine
6.2-liter V8 (Denali)
Horsepower
420
Std. Transmission
10-speed automatic
Avail. Transmission
NA
EPA City Range (mpg)
14-15
EPA Hwy Range (mpg)
19-20

Optional Engine
turbodiesel 3.0-liter 6-cylinder
Horsepower
277
Std. Transmission
10-speed automatic
Avail. Transmission
NA
EPA City Range (mpg)
NA
EPA Hwy Range (mpg)
NA