• 2021 GMC Yukon

    The bold new styling puts the Yukon at the top of its class
  • and has a 4.1-inch longer wheelbase
  • The grille is as large as possible
  • While the rear exudes a bit of sportiness
  • It's now longer by 0.9 inches
  • 2021 GMC Yukon
  • The option adaptive air suspension can raise or lower the body by 2 inches in each direction
  • And the AT4 can have an apporach angle of up to 34 degrees
  • There's also an updated 5.3-liter V-8
  • The interior takes things to the next level as well
  • The obligatory leather is found everywhere
  • And the Denali trim even has a sliding center console
  • Getting into the rear is impressively easy as the second row now slides forward
  • But second row passengers get their own display screens
  • Cargo room behind the third row has improved by 1.8 cu-ft to 41.1 cu-ft
  • while maximum cargo room as improved by 23 cu-ft to 144.7 cu-ft
  • That's a lot of luggage!
  • because of the longer wheelbase, passenger room has been improved as well
  • With third-row passengers seeing 36.7 inches of legroom that's a 2.2-inch increase
  • Under the hood you'll get your choice of three different engines
  • The range-topping engine is the 6.2-liter V-8
  • with 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque
  • and a 3.0-liter, turbodiesel, inline-six
  • There's no word on output for the 5.3 or 3.0-liter yet
  • And pricing is still a mystery too
  • But the Yukon and Yukon XL goes on sale in the summer of 2020

The 2021 GMC Yukon just landed with bold new looks and a new off-road oriented AT4 trim

What do we have here? Fresh off the debut of the all-new Chevy Tahoe and Suburban, GMC has launched the more upscale Yukon and Yukon XL. Right away, we have to give GMC credit for making such a bold statement in a world where any SUV that’s going to succeed stands out. The new Yukon comes with a larger footprint, more third-row legroom, an updated engine lineup, and more upscale materials inside. Can it finally compete in the premium segment that it was meant for?

  • 2021 GMC Yukon
  • Year:
    2021
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V10
  • Transmission:
    10-Speed Auto
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    420
  • Torque @ RPM:
    460
  • Energy:
    Gasoline
  • Displacement:
    6.2 L
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

What Kind Of Drivetrain and Performance Does The 2021 GMC Yukon Have?

  • 5.3-liter, V-8 engine
  • 355 horses and 383 pound-feet of twist
  • 6.2-liter, V-8 mill
  • 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque
  • 3.0-liter, six-cylinder Duramax diesel engine
  • 277 horses and 460 pound-feet of twist
  • 10-speed automatic transmission
  • New four-link independent rear suspension design
  • Magnetic Ride Control and Air Ride Adaptive Suspension
The 2021 GMC Yukon shares the same powertrains as the new Suburban and Tahoe.

There are three engines on offer. The standard mills are a 5.3-liter, V-8 that develops 355 horses and 383 pound-feet of twist, and a 6.2-liter, V-8 mill that makes 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. The former comes as standard on all trims except Denali, which comes with the 6.2-liter mill as standard. The third engine is a 3.0-liter, six-cylinder Duramax oil burner that churns out 277 horses and 460 pound-feet of twist. All three engines are mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Chevrolet says that the Duramax engine is a new design that uses:

  • An Aluminum Block
  • Iron Cylinder Liners
  • A Forged Steel Crankshaft
  • Forged Connecting Rod
  • Blended Aluminium Plus Silicon Pistons For Maximum Heat Resistance

2021 GMC Yukon Suspension System

2021 GMC Yukon Exterior
- image 880452
And the AT4 can have an apporach angle of up to 34 degrees
Just like its Chevy cousins, the 2021 Yukon also comes with a new suspension system that elevates the SUV to a whole new level in terms of ride quality and handling.

Instead of a solid rear axle, the Yukon now makes use of a four-link independent rear suspension design. This design is known to radically change a vehicle’s behavior and road mannerisms. This basically consists of three lateral arms, one longitudinal arm, coil springs, and a stabilizer bar. GM experimented with this setup for the first time in the Silverado before trickling it down to other products in its diverse portfolio. The Yukon also comes with Magnetic Ride Control dampers and a new Air Ride Adaptive Suspension.

The Air Ride Adaptive Suspension system is sourced from BWI Group, which also supplies to Ram for the 1500. The Air Ride Adaptive Suspension features auto-leveling that will ensure that even if you hitch a trailer at the rear, the car will level itself so you are sitting flat and nice inside.

2021 GMC Yukon Exterior
- image 880455
The range-topping engine is the 6.2-liter V-8
The suspension has a range of four inches, which means you can lift or lower the vehicle by up to two inches on the fly.

The Magnetic Ride Control, on the other hand, is not a new sighting per se and keeps constantly adjusting the dampers on the fly to make sure the occupants are comfortable and the ride is smooth at all times. The 2021 Yukon also comes with an optional Active Response all-wheel-drive system, which includes a new electronic-slip differential that helps the wheels gain better traction in off-road situations. However, this will still not please a hardcore off-road enthusiast and an electronic slip differential is more of a ‘resume’ feature than actual skill.

2021 GMC Yukon Towing and Fuel Economy

2021 GMC Yukon Exterior
- image 880417

GMC hasn’t revealed the payload, towing, and fuel economy figures for the 2021 Yukon yet. The present Yukon can tow up to 8,500 pounds, and return 15 miles per gallon in the city, and 22 miles per gallon on the highway. The fuel economy could see a slight dip as the independent rear suspension system has increased the weight of the Yukon by up to 200 pounds. Expect it to be even lesser on the AT4 trim.

How Much Does The 2021 GMC Yukon Cost?

2021 GMC Yukon Exterior
- image 880456

The official prices of the 2021 GMC Yukon are not revealed yet. The current Yukon starts at $50,600, but the 2021 model could see an increase of $2,000-$4,000. This is because of the new suspension system and tech features. The current Suburban starts at $51,700, but the 2021 model could see an increase of $2,000-$4,000 depending on the trim.

What Does The GMC Yukon Look Like?

  • Denali trim features a massive chrome grille
  • C-shaped LED headlights
  • 22-inch wheels are well-sculpted
  • Black-wrapped D-pillars give a floating roof effect
  • Yukon has grown by 6.1 inches
  • Wheelbase measures 120.9 inches
  • Yukon XL by 0.9 inches
  • Wheelbase measures 134.1 inches
left right
There is absolutely no denying that GMC has elevated the Yukon to a different level now.

The company has realized that as long as the offering has all the essentials and stands out from the crowd, it will succeed in this niche. Perhaps, that is why the new Yukon looks so bold. Upfront, the biggest change comes in the form of the massive grille.

The Denali trim receives a HUGE chrome grille with a honeycomb-like detailing. It looks absolutely gaudy.

Well, that’s one way to announce itself on the circuit. It is slapped with a GMC logo on it. The 2021 Yukon benefits from new C-shaped LED headlights with the turn indicators integrated into the ‘C’. When in action, they look stunning.

2021 GMC Yukon Exterior
- image 880452
And the AT4 can have an apporach angle of up to 34 degrees

The hood receives prominent muscular creases. The bumper is quite big in itself, but the grille eats into it in the middle. You can see vertically-slatted fog lamps sitting in a recessed area with black housing around it. The bottom outer shell is finished in silver and complements the dual color tone of the Yukon. In the middle is a slim, long air dam with a faux skid plate underneath. Beside the skid plate is black plastic cladding to protect the body when traversing (pun intended) over uneven surfaces.

The side profile of the 2021 Yukon is quite handsome. The 2021 Yukon’s wheelbase is increased by almost an inch.

The wheel arches aren’t bulbous by any means, and neither are they covered in the black plastic cladding. There are reflectors pasted over here; something which we saw on the Tahoe and the Suburban as well. Something to do with brand recall, perhaps. When viewed from the side, the Yukon looks massive. It’s long, it’s wide, and it’s tall. There is a rear overhang here but looks very proportionate from all angles. To give you a perspective of big it is, the Denali trim rides on 22-inch wheels. Now, in a general context, 22-inch wheels are BIG! But, they don’t stand out on the Yukon. As for the badges, there is the trim badge on the front doors and ‘GMC’ on the fenders.

2021 GMC Yukon Exterior
- image 880427
It’s now longer by 0.9 inches
Shift your focus on the windows and they seem a little small at the front. This is because the glass area for the last row is quite long.

There is no front-quarter glass here, and the wing mirrors are placed at the edge of the window. The B-pillar frame is also quite thick and feels like it’s intruding into the windows. There are mud flaps in front of the tires for aerodynamic purposes. The wheels wear a nice, smart design that will please all and offend none. The Yukon receives black plastic cladding under the doors. The chrome finish is carried over to the profile as well. You can see a slim strip on the doors, handles, and a wraparound on the window sill. The top strip extends all the way to the rear, which complements the extra-long roof-rail on the roof. Nice attention to detail there.

left right
The rear is quite subtle when compared to the face, but it is not boring by any means.

The C-shaped taillights look good, and have the indicator and reverse light integrated into the same cluster. The handle to lift the tailgate is finished in chrome, too, and wears the GMC badge. There is a wide lip with rubber covering to prevent damages to the paint or the body when loading and unloading stuff. There is a spoiler at the top that adds to the character of the SUV. The rear windshield almost extends till the end on either side. Coupled with the black-wrapped D-pillars, the Yukon gives a floating roof effect. The bumper, like the front and side, receive black cladding at the bottom. There are dual-tip steel exhaust pipes on either side. The spare tire sits underneath the body, thus freeing up space on the inside. The Yukon, overall, looks smart and in-line with the younger generation of SUVs.

How big is the GMC Yukon?

2021 GMC Yukon Exterior
- image 880463
With third-row passengers seeing 36.7 inches of legroom
that’s a 2.2-inch increase
The 2021 Yukon’s footprint has grown, but this has resulted in a spacious on the inside.

The Yukon has grown by 6.1 inches in length and now measures 210 inches. The wheelbase measures 120.9 inches; grown by 4.9 inches when compared to the current model. This, coupled with superb engineering by the team has resulted in the legroom growing by 10.1 inches; now measuring 34.9 inches! Even the maximum cargo room is now rated at 122.9 cubic-feet; an increase of 28.2 cubic-feet. With all seats in place, you still have 25.5 cubic-feet of cargo space available.

2021 GMC Yukon dimensions
2020 Yukon   2021 Yukon Change
Wheelbase (inches) 116 120.9 +4.9
Overall Length (inches) 203.9 210.0 +6.1
Legroom – Third Row 24.8 34.9 +10.1
Cargo Room Behind Third Row (cubic feet) 15.3 25.5 +10.2
Maximum Cargo Room (cubic feet) 94.7 122.9 +28.2
2021 GMC Yukon Exterior
- image 880418

As for the Yukon XL, it stretches by 0.9 inches and stands at 225.2 inches in length. It rides on a 134.1-inches long wheelbase - that’s 4.1-inches more than the current iteration. This has resulted in a 2.2-inch increase in the third-row legroom, now measuring 36.7 inches! Flip down the second and the third-row seats and you’ll have 144.7 cubic-feet of cargo space available at your disposal – an increase of 23 cubic-feet over the present model. With all the seats up, you still have a humongous 41.1 cubic-feet of cargo space available at your disposal.

2021 GMC Yukon XL dimensions
2020 Yukon XL 2021 Yukon XL Change
Wheelbase (inches) 130 134.1 +4.1
Overall Length (inches) 224.3 225.2 +0.9
Legroom – Third Row (inches) 34.5 36.7 +2.2
Cargo Room Behind Third Row (cubic feet) 39.3 41.1 +1.8
Maximum Cargo Room (cubic feet) 121.7 144.7 +23

To make things even more comfortable, GMC has equipped both the Yukon and the Yukon XL with a sliding second row that gives a whopping 5.5 inches of extra room to get to the third row. Tall people will not hate you anymore if you ask them to move to the last row.

GMC Yukon Interior And Technology

  • Spacious cabin
  • Power Sliding Center Console that slides back about 10 inches
  • Yukon’s maximum cargo space increased by 28.2 cubic-feet
  • Yukon XL’s cargo space measures 41.1 cubic-feet with all seats in place
  • 10-inch touchscreen integrated into the dash
  • A customizable 15-inch multi-color head-up display
  • Second-row passengers get their own display screens
  • Nine-camera surround view
2021 GMC Yukon Interior
- image 880441
On the inside, the GMC Yukon is as luxurious as it can get at this price point. The company has surely upped the game here and it is visible.

There are no signs of cost-cutting whatsoever. If you were impressed by the updated Tahoe and Suburban’s cabins, the Yukon will blow your mind away, especially the Denali trim. The whole center console is laid out brilliantly. The leather-wrapped steering wheel looks meaty and will be a delight to hold. It has a lot of buttons, but doesn’t look one bit cluttered. There is a new instrument cluster in place with the tachometer on the left, speedometer on the right, and a multi-information display in the middle.

The cowl on top of the instrument cluster extends outside the cockpit and goes all the way to the touchscreen infotainment system. That’s because the HVAC vents are placed here. Although they are aesthetically pleasing, they are tilted slightly downwards. Unless it has a flexible range, the airflow will be directed downwards. The Yukon Denali will come with a choice of four interior themes which include different combinations of premium leather with distinctive Fractal stitching and complementing wood. I would’ve preferred the ‘Denali’ embossing on the dash on the passenger’s side, just like the steering wheel. You are seated in the plushest Yukon, after all.

2021 GMC Yukon Interior
- image 880478
And the Denali trim even has a sliding center console

A dual-zone climate control is available on the 2021 GMC Yukon. Right below this control zone, the company has offered wireless charging spot and cup holders. They get a lid a well. GMC now offers transmission buttons on the dash; on the left of the touchscreen system. They are all sized the same, which looks symmetrical but I don’t find it convenient. There are chances you will press the wrong buttons accidentally more often than not. I hope the buttons have a different feel on each of them.

Features and Technology

2021 GMC Yukon Interior
- image 880420

The biggest highlight of the cabin comes only in the Denali trim.

It’s a Power Sliding Center Console that slides back about 10 inches at the touch of a button.

This way, you can have additional room to stow away your personal stuff. There is also a hidden storage drawer underneath where you can keep all the valuables when giving the SUV to a valet. The infotainment system is a 10-inch touchscreen integrated into the dash. The placement looks fabulous and feels like a part of the dash itself. A customizable 15-inch multi-color head-up display shows a plethora of information on the windshield such as speed, lane departure warning, audio, and so on. Since the Yukon has grown in all dimensions, GMC played it smart and decided to offer a nine-camera surround view. The second-row passengers get their own display screens as well.

GM Yukon Competition

Lincoln Navigator

The New Lincoln Navigator is Here, and You're Going to Want One High Resolution
- image 713296

The Navigator is a perfect all-rounder in this niche. It comes with stylish looks that make it stand out from the crowd, plush interiors that can give complex to cars from a segment higher, and a powerful engine that will plaster a smile on any enthusiast’s face. However, the mighty car does not feature a V-8, and that’s a bummer. The only engine option is a 3.5-liter, twin-turbo V-6 that churns out 450 horses and 510 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the wheels via a 10-speed automatic transmission. Like the 2021 Yukon, the Navigator also comes with a rear independent suspension system. Although it is an accomplished product that ticks all the right boxes, the Navigator is mighty expensive for what it offers. It starts at $75,825 and breaches the six-digit figure with options in the top trim. Is it worth it? We’ll let you decide.

Read our full review on the 2020 Lincoln Navigator

Volvo XC90

2020 Volvo XC90 Exterior
- image 831841

The Swedish carmaker’s flagship offering excels in all the departments except the engine. The Scandinavian looks generally receive a positive reaction from the masses. The interior is practical, ergonomic, and feature-rich even on the case trim. However, things go haywire when you start driving the SUV. The humdrum of a four-pot mill is evident here, even though the engine is smooth otherwise. The best that Volvo has to offer is a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder mill with a turbocharger, supercharger, and an electric motor. It churns out 400 horses in total and 472 pound-feet of twist. However, I believe there is no replacement for displacement and I stand by it despite the impressive power outputs. Other than that, the SUV will not leave you whining in any aspect. The XC90 starts at $48,350.

Read our full review on the 2020 Volvo XC90

Infiniti QX80

2018 Infiniti QX80 Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 744916

The Infiniti QX80 is not a very popular choice and to be honest, feels a bit dated when compared to the competition. That doesn’t mean the SUV offers bang for the buck. On the outside, it looks like a muscular Nissan Armada at best. The feature list is what you would expect at this point and nothing extraordinary. In fact, it doesn’t even come with Android Auto. There’s only one engine option – a 5.6-liter, V-8 mill that makes 400 ponies and 413 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the wheels via a seven-speed automatic transmission. The Infiniti QX80 can tow up to 8,500 pounds. It starts at $66,750 and goes all the way up to $91,450 before options.

Read our full review on the 2020 Infiniti QX80

Final Thoughts

2021 GMC Yukon Exterior
- image 880440
and has a 4.1-inch longer wheelbase
The GMC Yukon comes with a plethora of changes this around and that makes it all the more desirable.

The looks, especially on the Denali trim, may draw polarizing opinions, but it is a brilliant package overall. The Yukon has arrived strong and will give a tough time to its competition. What’s more, GMC is offering it in the off-road AT4 guise as well! The trend will trickle down all the products and I see no harm in that.

Now that the Yukon has overcome all its shortcomings, how does it fare against its own cousins – the Tahoe and Suburban? The trio shares a lot of parts, but it looks like all the sales will be split between the three. I guess the parent company is happy as long as the customer makes a purchase from one of its showrooms.

  • Leave it
    • A lot of part sharing with the Tahoe and Suburban
    • What’s with that mammoth chrome grille?
    • The grown footprint will cause parking woes
2021 GMC Yukon Exterior
- image 880424
2021 GMC Yukon
2021 GMC Yukon Exterior
- image 880426
The bold new styling puts the Yukon at the top of its class
2021 GMC Yukon Exterior
- image 880427
It’s now longer by 0.9 inches
2021 GMC Yukon Exterior
- image 880440
and has a 4.1-inch longer wheelbase
2021 GMC Yukon Exterior
- image 880460
The grille is as large as possible
2021 GMC Yukon Exterior
- image 880439
While the rear exudes a bit of sportiness
2021 GMC Yukon Exterior
- image 880447
The option adaptive air suspension can raise or lower the body by 2 inches in each direction
2021 GMC Yukon Exterior
- image 880452
And the AT4 can have an apporach angle of up to 34 degrees
2021 GMC Yukon Interior
- image 880465
The interior takes things to the next level as well
2021 GMC Yukon Interior
- image 880479
The obligatory leather is found everywhere
2021 GMC Yukon Interior
- image 880478
And the Denali trim even has a sliding center console
2021 GMC Yukon Interior
- image 880477
2021 GMC Yukon Interior
- image 880476
2021 GMC Yukon Interior
- image 880404
Getting into the rear is impressively easy as the second row now slides forward
2021 GMC Yukon Interior
- image 880428
But second row passengers get their own display screens
2021 GMC Yukon Interior
- image 880468
Cargo room behind the third row has improved by 1.8 cu-ft to 41.1 cu-ft
2021 GMC Yukon Interior
- image 880467
That’s a lot of luggage!
2021 GMC Yukon Exterior
- image 880461
because of the longer wheelbase, passenger room has been improved as well
2021 GMC Yukon Exterior
- image 880463
With third-row passengers seeing 36.7 inches of legroom
that’s a 2.2-inch increase
2021 GMC Yukon Exterior
- image 880451
Under the hood you’ll get your choice of three different engines
2021 GMC Yukon Exterior
- image 880455
The range-topping engine is the 6.2-liter V-8
2021 GMC Yukon Exterior
- image 880459
with 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque
2021 GMC Yukon Exterior
- image 880438
There’s also an updated 5.3-liter V-8
2021 GMC Yukon Exterior
- image 880406
and a 3.0-liter, turbodiesel, inline-six
2021 GMC Yukon Exterior
- image 880457
There’s no word on output for the 5.3 or 3.0-liter yet
2021 GMC Yukon Exterior
- image 880434
And pricing is still a mystery too
2021 GMC Yukon Exterior
- image 880425
But the Yukon and Yukon XL goes on sale in the summer of 2020
Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read More
About the author

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