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2021 GMC Yukon Pros vs Cons

Why Buy a 2021 GMC Yukon?
Reviewed & fact checked by
James MurdochNorman Ruckpaul

Are You Considering a 2021 GMC Yukon? Here Are Some Reasons For and Against

Sometimes you just need more room inside of your vehicle. That's where large SUVs like the 2021 GMC Yukon come in. This full-sized SUV even comes in an XL model, just in case the regular version isn't big enough to suit your needs. The GMC Yukon offers a host of great powertrain options. There's plenty of horsepower and torque on hand for hauling a heavy load of people or cargo. It also provides a luxurious interior and a smooth, comfortable ride.

What's New for 2021?

2021 marks the beginning of the fifth generation for the GMC Yukon. The vehicle has been completely redesigned for the latest models. That means all-new exterior and interior styling. The available engines, technology and features all get some much-needed updates as well.

Ten Reasons You May Like the 2021 GMC Yukon – The Pros

1. Excellent Performance

The 2021 GMC Yukon comes with one of three different engines. All provide amazing power and performance. The base engine is a 5.3-liter V8 that produces 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. It features an aluminum block, direct injection and variable valve timing. This power plant has more than enough power to handle a full carload.

If that's not enough, higher trim levels come equipped with a 6.2-liter V8. This engine also has an aluminum block, direct injection and variable valve timing. Both engines are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. This beast cranks out a whopping 420 horsepower with 460 pound-feet of torque. Those numbers give the 2021 GMC Yukon best-in-class horsepower.

2. An Available Diesel Engine

GMC will be offering a 3.0-liter I6 Duramax Diesel motor later in 2021. Diesel fuel is often cheaper than regular gasoline. Diesel engines have a reputation for durability as they're simpler with less moving parts. Best of all, diesel engines can produce a lot of power and torque which is ideal for towing. The I6 Duramax Diesel will make 277 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque.

3. Plenty of Cargo Space

Cargo space is one of the most important categories for a large SUV. The 2021 GMC Yukon offers plenty of it. The standard Yukon offers a maximum of 122.9 cubic feet of space with the rear seats folded down. Even with all of the seats in use, there is more than enough room for your average grocery run.

For even more space, there is the GMC Yukon XL model. This version of the Yukon gives owners a whopping 144.7 cubic feet of space with the rear seats folded down. Both 2021 models of the Yukon offer more cargo room than in previous years.

4. Room for Your Whole Crew

In addition to space for your cargo, there's also plenty of room here for friends, family and whoever else you need to transport around. The standard Yukon can seat up to seven or eight people depending in the trim level and configuration. The XL model can accommodate up to nine people.

5. Off-Road Capabilities

Not everyone will want to take their Yukon off-roading, but you certainly can if you need to. It has respectable off-road capabilities. This is enhanced greatly when you select a Yukon equipped with the available all-wheel drive (AWD). The fantastic suspension system and high ground clearance also make this SUV a good performer over rough terrain.

6. The Ability To Tow

Large SUVs make excellent vehicles to take on a vacation or road trip. They offer plenty of room for your luggage and lots of interior space for your personal comfort. One other thing that makes them nice to have for a trip is their ability to tow along a trailer or boat. Depending on your trim level and when setup for towing, the Yukon can pull up to 8,400 pounds.

7. All-New Redesigned Interior

The new interior of the 2021 Yukon is both beautiful and comfortable. The fit and finish of the interior is excellent. The materials are all high quality and the controls and gauges are laid out in a logical manner. The seats are extremely comfortable, especially in the Denali trim level.

8. An Independent Rear Suspension

The suspension system on the 2021 GMC Yukon allows it to carry more cargo. Best of all, it provides for an excellent ride quality. The Yukon can soak up whatever the road throws at it. You get a smooth, quiet and comfortable ride.

9. Modern Technology

GMC has packed the Yukon with modern technology you won't find on just any SUV. There's driver-assist tech like Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keep Assist. There is also entertainment technology in the form of the GMC infotainment system with premium audio by Bose.

10. It's a Safe Vehicle

The latest Yukon is a safe vehicle packed with modern safety equipment. A reinforced and well-engineered frame helps to keep the occupants safe. There are a number of high-tech features such as Forward Collision Alert, Automatic Emergency Braking and a Rear Pedestrian Alert.

Reasons You May Not Like the 2021 GMC Yukon – The Cons

1. Poor Maneuverability

Maneuverability isn't something full-sized SUVs are exactly known for. This is more of a problem with the entire class of vehicles than something specific to the 2021 Yukon. This is simply something to be aware of before you buy. If maneuverability is important to you, perhaps a smaller SUV would be a better choice.

2. Not the Best Fuel Economy

Similar to maneuverability, fuel efficiency isn't something that SUVs are known for. The GMC Yukon is no different. This is a large vehicle meant to transport lots of people and stuff around. It will definitely cost you at the gas pump. The best you can hope for with the right trim level and configuration is a combined fuel-economy rating of 18 miles-per-gallon.

3. May Not Be the Best Value

The 2021 GMC Yukon is priced lower than some of its top competitors. There are still, however, plenty of options in this class of vehicle that are cheaper. The Chevrolet Tahoe is also a GM car and is based on the same platform as the Yukon. It is very similar to the Yukon but actually costs less, and this is just one such example.

How It Stacks Up to the Competition:

The full-sized SUV has been one of the best-selling vehicle classes for some time now. This means that the 2021 GMC Yukon will face off against some stiff competition. Three of its top competitors for 2021 will be the Ford Expedition, the Lincoln Navigator and the Cadillac Escalade.

2021 GMC Yukon vs 2021 Ford Expedition

Both of these SUVs are quality vehicles. They both start out at similar price points, though the Yukon is a bit less expensive. Both vehicles also have three rows of seats to accommodate up to seven people. The Yukon is larger and provides more interior space overall. Certain models of the Yukon can also accommodate up to nine occupants.

The Yukon offers a lot more cargo space. You get 122.9 cubic feet of storage space or 144.7 cubic feet with the Yukon XL. The Expedition falls far short of these numbers at only 104.6 cubic feet of storage space. Both vehicles have brisk acceleration, but the Yukon has more horsepower and torque.

These two SUVs offer comparable safety equipment and convenience features. They're both attractive vehicles inside and out. The Yukon is the better choice here with more room, more cargo space and a better price point.

2021 GMC Yukon vs 2021 Lincoln Navigator

The 2021 Lincoln Navigator is larger than the standard GMC Yukon. It offers a total of eight seats. Surprisingly, the Navigator has much less cargo room than the standard Yukon or the Yukon XL. The Navigator has a more upscale interior and is the more luxurious of the two SUVs.

All of the luxury appointments on the Navigator don't come cheap. The starting price of the Navigator is significantly higher than the base cost of a Yukon. The Yukon is cheaper to fill up at the gas pump too. Once again, the Yukon offers much higher horsepower and torque.

Nothing beats the Yukon when it comes to horsepower and performance in this class. The Lincoln Navigator is no exception. The luxury and comfort of the Navigator is impressive, but the costs make it less of a value than the 2021 GMC Yukon.

2021 GMC Yukon vs 2021 Cadillac Escalade

Both of these full-sized SUVs are made by General Motors. They offer a lot of similar features. This includes safety features, driver-assist technology and convenience features. The Escalade has more cargo room than a standard Yukon but a little less than the Yukon XL.

The Cadillac, like the Lincoln Navigator, is more of a luxury vehicle than the Yukon. As such, the price reflects this reality and is significantly higher than the cost of a Yukon. Interestingly, the Navigator can tow more than the Yukon even though the Yukon produces the same horsepower with the 6.2-liter engine.

In many ways, the Escalade is like an upscale version of the Yukon. Many drivers will prefer the extra attention to details and the luxurious interior. Still, the Yukon offers many of the same practical amenities at a much lower cost. The Yukon is the better bargain here.


Anyone looking for a full-sized SUV would do well to check out the 2021 GMC Yukon. It offers the best horsepower in its class. It can easily haul around a large crew and a good amount of cargo. The Yukon can even tow along a trailer or a boat for your next adventure. This SUV is also packed with modern technology, safety features and plenty of amenities.

While not the least expensive SUV in its class, the 2021 Yukon represents good value for your money. It comes in at a lower price than some of its stiffest competition. It's filled with just enough perks while still being a practical vehicle to own. This latest Yukon is truly hard to beat.  

Previous GMC Yukon Buying Guides:

Why buy a 2020 GMC Yukon? w/ pros vs cons