The Yukon is one of the big boys on the road when it comes to SUVs. With three rows of seating and a ton of cargo space, it is a good alternative to the minivan for families. Of course, the Yukon's size also works against it in some ways, making it hard to maneuver and a bit thirsty. In 2021, GMC launches the fifth generation of this vehicle. Do the changes made for the new model make the 2021 GMC Yukon the ultimate family hauler?
What's New for 2021?
In short, everything. The 2021 Yukon rides on a new platform that is also being used by the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban. It maintains its own unique style, however. The ride quality improves in 2021 with the new standard rear independent suspension.
The Yukon has built its reputation on being a powerhouse. In 2021, there are three different powertrains to be considered. Standard is a 5.3L V8 that produces 355-horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. Those who want a bit more oomph can go with the 6.2L V8 that makes 420-horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque.
Broadening the appeal of the 2021 Yukon is the available 3.0L diesel six-cylinder. It may only make 277-horsepower, but its hearty 460 lb-ft of torque makes it a powerful contender. All three of these engines are paired to a ten-speed automatic transmission. With the exception of the AT4 trim, which comes standard with four-wheel drive, all models come with rear-wheel-drive. Four-wheel drive is available on the remaining three trims.
Not only is there plenty of space inside the Yukon for gear, but it can also haul quite a bit behind it. Select models with the Max Trailering package have the ability to tow up to a whopping 8,400 pounds. This package adds an enhanced cooling radiator for added peace of mind when bringing something heavy along.
The available ProGrade Trailering System makes towing easier than ever. It includes an integrated trailer brake controller, trailer side blind-zone alert, and a hitch guidance system. It also gives drivers access to an in-vehicle trailering app.
The interior of the Yukon is full of premium materials. There is seating for eight people standard in the entry-level SLE trim. Buyers can also choose to go with a bench seat in the front in this trim, bringing the seating capacity up to nine. Select models go with captain's chairs in the second row, which will bring the number of seats down to seven.
With the exception of the base model, all versions of the Yukon get leather upholstery. These models also have both heated and ventilated front seats. A variety of interior upgrades are available, depending on the trim. Highlights include a rear-seat entertainment system for the kids and driver-seat memory settings.
A decent number of driver aids are found standard on all models of the 2021 Yukon. They have forward-collision alert, front pedestrian braking, and automatic emergency braking. Both front and rear park assist are standard across the board as well.
The SLE trim offers the GMC Pro Safety Plus package. Within it are even more driver aids, such as blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane departure mitigation. These features become standard on the SLT and up.
Adaptive cruise control is also available, but only for the Denali trim. Standard on that top trim are more driver assistance features, such as a rear cross-traffic alert system and a head-up display. This model also has a surround-view camera system that offers up a top-down view of the Yukon. Drivers will find this is particularly useful when it comes to parking a vehicle of this size.
A 10.2-inch touchscreen is standard inside the 2021 Yukon. It also gets the wireless version of the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The SLT trim level has a nine-speaker Bose sound system. Not enough speakers? The Denali has a 14-speaker premium sound system instead. That trim also has an integrated navigation system for added convenience.
All models of the Yukon offer a degree of luxury. The SLE has things like keyless entry and ignition. There are a variety of packages available as well, allowing buyers to personalize their Yukon SLE. Next up is the SLT. It goes up to 20-inch wheels and adds more convenience with features like a hands-free power liftgate.
The AT4 trim is the more rugged version of the Yukon. The front fascia has a different design that allows for an improved approach angle. It also gets upgrades like front tow hooks, a heavy-duty air filter, and a front skid plate. The Denali loses those features but gains more standard tech and driver aids.
With a complete redesign, the 2021 GMC Yukon is more appealing than ever. It should be on the top of the list for anyone looking for a large SUV.
Formula for Calculating Dealer Cost:
Total Dealer Cost - Rebate and Incentive + Taxes / Licensing Fees = True Dealer Cost. (You can get rebates and incentives here.)
Note: All GMC Yukon MSRP, invoice and dealer cost dollar figures above are approximate amounts. Prices are subject to change without notice.
A note about rebates: Most rebates are subtracted from the "on the road" figure. In most cases, you can have the rebate if you are arranging your own financing or you are paying cash. If you decide to use the manufacturer’s low interest financing, you do not usually get the rebate. Ask your dealer for details.