The 2021 GMC Yukon unveiled Tuesday in Vail, Colorado, represents the biggest change for the family-size SUV in more than a decade.
The standard Yukon is 6.1 inches (155 mm) longer and gains a 4.9 inch (124 mm) larger wheelbase. Thanks to the extra length, the SUV has an additional 10.1 inches (257 mm) of third row legroom. Furthermore, cargo capacity climbs 28.2 cubic feet (798 liters) to 122.9 cubic feet (3,480 liters) overall.
The Yukon XL is also larger than before, but the differences are less noticeable. Length climbs by 0.9 inches (23 mm), while the wheelbase grows 4.1 inches (104 mm). Third row legroom is up 2.2 inches (56 mm), while there’s a massive cargo capacity of 144.7 cubic feet (4097 liters).
Moving into the cabin, drivers will find an improved interior with higher quality materials. Highlights include a 10-inch infotainment system, an 8-inch digital display in the instrument cluster and a 15-inch head-up display. Customers can also get a panoramic glass sunroof and a rear seat entertainment system with two 12.6-inch touchscreen displays.
The seven-seat SUV is bigger than before, with more luxury fittings inside and underneath, and its top-shelf Yukon Denali trim scrubs the old-look SUV for a richer interior that’s custom to the high-dollar hauler.
This off-road model gets all the goodies you’ll need to veer off the beaten path with confidence, including an extra 2.0 inches of ground clearance with the adaptive suspension option (more below), a two-speed transfer case, standard Goodyear all-terrain tires, an off-road mode for GMC’s “Traction Select” drive mode system, hill descent control, and some extra underbody skid plates.
Since GMC is a premium brand, even the AT4 gets some luxury appointments, such as a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, and heated outboard second-row seats. The interior is also adorned in black leather with tan accents and “AT4” embroidery in the seat backs.
Speaking of premium, GMC will introduce an air-ride adaptive suspension with an off-road ground clearance mode as a late-availability option for several Yukon models, and this feature will be included on the Denali trim.
A 10-speed automatic transmission is now standard on all Yukon trim levels, replacing the six-speed that was standard on the outgoing model. Both V-8s have the same power ratings as before; the base engine is a 5.3-liter V-8 that produces 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque, and a 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8 is optional. What changes is that these new engines have added a more advanced cylinder-deactivation system that can operate on two to eight cylinders to maximize efficiency. As seen in the new Suburban and Tahoe, GMC adds a turbo-diesel 3.0-liter inline-six engine for 2021, which we assume will make the same 277 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque as it does in the Chevy SUVs.
The 2021 Yukon Denali also includes premium features like a surround-view camera, 15-inch head-up display, rear pedestrian alert, Magnetic Ride Control, and available options such as 22-inch wheels, panoramic sunroof, Air Ride Adaptive Suspension, and Active Response 4WDTM System.
The 2021 Yukon and Yukon XL go on sale this summer with production set to begin at GM’ s Arlington, Texas assembly plant where the Tahoe and Suburban are also built. Pricing and full trim breakdowns should be revealed closer to the on-sale date.