Crossovers might be selling like hotcakes, but GMC is committed to full-size SUVs and they’re showing that resolve by unveiling the all-new Yukon and Yukon XL.
Set to go on sale later this year, the Yukon is instantly recognizable as it’s front fascia closely echoes the Sierra. Just like the pickup, the SUV features a prominent grille which is flanked by C-shaped headlights with integrated LED daytime running lights. Further below, there are vertical fog lights and a more aerodynamic front bumper.
Continuing to the rear, the Yukon has an evolutionary body with more prominent character lines. The model also adopts a rakish C-pillar, sculpted doors and a relatively flat roof. To help distinguish it from the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, designers added L-shaped taillights which mimic those on the Arcadia.
While the models look pretty familiar, they’ve grown in size. 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 standard Yukon has an interior that echoes the Tahoe and Suburban, but the Denali is different as it has an exclusive cabin with unique seats, a more luxurious dashboard and authentic wood trim.
The Denali, AT4 and SLT can also be equipped with an optional sliding center console. It slides back up to 10 inches (254 mm) to provide drivers with an open space for a purse or a bag.
Under the hood, the Yukon comes standard with a 5.3-liter V8 engine that produces 355 hp (265 kW / 360 PS) and 383 lb-ft (519 Nm) of torque. It features cylinder deactivation technology and is connected to a new ten-speed automatic transmission.
Upgrading to the Denali rewards buyers with a 6.2-liter V8 that develops 420 hp (313 kW / 426 PS) and 460 lb-ft (623 Nm) of torque. Customers can also opt for a newly available 3.0-liter six-cylinder diesel engine that produces 277 hp (207 kW / 281 PS) and 460 lb-ft (623 Nm) of torque.
Besides the updated engine lineup, the Yukon can be equipped with an Active Response 4WD system. GMC didn’t say much about it, but it can work with the newly available electronic limited slip differential.
Sticking with the performance theme, the Yukon and Yukon XL feature an all-new independent rear suspension that promises to dramatically improve comfort and driving dynamics. The ride can be further enhanced by an Air Ride Adaptive Suspension and Magnetic Ride Control.
While the Yukon isn’t a hardcore off-roader, that hasn’t stopped GMC from introducing a new AT4 variant. It features skid plates, a two-speed transfer case and Goodyear all-terrain tires. Other items include hill descent control and a traction select system with an off-road mode.
Like many modern vehicles, the Yukon can be equipped with an assortment of driver assistance systems. These include Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Alert, Front Pedestrian Braking and Rear Pedestrian Alert. There’s also Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, and Front and Rear Park Assist.
The 2021 GMC Yukon and Yukon XL will go on sale this summer, and pricing will be released closer to launch.