GMC super-sizes its high-tech Yukon

Henry Payne
The Detroit News

GMC introduced an all-new, three-row 2021 Yukon on Tuesday, and the premium brand’s biggest SUV is bigger and brasher than ever.

Based on the same ladder-frame platform as the GMC Sierra pickup, the Yukon wheelbase grows by five inches. As a result, GM says the big ute gains 41% more third-row legroom and 66% more cargo volume. And engineers have equipped the supersized interior with new tech features.

The popular, premium Denali trim will be available. A rugged, off-road AT4 trim also will be on option on the Yukon for the first time.

Topping the list of Yukon goodies is a power-sliding center console that automatically opens for storage.

The 2021 GMC Yukon AT4.

Drivers can survey the Yukon’s surroundings with an available nine camera views – the most in class – while using a 15-inch head-up display so they don’t have to take their eyes off the road.

A class-exclusive, adaptive air-ride suspension promises to deliver smooth sailing in the big land yacht. It also enables drivers to lift the chassis an additional two inches for extreme off-roading. That will be most useful in the AT4 trim, which has skid plates for rock protection. Once back on the road, the air-ride suspension will self-level for best aerodynamics.

Front-seat passengers aren’t the only ones to benefit as the second-row seats can slide up to 5½ inches for additional leg room.

The Yukon will be motivated by GM’s familiar 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter V-8 engines, also found in the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban that GM rolled out late last year. The 6.2-liter  delivers a class-best 420 horsepower paired with a standard 10-speed transmission. For the first time, the Yukon will be available with a 3.0-liter, inline-6 cylinder turbodiesel that's less thirsty.

The 2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali.

The Yukon is distinguished by a huge, meaty grille sandwiched by signature LED C-clamp headlamps. The stylish Denali trim gets the most attention. The Yukon Denali gets an exclusive interior – including a completely new instrument panel, unique seats and a choice of four color themes – outfitted with premium and authentic materials.

The Yukon – including a stretched XL version – will roll off the line at Arlington, Texas this summer. Pricing has not been announced. 

Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at or Twitter @HenryEPayne.