For such a large and bulky vehicle, the Yukon’s design is tidy and elegant. The AT4 is the off-road member of the family with underbody skid plates and a two-speed transfer case. PHOTO: GENERAL MOTORS

For such a large and bulky vehicle, the Yukon’s design is tidy and elegant. The AT4 is the off-road member of the family with underbody skid plates and a two-speed transfer case. PHOTO: GENERAL MOTORS

2021 GMC Yukon: For king-size towing and hauling, Yukon rules the roost

For 2021, the GMC Yukon AT4 has been redesigned, top to bottom.

If you prefer your vehicular transportation on a massive scale, the GMC Yukon is rolling out the welcome mat. A very large welcome mat.

For 2021, the first cousin to the Chevrolet Tahoe – and rich-uncle Cadillac Escalade – has been redesigned, top to bottom. Most obvious is the Yukon’s grille that’s even larger than the previous generation’s, plus crisp new body panels that look tidy and elegant, which is a neat trick for this squared-off mega-hauler.

There’s also a new frame to which an equally new independent rear suspension – a first for Yukon – is attached. Beyond improving overall ride and handling, it contributes to increased stowage capacity behind the standard three rows of seats.

The 2021 Yukon is 15 centimetres longer than before and has nearly 13 more centimetres between the front and rear wheels. Room behind the third row has increased by an astounding 66 per cent. With the second and third rows folded flat, total load area is up by 30 per cent. Third-row legroom is increased by 41 per cent.

The AT4 gets a heated steering wheel, premium leather seat coverings and heated front and rear seats. PHOTO: GENERAL MOTORS

The AT4 gets a heated steering wheel, premium leather seat coverings and heated front and rear seats. PHOTO: GENERAL MOTORS

The second-row seats (bench or optional captain’s chairs) now slide fore and aft by up to 14 centimetres, providing easier access to the third row.

The longer-wheelbase Yukon XL – the twin of the Chevrolet Suburban – is also larger, but not nearly to the same degree as the standard-length Yukon.

The restyled cabin includes an upscale-flavored dashboard and gauges, and thankfully retains easy-to-use knobs for the audio and climate controls. The only glitch is a turn-signal stalk that also operates the windshield and rear-window wiper/washers.

A tablet-type touch-screen is standard for base models, while the version in the premium Denali model is flush with the dash.

The extra-wide floor console has plenty of room. Optional for upper trims is a power-sliding console that can be adjusted rearward by up to 25 centimetres and reveals a hidden storage spot for your valuables.

The standard engine is a 5.3-litre V-8 with 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque, which carries over from 2020. An available 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder turbo-diesel is rated at 277 horsepower and 460 pound-feet. Its max torque occurs at a low 1,500 rpm, which makes it ideal for trailering (Yukons can tow up to 3,800 kilograms). Also returning is a 6.2-litre V-8 — exclusive to the Yukon Denali — with 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet.

A 10-speed automatic transmission is standard.

The Yukon’s interior-design progress from one generation to the next is dramatic. It would be more unified if GMC cut down the number of fonts it uses on the various dials, switches and displays. Check out that wide console. PHOTO: GENERAL MOTORS

The Yukon’s interior-design progress from one generation to the next is dramatic. It would be more unified if GMC cut down the number of fonts it uses on the various dials, switches and displays. Check out that wide console. PHOTO: GENERAL MOTORS

The 5.3’s fuel consumption is rated at 14.3 l/100 km in the city, 11.8 on the highway and 13.2 combined. That engine delivers more than sufficient grunt for motivating the 2,450-kilogram Yukon without feeling stressed or strained.

All-wheel-drive is optional in the base SLE, SLT and Denali Yukons, but is standard with the new off-road oriented AT4 trim. It’s fitted with a two-speed transfer case, underbody protective skid plates, Hill Descent Control and multi-mode Traction Select with Tour, Sport, Tow/Haul and Off Road settings. Also included is a heated steering wheel, premium leather seat coverings and heated front and rear seats.

The base Yukon SLE starts at $59,900 (including destination charges), while the AT4 costs $76,600. The Denali starts at $81,700. That’s a fair chunk of coin but is totally in keeping with the Yukon’s competitors.

Considering the size bump bestowed upon the Yukon, which dramatically increases interior space, it might be less necessary to spend an extra $3,000 for the XL. Whichever iteration you choose, you can be secure in the knowledge that, kilo for kilo, the Yukon’s style, comfort and performance are pretty much tops in its class.

For 2021, the GMC Yukon AT4 has been redesigned, top to bottom.

For 2021, the GMC Yukon AT4 has been redesigned, top to bottom.

What you should know: 2021 GMC Yukon

Type: Rear/ all-wheel-drive full-size sport utility vehicle

Engines (h.p.): 5.3-litre OHV V-8 (355); 6.2-liter OHV V-8 (420); 3.0-litre DOHC I-6, turbo-diesel (277)

Transmission: 10-speed automatic

Market position: The Yukon and Yukon XL are part of an elite group of extra-large utility vehicles dominated by the GMC, Chevrolet and Cadillac brands. All have been re-engineered for the 2021 model year.

Points: The newest edition conveys a bolder, more stylish image. • Larger size creates significantly more cargo and passenger space for those seated in back. • Heavy reliance on the 5.3-litre V-8 engine, but it has a nearly ideal balance of power and efficiency. • The power-retractable running-board option is almost a requirement for shorter passengers.

Driver assist: Blind-spot warning with cross-traffic backup alert (std.); adaptive cruise control (opt.); front emergency braking (std.); inattentive-driver alert (n.a.); lane-departure warning (std.); pedestrian detection (std.)

L/100 km (city/hwy): 14.3/11.8 (5.3 V-8)

Base price (incl. destination): $59,900

AutoscarsSUVsTrucks

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

File photo
A man walks into a Cargill meat processing factory. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Alberta meat plant, site of COVID-19 outbreak last year, to get vaccination clinics

Nearly half of the 2,200 workers at the Cargill facility contracted the novel coronavirus and two employees died last April

Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild, left, Grand Chief Arthur Noskey, centre and Chief Aaron Young during a meeting with First Nations Chiefs and Grand Chiefs in Edmonton. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta must retract Forest Act before it becomes law: Treaty 8 grand chief

‘We are asking (the government) to pull this back and consult with us,’ says Arthur Noskey of Treaty 8 First Nations

Alberta’s largest school board says it will not use the United Conservative government’s draft elementary school curriculum pilot this fall. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
Calgary school board says no to United Conservative draft school curriculum

Other school boards including Edmonton Public, Edmonton Catholic, Elk Island Public, Wild Rose, Medicine Hat Public, Medicine Hat Catholic and Lethbridge Public have also rejected it

Alberta reported its highest number of daily COVID-19 cases since December 16 on Friday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Alberta reports 1,521 additional COVID-19 cases, 674 new variant cases

Daily case total the highest since mid-December

A cross made out of hockey sticks at a makeshift memorial is silhouetted against the setting sun at the intersection of a fatal bus crash near Tisdale, Sask., on Monday, April, 9, 2018. A virtual tribute is planned to mark the third anniversary of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
VIDEO: Humboldt Broncos team to be honoured on third anniversary of fatal bus crash

16 people died and 13 were injured when a semi-trailer ran a stop sign into the path of the hockey team’s bus

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

Vancouver’s park board general manager issued a new order Friday restricting tents and other temporary structures from being set up in Strathcona Park after April 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver park board issues order to restrict tents in Strathcona Park

The order issued Friday restricted tents and other temporary structures from being set up after April 30

Stettler’s own Renegade Station is kicking off the spring season with a brand new single - to be released April 9th. (Photo submitted)
A brand new single is on the way from Stettler-based band Renegade Station

Free Free Free hits all streaming platforms on April 9th

Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau waits for a virtual meeting to begin with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Ottawa, Friday February 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Ottawa mulls exempting more workers from Canada-U.S. border shutdown: Garneau

Canada-U.S. border has been closed to people travelling for vacations and other non-essential visits since March 2020

A worker smooths concrete at a construction site in Toronto on January 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
Economy adds 303,000 jobs in March, unemployment rate falls: Statistics Canada

Figure released this morning outpaced the 259,000 gain seen in February

FILE - This file photo dated July 10, 1947 shows the official photograph of Britain’s Princess Elizabeth and her fiance, Lieut. Philip Mountbatten in London. Buckingham Palace says Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, has died aged 99. (AP Photo/File)
Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, dies at 99

Philip spent a month in hospital earlier this year before being released on March 16

Campbell River city council will continue its 2020 policy of waiving late fees and NSFs. (Mirror File photo)
53% of Canadians teetering the brink of insolvency: survey

A majority of Canadians admit they’re just $200 away from not being able to pay their monthly bills

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney listens as the 2021 budget is delivered in Edmonton Alta, on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Kenney faces criticism from doctors, his own caucus, over new COVID-19 health rules

Alberta now has more than 10,000 active cases, about 43 per cent are variants

Most Read