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

Abby Dyer of Shawnigan Lake School. (Submitted)
Shawnigan Lake School poet wins to prize

Abby Dyer has won first place in the Senior Poem category in the Legion’s Youth Remembrance Contest

The Cowichan Valley Regional District has applied for a $199,000 grant to upgrade its emergency communication systems that are used during such events as the major windstorm that hit the Valley in 2018 (pictured).
CVRD looks to upgrade emergency communications with grant

Staff say communications issues plague emergency response efforts in area

A police car at the scene of a child’s death Friday, April 9, at the Falcon Nest Motel in Duncan. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
RCMP investigating child’s death at Duncan’s Falcon Nest Motel

First responders attended to a call about an unresponsive child at the… Continue reading

Brent Clancy, president of the Cowichan Lake District Chamber of Commerce, takes down the signs at the Lake Cowichan Visitor Centre, which closed its doors for good on Jan. 31. Mayor Bob Day says the possible creation of a Town tourism committee is not a response to the closure. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Town of Lake Cowichan looking to form tourism and housing committees

Decision not related to the Lake Cowichan Visitor Information Centre closure

“Representing the school district, legion, and Kaatza Station Museum left to right are Georgie Clark of the museum, Wilma Rowbottom of School District #66 and Ernie Spencer, representing the Legion. The museum and Legion, along with the Village will each take a piece of the old wood shop.” (The Lake News)
Lake Flashback: Soapboxes, woodshop split, taxes down

Remember these stories from Lake Cowichan?

People take part in an anti-curfew protest in Montreal on Sunday April 11, 2021. Hundreds of people gathered in Old Montreal tonight in defiance of a new 8 p.m. curfew. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Giuseppe Valiante
VIDEO: Hundreds defy Montreal’s 8 p.m. curfew in violent, destructive protest

Quebec reported 1,535 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as well as five additional deaths linked to the virus

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Most Read