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

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta identifies 1,516 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday

Central zone has 1,849 active cases

A damaged unicorn statue is shown in a field outside of Delia, Alta. in this undated handout photo. It’s not often police can report that a unicorn has been found, but it was the truth Saturday when RCMP said a stolen, stainless-steel statue of the mythical beast had been located in a field not far from where he’d been taken. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Mounties get their unicorn; stolen statue of mythical beast found in Alberta field

Police are still looking for suspects, and have called in their forensics experts to help

There were six additional deaths across Alberta reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,926 since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
Dr. Wayne John Edwards, 66, died Tuesday at Chinook Regional Hospital. (Cornerstone Funeral Home)
Lethbridge doctor becomes 7th Alberta health-care worker to die from COVID-19

Dr. Wayne John Edwards, who was 66, died Tuesday at the Chinook Regional Hospital in the southern Alberta city

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole to vote against Conservative MP’s private bill on ‘sex-selective abortion’

Erin O’Toole said he supports a woman’s right to choose and will personally vote against the private member’s bill

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

A vial of some of the first 500,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Canada’s 2nd blood clot confirmed in Alberta after AstraZeneca vaccine

The male patient, who is in his 60s, is said to be recovering

The funeral of Britain’s Prince Philip in Windsor, England, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Philip died April 9 at the age of 99. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)
PHOTOS: Prince Philip laid to rest Saturday as sombre queen sits alone

The entire royal procession and funeral took place out of public view within the grounds of Windsor Castle

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Doses of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine in a freezer trailer, to be transported to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pfizer to increase vaccine deliveries in Canada as Moderna supply slashed

Moderna plans to ship 650,000 doses of its vaccine to Canada by the end of the month, instead of the expected 1.2 million

Most Read