A red 2020 GMC Acadia is parked in front of a modern house.

Luxury and Efficiency in GMC SUVs


When looking for a family SUV, the choices can be overwhelming. First, how do you know where to start your search? Which segment should you be looking at? Well, an excellent place to start is with GMC SUVs. Known for their upscale approach and bold designs, the GMC lineup of SUVs has something for everyone. Whether you are looking for a compact crossover SUV or a full-size family hauler, you will be surprised at how many options there are when trying to find the perfect family SUV. So let’s take a look at the GMC lineup to better understand what sets it apart from the pack.

GMC Yukon

Starting with the GMC Yukon, you can already see the impressive engineering of GMC showing through. These are luxurious and powerful SUVs, and the Yukon might be the best example, as it is all-new for the 2021 model year. Featuring a roomier cabin, due to its independent rear suspension, which has transformed the cabin into a truly massive interior capable of accommodating two adults in the third-row seat, and more power than ever before, the Yukon is one of the more interesting SUVs in any segment.

The addition of a new diesel engine, however, is a true game-changer. Now the full-size SUV can tow heavy with exceptional fuel efficiency. What does this mean for you and your family? It depends on what 30 MPG means to you. Because that’s what this big engine achieves on the highway. It can mean that you can now use this big SUV as a daily driver and not have to worry about the cost of fuel. In fact, you will be getting better fuel efficiency from your full-size SUV than most other people get from their compact or midsize SUVs. It can also mean that you can feel free to tow your boat to the lake every weekend or take the travel trailer out on more road trips. Now the cost of fuel is not prohibitive like it is in other full-size SUVs.

What’s so unique, specifically, about this engine? It’s a 3.0L inline-6 turbo diesel with 277 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. The combination of power and fuel efficiency is not something you will find in many other vehicles. The other engines are good options, too, so no matter which engine you choose, you will getting plenty of power, along with a 10-speed automatic transmission and GMC’s advanced cylinder-deactivation system, which improves fuel efficiency by running on any given combination of cylinders, from two to all eight, depending on the situation.

The 5.3-liter V8 is the base engine, and this engine puts out 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. That’s a lot of power for the entry-level trim. The next engine is a 6.2-liter V8 with 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. You’ll find this engine standard on the Denali trim. The diesel engine is available on the Yukon SLE, SLT, and AT4 trims. All of these engines provide exceptional power and impressive fuel-saving engineering for your family.

A few other features should be noted with the 2021 Yukon. Though there are many more worth mentioning, the new air suspension not only increases interior space dramatically, it dramatically improves ride quality, so much so that it feels as if you are floating. With adaptive air springs at all four corners, it can adjust ride stiffness and raise and lower the vehicle by up to two inches. There’s also a 10.2-inch touch screen standard. And an available AT4 off-road trim for the enthusiasts in the family. With all of these features, it’s easy to see why the GMC Yukon just might be the perfect family SUV.

A couple is fishing at a lake next to a black 2020 GMC Yukon.

GMC Terrain

If the GMC Yukon is too much SUV for you, the Terrain might be the right size. As a compact SUV, it is surprisingly spacious and equally as luxurious. Plus, the starting cost is well under $30,000, so it’s affordable luxury. And the 2021 model year receives the addition of GMC’s AT4 off-road package. So if you’re looking for a compact SUV that is both practical and adventurous, this is a great place to start your search for the perfect family SUV.

With the AT4 trim, you’ll find off-road features like underbody protection and all-terrain tires, so along with the luxury features, you’ll be able to enjoy yourself off-road as well as on-road. Plus, with the addition of a revised front end with new headlights and a black chrome grille, you’ll have the rugged good looks to go along with the Terrain’s off-road chops.

The Terrain also features two engine options—both turbocharged and fuel-efficient. For the base engine, you can expect 170 hp and 203 lb-ft of torque. With this engine, you’ll be happy with the combination of power and fuel efficiency. This 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-4 returns 26/30 MPG (city/highway). Your family will appreciate the impressive fuel efficiency, and you’ll have plenty of pick-up to pass on the highway or wind your way through country roads.

The second option is a 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder that offers 252 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. This engine has a lot of torque for a compact SUV and can tow up to 3,500 lb, so if you need to occasionally tow, the added utility will be appreciated. The Terrain’s nimble driving manners are engaging and allow you to unlock this surprisingly powerful engine. Both engines are available with a nine-speed automatic transmission and standard rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional on the SLE trim and above trims.

A black 2020 GMC Terrain is driving on a mountain road and is popular among GMC SUVs.

GMC Acadia

The GMC Acadia bridges the gap between the Yukon and Terrain, offering what some families might consider the perfect size SUV for their family. It can seat up to 7 passengers yet isn’t so big that it sacrifices fuel efficiency—though we know that’s not the case for the Yukon, it is for other full-size SUVs—so it’s understandable that buyers would look to the midsize SUV class for the perfect combination of size and efficiency.

The GMC Acadia features a choice of three engines, so you’ll have no problem matching your family’s lifestyle and needs to one of the many engine options. Not surprisingly, all options feature good fuel efficiency, so you won’t have to sacrifice economy for power. If you need power, however, that’s not a problem. The Acadia’s 3.6-liter V6 features up to 310 hp and 271 lb-ft of torque and can tow up to 4,000 lbs. The base engine is a 2.5-liter inline-4 with 194 hp and 190 lb-ft of torque, and the other engine option is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 with 230 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque.

How Do You Choose?

That’s a tough question. With something for everyone in every segment, it’s hard to make a decision about which one might best suit your needs. All three SUVs offer a rare combination of power, efficiency, and luxury—not to mention utility and practicality. The best way to know which size SUV fits your lifestyle is to take a test drive and get a feel for the interior space. You’ll likely know which one is best for you and your family as soon as you get behind the wheel. So take a trip to your GMC dealer and see which one has your name on it.