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What’s New for the 2021 GMC Yukon?

A white 2021 GMC Yukon AT4 is parked at a beach after showing the new trim available on the 2021 GMC Yukon vs 2020 GMC Yukon.

There are a lot of large SUVs expected to hit the market in the 2021 model year. It only makes sense, as the SUV trend is going nowhere. Drivers, now more than ever, are looking for a vehicle that can carry everything and everyone you need without missing a beat in performance and comfort. Amongst the group of new large SUVs coming to the auto-world by 2021, is the 2021 GMC Yukon. While the 2021 Yukon has yet to have an official release, there is already a lot that we do know. So, to give you a good idea of what to expect, we figured it’d be a good idea to match up the 2021 GMC Yukon vs the 2020 GMC Yukon. While in many ways, the GMC Yukon sticks to the same format as previous iterations (large SUVs with plenty of great features), there are several changes as well that’ll shift what this big SUV is capable of.

What the 2020 GMC Yukon Has to Offer

Before we dig into the details about what’s new, we figured it’d be a good idea to reflect on what is current. The 2020 GMC Yukon hit dealerships near and wide as another substantial alternative to the smaller SUVs that seem to be crowding the market nowadays. Base models, without any additional features, started out at an MSRP of $50,600. This opening price point may sound like a lot, but when you consider the eight-person seating capacity and maximum cargo space of 94.7 cubic feet, it makes sense why GMC asked for such a high entry price.

The 2020 GMC Yukon also gets three different trim options to play with the SLE, SLT, and Denali. That said, no matter which trim you decide to buy, you’ll end up with a substantial package right off of the bat.

Performance

The engine that hauls the GMC Yukon is about as big as the car itself, which is the least we could expect from a large SUV like this. Base models of the GMC Yukon come packed with a 5.3-liter V8 engine that produces 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. A rear-wheel drivetrain is also standard fare, which does a pretty good job at towing, with a base towing capacity of 6,300 pounds. A 6-speed automatic is paired to this entry-level powertrain, and while it’s a bit sluggish in some instances, upgrading the GMC Yukon is no difficult task. For a premium price, you can replace that base engine with a bigger and better 420 horsepower 6.2-liter V8 engine, which uses a much more nimble 10-speed automatic transmission to transfer power. With this bigger engine, drivers can expect far more significant towing capacity, too, launching tow ratings up to 8,400 pounds.

A black 2020 GMC Yukon Denali is parked on a snowy road.

Interior Features and Technology

The 2020 GMC Yukon may be a powerhouse, but it is also quite comfortable when you sit inside. As we mentioned before, the 2020 GMC Yukon sports three rows of seats and a maximum cargo capacity of 94.7 cubic feet. There is also an XL alternative, which expands on the Yukon’s sizing, ballooning cargo capacity to 121.7 cubic feet.

Cloth upholstery is standard onboard the 2020 GMC Yukon, and leather can be found when you upgrade to the SLT trim. Set up front in the middle console is a well-sized 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen that comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible software. This infotainment system can also be partnered with GM’s intuitive 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot system, so you never have to feel disconnected on the road.

A Bose audio system comes as standard equipment, elevating your listening experience, as does a three-zone climate control system. Step up to higher trims, and the GMC Yukon takes on a more luxurious appearance. Features such as heated and cooled seats, a rear-seat entertainment system, and a nifty moonroof, all make for a truly lush experience. And with upgrades like a magnetic suspension and active noise cancellation, riding in the GMC Yukon can feel truly remarkable.

GMC also designed their Yukon to think of the drivers and passengers first. With active safety and driver assistance features packed as optional into even low-end trim models, this is an SUV that manages to provide both top-tier comfort and peace of mind.

How the 2021 GMC Yukon Changes Things

The updated brown and tan leather interior is shown in a 2021 GMC Yukon Denali.

The 2020 GMC Yukon is still an impressive large SUV; however, the 2021 capitalizes on what is already here. While there is still a lot to learn about this new SUV, the 2021 GMC Yukon is going to see plenty of changes, one of which is a new off-road trim. Known as the AT4, this trim will sport a variety of off-road gear as well as stylistic changes that turn the GMC Yukon into a rugged titan of the trail. When you purchase this AT4 trim option, you’ll find four-wheel drive is standard. On top of that, you’ll find a set of trail-ready all-terrain tires, as well as an air-suspension system that can improve or lower ground clearance by four inches on the fly. In terms of stylistic flair, the AT4 version will also get a set of red tow hooks and skid plates that the Yukon shows off with pride.

Performance

While the off-road variant of the GMC Yukon is a big change-up for the model, this SUV is also going to get a new powertrain option as well. This revitalized alternative comes in the form of a 277 horsepower 3.0-liter turbodiesel inline-6, which will be partnered with a 10-speed automatic transmission. The same two V8 options from the 2020 model will still be available, though, so you need not worry if you’re hoping to take advantage of a more muscle-heavy engine.

Interior Features and Technology

Moving inside, the new GMC Yukon is going to get a size upgrade. Non-XL models will have a cargo capacity that tops out at 122.9 cubic feet, and if you purchase the XL model, that number jumps to 144.7 cubic feet. As a result, this new Yukon is expected to be one of the largest yet. Another incredible highlight of the interior of the GMC Yukon is the fact that all models will get a big 10.0-inch infotainment screen, which is a substantial upgrade from the 8.0-inch screen that was found in the 2020 model. The standard safety package is also getting a more modern edge, as all models can expect to find automatic emergency braking as standard. GMC has also moved to make a surround-view camera system available, which will be mightily helpful in a car with such a tremendous footprint.

Why We’re Excited About the 2021 GMC Yukon

The 2020 GMC Yukon was pretty great, as it provided drivers with a near-luxury experience with a mid-range price. These models managed to pump out some serious power and provide interior amenities that were top-notch even in base models. That said, the 2021 GMC Yukon takes what was offered in 2020 and expands on it. Not only do new Yukon models get more luxury features, but they also will provide a more rugged alternative, which is bound to expand this large SUV’s market appeal. While the 2021 GMC Yukon has yet to hit dealership showroom floors, we’re already quite excited about what this new model has to offer.

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