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2021 GMC Yukon Review: Expected Prices, Release Date, MPG, And Performance

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John Bedrow

Automotive Journalist

August 26, 2020 at 09:02 AM

This latest version of the GMC Yukon broke cover in early 2020 and the launch is expected in the Summer of 2020. There are reports that some dealerships have already started receiving the 2021 Yukon SUVs, with a walk around videos all over the web.

There is an insatiable appetite in the American market for full-size trucks and SUVs and one key player to take care of this appetite is GMC. In the past decade, GMC has sold over half a million of its Yukon SUV to please the segment of the population which wants the off-road capability of a truck and with a family-friendly appearance and tonnes of space.

To top it all off, thirty percent of this half a million is the luxury trim of the Yukon, the Denali, with an average transaction cost of nearly $56,000 – surpassing the likes of many German manufacturers. In the market, the main competitors to the Yukon are the Toyota Sequoia, Nissan Armada, and the Chevrolet Tahoe.

What’s new with the 2021 GMC Yukon?

The 2021 GMC Yukon is based on an all-new platform named GMT T1 which will be used for GM’s and Chevrolet’s full-size pickup trucks and SUVs. There’s a longer wheelbase which increases passenger comfort and the interior is re-designed. Another improvement is a new independent rear suspension which benefits the ride.

What's the expected Price and Release Date for the 2021 GMC Yukon?

The launch of the GMC Yukon is slated to be in the Summer of 2020. The base SLE trim starts at just over $100 from the 2020 model year at $51,995 and goes all the way up to $69,695 for the range-topper Denali trim. And as always, adding in more options will get the MSRP higher.

What to expect from the engine department of the 2021 GMC Yukon?

Powering the Yukon will be the same engines from the 2020 model year: a 5.3L and a 6.2L V8. The 5.3L V8 is good for punching out 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque whereas the bigger V8 gives out 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft. There will also be a turbo diesel in-line six on offer which will be perfect for those who want to haul heavy items. All of the power plants are paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the rear wheels. You can opt for a 4Wheel Drive system for some extra $. What’s new in the V8s is a cylinder deactivation technology which, as the name suggests, de-activates cylinders if it feels the need to do so. This helps in increasing the fuel economy.

Readers might be interested in knowing some numbers that the Yukon offers, so, let me get straight to it. 0-60 mile per hour runs in 5.8 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 14.3 seconds @ 99 miles per hour. That’s some serious performance coming from a full-size SUV that is based off a pickup truck, the type antonymous to performance!

Models

2021 GMC Yukon (Expected)

2020 Ford Expedition

2020 Nissan Armada

2020 Chevrolet Tahoe

MSRP

$51,995

$52,810

$50,100

$48,000

Engine

5.3L V-8

3.5L EcoBoost Turbocharged V-6

5.6L V-8

5.3L V-8

Drivetrain

4Wheel Drive

4Wheel Drive

4Wheel Drive

4Wheel Drive

Transmission

10-speed automatic

10-speed automatic

7-speed automatic

6-speed automatic

Power [hp @ RPM]

355 @ 5,600

375 @ 5,000

395 @ 5,800

355 @ 5,600

Torque [lb-ft @ RPM]

383 @ 4,100

470 @ 3,500

394 @ 4,000

383 @ 4,100

0-60 miles per hour (in seconds)

5.8

5.7

5.9

5.7

Quarter mile (in seconds)

14.3

14.4

14.7

14.1

All the cars here are very closely matched with their naturally aspirated V8s, along with Ford’s turbo V6, on offer and all of them are paired to an automatic gearbox. Talking of the horsepower on offer, all the engines produce healthy power and massive torque figures which will be more than enough for highway crusade and towing heavy loads. The GMC Yukon and the Chevrolet Tahoe are very similarly matched on the spec sheet and thus have similar power and torque figures. The SUVs here are so similarly matched that even the 0-60 miles per hour sprint is similar! Running a quarter mile, the Tahoe is the fastest, followed by the Yukon and the Expedition.

How will the 2021 GMC Yukon Handle?

Handling the Yukon in the city limits can prove to be quite a chore due to its massive size. The suspension has now been changed to coils on all 4 wheels which makes the ride plush and soaking the biggest of bumps and speed breakers is not a task for the Yukon. You get GM's Magnetic Ride Control (MagneRide) to make things even smoother. They adapt to the road conditions and further smoothen the ride by a lot!

The throttle response is crisp which makes tottering around town easy. The steering is good and very responsive. The feedback is sharp. The Yukon might feel like a big bird to turn into a corner but it does so rather easily due to the perfect setup suspension and the newer platform that GMC has adopted.

How many miles to the gallon does the 2021 GMC Yukon deliver?

The V8 in question proves to be a rather frugal choice because the fuel efficiency is very justified on the Yukon. It gives 14 miles to the gallon in the city, 23 on the highway, and a combined of 17 miles to the gallon. Further fuel efficiency is aided by the active cylinder deactivation mechanism that these engines possess. The V8s can de-activate the cylinders if it detects that the driver doesn’t need them and immediately re-activate them when you floor the pedal.

Models

2021 GMC Yukon (Expected)

2020 Ford Expedition

2020 Nissan Armada

2020 Chevrolet Tahoe

MPG (City) 

14

17

14

15

MPG (Highway) 

23

24

19

21

MPG (Combined)

17

20

16

17

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

26

25

26

26

Range (City/Highway/Combined, in Miles) 

364/598/442

425/600/500

364/494/416

390/546/442

Clearly, the 6-banger in the Ford shows its supremacy here by providing more fuel economy and the best range here, despite sporting a smaller tank. If you have more $ to spend on fuel, go for the Armada. The GMC is a good SUV to take out on the highway but in town, its efficiency is similar to the Armada. The Yukon’s cousin, the Tahoe, provides better city mileage and is similarly matched on the combined range.

What to expect from the interior of the 2021 GMC Yukon?

The GMC Yukon provides the perfect amount of interior space for your extended family. There’s a lot of headroom, legroom, and shoulder room across the cabin to make the people comfortable. The interior is full of premium soft-touch materials, from the center console to the dashboard and the door panels. The higher trims have a better dashboard layout with a better infotainment system.

The dashboard is covered in soft-touch material. You have your infotainment display below which, you get climate control knobs and switches which are laid out in a very comfortable manner. The center console has a small cubby with 2 USB ports. There are 2 cup holders too! You get a wireless charger in the center armrest, an opening in which you get a deep storage pocket to store stuff. The center armrest storage also houses 2 USB cables and an AUX port. The door bins are large enough to hold big bottles. The rear seats get their own climate control settings and a 3-pin socket to charge your laptop. You get 2 USB ports there too. The third row has 3 cup holders but is comfortable for kids only!

Models

2021 GMC Yukon (Expected)

2020 Ford Expedition

2020 Nissan Armada

2020 Chevrolet Tahoe

Seating Capacity

8

8

8

8

1st Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

42.8/64.8/45.3

39.5/63.2/41.1

40.9/63.8/41.9

42.8/64.8/45.3

2nd Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

38.7/65.1/39.0

39.7/63.7/39.1

40.0/63.4/39.0

38.7/65.1/39.0

3rd Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

38.1/62.6/24.8

38.0/67.1/37.7

36.4/60.5/28.3

38.1/62.6/24.8

Trunk Capacity (cubic feet)

25.5

19.3

16.5

15.3

The GMC Yukon, due to its changes this year, has the highest cargo capacity in the class. Comparing the cabins, the Ford Expedition has a more compact cabin than the others and the headroom takes a hit due to the roof being a little low. The third-row seat on the Nissan Armada is, in one word, claustrophobic for anyone to sit in.

2021 GMC Yukon: Infotainment System and Connectivity

There is GMC’s IntelliLink infotainment system which is an 8-inch touchscreen boasting of 4G LTE Wi-Fi. You can connect your phone through Bluetooth, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. The screen is very responsive and the icons are laid out in a very simple manner so that your eyes aren’t distracted off the road. You also have AM/FM/SiriusXM radio on board for your entertainment.

You also have navigation onboard. The infotainment also comes fitted with OnStar services. Some of the highlighting features of this system are:

  • Five USB ports
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Nine-speaker audio system
  • Wi-Fi hotspot

What to expect from the exterior of the 2021 GMC Yukon?

The GMC Yukon has gained some dimension due to the newer platform. It has a very sporty and sturdy attire and has more curves than its siblings. The higher trims are loaded with chrome and look good with big 22-inch wheels, and more styling fragments.

 The Yukon feels more subdued than a Tahoe but not as angular as an Escalade. GMC has always supported the notion that no plethora of driver aids can prevent a mishap until and unless the driver isn’t alert. That being said, GMC has filled the Yukon with all the safety tech that they have in store. This makes you aware of what’s happening around you and also keeps you safe if anything goes wrong.

Models

2021 GMC Yukon (Expected)

2020 Ford Expedition

2020 Nissan Armada

2020 Chevrolet Tahoe

Curb Weight (lbs)

5379

5368

5824

5602

Length (inches)

209.9

210

208.9

204

Width (inches)

80.5

79.9

79.9

80.5

Height (inches)

74.4

76.6

75.8

74.4

Ground Clearance (inches)

8

9.8

9.1

7.9

Wheelbase (inches)

120

122.5

121.1

116

The Ford Expedition still remains the biggest, with the longest wheelbase. But the heaviest is the Armada, which affects its performance in braking. But the GMC is still easier to maneuver around town.

Will the 2021 GMC Yukon be worth my time and money?

The GMC Yukon is one such SUV which is one of the better-equipped SUVs in the market. The interior is plush and the ride is comfortable. it looks ‘Murican too! There’s a host of safety features onboard to keep you safe come what may and the engines on offer are very apt for an SUV of this size. With an impressive tow rating, the Yukon is an SUV that can do it all!

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