2021 GMC Yukon Denali, a New Generation of Smooth Riding and Luxury at Its Finest
This week I have the opportunity to drive the new 2021 GMC Yukon Denali for the first time and so far despite having it for five days, it has been a great experience driving this new SUV with rows of seats for 7 people. My experience with the 2021 Yukon Denali has been very good and has given me a great preview of the value of this SUV.
Among the premium features, advanced features and new technologies of the 2021 GMC Yukon, let me first share with you the following.
- All-new cab styling, with a Denali-exclusive interior and optional sliding first center console.
- Optional four-corner Adaptive Air Ride suspension, the first in its class, which according to GMC offers exceptional driving comfort and is 4WD LO activated, the body can be lowered or raised up to 50 mm (2 inches) special for travel off-road.
- The new Yukon includes 9 different camera views, the largest in the segment, which allow the driver to have more information. Among those camera views we have High Definition Surround View, Rear View Camera Mirror and the GMC ProGrade towing system.
- It also includes an optional Head-Up screen on the windshield. This screen is 15 inches and color. It allows you to project speed, navigation, security features and other information.
- An all-new 6.2L available V8 engine with dynamic fuel management and standard on Denali. This engine offers approximately horsepower and works with a standard 10-speed transmission.
- An important new feature is Active Response 4WD (Active Response 4WD) which is offered as an option. This system combines technologies and includes an electronic Limited Slip Differential that allows you to continuously monitor road conditions and react accordingly to improve traction, handling and overall control.
The Yukon Denali that I tested with all-wheel drive features a 6.2-liter, 8-cylinder, Ecotec3 V-engine, which delivers 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. This engine comes with the new advanced cylinder deactivation system that was introduced by Chevrolet in 2019. The transmission on this SUV is a 10-speed automatic and the towing capacity of this Yukon is 3.72 tons.
In terms of fuel consumption, this Yukon 2021 is not the best in its segment and according to EPA it offers 14 miles per gallon of fuel in the city, 19 miles per gallon of gasoline on the highway and combining city-highway offers a fuel consumption of 16 miles per gallon of gasoline. For every 100 miles you have an estimated flow of 6.2 gallons. As with the Escalade, Yukon Denali buyers have a choice between two engines: a 6.2-liter V8 and a 3.0-liter turbodiesel inline-six.
A fundamental change is the introduction of an independent rear suspension (IRS), which is an adaptive air suspension and in addition to a better driving experience, much smoother and more predictive, it also allows to introduce a more rear floor. This approach, in turn, creates more space inside this huge vehicle, specifically for the third row seats and of course for the primary cargo area of the vehicle, behind these seats. In July, we reviewed the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban, which also impressed us with spacious third row seats and big trunk, among many other things.
The new SUV at its most economical trim level has a list price of $ 50,700 and the 2021 Yukon Denali with included option packages (Denali Ultimate, White Frost Tricoat (exterior color) and the sliding center console) is priced at 84,320 Dollars. This Denali among other things includes:
- 22-inch bright aluminum machined wheels
- Panoramic sunroof
- Electronic limited slip differential
- Adaptive cruise control
- The rear camera mirror
- 4G LTE Wi-Fi available
Exterior of the 2021 GMC Yukon
For those who do not know, the XL is the largest of the Yukon and the difference is notable, while the rest of the Yukon has a 120.9-inch wheelbase and a 210-inch length, the Yukon XL has a distance 134.1-inch wheelbase and 225.2-inch length.
Its front is still imposing beginning with a Denali-exclusive front grille, with a redesign that uses mesh with a satin chrome finish and block-style elements, which the brand claims create nearly 10,000 reflective surfaces.
This grille, along with the LED daytime running lights, LED headlights and LED fog lights, blend together perfectly and form a very aggressive and imposing front end.
The 2021 Yukon's sides did not undergo visible changes from the previous year model. The sides give it a classy look and on both you can see some chrome accents and some flat metal slats like along the bottom of the doors and around the windows.
While the exterior is imposing, when I first entered the interior of the new 2021 Yukon Denali with the naked eye, I could detect luxury at its finest , a unique interior with high-end features, and you immediately realize you are in a Familiar and luxurious atmosphere as is the Denali atmosphere.
The dashboard is huge and a bit boxy for my taste, but GMC managed to make it nice with the use of high-quality materials like the stitched leather used in some parts and the wood panel in the passenger part. This wood is also present in the interiors of the front doors, which of course combines with the leather used in them.
This SUV comes very well equipped in terms of infotainment and entertainment, starting with the 15-inch HUD (Head Up Display), the 10.2-inch center console color touchscreen, two color and 12-inch touch screens. It also offers 6 inches in the back of the front seats to offer travel information and entertainment to the passengers of the second (captain's seats) and third row of seats that can play media from different devices and finally the dashboard screen. Besides all of these options, the interior also offers instruments with information about the trip and even the state of the vehicle such as tire pressure.
Steadily becoming industry standard, the infotainment system is compatible with Apple CarPlay (wireless) and Android Auto (automatic wireless), wireless smartphone charger, 3-zone climate control, heated and ventilated driver and passenger seats, second-row seats and steering wheel with heating and Bose Performance audio system with 14 speakers (a delight!).
The Denali in the GMC Yukon's Lineup
The Denali version we tested sits at the top of the lineup, as is the case with every GMC product. It represents two-thirds of the model's sales, which is quite extraordinary considering that it is by far the most expensive. It is all the more astonishing that until now, this level of finish has been more a source of disappointment than of satisfaction.
In other words, a Denali version, it was not worth what we demanded. The quality on board has always left something to be desired.
For this new generation, GMC finally made some fixes by adding what was missing on board. We are talking about the materials used, of course, but also the level of equipment and presentation. Even that of the Denali version is different from those found with the other variants. Thus, the buyer finally has the feeling of getting his money's worth, at least compared to the other versions of the family.
If I could summarize, GMC presents the new generation of its great SUV, a flagship model of the brand. With the motto "The only premium SUV made to be used", GMC offers all its available technology and elevates the capabilities of the Yukon, filling up with luxury in this Denali version.
The decade of 2020 will be the decade of electrification in the automotive industry, but when you get behind the wheel of the new GMC Yukon 2021, it feels like that day is a long way off. It is because the Yukon presents itself as a rolling anachronism, that is, big, heavy and greedy. However, the truth is, it still has its place in the market, as you will see.
What I liked in the 2021 Yukon Denali: increased comfort, capacities (volume, towing) and the mechanics. The price is a little high for many family budgets, but when you consider what this SUV offers in terms of size, comfort and performance, you understand GMC's logic.
The main competition of the 2021 Yukon
- Chevrolet Suburban
- Chevrolet Tahoe
- Ford Expedition
- Hyundai Palisade
- Kia Telluride
- Nissan Armada
- Toyota Sequoia
Undoubtedly this 2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali benefits a lot from the independent rear suspension and the advanced 4-wheel drive system, two more than important elements that significantly improve traction, especially off-road, on rough roads, roadless areas and also in conditions where the weather doesn't help much in driving.
Driving this vehicle from Atlanta to Charlotte, NC with six people and a number of luggage, we were able to corroborate the first impression that the Yukon left us about how easy and comfortable to drive.
From the driver's position one has a great view and the driving is smooth, saving the distance, it is as if one were driving a sedan. The power that you demand from the vehicle is almost instantaneous with the 6.2-liter V8 gasoline engine.
Gear changes with this 10-speed automatic transmission are stupendously smooth, well-timed, and honestly you hardly notice when they occur.
For budget-conscious families who are looking for these types of SUVs, both for urban life, as well as for the road and for off-road adventure, the 2021 GMC Yukon Denali XL is a very good option. It's easy to handle in the city, comfortable and quiet for the road, especially on long trips.
The technology integrated in the cabin places this GMC SUV among one of the best in its class, with advanced technologies that allow us to be connected at all times and know everything that happens on the trip with accurate information and almost at the same time in which it occurs.
Finally, it also integrates more driver assistance systems than the previous version, which further enhances its value.
All of the above leads us to say without a doubt that this luxury full-size SUV is great and to take into account when looking for a vehicle in this market.
Armen Hareyan is the founder and the Editor in Chief of Torque News. He founded TorqueNews.com in 2010, which since then has been publishing expert news and analysis about the automotive industry. He can be reached at Torque News Twitter, Facebok, Linkedin and Youtube.