The 2021 GMC Yukon represents the fifth generation of the popular full-size SUV family. Not related to any previous Yukon thanks to a complete overhaul in terms of design and engineering, the all-new 2021 model was revealed in the beginning of 2020.
Since it’s clearly a special vehicle, the 2021 GMC Yukon deserved an equally-special reveal, and it got just that in the snow and ice covered outdoor set among the beautiful surroundings of Vail, Colorado on January 24th 2020. For anyone keeping track, that’s six months before the model went on sale.
The reveal event featured presentations by Matt Noone (Director of GMC Exterior Design), Tim Asoklis (Chief Engineer, Full Size Truck and SUV) and Duncan Aldred (Vice President, Global Buick–GMC Sales, Service and Marketing) who each highlighted different aspects of the all-new SUV as skilful drivers maneuvered Yukons on the slippery surface with inch-perfect precision.
Vehicle reveals are rarely as visually appealing, or as cold, making this one particularly memorable.
The 2021 GMC Yukon is based on the GM T1 platform, which was designed for full-size pickup trucks and body-on-frame SUVs. The architecture also underpins the fourth-generation GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado pickups, along with the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, plus the 2021 Cadillac Escalade. Like the Tahoe, Suburban and Escalade, the 2021 Yukon is built at the GM Arlington plant in Texas.
The Yukon is offered with two gasoline engines from GM’s EcoTec3 range or a Duramax diesel. The Ecotec3 units are the naturally-aspirated 5.3L V8 L84 rated at 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque, and the naturally-aspirated 6.2L V8 L87 rated at 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. The turbocharged 3.0L I6 LM2 diesel, the most economical in the lineup by a large margin, makes 277 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. All three engines are paired with GM’s ten-speed Hydra-Matic 10L80 automatic transmission.
Highlights of the range include four-corner Air Ride Adaptive Suspension, which allows drivers to raise the body by two inches for additional ground clearance when necessary, an Active Response 4WD system, a 15-inch diagonal multicolor Head-Up Display and up to nine camera views, including High Definition Surround Vision, Rear Camera Mirror and GMC’s ProGrade trailering system.
The regular Yukon is 210.7 inches long and has 25.5 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the third row. For those who need even more space, there’s the even longer 2021 GMC Yukon XL, which measures 225.2 inches in length and has a cargo volume of 41.5 cubic feet behind the third row. At 37.7 inches, third-row legroom in the XL is also 1.8 inches greater than in the regular-length version.
The 2021 GMC Yukon is available in four trim levels: SLE, SLT, AT4 and Denali. The first ever AT4 model is more offroad-oriented, while the range-topping Denali is the only one offered with the 6.2L engine. The 2021 Yukon Denali also features a unique cockpit.
All versions except for the AT4 have rear-wheel-drive (RWD / 2WD) as standard, and all can be equipped with optional 4WD. Base MSRP, including a $1,295 destination freight charge, starts at $51,995 for the 2021 GMC Yukon SLE with 2WD and the 5.3L V8 L84 engine.
Watch the video below to relive the reveal as it happened.