New GMC Yukon unveiled in Colorado as next-gen flagship
GMC has unveiled its new Yukon and Yukon XL sport utility vehicle in the mountains of Colorado. The new SUV, set for a 2021 model year launch, sees several changes, including new powertrain options, a bigger interior, and an AT4 off-road variant. Revamped from the tires up, the Yukon features a lot of engineering changes as well.
GMC’s sub-brands, Denali and AT4, are being highlighted with the new Yukon flagship SUV. The Denali trim, whose brand is as well-known as GMC itself, marks the pinnacle of premium luxury for the new Yukon. The AT4, a newer sub-brand in the GMC line, adds off-road flair and capability for the premium segment.
By the numbers, the 2021 Yukon is much larger than its predecessor. It grows by almost five inches (127 mm) in wheelbase and by over six inches (152.4 mm) in total length. This adds over 10 inches (254 mm) of legroom in the third row and more than 10 cubic feet (283 liters) of cargo space. The new Yukon XL sees smaller size adjustments, adding mostly cargo room with 23 more cubic feet (651 liters). The total length of the 2021 Yukon is 210 inches (533.4 cm) overall, while the Yukon XL comes in at 225.2 inches (572 cm).
Engine options for the new Yukon and Yukon XL models include a 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel and a newly redone 6.2-liter V8. Both are available in four-wheel drive configurations with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Four-wheel drive models include an automatic two-speed transfer case and electronic differential. An available, self-levelling, four-corner Air Ride Adaptive Suspension system allows up to 2 inches (50 mm) of raised body travel for off-road as well as body lowering (about 2 inches) for easier entry and exit from the SUV.
The air suspension is made possible by a completely redone suspension system for the Yukon. The solid rear axle of the Yukon has been replaced with an independent setup. A magnetic damping system is also available on the Yukon to smooth the ride on the highway without compromising off-road capability.
New for the 2021 model year is an off-pavement AT4 model of the Yukon. It features 20-inch Goodyear all-terrain tires, a Traction Select system for terrain management, Hill Descent Control, skid plates protecting key underbody elements, leather seats with AT4 stitching, heated steering, and heated and ventilated seats. The AT4 has a 32-degree approach angle when equipped with the air ride suspension at maximum height.
The top-shelf Denali trim of the Yukon features a high-definition surround camera system, 15-inch multicolor head-up display, magnetic ride control, and a full suite of active safety technologies including rear pedestrian alert. Several available upgrades including 22-inch wheels, a panoramic roof, the Active Response 4WD System from the AT4 model, and the air ride suspension upgrade.
The interior of the 2021 GMC Yukon and Yukon XL was redone as well. The second row seating now slides forward 5.5 inches (14 cm) to allow easier access to the third row, which itself now offers adult-friendly legroom at 34.9 inches (886.4 mm). Maximum cargo space in the Yukon is a massive 122.9 cubic feet (3,480.1 liters). The XL adds 23 cubic feet of cargo and 2.2 inches of third row legroom to those figures.
GMC also put time into the towing capability of the Yukon models. Trailering features include blind spot management for the trailer, trailer tire pressure monitoring (if equipped), driver-selectable trailer profiles for quicker setup, and improved towing capacities across the engine lineup.
More details on the 2021 GMC Yukon will be made available closer to its production. GMC will build the Yukon at its Arlington, Texas facility and anticipates market launch in the late second quarter of 2020.