VAIL, Colo. — GMC’s Yukon and Yukon XL full-size SUVs will gain as much as 30 percent more cargo space and a suite of advanced technology powered by General Motors’ new digital vehicle platform as part of a redesign for the 2021 model year.
The Yukon models are among GM’s most lucrative nameplates, and like the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, they will further establish a profit base that’s key to GM’s investment in an electric-vehicle future. The Yukon and Yukon XL are among the six full-size SUVs that GM will resdesign this year.
“GMC Yukon is the full-size premium SUV that’s made to be used,” Duncan Aldred, vice president of global Buick and GMC, said in a statement. “The new Yukon delivers what customers value most — premium features, purposeful technology and all-terrain capability.”
The standard Yukon’s maximum cargo space has been stretched 30 percent to 28.2 cubic feet, with 41 percent more legroom and 67 percent more cargo room behind the third row.
The Yukon XL gained 19 percent of maximum cargo space. It has 4.6 percent more cargo room behind the third row and 6.4 percent more legroom in the third row.
Both models have a lower, flatter cargo loading floor for easier access. Access to the third row also is easier because of second-row seats that can slide 5.5 inches.
The SUVs are scheduled to go on sale this summer and will be built in Arlington, Texas. GMC will release more details on pricing and specifications closer to the start of production this spring.
A 5.3-liter V-8 engine is standard on the Yukon, but buyers can opt for a new version of the 6.2-liter V-8 or a 3-liter inline-six turbo diesel engine. Each engine has a 10-speed automatic transmission with an electronic precision-shift, push-button gear selector.
The Yukon and Yukon XL include active safety features, such as automatic emergency braking, high-definition surround vision camera, rear mirror camera and rear pedestrian alert. They also have new trailering features, such as trailer profiles, tire pressure/temperature monitoring and side blind zone alert.
The SUVs will be equipped with GM’s new digital vehicle platform, which has five times more processing power than GM’s most recent electrical architecture.
Active response four-wheel drive combines the fourth generation of magnetic ride control with a new electronic limited slip differential.
Magnetic ride control, which was pioneered on exotic sports cars, improves body control and ride handling. It also powers a damping system that reacts faster than traditional shock absorbers to reduce bouncing, body roll and vibrations common in large SUVs.
The SUV also includes a multilink independent rear suspension and air ride adaptive suspension with ride height adjustments of up to 4 inches and an automatic self-leveling feature.
The Denali, AT4 and SLT trim levels come with the Yukon’s first-ever power-sliding center console, which can shift back up to 10 inches to offer more flexible storage space. A pushed-back console offers more space for a purse or bag and reveals a hidden storage drawer under the main storage bin when in the standard position.
About 60 percent of Yukon buyers choose the Denali trim, according to GMC.
“Yukon was the model in which Denali originated in 1999, and now more than 20 years later, we’re introducing the quintessential Denali,” Helen Emsley, executive director of global Buick and GMC Design, said in GM’s statement. “It delivers a first-class experience with an all-new, exclusive interior and a bolder, more distinctive exterior design.”
The interior of the Yukon Denali includes a new instrument panel, unique seats and choice of four color themes that each include wood trim and leather surfaces stitched in a Denali pattern. The Denali, which has a larger chrome grille, also features a high-definition surround-vision camera, a 15-inch diagonal head-up display, rear pedestrian alert and fourth-generation magnetic ride control.
GMC will offer the off-road-inspired AT4 trim across the lineup by the end of this year. The first-ever Yukon AT4’s exterior trim is defined by body color or dark accents and red recovery hooks, similar to the Sierra AT4 and a contrast to the Yukon Denali.