Justin Cupler
Automotive Editor - January 17, 2020

Model Preview

The current GMC Yukon is only six model years removed from a big redesign, but this generally slow-to-change SUV needed a new look to keep pace with its rivals. Meet the redesigned 2021 GMC Yukon and Yukon XL. Here’s what to expect when it arrives.

The 2021 GMC Yukon will boast a new but familiar body with an upright nose and glasshouse, but it gains a brand-new front end that gleans its styling from the GMC Sierra. This pickup-inspired nose includes striking C-shaped LED accent lights, stacked headlights, a larger grille with distinct styling for each trim, and a massive “GMC” logo.

Around back, the redesigned Yukon gains half-C-shaped taillights upfront while the sides boast a pronounced character line, scalloped lower door sections, and forward-leaning C-pillars.

Looks aren’t the only change the new Yukon will go through, as the standard model will grow by 6.1 inches in length and get a 4.9-inch-longer wheelbase. The XL model will grow by 0.9 inches in length and get a 4.1-inch-longer wheelbase.

Inside, the 2021 Yukon will gain a sharp design that’ll include a more carlike dash that’ll take up less real estate, enhancing its airy feel. Atop this dash will be a new touchscreen infotainment screen while a clean HVAC interface will sit below. The steering wheel will also shrink, further increasing the roomy feel inside the cabin. The larger interior will go beyond just visual effects, as the Yukon and Yukon XL’s third rows will gain 10.1 and 2.2 inches of legroom, respectively.

GMC Yukon

Cargo room will also grow by 10.2 cubes behind the third row and 28.2 cubes with all the seats folded in the standard model. The XL model will get an extra 1.8 cubes with the third row folded and 23 cubes with both rear rows lowered.

This redesigned SUV will also gain a new AT4 model, which will enhance its off-road capabilities. It will do so with the Air Ride Adaptive suspension that will raise it an additional 2 inches, a two-speed transfer case, 20-inch all-terrain Goodyear rubber, off-road driving mode, hill-descent control, underbody skid plates, and more. The AT4 will also gain a revised interior with exclusive leather seating, a Jet Black color scheme with brandy accents, a heated steering wheel, and heated and ventilated front seats.

Under its hood, the gasoline-fueled engines will retain their 6.2- and 5.3-liter displacements, but they will be all-new technologically with automatic stop/start and revised Dynamic Fuel Management. This new system will allow these V8 engines to run on two to eight cylinders, depending on power demand. GMC announced the 6.2-liter will remain at 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, but there is no mention of the standard 5.3-liter V8’s output.

New for 2021 will be a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V6 engine. GMC has yet to release the diesel engine’s official output.

All three engine options will pair with a 10-speed automatic transmission.

There is still a lot of time before we’ll get official IIHS and NHTSA safety ratings on the 2021 Yukon, but GMC announced it’ll have a wider range of active safety equipment. This will include standard automatic emergency braking, and available rear pedestrian alert, rear camera mirror, and a high-definition 360-degree camera.

Pricing & Release Date

GMC expects to have the 2021 Yukon and Yukon XL in showrooms in the summer of 2020.

Official pricing is not available yet, but we expect a small hike relative to the current model, which ranges from $51,895 to $74,795 (destination fees included).

This large SUV will battle the Cadillac Escalade, Ford Expedition, and Toyota Sequoia.

Learn more about the current Yukon on sale now »

Pictured: 2021 GMC Yukon

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