The GMC Yukon wasn’t the alone full-size GM SUV to get a redesign for the 2021 archetypal year. Its belvedere siblings, the Chevrolet Tahoe and Cadillac Escalade, were additionally overhauled (GM’s U.S. brands are Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC.) Is the Yukon — and added accurately the Yukon Denali, which slots amid the mass-market Tahoe and the comfortable Escalade — the Goldilocks of GM’s full-size SUV lineup? Does it accommodate a mix of account and affluence that feels aloof right?
In contempo weeks, I collection all three standard-length SUVs to acquisition out.
Related: Good Golly, Denali: 5 Pros and 3 Cons for 2021 GMC Yukon
Let’s get some accessible assets out of the way. The Yukon’s redesign accustomed for the about-face to an absolute rear abeyance from the antecedent solid axle, which in about-face gave the SUV a ton of added allowance in the third row and burden breadth compared to its predecessor. That’s great, but it’s not a altered benefit, as both the Tahoe and Escalade allotment such spoils. The ability tumble-and-fold additional row and power-folding third-row seats aren’t necessarily altered to the Yukon Denali, either, but they add account while convalescent third-row commuter access.
Another highlight of the Yukon Denali, however, is unique: the autogenous design. GMC has assuredly accustomed the Denali, its affluence sub-brand, a absolutely altered autogenous from non-Denali models, with a differentiated attending and bigger abstracts against what was abundantly aloof a aberration in blush schemes before. The aftereffect is a exceptional attending and feel, decidedly with the ample 10.2-inch touchscreen chip into the dashboard instead of sitting on top of it tablet-style (as the awning does in added Yukon models and the Tahoe). It’s not as absorbing as the Escalade’s acreage of awning space, but it’s a good-looking, automatic display.
Ride affection was additionally a highlight of the Yukon Denali, alike with our analysis car’s massive 22-inch auto that are allotment of the Denali Ultimate Package. With air springs and GM’s Magnetic Ride Control shocks, alley imperfections are credible but not bothersome, and the big SUV corners abundant adulate than article this ample care to do. That said, I still begin myself preferring the ride in a 2021 Tahoe we afresh had with the Z71 package, which additionally had an air abeyance and MRC, but abate auto and higher-profile tires to accord an alike smoother ride.
The Denali’s 6.2-liter V-8 (a turbo-diesel 3.0-liter is additionally available) is a delight. The able engine, accouterment 420 application and 460 pounds-feet of torque, is added than blessed to hustle the big SUV about burghal streets and on continued stretches of artery with a affable bankrupt bark to go with it. That’s beneath of a differentiator, as college trim levels of the Tahoe additionally action the engine.
The arch agitation amid our agents apropos the Yukon Denali is how abundant added comfortable its autogenous feels against a Chevy Tahoe. Some acquisition it a cogent footfall aloft the Tahoe, while others anticipate the Yukon Denali is hardly altered — and not as costly as an $80,000-plus SUV should feel. I tend to abatement into the closing camp, at atomic partially, admitting I anticipate it feels flush enough.
Despite the nice (and nicer) abstracts and altered Denali layout, I aloof don’t acquisition abundant adverse amid the Yukon Denali and Tahoe. I don’t apperception a tablet-style touchscreen if it works well, and back the Tahoe’s archetype is about identical in admeasurement and functionality, it’s adamantine to abundant too abundant acclaim on GMC for artlessly putting the Denali’s aural the dashboard.
Fuel abridgement is additionally a concern, admitting conceivably not advanced of apperception for addition arcade a three-row full-size SUV. It’s still account acquainted that for all of its improvements, the 2021 Yukon Denali 4WD has hardly worse EPA breadth ratings than its predecessor: 14/19/16 mpg city/highway/combined, compared to the 2020 Yukon Denali’s 14/22/17 mpg. That’s apparently a fair tradeoff for best shoppers attractive at all the means the 2021 archetypal is better, but it would be nice to abstain it in the aboriginal place.
My actual quibbles are almost minor. I’m not a big fan of the Yukon Denali’s push-button accessory selector, which the Tahoe additionally has. Some of its operation feels counterintuitive, decidedly back affairs to appoint Drive or Reverse (“push-button” is a bit of a misnomer), and it doesn’t feel like it saves any amplitude over the old column-mounted about-face lever. The appearance out the rearview mirror is additionally abundant too baby for an SUV this big.
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Here’s area things get a bit wacky. The 2021 Yukon Denali is not cheap; we activated a four-wheel-drive archetype with a sticker amount of $83,795 with destination (and that includes a $1,000 abatement on the Denali Ultimate Package). Added options and accessories or a pricier acrylic blush could advance that alike higher.
But it’s accessible to body a 2021 Tahoe’s top trim, the High Country, to agnate or alike college heights. That affairs if you apperceive the Chevrolet as a beneath exceptional model, and acumen may be a application for some shoppers.
Again, it depends — but probably. I anticipate a client could be blessed with either a Yukon Denali or a about identical Chevrolet Tahoe, but anyone focused on the GMC seems absurd to appear abroad disappointed. The Yukon Denali may not be the best comfortable SUV on the market, or alike amid its own family, but it brings measures of account and affluence that assertive shoppers may acquisition aloof right.
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