2021 Yukon Denali and New AT4 look worlds apart and we love it

New Yukon Denali ramps up the premium and flexes all-terrain chops with first-ever AT4 trim

As far as American premium full-size SUVs go, the Yukon Denali has definitely been leading the way since the upscale hauler hit the scene back in 1999. For 2021, GMC is taking things off-road with the rugged new Yukon AT4 following in the footsteps of the new Sierra AT4 pickup, recently launched Sierra HD AT4, and Acadia AT4.

Related: In Pictures: 2020 GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali & AT4 | First Drive

2021 Yukon Redesign — what’s new?

Arriving at dealerships sometime this summer 2020, the entire Yukon lineup is redesigned. With sport utilities taking over, automakers have no choice but to offer more, more, more — this beast is no exception.

Interior updates for the Yukon Denali and Yukon AT4

The interior is completely new and features an optional Power Sliding Center Console — a cool new feature where the main storage console between the driver and passenger seats can slide back up to 10 inches (254 mm), offering an expansive storage area that enhances overall storage flexibility and organization.

2021 GMC Yukon AT4
Heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats and heated second-row outboard seats are also in the mix for the 2021 Yukon AT4. Photo: GMC

The Denali, in particular, finds a new instrument panel, distinct seats and a choice of four colour themes, all in premium materials.

Inside the Yukon AT4, expect AT4-exclusive leather appointed seats and stitching along with unique Jet Black interior colour theme with Brandy accents. Heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats and heated second-row outboard seats are also in the mix for this handsome off-roading pickup.

We have to give it to GMC and their new lineup of AT4 pickups and SUVs. The styling is on-point with premium off-road inspired design cues and rugged all-terrain look.

Some worthy new cabin tech includes High Definition Surround Vision, Rear Camera Mirror, GMC’s ProGrade trailering system, and 9 cameras (yes, 9) — the most you’ll find in this full-size SUV segment.

For fans of the head-up display, a massive 15-inch diagonal multicolor HUD is optional, splashing speed, navigation, safety features and other info across the inside window driver front-and-centre.

Performance enhancements: new 6.2L V8 most powerful engine in the full-size SUV class

Available later in the season, all 2021 Yukons ride on a four-corner Air Ride Adaptive Suspension that will raise the body up to 2 inches (50 mm) for additional ground clearance when traveling off-road; GMC claims this new suspension makes for a comfier ride, as well.

Also read: 2019 GMC Yukon SLT Graphite Edition Review

As for powertrain, the all Yukon models get a choice of either the updated version of the 6.2L V8 engine (standard in Denali), putting down 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque — currently, the most in the big SUV segment. Or, stick with the standard all-new 5.3L V8.

2021 GMC Yukon Denali
2021 GMC Yukon Denali gets 6.2L V8 engine standard, putting down 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque — currently, the most in the big SUV segment. Photo: GMC

A third choice makes an appearance also with an available all-new 3.0L inline-six turbo-diesel engine. This Duramax 3.0L turbo-diesel engine is the most fuel-efficient of the 3 engines, according to GMC, though that doesn’t come as a surprise.

All 3 of these engines are paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission and GMC’s Electronic Precision Shift push-button gear selector.

Also new and music to the ears of Yukon consumers planning to get dirty, a totally new Active Response 4WD System is available for 2021, with the purpose of monitoring road conditions and reacting to improve traction, handling and overall control.

New Yukon Exterior Styling

Side by side, the Denali and AT4 look worlds apart — and that’s a good thing, give each trim their own personality.

Bigger Denali

The Yukon Denali exudes a more confident stance and improved proportions by its longer wheelbase and new chassis.

That huge Yukon Denali chrome front grill still exists for 2021 — except it’s larger and more detailed now with a precise dimensional pattern featuring over 10,000 individual reflective surfaces. GMC’s C-shaped front lighting signature include LED headlamps, taillamps, fog lamps and other illuminative elements.

Badass looking Yukon AT4

2021 Yukon AT4 vs Denali
2021 Yukon AT4 vs Denali – side by side look. Photo: GMC

We have to give it to GMC and their new lineup of AT4 pickups and SUVs. The styling is on-point with premium off-road inspired design cues and rugged all-terrain look.

Unlike the glossy Denali, the Yukon AT4 replaces all the shiny stuff with dark elements and chucks of black. And of course, the prominent pair of red recovery hooks, similar to the Sierra AT4, which really make this Yukon stand out. When at this maximum height, the Yukon AT4 offers a nearly 32-degree approach angle for added off-road capability.

Release Date and Price

Built out of GM’s Arlington, Texas plant, pricing for the 2021 Yukon will be available closer to the release date this summer 2020.

Also read: Best 2019 & 2020 Small SUVs & Crossovers

Photos of redesigned 2021 GMCYukon

Yukon AT4 Gallery:

Yukon Denali Gallery:

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