2021 GMC Yukon Denali SUV

MSRP $69,695

Ranked #8 in Fullsize Suv

2021 GMC Yukon Denali SUV Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: July 9, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


The 2021 GMC Yukon is the big, brawny, bold brother in the GMC SUV lineup. With a large body that has been completely redesigned for the 2021 model year, the Yukon is a partial twin to the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban. The new GMC Yukon Denali is the biggest and most luxurious in the entire GMC roster and has a mountain of features to offer to you.

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Pros

A wide and roomy cabin

Powerful engine for a family SUV

Unique interior design

Upscale exterior design

Cons

Big dimensions and humongous weight take a toll on maneuverability

Poor fuel economy for a family SUV

Unimpressive warranty coverage

What's New?

Completely redesigned for 2021


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$69695

bodystyle

dr SUV

warranty

roadside assistance

No


Pictures & Videos


Trims

Base$69,695 onwards

Colors and Styles

2021 GMC Yukon Denali SUV in Smoky Quartz color
Smoky Quartz

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide


The 2WD starts at $70,245 and the 4WD version starts at $73,245 which makes it significantly more expensive than the related Chevrolet Tahoe. But for this price difference, we see that the Yukon Denali offers a lot more, as we will see in this review. It rivals the likes of Chevrolet Tahoe, Ford Expedition, and Nissan Armada.

2021 GMC Yukon Denali SUV Features

The Denali sports a unique interior design with beautiful wood trims. It also offers an added luxury with hand-stitched leather and high-quality materials all around. It also sports the “Denali” badging at the fenders. High-end features not available on the lower trims as well as all optional features are also standard here. It is an extremely loaded vehicle.

Trim

Denali

MSRP (RWD)

$70,245

MSRP (AWD)

$73,245

Key Features

Exclusive interior design

 

15” heads-up display

 

360-degree camera view

 

Bose premium audio system

 

Four-corner air ride active suspension w/independent rear suspension

 

Rear seat entertainment system

 

Hand-stitched leather seats

Which trim to buy?

As you can see, the Denali comes in two drivetrain configurations. It also features a ton of luxury and creature comforts such as heads-up display, premium audio system, wood-trim interior, independent rear suspension, entertainment system, etc. There are also quite a few optional packages and some of them can get quite expensive. However, there is no specific trim to pick as the Denali is basically the highest trim level of the GMC Yukon.

2021 GMC Yukon Denali SUV Engine and Performance

The Yukon Denali is awakened from its slumber by a massive 6.2L V8 gas engine that churns out a respectable 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. The transmission of choice is a 10-speed automatic. You can either have it in RWD or you can go for the AWD. The big powerplant is pretty capable of hauling this giant SUV around town. The Denali also offers a 3.0L inline-6 turbo-diesel engine that produces less power but the same torque – 277 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. However, it is aimed at being more efficient and not all brute force.

The big V8 does not struggle to pull this massive vehicle on the highway either. It can sprint from 0 to 60 MPH in about 6.0 seconds flat, which might not be adrenaline-inducing, but for a family vehicle this large, you have to respect that figure. The quarter-mile timings should be somewhere in the 14-15 second range. The diesel engine can tow heavy items and is ideal for only those who need to tow stuff with an efficient engine.

Models

2021 GMC Yukon Denali

2021 Chevy Tahoe High Country

2021 Ford Expedition Platinum

2021 Nissan Armada Platinum Reserve

MSRP

$70,245

$71,345

$76,070

$69,795

Engine

6.2L V8

6.2L V8

3.5L Twin-Turbo V6

5.6L V8

Drivetrain

RWD

RWD

RWD

RWD

Transmission

10-speed automatic

10-speed automatic

10-speed automatic

7-speed automatic

Power

420 hp @ 5,600 RPM

420 hp @ 5,600 RPM

400 hp @ 5,000 RPM

400 hp @ 5,800 RPM

Torque

460 lb-ft @ 4,100 RPM

460 lb-ft @ 4,100 RPM

480 lb-ft @ 3,250 RPM

413 lb-ft @ 4,000 RPM

0-60 MPH (seconds)

6.0

6.5

6.7

5.9

Quarter-Mile (seconds)

N/A

15.4

15.1

14.4

Top Speed (MPH)

120

N/A

120

120

The GM sisters feature the same powertrain and also have identical performance, though the Denali is a tad bit quicker. The Expedition is also almost as quick as the Chevy, but the Armada is a fraction of a second quicker than the Denali. Also, the Armada is the only one with a 7-speed automatic, while the rest feature 10-speed automatics. Also, all these SUVs offer a 4WD version which is obviously more expensive.

How well does the 2021 GMC Yukon Denali handle?

While the American SUV might seem intimidating to drive at first, given its hunky exterior, it actually will ease on to you quite well. The steering is precise and responsive. The wheels offer good feedback. The responses are predictable and for a vehicle this size, that makes it easy to park or move out of tight spaces. The brakes are strong and inspire confidence as well.

The independent suspension and GMC’s MagneRide dampers, ironically, fail to make the ride quality smooth. Over smooth surfaces, it's fine, but over small bumps, the suspension cannot keep the occupants comfortably free from a shaky ride. GMC has done its best to keep body roll in check, but there will be some inevitable sway along a corner in a body this humongous.

2021 GMC Yukon Denali Braking Performance

The Yukon rides on big 20” wheels and thus, comes with massive brakes. The front and rear rotors are both 17 inches. The brakes perform quite well. They invoke confidence, even in an SUV this size. The pedal is linear and easy to modulate. It comes with 4-wheel ABS and Automatic Emergency Braking.The SUV’s brakes do not take long to come to a halt. Despite having a weight of 5356 lbs, GMC has done an appreciable job with the brakes.

Models

2021 GMC Yukon Denali

2021 Chevy Tahoe High Country

2021 Ford Expedition Platinum

2021 Nissan Armada Platinum Reserve

Brake Rotors: Front (inches)

17

17

13

13.8

Brake Rotors: Rear (inches)

17

17

13.5

13.8

Curb Weight (lbs)

5,356

5,356

5,443

5,958

60-0 MPH (feet)

129

129

123

128

The American SUVs are quite equal in terms of weight, more or less; but the Japanese one is the heaviest on the list. The GM sisters come with the biggest brakes. Even with the smaller brakes in the Expedition, it still manages to come to a halt within a very reasonable distance. Even with much larger rotors, the GM siblings do not manage to come close to the Ford.

2021 GMC Yukon Denali SUV Fuel Economy

The Denali is powered by a hungry gas engine that sips a lot of fuel. The EPA-estimated ratings that it gets are 15 for the city, 20 for highway, and 17 combined, while it is in its RWD guise. Equipped with AWD, the figures drop to around 13/19/16 for city/highway/combined driving; so not particularly fuel-efficient. The diesel engine does a lot better and gets 21/27/23 MPG for city/highway/combined driving in its RWD guise.

Models

2021 GMC Yukon Denali

2021 Chevy Tahoe High Country

2021 Ford Expedition Platinum

2021 Nissan Armada Platinum Reserve

MPG (City)

15

15

17

14

MPG (Highway)

20

21

22

19

MPG (Combined)

17

17

19

16

Fuel Tank Capacity (Gallons)

24.0

24.0

23.3

26.0

Range (City/Highway/Combined; Miles)

360/480/408

360/504/408

396/512/442

364/494/416

None of the SUVs actually offer a decent fuel economy, but the Expedition does a lot better than the rest. The GM sisters sit at the bottom of the list for the maximum range, because both the Armada and the Expedition offer more. Even though the Armada’s V8 is the least fuel-efficient, it manages to offer a larger tank capacity.

2021 GMC Yukon Denali SUV Interior

Right from the moment you step inside the Denali, you are captivated by its luxury and beauty. Unique and different from all the other Yukons, the Denali features a more opulent and premium interior. It features hand-stitched leather upholstery and genuine wood trim to uplift your mood. The dashboard is huge and offers a lot of storage spaces. 

There are a lot of buttons and dials within the driver’s reach in an ergonomic setup in the center console. There is also a sliding center console which has a big storage area. GMC also incorporates a button layout beside the infotainment screen for their gear selectors. There is no traditional gear knob. There are lots of soft-touch surfaces for maximum comfort.

Models

2021 GMC Yukon Denali

2021 Chevy Tahoe High Country

2021 Ford Expedition Platinum

2021 Nissan Armada Platinum Reserve

Seating Capacity

8

8

8

8

Front Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Legroom; inches)

42.3/66/44.5

42.3/66/44.5

42/64.9/43.9

39.8/63.8/41.9

Rear Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Legroom; inches)

38.9/64.8/38.9

38.9/64.8/42

40/64.9/43.9

40/63.4/39

Third Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Legroom; inches)

38.2/62.7/34.9

38.2/61.7/36.7

37.3/64.2/40.9

36.4/60.5/28.3

Standard Cargo Capacity (cubic feet)

25.5

25.5

20.9

16.5

The first and second rows are very spacious and comfortable in all the SUVs, but the third row is where things get congested. The Tahoe offers slightly more legroom, but by far, the Expedition has an extremely spacious third row, albeit that comes with a lesser cargo storage area. The Armada has the lowest legroom as well as cargo storage. Some interior features include the following:

  • Perforated leather-appointed seat trim
  • Memory settings for power driver seat, outside mirrors
  • Heated and ventilated front seats and heated second row
  • Premium Denali-specific color-keyed carpeted front and second row
  • Denali-specific logo sill plates
  • Wood trim interior
  • Tri-zone automatic air conditioning

What’s there to keep you entertained?

The Denali comes equipped with a large 10.2” infotainment screen integrated into the dashboard. It runs on GMC’s IntelliLink interface. The system is responsive and very easy to use. It also includes an 8” multi-color digital instrument cluster which displays the vehicle’s information to the driver. Also, a 15” heads-up display is available.Infotainment features are very generous. Starting from built-in navigation all the way to Bluetooth, you are greeted with everything. 

AM/FM stereo, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (both wired and wireless), in-vehicle apps, advanced voice recognition, SiriusXM with 360L, HD Radio, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, GMC Connected Access, etc are all at your disposal. There are a plethora of USB ports, USB Type-C under the center console, and USB ports are also offered in the rear and third rows. There’s also a 110V household power outlet for all three rows. Finally, a 14-speaker premium Bose sound system is there to quench all of your thirst for music. Some of the highlights of the infotainment system are as follows

  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • SiriusXM Radio
  • HD Radio
  • 4G LTE Wi-Fi Hotspot
  • 14-speaker Bose premium sound system
  • Navigation
  • 15” heads-up display

2021 GMC Yukon Denali SUV Exterior

You bet it is. The Denali has been completely redesigned from the ground up. The hunky exterior with the massive demeanor looking down on other SUVs still remains. But the design has been made more attractive which will now appeal to a wide range of buyers. The front fascia has an upgraded design, with a ginormous grille with the massive GMC logo. The “C”-shaped light-blade squared-off headlights give off an angry and aggressive vibe, while also maintaining a certain charm. They certainly look a lot cooler than the previous ones. The fog lights below are also added in a way to add to the aggression. 

Models

2021 GMC Yukon Denali

2021 Chevy Tahoe High Country

2021 Ford Expedition Platinum

2021 Nissan Armada Platinum Reserve

Curb Weight (lbs)

5,356

5,356

5,443

5,958

Length (inches)

210

210.7

210

208.9

Width (inches)

81

N/A

79.9

79.9

Height (inches)

76.5

75.8

76.4

75.8

Ground Clearance (inches)

N/A

N/A

9.8

9.1

Wheelbase (inches)

120.9

120.9

122.5

121.1

The dimensions of these massive SUVs are more or less similar, but the Armada is the heaviest. The GMC Yukon and the Chevrolet Tahoe are nearly similar in terms of dimensions but the recent redesign makes the GMC slightly larger. All cars in this category are large when it comes to dimensions. Some exterior features include the following:

  • 20” wheels
  • Luggage rack roof-mounted rails
  • Active Aero Shutters
  • Galvano bodyside moldings
  • Power-retractable assist steps (optional)
  • LED headlights
  • Outside heated and power-adjustable mirrors
  • Rear programmable hands-free liftgate with GMC logo projection

2021 GMC Yukon Denali SUV Safety

The new exterior has been completely redesigned and GMC has made sure to deliver a powerful structure and chassis as well. Looking at the safety ratings, NHTSA gives it a 4-star overall, which is not the best rating, but still excellent. Unfortunately, however, IIHS did not get around to testing the Yukon as of yet. But we suspect it would perform fine on their tests as well. There is a myriad of safety and driver assistance features. It has all the modern driver and safety systems you can think about to make it a worry-free ride. Some of the standout ones include the following:

  • IntelliBeam automatic high beam
  • Automatic Emergency Braking
  • OnStar and GMC Connected Services
  • Front Pedestrian Braking
  • Front and Rear parking assist
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Forward collision alert
  • Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert
  • HD Surround vision
  • Rear pedestrian alert

2021 GMC Yukon Denali SUV Competition

2021 GMC Yukon Denali vs 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe High Country

There are more similarities than differences between the Chevrolet Tahoe and the GMC Yukon. The highest trim of the vehicles is based on the same platform and the same mechanics, only differing in the exterior design. The exterior and interior dimensions, the powertrain, and the performance are all nearly identical. The Denali is slightly faster and carries a bit more weight to its name as a luxury brand. It all boils down to personal preference as they are both the same exact car otherwise.

2021 GMC Yukon Denali vs 2021 Ford Expedition Platinum

Right off the bat, the Expedition is slightly underpowered as compared to the Denali. It is just a tad bit slower, but it handles well. Ford offers more fuel economy than the Denali and gets a larger range too. The interior is also way roomier than the Denali, especially the third row. Cargo space is also more for the blue oval. Overall, the Expedition is more practical than the Yukon. And when it comes to the exterior design, it boils down to personal preference once again. The Expedition also costs more.

2021 GMC Yukon Denali vs 2021 Nissan Armada Platinum Reserve

The Nissan Armada has identical or even better performance than the American SUV. However, that’s about it. It is left in the dust pretty much in every other aspect by the Denali. It gets less fuel economy; it has a cramped interior and also has less cargo space. The Yukon would be preferred for practicality and most people would also like the design of the American more.

2021 GMC Yukon Denali SUV Final Verdict

If you are on the hunt for a luxury family SUV with no compromises, the GMC Yukon Denali would be an excellent choice. It is expensive for sure, but it also offers a plethora of features and ultimate luxury. It is also highly practical and the new design is an added layer of fanciness. The Expedition can be considered for more practicality, but nothing screams top-of-the-line as much as “Denali” does.