2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali SUV

MSRP $71,100

Ranked #13 in Fullsize Suv

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

Updated on: August 20, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


The 2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali has been completely redesigned from the ground up as it enters its new generation model. It has got some cosmetic changes in and out along with a little tuning to make its performance better than before. 

See detailed review »

Pros

Striking exterior design

Available fuel-efficient Diesel powertrain

Massive cargo space, even with all rows up

Cons

Lack of standard safety features

Lacks off-roading capabilities

Dated screen user interface

What's New?

After the GMC Denali remained unchanged for two consecutive years, the all-new 2021 MY underwent a complete redesign in and out following a price hike. 

The cargo space has witnessed a significant expansion and a new trim i.e AT4 has also been introduced this year.

The engines of all the trims have also been coupled with a new 10-speed automatic transmission. 

The 2021 model has a new platform underneath it which now gives it more rigidity & better aerodynamics overall.

A new rear suspension system has also been put into play this year which now promises better stability than before in bumpy surfaces.


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$71100

bodystyle

dr SUV

warranty

roadside assistance

No


Pictures & Videos


Trims

Denali$71,100 onwards

Base$71,100 onwards

Colors and Styles

2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali SUV in Dark Sky Metallic color
Dark Sky Metallic

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 XL model feature-wise is the same as its stock model which is GMC Yukon but it gets differentiated for its bigger space and longer wheelbase. The GMC Yukon is a large SUV that competes with Ford Expedition Max, Chevrolet Suburban High Country, and Toyota Land Cruiser.

2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali SUV front view
2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali SUV rear view

2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali SUV Features

Before 2021, the Yukon XL used to have three trim options on their list. But, this year a new trim debuted namely AT4 which is just placed below the topmost trim i.e Denali to serve the mid-range buyers. So, with this new addition, the total number of trims got increased to 4 and the name of base trim is SLE followed by SLT, AT4, and Denali.

Every trim compared to their price range houses a justifiable amount of features. Although, the Denali being the topmost trim consists of multiple luxurious and standout features. The Yukon XL Denali has a big 6.2L V8 engine and the capacity of which is better than any other trims. 

Moreover, it has got the best possible features in every class that is unique to Denali trim only. Those features include Bose 14-speaker premium sound system, a 15.0-inch head-up display, HD surround vision camera, integrated Navigation system, and power-release second-row bucket seats.

Model

Yukon XL Denali

MSRP (2WD)

$71,100

MSRP (AWD)

$74,100

Key Features

10.2" diagonal GMC Premium Infotainment System with Navigation

 

Wireless Apple CarPlay

 

Wireless Android Auto

 

Bose 14-speaker Surround with CenterPoint audio system

 

Tri-zone automatic climate control

 

Active Park assist

 

Surround-view camera

 

8" diagonal multi-color Driver Information Center (MID)

 

Heated and ventilated driver and front passenger seats

Which trim should you buy?

The trim choice would completely depend upon the buyer according to his needs and budget. The SLE trim seems a valuable model at a much lower cost but the Denali coming at a higher cost has better engine, performance, and most importantly a ton of standard as well as optional features. 

So, overall the SLE trim looks very good and super-valuable in its price range. But, if you are ready to spend more to feed your cravings for more power & luxury then you should shift towards Denali.

2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali SUV Engine and Performance

The 2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali runs on a 6.2L V8 engine that makes around 420 hp along with 460 lb-ft of torque. This year, a new 10-speed automatic transmission is coupled with their powertrain and an RWD drivetrain comes as standard. It is also available in the AWD drivetrain system which costs around $3,000 more than the RWD trim. 

 2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali SUV 

The engine feels sufficiently powerful in this class of large SUVs and it is also the quickest short sprinter amongst all the other rivals. With the capability to reach 137MPH, the Yukon Denali also tops the table when it comes to the highest speed reading. All in all, for a heavy SUV like this the power produced feels sufficient to let you cruise around the way.

Models

2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali

2021 Ford Expedition MAX Platinum

2021 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition

2021 Chevrolet Suburban High Country

MSRP

$71,300

$75,335

$ 85,655

$72,400

Engine

6.2L V8

3.5L Twin-Turbo V6

5.7L V8

6.2L V8

Drivetrain

RWD

RWD

AWD

RWD

Transmission

10-speed automatic

10-speed automatic

6-speed automatic

10-speed automatic

Power

420 hp @ 5,600 RPM

375 hp @ 5,000 RPM

381 hp @ 5,600 RPM

420 hp @ 5,600 RPM

Torque

460 lb-ft @ 4,100 RPM

470 lb-ft @ 3,500 RPM

401 lb-ft @ 4,000 RPM

460 lb-ft @ 4,100 RPM

0-60 MPH (seconds)

6.5

6.7

7.1

5.1

Quarter-Mile (seconds)

16.7

15.5

15.3 

16.7

Since Yukon and Suburban come from the same manufacturer i.e GM, we can see pretty much similar specs in both of them. The price of Suburban is higher than Yukon in this class but it is also the quickest in its class so it gets justified. The Expedition here comes with the highest price tag but its feature tends to fall short in front of the other rivals.

How well does the 2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali handle?

Being a big and heavy-duty SUV, people may get caught up with negative perceptions when it comes to riding quality and handling. But, GMC with its new generation 2021 GMC Yukon XL focused on this aspect and the results came out to be amazing. 

The steering of this car feels light and the steering feedback also got quicker and better. The inclusion of a new independent rear suspension also improved this SUV’s performance on tough roads. Although, for better off-roading, a dedicated AT4 trim has been introduced this year Denali’s performance remains average here. 

The bulky size of this SUV may create a little uneasiness while passing through a crowded place or while parking which was expected looking at its size. There is also an available AWD model which costs around $ 3,000 more but with this expense, you get a much better grip and stability while cornering.

Braking Performance

The braking performance of this SUV got a lot better this year in comparison to its predecessor. The big Duralife 13.6-inch rotors work precisely and make the vehicle stop faster than before.

These rotors are fully engineered to perform for heavy-duty trucks or SUVs like Yukon. Apart from that, the availability of ABS and features like automatic emergency braking also helps the vehicle in certain conditions to come to a stop quickly whenever needed.

Models

2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali

2021 Ford Expedition MAX Platinum

2021 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition

2021 Chevrolet Suburban High Country

Brake Rotors: Front (inches)

17.0

13.9

12.9

17.0

Brake Rotors: Rear (inches)

17.0

19.6

12.2

17.0

Curb Weight (lbs)

5331

5443

5815

5641

60-0 MPH (feet)

125

121

128

121

The brake rotors of Denali and Suburbans are very big in size than other rivals. But, when it comes to stopping power from 60-0 then GMC completes it in 125 feet whereas the Suburban and Expedition makes it within 121 feet which is good.The Toyota is the heaviest car amongst the list and that gives it a big disadvantage having to go farthest before stopping.

2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali SUV Fuel Economy

The MPG figures of the 2021 GMC Yukon XL are the same as the Yukon but the only notable change is its fuel tank capacity which is a little higher. The MPG figures of this SUV are good but some of its closest rivals give a much better economy. 

The base models of the Yukon provide a little better range because of its 5.3L engine but the Denali on the other hand comes with more power. 

Models

2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali

2021 Ford Expedition MAX Platinum

2021 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition

2021 Chevrolet Suburban High Country

MPG (City)

16

17

13

16

MPG (Highway)

23

23

17

20

MPG (Combined)

19

19

14

18

Fuel Tank Capacity (Gallons)

28.0

30

24.6

28.0

Range (City/Highway/Combined; Miles)

448/644/532

510/690/570 

320/418/344

448/560/504 

Here, the Expedition has the highest fuel MPG with the biggest fuel tank which ultimately leads to a very long-range output, all thanks to its V6 engine which is known for saving some bucks on gas. The Yukon along with its twin brother Suburban also performed well but Yukon seems to have a slight upper hand.

2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali SUV Interior

The interior of the 2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali is all about luxury and comfort other than that we also get multiple advanced features that make it practical in every sense. The XL comes with more legroom than the stock Yukon model giving you more space to rest yourself. 

The cabin feels air and a lot of free spaces are available for swinging into the third row. The visual of this SUV is also good but the thick pillars at the back may somewhat fade out the rear visibility. It also has a feature called HD surround vision that uses a camera to give you a 360-degree surround view.

 2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali SUV cockpit area

The dash sections look stylish and sleek without much complexity of buttons. The design is kept very ergonomic and driver-friendly for better handling. The dash is also covered in premium leather material and the center holds a floating display above it. 

The steering wheels come wrapped in perforated leather and a heating option is also available. The front ventilated seats come with a heating feature and leather bolstering which can be power adjusted in 8-way along with lumbar support. The second and third-row seats are also very comfortable and supportive, both of which are covered in perforated leather material.

The cargo space of this SUV is one of its unique selling points which is enormous. It has one of the best standard cargo spaces in its class i.e 41.5 cubic feet of space. It can also be extended up to a massive 144.7 cubic feet of cargo space with three seats folded down.

Some of the standout interior features are as follows:

  • High Definition surround vision camera
  • Heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Front bucket seats with lumbar support
  • Rear heated & power-adjustable seats
  • Three-zone automatic climate control

Models

2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali

2021 Ford Expedition MAX Platinum

2021 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition

2021 Chevrolet Suburban High Country

Seating Capacity

8

7

8

8

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

42.3/66/44.5

42/64.9/43.9

38.3/61.0/42.9

42.3/66/44.5

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

38.9/64.8/42.0

40/64.8/41.5

38.9/61.1/34.4

38.9/64.8/42.0

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

38.1/62.6/36.8

37.3/64.2/40.9

35.8/62.3/28.3

38.1/62.6/36.8

Cargo Capacity (cubic feet)

41.5

34.3

16.1

41.5

The Yukon and Suburban, both coming from the same carmaker, share the same interior as well as cargo dimensions. They both completely dominate in the front, rear & cargo spacing but the Ford Expedition here beats them in the third row. The Land Cruiser because of its short wheelbase struggled to manage better spacing inside like its competitors.

What’s there to keep you entertained?

Upfront, a 10.2-inch floating premium GMC infotainment screen is placed above the dashboard. The quality is very good and crisp which is normally expected from a car with this price range. It also consists of a navigation feature that is unique to Denali trim only. 

 2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali SUV infotainment

The base model consists of 9 premium Bose speakers whereas the Denali has 14 premium speakers of the same kind. Apart from that, a multi-information 15-inch diagonal head-up display is also available. Besides, some standard features include Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, Wireless Charging, Bluetooth, HD radio, etc.

A lot of optional features are also available in the Yukon XL which can be bought for that extra dose of entertainment. These optional features include rear-seat media, 4g enabled Wi-Fi Hotspot, panoramic sunroof.

Some of the highlights of the infotainment system are as follows:

  • 14-speaker premium BOSE audio system
  • 10.0-inch touchscreen display
  • Apple CarPlay & Android Auto
  • Wireless charging
  • Bluetooth & Navigation
  • 4G Wi-Fi Hotspot

2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali SUV Exterior

The exteriors of the 2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali remain as unique as it was before but this year it got much better. The overall body of the XL got stretched a bit in size and now has a longer wheelbase. 

The front grille of the Denali XL has been widened in the area and it follows a honeycomb-like structure with GMC branding. The front headlamps, as well as the rear tail lights, remained the same as its predecessor and no changes were seen on this part. 

 2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali SUV 

All in all, the Yukon XL comprises a very bold yet bulky look. The front fascia of this SUV reflects a luxury charm and you can start feeling it from outside. Yes, it contains all the features and looks to attract any buyers towards itself.

Some of the standout exterior features are as follows:

  • 20.0-inch aluminum wheels
  • LED Signature lightings
  • LED fog lamps
  • Heated power folding adjustable mirrors
  • Power liftgate

Models

2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali

2021 Ford Expedition MAX Platinum

2021 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition

2021 Chevrolet Suburban High Country

Curb Weight (lbs)

5,633

5,443

5,815

5,641

Length (inches)

225.2

221.9

194.9

225.7

Width (inches)

81.0

79.9

78.0

81.1

Height (inches)

76.5

76.4

74.0

75.8

Ground Clearance (inches)

8.0

9.8

9.0

8.0

Wheelbase (inches)

134.1

122.5

112.2

134.1

The exterior dimensions of the GMC Yukon XL look very good. It might be heavy in some sense but still, it is lighter than some of its rivals. The wheelbase of the Yukon twins up with Chevy Suburban and they both top in this class. Although, the ground clearance of Expedition remains to be the best in this class.

2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali SUV Safety

The 2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali has a lot of safety features on the list but many features remain optional which is a downside of course. Features like adaptive cruise control and a rearview camera are not available on any base models but it is optional for Denali. This SUV has not been tested by any safety agencies like NHTSA or IIHS yet. 

But, the 2019 model got a 4-star rating from NHTSA because of its average performance in frontal crash testing. GMC Yukon has been completely redesigned for the 2021 model and is based on a new platform so improvements on this aspect are very likely.

Some of the standout safety features include the following:

  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Forward collision alert
  • Front pedestrian braking
  • Following distance indicator
  • Front and rear park assist
  • IntelliBeam-auto high beams
  • Lane change alert with side blind-zone alert
  • Lane-keeping assist with lane departure warning
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Rear pedestrian alert

2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali SUV Competition

2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali vs 2021 Ford Expedition MAX Platinum

The Yukon when directly compared with the Expedition Yukon seems to be a little better in terms of performance and spacing. But, the Expedition having a V6 engine still managed to come closer to Yukon’s performance and has an outstanding fuel range. The Expedition is priced at almost $3,500 more than Yukon. So, all in all, the Yukon XL seems to be a winner in this case.

2021 Ford Expedition MAX Platinum

2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali vs 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage

The Toyota Land Cruiser is the most expensive SUV out of all the other rivals including Yukon XL. But in terms of performance and specs, the Yukon XL seems much better than the Land Cruiser but it has an AWD advantage and it takes less time to complete a quarter-mile compared to Yukon XL. 

2021 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage

The fuel range of the Yukon XL is again much better than Land Cruiser and the interior space, as well as boot space, is also better than Land Cruiser. So, the Yukon XL Denali is much better than the Land Cruiser in every way.

2021 GMC Yukon XL vs 2021 Chevrolet Suburban High Country

These both SUVs share the same parent company so most of their characteristics mirror each other. Although, the Yukon is priced slightly lower than the Suburban which comes with a quicker acceleration. But, look-wise, the Yukon XL looks bolder and holds the potential to attract any buyer out there.

2021 Chevrolet Suburban High Country

 

2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali SUV Final Verdict

Yes, the 2021 GMC Yukon XL Denali in one word is the best in its class. The price falls in the mid-zone when compared to its rivals and it delivers good performance and on-paper numbers. 

The Suburban also tends to deliver the same but with better acceleration and the Yukon provides you with more mileage. If the price of the Ford Expedition was kept more aggressively according to the competition it would have been a good choice.