2021 GMC Yukon XL SUV

MSRP $53,400 - $71,100

Ranked #14 in Fullsize Suv

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

Updated on: August 20, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


The 2021 GMC Yukon XL is the extended wheelbase version of the Yukon and is one of the largest and most spacious offerings in the full-size SUV segment and comes with increased third-row legroom and cargo capacity. The Yukon XL gets a diesel engine option for this year. It comes fully redesigned for 2021 and marks the beginning of the fifth generation of Yukon. The new model has a significantly longer wheelbase and has become overall longer and taller and comes with more space on the inside for passengers as well as for luggage. 

More from 2021 GMC Yukon XL SUV

2021 GMC Yukon XL SUV Exclusive Interior and Exterior Pictures | View latest Pictures

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Pros

Super-spacious

High-quality interior

Impressive low-end torque

Higher fuel-efficiency 

Cons

Massive size affects maneuverability

Unengaging handling

Slower than gas-powered counterpart and rivals

What's New?

Fully redesigned for 2021


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$53400

bodystyle

dr SUV

warranty

roadside assistance

No


Pictures & Videos


Trims

SLE$53,400 onwards

SLT$60,500 onwards

Denali$71,100 onwards

Colors and Styles

2021 GMC Yukon XL SUV in Quicksilver Metallic color
Quicksilver 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 diesel engine that powers the Yukon XL is a 3.0 L turbocharged Duramax engine mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Pricing starts at $53,340 which is around $1K more than the standard gas V8 engine. The Yukon XL is offered in three trims in both 2WD as well as 4WD configurations. The Chevrolet Suburban is the only diesel-powered competition of the Yukon XL that is powered by the same engine so we’ll be comparing it against it and two other gas-powered machines in the segment, the 2021 Ford Expedition MAX, and the 2021 Toyota Sequoia SR5

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

2021 GMC Yukon XL SUV Features

The 2021 GMC Yukon XL diesel is offered in three trims which are SLE, SLT, and the top of the line super-luxurious Denali. The off-road-oriented AT4 trim is not available with the diesel engine. All models are powered by the same 3.0L Duramax turbo diesel engine mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission.

The available package options include the SLT Luxury and Luxury Plus Packages available with the SLT trim and some ultra-luxurious packages available to be equipped with the top-spec Denali trim while the base SLE trim doesn’t get any package options. The following table shows the detailed list of features and prices of each trim of the 2021 GMC Yukon XL diesel- 

Trims

SLE

SLT

Denali

MSRP

$53,340 (2WD)

$59,340 (4WD)

$63,265 (2WD)

$66,265 (4WD)

$71,370 (2WD)

$74,370 (4WD)

Key Features

Tri-Zone Automatic Climate Controls

Bose 9-Speaker Audio System

Magnetic Ride Control

 

StabiliTrak Electronic Stability Control

Wireless Charging

Bose 14-Speaker Centerpoint Surround Sound

 

AutoTrac Single-Speed Transfer Case (4WD)

Lane Change Alert With Side Blind Zone Alert

AutoTrac 2-Speed Transfer Case (4WD)

 

LED Signature Lighting (Headlamps/Taillamps) 

Lane Keep Assist With Lane Departure Warning

Heated, Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel

 

18" 6-Spoke Machined-Aluminum Wheels With Dark Gray Metallic Accents

20" 6-Spoke Polished Aluminum Wheels

20" 6-Spoke Multidimensional Polished Aluminum Wheels

 

10.2" Diagonal Premium GMC Infotainment System

Hands-Free Programmable Power Liftgate with GMC Logo Projection

10.2" Diagonal Premium GMC Infotainment System with Navigation

 

8" Diagonal Digital Driver Information Center

Heated and Ventilated Driver and Front-Passenger Seats

Heated Second-Row Outboard Seats

 

Cloth Seating

First- and Second-Row Perforated Leather Seating Surfaces

Second-Row Power-Release Bucket Seats

We Recommend

The SLT trim is hands down the best option in the Yukon XL lineup. It already is more luxurious and comes with better features compared to the base SLE trim. It gets leather seating surfaces along with larger wheels and a lot more standard driver assistance tech. The SLT trim also could be equipped with the Luxury or Luxury Plus packages according to your preference and both of these are exclusive for this trim which makes this one the perfect choice.

2021 GMC Yukon XL SUV Engine and Performance

The 2021 GMC Yukon XL diesel is powered by a 3.0L Duramax turbocharged diesel engine producing 277 hp and 460 lb-ft of maximum power and torque. The engine comes with direct injection and active thermal management and is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission, which is electronically controlled with overdrive and comes with Traction Select System including tow and haul modes. The power figures are certainly not as high as the gas-powered Yukon, but there is plenty of torque available on disposal. 

2021 GMC Yukon XL SUV driving view

The high amount of torque which is available as low as 1500 rpm is the major advantage of the Yukon XL diesel. The speed timings are not as fast as the V8 but the diesel-powered Yukon XL can reach a speed of 60mph in 8.5 seconds and crosses the quarter-mile in 16.6 seconds. These figures, although not very exciting, are pretty good considering the size and heft of the Yukon XL. The available Max Trailering Package can also enable the Yukon XL to tow up to 8400 lbs which is plenty. 

Models

2021 GMC Yukon XL Diesel SLE

2021 Chevrolet Suburban Diesel LS

2021 Ford Expedition MAX XLT 

2021 Toyota Sequoia SR5

MSRP

$53,640

$54,940

$54,810

$50,400

Engine

3.0L Inline-6 Diesel

3.0L Inline-6 Diesel

3.5 L V6

5.7 L V8

Drivetrain

RWD/4WD

RWD/4WD

RWD/4WD

RWD/4WD

Transmission

10-speed shiftable automatic

10-speed shiftable automatic

10-speed shiftable automatic

6-speed shiftable automatic

Power (hp @ rpm)

277 hp @ 3750 rpm

277 hp @ 3750 rpm

375 hp @ 5000 rpm

381 hp @ 5600 rpm

Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)

460 ft-lbs. @ 1500 rpm

460 ft-lbs. @ 1500 rpm

470 ft-lbs. @ 3500 rpm

401 ft-lbs. @ 3600 rpm

0-60 mph (sec)

8.5

8.5

6.9

6.9

Quarter Mile (sec)

16.6

16.6

15.5

15.7

Top Speed (mph)

120

120

120

120


The gas-powered Expedition MAX and Sequoia are the faster ones while the GMC twins offer a lot more torque than the Toyota which is available from a lower rpm. The Toyota, however, is the most powerful one here while the Ford outputs the most torque. Although none of these machines are aimed at enthusiastic driving or super-fast 0 to 60 times, the diesel-powered ones stay one of two steps below the gas-powered rivals. 

How well does the 2021 GMC Yukon XL Diesel Drive and Handle?

The redesigned GMC Yukon XL comes with an independent rear suspension which makes a world of a difference in the ride quality the Yukon offers. It is very comfortable. Also, in the Denali trim you get standard Magnetic Ride Control which is an advanced suspension system that according to GMC scans the road up to 1,000 times a second, and adjusts the suspension setup for a smoother and more controlled ride. 

2021 GMC Yukon XL SUV ride and handling

Along with this, there is also an Air Ride adaptive suspension available as an option in the Denali trim which further smoothes out the ride quality, delivering near-perfect comfort possible to be obtained from a truck-based SUV. And when it comes to handling, the Yukon XL is bad and unimpressive. The power output and braking are good, but the driving dynamics are as expected from this huge SUV. 

How efficient is the braking performance of the 2021 GMC Yukon XL Diesel? 

One of the Yukon XL’s strong points is its impressive brakes. The Yukon XL is fitted with huge 17-inch rotors in the front and back which work efficiently and stops the mammoth of an SUV with immediate effect. The Yukon Xl stops from 60mph at a distance of 122 ft which is a remarkable achievement considering the large footprint and the higher weight of this vehicle. The brakes are progressive and the pedal feel is responsive and nice and moreover, as we have observed they work expeditiously. 

Model

2021 GMC Yukon XL Diesel SLE

2021 Chevrolet Suburban Diesel LS

2021 Ford Expedition MAX XLT 

2021 Toyota Sequoia SR5

Brake Rotors Front

17.0

17.0

13.0

13.9

Brake Rotors Rear

17.0

17.0

13.5

13.6

Curb Weight

5,633

5,616

5,534

5,730

Braking Distance 60-0 (ft.)

122

122

137

141

The GMC Yukon XL and the Chevy Suburban obviously come with the same braking distance, and they both top the charts in terms of braking. The Ford Expedition MAX follows the GMC twins with the second-best braking distance which is significantly lower than the winners here. The brakes in the Expedition feel a bit sponge-like right at the time when the pedal is pressed, but, overall it functions pretty well. The Toyota comes at last and it seems obvious as it is also the oldest and the outdated one here. 

2021 GMC Yukon XL SUV Fuel Economy

This is also somewhere the diesel-powered Yukon XL is expected to excel. And compared to the gas-powered rivals, it does perform much better. The Yukon XL outputs a fuel efficiency of 21 mpg in the city, 27 on the highway, and a combined fuel economy of 23 mpg on the highway. The Yukon XL also gets a 28.0-gallon fuel capacity which means that the combined range provided by this huge SUV is just below 650 miles while on the highway the Yukon XL can travel more than 750 miles without a refill. The diesel-powered Yukon XL truly excels in the fuel economy department. 

Models

2021 GMC Yukon XL Diesel SLE

2021 Chevrolet Suburban Diesel LS

2021 Ford Expedition MAX XLT 

2021 Toyota Sequoia SR5

MPG (City)

21

21

17

13

MPG (Highway)

27

27

23

17

MPG (Combined)

23

23

19

15

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

28.0

28.0

30.0

26.4

Range (City/Highway/Combined, in Miles)

588/756/644

588/756/644

510/690/570

343/449/396

The gas-powered machines are no match to the GMC cousins powered by the diesel engine. The fuel economy in all road and driving conditions are significantly better than the Ford and the Toyota in all road and driving conditions. The Ford Expedition MAX comes with a fuel-efficient engine which comes in second place when compared with the diesel machines and is the most efficient gas-powered machine in this segment. The Toyota Sequoia, however, is a complete disappointment even if we consider the fact that it is a heavy full-size SUV.

2021 GMC Yukon XL SUV Interior

The GMC Yukon XL has a roomy and ultra-spacious interior that comes with a lot of luxury on offer. The base SLE trim comes standard with tri-zone automatic climate control as standard along with cloth upholstery. The SLT trim gets upgraded perforated leather seating surfaces that are heated and ventilated for the driver and front passenger. The top-end Denali trim further gets a leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel and heated second-row seats.

2021 GMC Yukon XL SUV cockpit area

There is ample space in the front and second rows while the third row is also adequately spacious and can seat adults. The seats are comfortable and supportive, but the driver seat lacks adjustability which is a drawback. The base SLE trim lacks a power-tilt and telescoping steering column which is another minor setback.

2021 GMC Yukon XL SUV front seats

The cargo capacity in the GMC Yukon XL is also plenty and this one can carry all of your necessary luggage during long trips. 

Models

2021 GMC Yukon XL Diesel SLE

2021 Chevrolet Suburban Diesel LS

2021 Ford Expedition MAX XLT 

2021 Toyota Sequoia SR5

Seating Capacity

8

8

8

8

Front Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

42.3/66.0/44.5

42.3/66.0/44.5

42.0/64.9/43.9

34.8/66.4/42.5

Second Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

38.9/64.8/42.0

38.9/64.8/42.0

40.0/64.8/41.5

34.9/65.6/40.9

Third Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

38.2/62.8/36.7

38.2/61.7/36.7

37.3/64.3/40.9

34.5/65.7/35.3

Cargo Capacity

41.5

41.5

34.3

18.9

The GMC and Chevy are the most spacious options here. While they come with an exceptional amount of space in the front and second rows as well as a spacious cargo area, the Ford Expedition MAX offers a more spacious third row. The Sequoia being the only normal wheelbase version here is the least spacious one. The interior looks good and is of great quality in the GMC as well as the Chevy, but the Yukon XL offers a more accessible and easier-to-reach control layout and infotainment screen. The following are the most important interior features of the 2021 GMC Yukon XL-

  • Tri-Zone Automatic Climate Controls
  • First- and Second-Row Perforated Leather Seating Surfaces
  • Heated and Ventilated Driver and Front-Passenger Seats
  • Third-Row 60/40 Split Power-Folding Bench Seat 
  • Heated, Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel
  • Power-Tilt and -Telescoping Steering Column
  • Power-Sliding Center Console

How intuitive is the 2021 GMC Yukon XL Diesel’s infotainment unit?

The 2021 GMC Yukon XL comes with a 10.2-inch touchscreen infotainment unit as standard and it comes with navigation in the top-end trim. The infotainment unit is not the best one to look at but is responsive and easy to use. The audio unit is a 9-speaker system that is upgraded to a 14-Speaker Centerpoint surround sound system in the Denali trim. There is also an available rear-seat entertainment system consisting of dual 1080p 12.6-inch touchscreens. The following are the prominent infotainment features in the Yukon XL-

  • 10.2" Diagonal Premium GMC Infotainment System
  • 8" Diagonal Digital Driver Information Center 
  • Multicolor 15" Diagonal Head-Up Display
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
  • 4G LTE Wi-Fi Hotspot
  • Bose 9-Speaker Audio System 
  • SiriusXM With 360L - All Access Package with a 3-Month trial subscription

2021 GMC Yukon XL SUV Exterior

Although the 2021 GMC Yukon XL is a huge behemoth of an SUV with the aerodynamics of a brick, the redesign has made it look much better. It is one of the best-looking ones in the segment. The SLE and SLT trim looks pretty much the same from the outside while the Denali is more flashy and covered in chrome. The Denali trim could also be equipped with power-retractable assist steps with perimeter lighting, making the Yukon XL more ergonomic. 

2021 GMC Yukon XL SUV

The base SLE trim gets 18-inch 6-spoke machined aluminum wheels with dark gray metallic accents while the SLT trim gets larger 20-inch 6-spoke polished wheels. The Denali trim gets 6-spoke multidimensional polished wheels as standard while there are also huge 22-inch bright machined wheels with premium paint available to equip. The one disappointing thing is that the AT4 trim which is the best-looking and most practical and off-road-oriented one is not available with a diesel engine option. Otherwise, this one is a good-looking SUV. 

Models

2021 GMC Yukon XL Diesel SLE

2021 Chevrolet Suburban Diesel LS

2021 Ford Expedition MAX XLT 

2021 Toyota Sequoia SR5

Curb Weight (lbs)

5,633

5,616

5,534

5,730

Length (inches)

225.2

225.7

221.9

205.1

Width (inches)

81.0

81.1

93.4

79.9

Height (inches)

76.5

75.7

76.4

77.0

Ground Clearance (inches)

8.0

8.0

9.8

9.9

Wheelbase (inches)

134.1

134.1

131.6

122.0

The 2021 GMC Yukon looks the most rugged while the Chevy is the sleekest one here. The Ford Expedition MAX is not a very beautiful-looking one but still is much better than the old-looking Sequoia. The Sequoia, however, is the most practical one and also offers the most ground clearance and offroad capabilities. The GMC cousins are the longer and wider ones and also have the longest wheelbase compared to the others. The following are some of the most important exterior features of the GMC Yukon XL-

  • LED Signature Lighting (Headlamps/Taillamps) 
  • LED Fog Lamps 
  • Heated, Power-Folding Adjustable Mirrors 
  • Rainsense Windshield Wipers
  • Assist Steps, Black With Gloss-Black Inserts
  • 20" 6-Spoke Polished Aluminum Wheels

2021 GMC Yukon XL SUV Safety

The 2021 GMC Yukon XL comes with a plethora of safety and driver assistance features incorporated into it. The Yukon XL has also been safety tested and rated by NHTSA and they have awarded this huge SUV with an impressive overall safety rating of 4-stars. It also gets all 5-star side safety ratings which is a remarkable feat achieved by GMC. The only bad rating which the Yukon Xl got is a 3-star rating for rollover protection which is expected from something so large. The Yukon XL’s top0end trim could opt with a Denali-Exclusive Advanced Security Package which further adds some extra safety tech along with the following standard and optional safety features- 

  • Forward Collision Alert
  • Front Pedestrian Braking
  • Following Distance Indicator
  • Front and Rear Park Assist
  • Lane Change Alert With Side Blind Zone Alert
  • Lane Keep Assist With Lane Departure Warning
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Rear Pedestrian Alert
  • Enhanced Automatic Emergency Braking

2021 GMC Yukon XL SUV Competition

2021 GMC Yukon XL Diesel vs 2021 Chevrolet Suburban Diesel

Both of these are the same under the hood, but through my eyes, the GMC Yukon looks better although the Chevy Suburban is not bad either. The power and performance are the same from both these machines, and the same applies to the interior quality as well as the space on the inside. The GMC however, comes with a better control layout which is easier to access and use. These minor advantages make the Yukon XL the better choice.

2021 Chevrolet Suburban Diesel

2021 GMC Yukon XL Diesel vs 2021 Ford Expedition MAX 

The 2021 Ford Expedition MAX is a great choice and comes with a powerful and responsive engine compared to the Yukon XL. The Yukon however is much more fuel-efficient and offers more overall space on the inside. Based on handling and driving dynamics, both these machines are in the same ballpark, and that is disappointing. Overall, the choice trickles down to whether you want a diesel-powered or a gas-powered machine.

2021 Ford Expedition MAX 

2021 GMC Yukon XL Diesel vs 2021 Toyota Sequoia 

This is pretty much very simple. The Toyota Sequoia is an outdated and disappointing machine that looks and feels old on the outside as well as inside. The Yukon XL with the diesel engine is much more fuel-efficient, spacious and luxurious. The Yukon XL is also a new and updated model for 2021 and comes with a lot more features and luxury on offer along with a better-looking dash layout, making it the obvious choice.

2021 Toyota Sequoia 

 

2021 GMC Yukon XL SUV Final Verdict

The 2021 GMC Yukon XL Diesel is a superb option as it is one of the only two diesel-powered SUVs in the segment, and the other one is technically the same as this one. The GMC Yukon XL has one direct competitor that is the Chevrolet Suburban. The Yukon XL is the same as the Chevy in terms of power, handling, space, and luxury, but happens to be more practical and user friendly than the Suburban. The diesel engine offers a lot of low-end torque while the power figures are not up to the mark compared to its own gas-powered counterpart and other gas-powered rivals. But the fuel efficiency is much better and people who are ready to sacrifice some straight-line speed for more efficiency and to save some money on fuel can opt for this one.

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