Not to be outdone with Genesis GV80, GM unveiled the new GMC Yukon. They will probably start around the same price, but the Yukon is MUCH larger. In my mind, the Yukon and the Yukon XL fall into a category only Ford competes in which I call the extra large SUV category. The BMW X7 and Mercedes GLS come close, but they just don’t have the mass and size of these and they are in the large category. Anyways, the GV80 is midsize, so two sizes smaller than the Yukon for about the same starting price.
New for 2021 is also a diesel engine in addition to the two V8s from before. GM has decided not to follow Ford into the turbo 6 engine territory and I think that is the right decision. People who buy SUVs and trucks this size want a V8. It’s a psychological thing. Yes, Ford’s 3.5 V6 makes just as much horsepower and torque, but it doesn’t have the sound and feel of a V8 that truck buyers want. Ford also hasn’t been able to capitalize on promised fuel economy gains. GM has wisely invested in cylinder deactivation which shuts off cylinders when cruising on the highway to save gas.
The exterior is what I would call handsome, with clean lines and the right amount of stylistic details and chrome to not be too much. The grille is of course much bigger as is the trend these days, and it can make the Yukon look “pig-ish” from certain angles. Otherwise, it looks how it needs to look to appeal to buyers. GMC has positioned its SUVs and trucks to be the luxury brand for people who want to fly under the radar a little more. Old money buyers who want quiet, capable luxury.
What is interesting is the interior. Base Yukons get what looks like a top of the line Tahoe/Suburban interior and nothing more. However, the top of the line Denali trim gets a unique style that doesn’t necessarily look any better. It has more wood trim and leather wrapped pieces and that’s pretty much it. I’m glad they tried to differentiate, but it isn’t a better design. It actually looks a bit dated to me. Either way, the interior quality tops anything from Ford, but not quite Lincoln. Save that for the Escalade. Did Ford miss an opportunity to rebrand Mercury as a GMC competitor?
Another few new tidbits are the introduction of a new AT4 offroad trim. Call this the Ford Raptor effect. Even if nobody will take these things offroading, buyers want their cars to look like they can. It makes the SUV look more rugged and even offers 2 extra inches of ground clearance! The Yukon is also the only SUV of this size to offer an air suspension.