CREATING THE NEXT GENERATION YUKON EXPERIENCE
Led by the Denali, the 2021 Yukon full-size SUV delivers first-class appointments, class-leading available technology and Professional Grade capability. A longer wheelbase lends itself to a confident stance and improved proportions. As bold as the new exterior is, the biggest stories are found inside and underneath the Next Generation Yukon.
Vehicle performance engineer Christine Kirbitz spent hundreds of hours behind the wheel to help ensure that the Next Generation Yukon full-size SUV performs with confidence-inspiring ease. Kirbitz focuses on suspension components, shock absorbers, powertrain and body mounts, as well as electric power steering calibration.
“I look at how the different elements affect ride comfort and handling,” Kirbitz explains. “My job is to provide a comfortable ride and secure handling.
“I love that I get to spend so much time behind the wheel. Don’t be surprised if you can’t find me at my desk — I’m working!”
To further hone her driving skills, Kirbitz enjoys a form of drag racing called bracket racing, which utilizes a handicap start to level the mechanical playing field on the track and place the emphasis on the driver. “I love the speed — up to 174 mph,” Kirbitz admits. “But I also really enjoy the strategy.”
With an eye toward taking what customers have always loved about the Yukon and making it even better, the Next Generation Yukon incorporates an all-new independent rear suspension (IRS). Among other benefits, the combination of the IRS and a longer wheelbase allows for more passenger and cargo space, as well as increased athletic prowess.
“The IRS fundamentally transforms the driving dynamics of the Yukon, allowing each rear wheel to handle road conditions separately to dramatically enhance ride quality, responsiveness and overall control,” Kirbitz explains. “We were able to tune the chassis to provide levels of ride comfort and agility not typically associated with vehicles this size.”
Never satisfied, GMC built on the IRS and other qualities of the Next Generation Yukon by offering additional technologies — available Magnetic Ride Control and the Air Ride Adaptive Suspension.
Magnetic Ride Control (standard on Denali and AT4) uses sensors to continually read the road and alter the damping rate of the shocks. The Air Ride Adaptive Suspension, paired with Magnetic Ride Control, helps provide a premium feel while maintaining confidence-inspiring handling. The air suspension also offers ride-height adjustment of up to 4 inches total and automatic self-leveling.
“The self-leveling feature helps with comfort and control, particularly when the vehicle is loaded with cargo and when trailering,” Kirbitz points out.
Drivers can raise the body up to 2 inches for additional ground clearance when driving off-road. For Yukon AT4 models equipped with the available air suspension, the additional ground clearance combines with a unique front fascia to further support off-road capability.
In higher-speed highway driving, the system automatically lowers Yukon’s ride height a ¾ inch to improve aerodynamics. A driver-selectable setting enables a 2-inch drop to aid entry and exit when the vehicle is parked.
The system gives drivers the flexibility to program the vehicle to lower every time they get in or out. Or, they can choose to lower it temporarily when they need to load up the Yukon for a trip.
The all-new available Active Response 4WD System is a combination of systems, including the AutoTrac® two-speed transfer case, Traction Select System, StabiliTrak® and a new electronic Limited Slip Differential (eLSD). These elements work together to enhance the driving experience in varying traction situations, both on- and off-road. If wheelslip is detected on either side, eLSD reacts quickly to shift power to the wheel with better traction.
Traction Select System can, depending on the mode selected, change elements of the driver experience such as Magnetic Ride Control (if equipped), power steering and eLSD calibration (if equipped), and transmission shift points.
“These technologies, which grew out of performance-car applications, expand the capabilities of the premium full-size SUV to offer reliable performance in adverse weather and increase confidence in everyday driving,” Kirbitz explains.
Yukon offers a variety of models to help you own the day. The Denali is a refined on-road package but is still capable on an off-road excursion. The First Ever Yukon AT4 builds on the capability of the Denali and takes it to the next level off-road. Of course, GMC continues to offer the Yukon XL as well as a variety of trims and models, designed to make life feel a little smoother.
“The new Yukon speaks volumes on its own when you spend a day with it. How the customer interacts with the vehicle daily was at the forefront of developing this vehicle,” Kirbitz assures us. “I think people will notice that the usual ruts and bumps in the road that annoy them daily vanish when they’re driving the Yukon.”
DESIGNED AROUND YOU
The innovation and attention to detail continues inside the Next Generation Yukon.
“To get to be a part of turning what starts off as a sketch on paper, or a swatch of material, into a vehicle that’s on the road is really unbelievably cool,” says Hannah Dunbar — color and trim designer — who worked to carefully select the materials, colors and finishes that you’ll experience and touch in the Next Generation Yukon.
“We strive to take customers’ needs, their lifestyles and their aspirations into account when designing these vehicles, and I feel we’ve achieved a fantastic breadth of offerings with the new Yukon,” Dunbar comments.
For the first time, Denali models have an exclusive interior — a completely new instrument panel design, unique seats and a choice among four color themes, each with its own personality.
“Each of the four Denali interiors has its own aesthetic and mood. Whether the customer is looking for something traditional, luxurious, contemporary or technical, they will feel at home in the new Yukon Denali,” Dunbar assures us.
These exciting new interiors reinforce and elevate GMC’s commitment to authenticity in materials.
“Letting materials like genuine wood and aluminum speak for themselves can produce the most elegant and premium-looking results,” Dunbar points out. “I think customers appreciate the same type of understated and confident beauty that they see in nature during their adventures.”
Dunbar’s outdoor excursions may have helped shape what you see inside the Yukon. “One of my favorite hobbies is birdwatching. It’s the best way for me to reset and relax, and often it’s where I find inspiration.”
Premium leather appointments help create a signature look and are joined together with special Fractal stitching that can be seen throughout the vehicle.
“My favorite thing about the new Yukon Denali interior is the layering of details,” Dunbar says. “Every surface in this interior was given a lot of consideration. I think the first time someone sits in the vehicle, they will be impressed with the premium materials and finishes and attention to detail. During their second, third or fiftieth time in the vehicle, they’ll still be noticing and appreciating the details and craftsmanship.”
The AT4 interior also has an exclusive combination of premium materials and finishes, with a completely different aesthetic. Brushed aluminum accents paired with technical patterned décor pieces, and perforated leather seats with contrast accent stitching, are some of the highlights.
In the center of it all, the Yukon’s interior features an innovative available Power Sliding Center Console for Denali, AT4 and SLT. The main storage console between the driver and front passenger seats can slide back up to 10 inches, enhancing overall storage flexibility and organization.
When the console slides back, drivers gain access to an open space for a purse or bag, and an additional hidden drawer underneath the console’s main storage bin, which can provide secure storage.
Finally, Christine Kirbitz sums up the appeal of the Next Generation Yukon.
“While these vehicles are big, they drive small,” Kirbitz says. “To me, the new Yukon is the ultimate vehicle for families or the weekend warrior. It has a comfortable ride, is genuinely fun to drive both on- and off-road, and can tow† the toys you need for your adventures.”
The larger-than-life Next Generation Yukon introduces itself to the world in a larger-than-life way — by creating the World’s Biggest Tweet. See how Yukon is premium that’s made to be used.
Phenomenal capability that sets new standards and elevates the driving experience — that’s what the all-new technology and features of 2021 Yukon signal. From the beginning, GMC set out to engineer this Next Generation Yukon to take on the ordinary or the extraordinary. The result is a premium large SUV that is ready to hit the highway or conquer the trails.
Across three decades, Yukon has signaled modern styling, advanced technology and capable power. The Next Generation 2021 Yukon follows this signature experience, continuing to represent the pinnacle expression of GMC’s commitment to engineering excellence. Learn the story of how Yukon continues to reshape the premium large-SUV landscape.