2021 GMC Yukon Denali Review: The Ultimate Active Family SUV?

L​et's take a close look at the all-new 2021 GMC Yukon Denali!

2021 GMC Yukon Denali Review: A large family SUV needs to be many things, but primarily it needs to be spacious and capable both on and off-road. GMC makes several popular SUVs, but when it comes to finding an SUV that is truly made to be used by families and people with active lifestyles, you won’t do much better than the 2021 GMC Yukon Denali.

The 2021 Yukon Denali is characterized by three important words also used by GMC in their announcement of the Yukon: premium, purposeful, and all-terrain. It’s not entirely without fault, but GMC has delivered a vehicle that is a natural extension of the lifestyle of America’s great family unit.

Yukon Denali: Premium

It begins with an exclusive interior only available on the Denali trim. This includes finely appointed leather seat surfaces and authentic natural grain wood trim, plus an upgraded interior design aesthetic with a focus on the dashboard and materials usage. It's great to see GMC finally giving the Yukon Denali more of an upgrade than just better materials and seating surfaces.

These different options empower you to make the interior a reflection of yourself by choosing from one of the available interior themes. Whether it be rugged like the AT4 trim or luxurious like the Denali trim or simply effective and affordable such as the SLE (base Yukon) model which starts at $52,695 or $53,690 for the diesel engine.

The sense of premium carries forward into the technology, too. It doesn’t get any better than this Denali for the segment. First, there’s a 15” head-up display (HUD) where you can see speed, navigation, safety features plus off-road info. There’s also the 10.2” infotainment screen, the 12.6” rear seat touchscreens, panoramic sunroof, and a first-in-class power-sliding center console. Push a button and watch the center armrest shift backward to reveal further storage and bring cupholders closer to those sitting in the rear, something families with young kids could benefit from.

Yukon Denali: Purposeful

The signature C-shaped headlights create a magnificent presence for the Yukon Denali, but not at an iota of expense to the overall functionality and purpose of the vehicle. The LEDs in all the lights, for instance, have a crystalline quality to them, made only with the most durable materials.

The Yukon Denali is also a vehicle for its owners to drive with purpose. It’s powered by a phenomenal 6.2L V8 engine which outputs 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. It’s hard to get more purposeful than that. This is a vehicle that's ready to haul eight passengers with ease and tow a trailer.

Yukon Denali: All-Terrain

Finally, let the 2021 GMC Yukon Denali ever be decried as merely a luxury SUV or on-road “for-show” family SUV. It’s a great family vehicle indeed, but this is an SUV that was built to go off-road too (with off-road rubber). From the traction-boosting Active Response 4WD system to the magnetic ride control and the first-in-class four-corner Air Ride Adaptive Suspension. Using the latter, you can raise and lower the body of your Yukon Denali to add ground clearance or make it easier for your passengers to disembark.

Verdict: Premium Price For A Premium SUV

The Yukon Denali does house many truly great innovations and packages that make it ideal for an active family. There’s even a more efficient Diesel engine option for those who want it. For the family in need of a premium-quality and capable SUV, they won’t do much better than the 2021 GMC Yukon Denali. But get ready to pay around $70,000 for the privilege.

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