2021 GMC Yukon Denali 4WD by Mark Fulmer
New, Improved, and Bigger Than Ever
By Mark Fulmer
The Auto Channel
There is no missing the big new 2021 Yukon Denali on the road. It is quite noticeable from the mega-sized grill, to the sides wrapped in plenty of chrome, past the 22” wheels to the dual exhaust. However this is a friendly giant. It literally sees you walking up to it (the fob) and starts to extend the running board to help you climb aboard.
Upon entering, you'll notice its interior room is expansive and provides luxurious legroom for seating in all three rows and cargo area. This means that large groups of large people will have an elegant and comfortable way to attend concerts or sporting events (when we once again can do that safely).
The seats are comfortable, slightly bolstered, and well stitched, even all around the door panels, dashboard, and steering wheel. The younger folks were jazzed to try the rear seat media system with two 12.6” screens that have both USB and HDMI inputs which let you connect your mobile device. And for those who always want to know "when are we going to get there ?!" - the NAV screen from up front is selectable on the second row screens.
The center console can electronically slide back to get the cupholders closer to the 2nd row folks. For front row folks, there is a slide-out drawer.
A 6.2 V8 powers the Denali with 420-horses and an impressive 460-pound feet of torque. The 10-speed automatic transmission has pull buttons on the dash which frees up space. The engine and transmission both perform extremely well in a variety of ecosystems, but it is the air ride adaptive suspension with magnetic ride that steals the show. They make a silky smooth ride that will surprise you. Denali Ultimate package on the tester included the Max Trailering package, which allows for up to 8000 pounds of towing capacity.
As you can imagine, when driving with up to six passengers in heavy traffic there can be a distinct increase in distraction. I found that the 15-inch color head-up display is very useful in displaying abrupt changes in speed limits and navigation alerts, all the while keeping an eye on the strange driving habits of underskilled drivers (bring back Drivers Ed!). As for parking, the cameras, especially the overhead view are excellent.
You will probably enjoy driving the Denali so much that you will be tempted to road trip to its namesake 20,000 ft mountain peak in Alaska.