This year, GMC introduced the all-new 2021 GMC Yukon AT4 to headline the introduction of the new generation. The philosophy behind the new Yukon is clear; a full-size premium SUV that’s made to be used. This Yukon is armed with a long list of advanced technology to help it become a class leader. The introduction of the new AT4 line will attract a lot of hardcore off roaders to take a look at the Yukon.
The all new GMC Yukon AT4 definitely looks ready to attack the most challenging trails. The AT4 has a unique front end design incorporating a skid plate with integrated red recovery hooks. The unique bumper design is functional and improves the front angle of approach to nearly 32 degrees. The massive front grille is finished in a dark brushed aluminum finish that gives the truck a balanced look. The headlights and fog lights are all LED with an LED daytime running light as well.
Six-spoke machine finished 20-inch wheels are usually equipped with Goodyear all-terrain tires, but our tester was riding on Bridgestone winter rubber. The wheels are not oversized, allowing for big meaty tires to be mounted, adding to the rugged looks and capabilities of the AT4. Walking up to the Yukon AT4, drivers can get excited and want to go thrash it in a mud pit.
The interior looks and feels sophisticated with excellent quality. The AT4 features the Jet Black interior with Brandy accents. Both the front seats are heated and cooled with perforated leather for maximum comfort in any adventure. Brushed aluminum accents are used to break up the dark interior and add a luxurious touch. The Interior is reminiscent of the Cadillac XT4 but obviously much roomier and spacious.
The 10.2-inch infotainment system is excellent with intuitive and responsive controls. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto future proof the infotainment allowing seamless integration. The nine-speaker Bose audio system does a decent job at pumping out tunes. The rear entertainment system is a pleasure as well with 12.6-inch touchscreens. This is gold for long trips, but make sure you have a source with a solid connection for best results since relying on MiraCast can be a headache with inconsistent connections.
The interior space is second to none. Our tester is the short wheelbase model, but interior cabin space can rival that of a minivan. The third row seating is usable for adults as well, but access can only be gained from between the second row captain chairs. The seats do not have any quick fold or release mechanism to fold the seats forward for third row access. They do fold electronically with one touch, but not in a way that allows access to the third row from the door.
Cargo behind the third row is measured at 722-liters, behind the second row is 2,056-liters and with all seats folded, a whopping 3,480-litres. There is not much you can’t fit in the Yukon for outdoor adventures. This spec can tow up to 8,200 pounds as well, so the possibilities are endless. With the available ProGrade Trailering system, including hitch guide view, integrated trailer brake control and trailer side blind zone alert, drivers can tow with confidence. The Drive mode selector has a tow/haul mode and the air suspension will auto level the car to ensure the heavy load does not compromise the driving geometry.
GMC has really put an emphasis in building up the Yukon’s capabilities. The two-speed Autotrac Transfer Case allows the Yukon AT4 to adapt to different road conditions. The system enables easy switching between two and four wheel drive and is paired with Active Response 4WD and a E-LSD to seamlessly distribute torque to where the traction is. The Yukon is blessed with an optional four corner adaptive air suspension delivering cloud-like ride comfort but automatically adjusting to road conditions.
This system also automatically adjusts ride height for easier entry and exit as well as more ground clearance for off road obstacles. The system can lower and raise two-inches for a full range of four inches of adjustability. With available hill descent and hill start assist, the Yukon will make sure you reach your destination in absolute safety and comfort.
To power the beast, GMC has given the Yukon AT4 the 5.3-liter V8 engine, which produces 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft. of torque with a 10-speed automatic. Power delivery is buttery smooth with the throaty note of the V8 on demand. For the weight and size of the vehicle, I did find myself wanting more power. The Yukon feel lethargic but there are no problems getting up to speed or overtaking on your daily routine. The V8 growl and buttery demeanour combined with the commanding seating positions is enough to make drivers feel confident.
Fuel consumption is always an area of concern, but less so for truck lovers. The Yukon is rated at 14.8L/100km city and 11.8L/100km highway on regular fuel. GMC uses direct injection and cylinder deactivation technology to keep consumption in check. Our test saw an average of 16.4L/100km, perfectly reasonable for a vehicle of this size.
The 2021 Yukon AT4 is part of the flagship line and it’s obvious that GMC has given it all they’ve got. A basic 2021 Yukon SLE will start at a base of $61,848, with the AT4 at $75,248. Ours is optioned with the Premium Plus package which costs $9,795, for an as tested price of $85,043. This truck is loaded with everything you can think of for connection, safety or just pure comfort. Competition comes in the form of the Ford Expedition. Like the Yukon, it’s a full-size body on frame SUV, and competes at a similar starting price of $62,710.
GMC has pulled a bold move with the 2021 GMC Yukon AT4. The off-road emphasis is not only skin deep, with proper tech to back it up as well.. The overall package is excellent; GMC is able to strike and excellent balance between comfort and off road prowess. The air suspension helps define the Yukon, giving it excellent driving and handling characteristic. With the interior luxuries, the Yukon AT4 is truly a living room on wheels and can take you into the mountains for a wild getaway.