We take the all-new 2021 GMC Yukon Denali Ultimate edition, hook up a 7,000 lbs horse trailer, and take this rig on our highway towing MPG loop. Can the new Yukon Denali and its independent rear suspension still tow like a truck and be more efficient than before? Let’s find out.
Big thanks to our friends at Transwest and Cimarron Trailers for making this test possible.
2021 GMC Yukon Denali
The 2021 Yukon is a whole new generation of the SUV. It grows in size in nearly every dimension. The wheelbase is longer, the overall length is a little more, but the extra size is felt most on the inside. The second and third row passengers enjoy extra legroom and headroom. There is also more cargo space behind the rear seats.
The new Yukon also has an all-new suspension system with optional air springs at all four corners. This Denali Ultimate model is also equipped with Magnetic Ride Control shocks. The rear solid axle is gone in favor of a fully independent setup. All of this translates into extra cabin space, but can it still get the job done when towing?
We tested a 2018 Yukon Denali and a 2018 Ford Expedition on the same loop with the same trailer weight. The older Yukon returned 9.1 MPG, while the Expedition came up with an 8.3 MPG result.
The 2021 Yukon is a bit heavier than the outgoing model, but it still has the 6.2-liter V8 and a 10-speed automatic transmission. The engine still produces 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque.
MrTruck.com felt a little wiggle from the 7,000 lbs trailer at 70 MPH, but the drive was very controllable and comfortable. The stretch of I-76 that we use for this test is fairly rough and bumpy, but this Yukon Denali handled better than any other pickup truck or SUV that I can remember.
If you plan to tow a trailer often, then I would suggest getting the longer wheelbase Yukon XL. If you tow occasionally, then a standard Yukon will do just fine.