GMC Yukon gets light turbodiesel

The GMC Yukon Denali turbodiesel in mountains. (Bud Wells photo)

Following a year of successful performance results in the GMC Sierra 1500 pickup, the Duramax 3.0-liter inline-6 turbodiesel engine has been added to the 2021 Yukon and Yukon XL SUVs.

Paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, the turbodiesel develops 277 horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of torque at 1500 rpm.

Sent my way was the ’21 Yukon 4WD Denali turbodiesel. Redesigned for this year, the Yukon competes against the Ford Expedition, Nissan Armada, Toyota Sequoia and the sibling Chevrolet Tahoe.

Fortified by the light-duty diesel, the Yukon defies its size (17 ½ feet) and weight (5,400 pounds) with smoothness, agility and steering response. We climbed mountains to the west; on occasion we switched to four-wheel control, as simple as pushing a button to the left of the driver.

It is quiet and roadworthy with magnetic ride control, independent rear suspension and four-corner Air Ride Adaptive Suspension, all part of the $11,205 Denali Ultimate Package.

The diesel gives the big sport ute an EPA fuel estimate of 20/26 mpg, and the Yukon delivered with an average of 24.8 mpg.

Added cost of the inline-6-cylinder turbodiesel is $1,500, the 4WD system is a $3,000 expense and the upgrade from Denali also includes a rear-seat entertainment system, sunroof, 22-inch bright-machined aluminum wheels, enhanced automatic emergency braking and trailer brake controller.

As large as is the Yukon, the Yukon XL is 15 inches longer and has 41.5 cubic feet of cargo space, compared to 25.5.

The Yukon review model was built in Arlington, Texas.