Millennial Moms Review: 2021 GMC Yukon Denali

This massive SUV definitely has room for a family of five, but does that make it a good family vehicle?

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This should be called a monster truck review, because it’s huge. Even though it’s not a monster truck, we took it to what we thought would be an event filled with monster trucks. There were a few shows, but nothing to the extent of going to a live Monster Jam event. Instead, this was a simple drive-thru event in Milton, Mega Wheels, with many different – old and new – vehicles on display; in other words, it was covid-friendly.

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It’s all in the past, but the thought of being the center of attention in a very large SUV still worries me; I despise feeling that people are staring at me.

Well, maybe they did not stare directly at me, to be honest – they could probably barely see me for one of two reasons: I’m short and can barely see over the steering wheel; and it is so high (1,943 mm) that the only ones I can actually see are the truck drivers driving on the highway next to me.

GMC is not a luxury brand, but definitely not a brand to take lightly – as if you have a choice, when this thing weighs almost 6,000 lbs.

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The tested SUV is the top-trimmed Denali model, fully charged with the Denali Ultimate Package ($ 10,525 extra) and slightly nicer than the average SUV because it consumes diesel. It may not be a selling point for many, but in the midst of a plethora of SUVs that turn green in one way or another, I think the Yukon stands out from the crowd. But let’s be serious, it could not hide in a crowd, if it wanted to.

If you really want to stand out in the crowd, you have to be willing to drop just over $ 93,000 – at least for the tested model. Fortunately, that experience can still come at a lower price, if you are willing to forgo all the extras. If you’re just looking for size, the bass trim starts with four-wheel drive just under $ 62,000 (before taxes and destination fees). The difference of about $ 30,000 can buy you a second car if needed. But the pessimist in me thinks that the sum of money would not even put a dent in a down payment for a house on today’s market; so, the opportunist (or big money) in me says, “What the hell – go extremely big or go home!” The extra money gives you much more, including a massive panoramic sunroof and electrically retractable auxiliary steps with LED perimeter lighting – a necessity, if you ask me.

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I’m not ashamed to say that I needed a pillow to be able to see the smallest ground around me. I have never felt so small and so tall, all at the same time. I’m short, but even though I felt small in this big SUV, all I could see was the roofs of the cars driving around me.

I should have felt a sense of superiority on the roads. But instead I felt a huge fright and a serious deception syndrome, as if I was not meant to be so tall or have so much power from so high above the ground. Is this how it feels to be tall ?!

I had also never driven a car that required diesel, and therefore never filled a tank with diesel. So, I spent the weekend wondering if there was any particular way to refuel and what could happen if I did it wrong. When I finally got to it, it was not that difficult. The only big difference is that you select the diesel pump and press the corresponding button instead of regular gas.

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Driving: It is difficult to accelerate quickly. It almost felt like the beast was struggling to move, but realistically, if I weighed almost 6,000 lbs, I would probably need a push to get started as well.

Front cabin: Well, you know how I feel: super small. But my husband, especially much taller than me, sat in the front seat and said that this is the first car where he has had to raise the seat a bit. It’s so big!

Although the overall vehicle is overwhelming, the infotainment center, although there was also a lot to take in at first, was surprisingly intuitive. The head-up display is nice and big, just like the rest of the vehicle. The touch screen is really simple and easy to use, but it is also very clear. The camera quality is so sharp, it’s practically HD, and I could not ask for anything better, especially considering that I’ll need all the help from the cameras I can get.

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The shift buttons are strange. I do not understand why most of the buttons would be activated with one drag, while the park button is a push. For a car with so many luxurious features, the worst are the plastic knobs; it feels so cheap and out of place.

2021 GMC Yukon Denali Diesel
2021 GMC Yukon Denali Diesel Photo by Renita Naraine

Shipping: Despite its size, when it comes to cargo space, it is suitable for a three-row SUV that lacks any kind of space behind the third row (722 liters).

Rear seat entertainment: We tried to watch a movie, but the file could not be played, which is annoying when it comes to entertainment in the back seat. It would have been easier if there was a Blu-ray player, but I guess it’s out of date. The passengers in the back seat can watch separate movies, but everyone needs their own headphones

Many three-row SUVs start to create things that go in between the two captain’s seats in the second row. For example, the Nissan Pathfinder and Lincoln Navigator both use that space for a large center console. I can see the convenience in that, but as someone with three children going in and out, I also really appreciate the lack of another bulky feature and extra space to move around.

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2021 GMC Yukon Denali

Final thoughts: Is this car for me? I really wish that was it, but unfortunately I can not see myself driving around my kids in something so huge.

When I picked it up, a guy said I would be surprised how many moms buy this vehicle just to leave school. Although he may have tried to sell me on this vehicle, I follow an Insta mother who absolutely loves the Yukon, even going so far as to say that it is her dream car. But she is also much taller than me and probably does not have as much effort as I do to stretch up to throw my two-year-old in her car seat.

Am I still scared of this life-size SUV? Yes. Do I want to test the Yukon XL? Absolutely. It has much more luggage space and can accommodate up to nine – we can just as easily drive a school bus!


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