Reader Review: 2021 GMC Yukon 4WD AT4

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Brand new for the 2021 model is GMC’s Yukon in AT4 trim. What is AT4 when it comes to the Yukon? It is a full-size version of the SUV that offers some off-road performance and comes with standard four-wheel drive, larger 20-inch wheels with Goodyear off-road tires and skid plates. It is also recognizable on the uniquely designed grille.

Other Yukon trim includes SLE and SLT, and the AT4 fits just below the premier Denali. All models are available in XL variants, which adds to the total length for increased passenger space and load capacity. The AT4 is powered by a 5.3-liter V8 engine along with a 10-speed automatic transmission. A 6.2L V8 is also available, and at a later date GM will offer a 3.0L inline six-cylinder turbodiesel engine. With the 5.3L engine, the AT4 has a maximum towing capacity of 3719 kg.

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Calgary driver Alan Roth spent six days behind the wheel of the AT4 from GMC, and he is no stranger to trucks. In fact, he learned to drive a 1953 Ford truck on his family’s farm near Bow Island in southern Alberta and piloted a tractor when he was 12 years old. The first car he bought for his own money was a Volkswagen Beetle from 1963, and some of his favorite cars over the years include a Renault from 1973 and an Oldsmobile Cutlass from 1975. He currently drives a 2013 BMW X5 while his wife has a 2009 BMW 328i . The “summer car” is a 2010 Porsche Carrera 4S.

When shopping for a family vehicle, Roth says he’s looking for space to carry his wife and daughter with some luggage, and he likes to have the ability to pull bikes on a bumper mount.

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“It’s a very nice vehicle that is smart and stylish,” says Roth about his first impression of the AT4. “Yes, it’s big, but it’s also sleek and modern, and with the grill design, I would say it looks muscular.”

At five feet-eleven, Roth says he liked having the electric retractable auxiliary steps that are part of the optional Premium Plus package of $ 9,795. All in but before tax, his AT4 with the White Frost Tricoat color was close to $ 84,000. inside, Roth says that the leather seats with their cognac-colored accents were nicely sewn together and had a rather exclusive look.

“It was pretty easy to adapt,” he says. “All controls were easy to find and intuitive to use. There are a lot of driver instruments and information available and I needed to educate myself on how it all worked.”

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He appreciated the warnings about the blind spot that would appear in the exterior mirrors and added: “It is a fairly large vehicle with a lot of flanks. If there is a small car next to you, you want to be aware of it. If you do not signal and start moving in “You get a haptic warning in the seat too. It engages all drivers.”

As a matter of personal preference, Roth likes to use a gear lever to put a vehicle in reversing, driving or parking.

“I had to get past it by pressing a button to put it into operation,” he says, and continues, “Once running and running, the engine had a good amount of power, and you could easily accelerate up a hill or when “you combine – it was good to get up and go. The transmission worked really well, and you could never really feel when it shifted, everything was very smooth.”

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He did not experience AT4 in snow or off-road, but mentioned that the vehicle gave the driver confidence that it would cope with more strenuous conditions. His AT4 was equipped with adaptive air suspension and during his time in the SUV, Roth traveled with his family along Highway 2 to Lethbridge. He thought that the SUV drove quite well and handled the trip with ease.

Alan checks out the Yukon's huge hold.
Alan checks out the Yukon’s huge hold. Photo by Brendan Miller / Postmedia

“It’s big and heavy, but the driver gets the feeling that it’s almost agile and handles quite easily,” says Roth. “In the city it is a good driving vehicle but you have to be aware of its size. With the backup camera, I thought it was easy to park in parallel. I thought the warnings about how close you were to objects due to the color of the screen were useful.”

His daughter liked to have a large space to travel in, and Roth says he did not hear any negative comments about the overall comfort for front and rear passengers. They never had the third row of seats in an upright position, and with them stowed, there is 72.6 L load volume; more than enough to draw most things, says Roth.

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AT4 would be best suited for an outdoor family, says Roth, with a couple of children who routinely pull a trailer and need to transport larger items.

Roth concludes, “At the end of the day, our daughter was sad to see it go back, and we liked it after spending a week in it. There’s a lot of functionality, and of course it was brand new.”

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DRIVER’S JOURNAL

Day 1

Noticeably large. Long – definitely need the automatic launch steps to get up in it. Wide. Heavy. The vehicle also gets up when you drive and sits down when you turn it off. (Air suspension). Had to raise the driver’s seat higher, the vehicle could accommodate a very tall person. Slightly odd – buttons on the dashboard to select gears, use transmission, to the right of the steering wheel. Three rows of seats. 7 passengers. Sunroof. LED headlights. Heated front and rear seats and heated steering wheel. 110 v. Electrical outlet in the storage compartment at the rear. I imagine the Denali version would have the higher trim level. However, this was very nice, much admired by our daughter. Goes through the instructions for use. A lot of information and, like all upper vehicles, many features to learn about.

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Day 2

Lina’s SW Calgary. Used parquet, had to go out and check the door height before going in, an inch over to get into parquet. Wondered if there is any way to ensure that it does not decide to “raise” the air suspension in such a situation. Getting around in an underground park also requires extra care for the cramped rooms. In the dim light from the parade, the GMC logo projected on the floor under the step assistant showed well. Went on some golf, plenty of room for a set of clubs. Noted the auto stop at red light. Both that the engine shuts down and then restarts once you take your foot off the brake is quite imperceptible.

My family and I came to like the vehicle quite a bit.

Day 3

School race, Shaganappi golf course. Filled – $ 41 for mileage so far. Could not figure out how to reset trip meter. Vehicle ventilation very good – again, the interior size makes good HVAC a necessity. However, this means that the fans are loud because they work at high capacity. Stopped by light next to construction work on 17th Ave SW, driver’s window open; very high. When I closed the window, I was impressed by the soundproofing; heavy equipment just a few meters away was well damped.

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Day 4

Drive to Lethbridge nice, the vehicle has plenty of acceleration capability for highway driving. Managed to figure out cruise control. One comment is that the key fob has nowhere to “live”. Found myself digging around for it quite often, under masks, phones, sunglasses in the front console. Would be more convenient for the driver to have a special place for the fob – a central article.

Day 5

Also, when the washer fluid ran out, another persistent advisory message. Manual only says to “clean” with a tick – but a tick on the knob on the center stack does not. Finally realized that the small wheel rotor on the steering wheel also pushes in, and it clears such advice. Slight irritation but not easy to deal with even via the instructions for use. My family and I came to like the vehicle quite a lot, the daughter is especially sad to know that it will be back tomorrow.

Day 6

All in all, nice vehicle especially for any couple with any kids to use to tow a trailer and camp, take longer car rides and so on. Vehicle very suitable for motorway travel. I would say that is the main reason for owning this type of vehicle. Not the best choice for a daily city car. Nice and spacious, which was a key aspect because everyone felt quite comfortable while driving on the highway.

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