2021 GMC Yukon Denali Duramax Diesel First Drive Review: Patience Pays


Wait, you’re gonna pay me to decide on this engine? Sure, please!

Has GMC bought a deal for you on its full-size Yukon SUV, offered you’ve already determined to splurge on the deluxe Denali trim collection: Step down from the snarling 6.2-liter gas-hog V-Eight right into a purring, fuel-sipping, high-tech Duramax 3.0-liter turbodiesel, and the preliminary buy value drops by $1,500. Cheapskates going for the bottom Yukon should pay $995 to improve from the 5.3-liter V-8, however the EPA reckons the GMC Yukon diesel pays that G-note again in as little as 5 years, estimating the annual gasoline financial savings at $150–$200, relying on whether or not you go for rear- or four-wheel drive. All you must do is be affected person sufficient to attend about 8.5 seconds to hit the mile-a-minute mark (primarily based on our take a look at of an analogous Chevy Suburban Duramax), up from 6.1 seconds for the 6.2-liter and seven.2–7.5 seconds for the 5.3-liter.

Now let’s be trustworthy: How typically do you intend to drive your three-ton, gilded SUV together with your foot pegged to the floorboard, sippy-cups sloshing, Goldfish crackers flying, your passengers’ necks flung again from their phone-gazing stoop? Not very. These jumbotrons are most enjoyable for all aboard after they’re pushed judiciously. And that’s what diesels are nice at.

Positive, the 6.2-liter can summon 420 horses—143 greater than the diesel—if you happen to proceed whipping it to five,600 rpm. However for the overwhelming majority of the time once you’re simply wafting round city it’s the torque that you just admire, and this diesel summons exactly the identical 460 lb-ft of twist because the V-8. Right here’s the massive distinction: It does so by simply 1,500 rpm—2,600 rpm before within the gasser. This sort of effortlessly plentiful low-end oomph provides the Duramax an alluring nonchalance at its torque peak. On these uncommon events once you truly expertise the gasoline V-8’s torque peak, you could really feel overexuberant at finest, delinquent at worst.

Additionally assuaging the necessity to mercilessly flog this or some other engine in GM’s present full-size SUV lineup is the marvelous Hydra-Matic 10L80 10-speed automated, which shows a knack for immediately summoning exactly the suitable ratio for each driving state of affairs. Though all gearing is shared between these engines, the programming is completely tailor-made to match this very totally different engine’s traits.

And there’s extra to love about this engine than simply its quiet competence and parsimony. It really sounds terrific. The inline-six-cylinder engine configuration is of course balanced and inherently clean, and GM has labored some magic in quelling most of that rattling noise diesels usually make. This one is quiet at idle, and once you do mash the accelerator, it makes a satisfying roar/growl sound that—whereas utterly totally different from the long-lasting fourth-order rumble of a V-8—is equally pleasing. We wouldn’t be shocked to study that GM benchmarked a BMW I-6 diesel for sound, just like the N57 in a 535d we mentioned “growls like a contented lion once you tickle the throttle.”

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There are some sacrifices to be made. This engine will get the bottom payload and towing rankings of the lineup, however the distinction is small: The 5.3-liter V-Eight ranks finest with 1,702–1,792 kilos of rated payload and eight,200–8,400 kilos of towing (ranges signify 4WD-RWD); the 6.2-liter comes subsequent at 1,616–1,671 and eight,100–8,200, and the Duramax is rated for 1,571–1,580 and seven,800–8,100. The variations between these engines’ rankings varies by simply 36–400 kilos—properly throughout the margin of overload security engineers design into autos like these.






Proudly owning a diesel additionally means you received’t discover your gasoline on each single island of each filling station forecourt, and the gasoline itself is oilier and smellier than gasoline. At the very least these jumbo GM diesels characteristic capless gasoline fillers, in order that’s one much less factor you need to contact. Being a contemporary emissions-compliant diesel additionally means it requires diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), also referred to as AdBlue. The DEF tank holds 5.Three gallons, and discussion board members report utilizing DEF at a price of about 1 gallon per 100 gallons of diesel, so the tank ought to solely want refilling after 10,000 miles or so. And the massive gasoline filler door leaves loads of room to maneuver the little plastic hose that connects to a 2.5-gallon DEF refill bottle whereas fueling the diesel tank.

To sum up, we heartily endorse the Duramax engine choice now accessible in Chevy, GMC, and Cadillac full-size SUVs. The modest value premium over a base engine could be shortly recouped, and the low cost in a Denali pays for the Air Journey Adaptive suspension and any of six fetching metallic colours.

2021 GMC Yukon Denali Duramax Diesel Specs
PRICE $68,195
LAYOUT Entrance-engine, RWD/4WD, 7-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINE 3.0L/277-hp/460-lb-ft turbodiesel DOHC 24-valve I-6
TRANSMISSION 10-speed automated
CURB WEIGHT 5,900-6,100 lb (mfr)
WHEELBASE 120.9 in
L x W x H 210.Zero x 81.Zero x 76.5 in
0-60 MPH 8.5 sec (MT est)
EPA FUEL ECON 20-21/26-27/22-23 mpg
ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY/HWY 180-189/140-145 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.95-0.99 lb/mile
ON SALE Now

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