Is The 2021 GMC Yukon Diesel Inline Six Better Than a Gas-Powered V8?

2021 GMC Yukon Denali | Photo Credit: GMC

If you think your gas V8 has it all, wait until you see the 2021 GMC Yukon inline six-cylinder diesel. Fuel efficiency and towing capability is the name of the game, and the Yukon has found the perfect combination.

You might ask yourself, what’s the point of getting a Yukon diesel when GMC offers so many trucks, especially the new GMC HUMMER EV with 1000 horsepower?

Well, it’s obvious that a vast majority of the market isn’t ready for the transition to electric, and understandably so. The technology isn’t there for long-haulers, which is where this diesel engine in the Yukon shines. According to the Diesel Technology Forum, diesel pickup and SUV sales were up 28 percent in 2020, indicating the market for diesel is huge.

What the engine lacks in horsepower it makes up in torque – the 277-horsepower engine has the same torque rating as the Yukon Denali’s 6.2L V8 with 460-pound-feet, delivering 23 mpg in two-wheel-drive trucks and 22 mpg with four-wheel drive. It’s thanks to the Yukon’s 10-speed automatic transmission.

2021 GMC Yukon Denali with the 3.0L Duramax Turbo-Diesel | Photo Credit: GMC

The figure is 30 percent better than both V8 offerings, and the highway ratings are even more impressive, providing 27 mpg and 26 mpg, respectively. It allows the Yukon to achieve 648 miles between fill-ups, placing it into three-row crossover country. The extended-length Yukon XL does even better and drives up to 756 miles between fill-ups, thanks to a larger fuel tank.

Just as essential to the intended consumers is that the Yukon Diesel is capable of towing up to 8,100 pounds, 200 to 300 pounds more than the V8s can tow in their current configuration. With that said, the gas trucks can be purchased with an optional max towing package that provides them with a 200 to 400-pound advantage.

The Yukon Diesel won’t come cheap, and it has an asking price of $52,990, representing a $1,000 premium over the 5.3L V8. The top-of-the-line Yukon Denali starts at $68,195 – the diesel is $500 less than the 6.2L V8. Despite the higher cost of diesel, fuel savings range anywhere from $200 to $850 annually.

If you’re into that distinct diesel sound, you’ll certainly get it from the Yukon, although it’s mostly quiet when cruising. During stop-and-go traffic, you’ll notice it a bit, but let us know what happens when you slam on the pedal – it offers a nice diesel growl. Although it doesn’t have spark plugs it’s quite responsive.

2021 GMC Yukon Denali | Photo Credit: GMC

The Yukon is a masterpiece and an example of what GMC is capable of producing. For now, the internal combustion engine will live on, especially when you create something like this inline six that’s capable of V8 power and inline six efficiency. It’s hard to believe we could transition away from such trusted technology, considering we’ve come a long way to reduce emissions and perfect the vehicles we have.

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