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A grey 2021 GMC Yukon is shown rounding a corner.

Yukon vs Sequoia: There’s a Clear Winner

If you’re in the market for a full-size SUV, you may be looking to compare the 2021 GMC Yukon vs 2021 Toyota Sequoia. While this is a fairly natural comparison given the shrinking number of full-size SUVs, critics ratings for Yukon tend to outscore Sequoia overall and for performance and interior.

In addition, the 2021 GMC Yukon was completely redesigned. It has a new chassis with an independent rear suspension for a more comfortable ride. This design change also allows for more cargo room. The interior is larger, too, and technology advancements like wireless smartphone integration are new for 2021.

Let’s jump into the many reasons why the GMC Yukon has the advantage over the Toyota Sequoia.

Power and Performance

At first glance, the Yukon has a smaller engine. It is a 5.3L V8 with 383 lb-ft of torque and 355 horsepower. The Sequoia has a 5.7L V8 producing 401 lb-ft of torque and 381 horsepower. However, the Yukon has two other engine options up its sleeve, giving buyers more power and more efficiency than the Toyota’s single engine option.

First up is a 6.2L V8 that generates 460 lb-ft of torque and 420 horsepower. This option is the same powertrain as the Cadillac Escalade and will launch the massive SUV from 0-60 in roughly 6 seconds. The final engine is a groundbreaking option that is all-new for the 2021 model year. The efficient 3.0L Duramax was borrowed from the GMC Sierra pickup and produces 460 lb-ft of torque and 277 horsepower.

In addition to having more engine options than the Sequoia, the Yukon pairs them all with a 10-speed automatic transmission instead of the aging 6-speed automatic found in the Toyota. This means better acceleration, greater efficiency, more comfortable towing, and a smoother ride all around for the GMC product.

The more modern design of the Yukon also weighs about 200 pounds less than the Sequoia. This means it can handle better with less weight on the ground. The lower weight also helps make the Yukon more fuel-efficient than the Sequoia. While the GMC delivers 18 MPG combined for its base engine, the Toyota only manages 15 MPG combined. Opting for the new Duramax diesel boosts the Yukon’s fuel economy to an incredible 23 MPG combined. This will save you money at the gas pump.

Overall from a performance perspective, the Yukon offers excellent handling, superior ride quality, and improved efficiency. What is there not to like?

A grey 2021 Toyota Sequoia TRD Sport is shown driving down an empty road.

Comfort and Safety

Next, let’s review the interior and exterior for passenger comfort and safety. At first glance, the Yukon appears more stylish with chrome grill accents vs the Sequoia, which has more plastic-like finishes.

Inside, the Yukon has a more luxurious cabin as well, whereas the Sequoia has more plastics here too. The Yukon comes standard with a leather-wrapped steering wheel that is so nice for an added bit of elegance and comfort. Remote start for those cold days sure is a nice standard feature in Yukon that’s not found in Sequoia.

Technology-wise, the Yukon is a clear winner. A standard 10.2-inch infotainment touchscreen dominates the Yukon’s dashboard vs the small 7-inch screen in Sequoia. Yukon also has six USB ports vs Sequoia’s three. The hands-free communication system in Yukon is a nice feature to keep you focused on the road, but that is optional in Sequoia. Also standard in Yukon but optional in Sequoia are HD Radio and a WiFi hotspot.

From a safety perspective, both SUVs have standard safety features like brake assist, electronic stability control, daytime running lights, and traction control. The Yukon standardized a reminder to check the back seat when exiting the vehicle and has a hill descent control feature that Toyota does not have as standard.

In addition, the Yukon has an option for HD surround vision that gives a complete view of the driver’s front, back, and side surroundings. The Yukon can be equipped with up to 9 camera views for ultimate vision and safety, while the Sequoia only has a basic backup camera.

A hands-down advantage for the Yukon over the Sequoia is roominess. There are three spacious rows of seating in the Yukon, and it can fit up to 9 people vs 8 people for Sequoia. The maximum cargo volume in Yukon is 122.9 cubic feet vs 120.1 in Sequoia. The Yukon’s front row has 44.5″ of legroom vs 42.5″ of front legroom for the Sequoia. In the back, the Yukon is also bigger, with 34.9″ vs 34.5″ of third-row legroom.

So the Yukon scores on comfort and safety as well as performance.

Trailering and Towing

If you plan on doing a lot of hauling with your next SUV, the Yukon is a clear winner over Sequoia when it comes to trailering and towing.

While both offer a standard trailer hitch, the Yukon’s maximum towing capacity is significantly better at 8,400 lbs vs 7,400 lbs for the Sequoia. In addition, the standard towing capacity of the Yukon is also much better at 7,700 lbs vs. 7,100 lbs for Sequoia. Yukon has a larger cargo volume at 25.5 cubic feet vs just 18.9 for Sequoia. If you want to tow or haul, the GMC product comes out ahead.

The Yukon also has some great options for the buyer that really wants to tow and trailer with their SUV. The Duramax 3.0L diesel engine is a great option to add to Yukon for heavy towing and trailering. Plus, because it is a diesel, it gets amazing fuel efficiency even when you have a trailer attached. Finally, Yukon has nice features that Sequoia does not have that tend to make towing and trailering more convenient, such as built-in trailer tire pressure monitoring and an automated trailer light check feature.

A white 2021 GMC Yukon AT4 is shown splashing through a river after winning 2021 GMC Yukon vs 2021 Toyota Sequoia comparison.

The Yukon Prevails

If you’re in the market for a large SUV and you are looking at the 2021 GMC Yukon vs 2021 Toyota Sequoia, both are great vehicles. However, the Yukon prevails given the new features GMC added in 2021 and the options the Yukon has that can really make this SUV really powerful and super luxurious to drive.

In terms of price, you might be surprised to learn that the MSRP on Yukon is actually slightly lower than that of the Sequoia. Be careful, though, because once you begin to add options or look at different trims, the price tends to shift drastically.

The Yukon has four options in terms of trims, starting with the base SLE, which still has excellent standard safety and comfort features. The SLT is the mid-range trim that is quite well-equipped. The high-end Denali is the most premium version, while the AT4 is new to the lineup and will appeal to those who want to take their SUV off-road.

If you’re in the full-size SUV market, then you owe it to yourself to test-drive a 2021 Yukon and see if it is a good fit for your lifestyle and needs. While the Toyota Sequoia has a long heritage and remains a reliable choice, its aging design simply can’t keep up with the latest premium offering from GMC.