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2021 GMC Yukon Denali. Photo: GM

This week I'm driving the GMC Yukon Denali, which was redesigned for the 2021 model year.

The big picture: The Yukon, along with GM's other full-size SUVs (the Cadillac Escalade and Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban), are the company's moneymakers, hauling in about $10,000 profit per vehicle, analysts estimate.

  • Without them, GM wouldn't have the capital to invest in future technologies like electric, self-driving cars.

Why it matters: The Denali is something of an automotive icon, debuting in 1998 almost as a brand unto itself, and now accounts for more than half of all Yukon sales. And it remains popular with luxury buyers who want lots of space and truck-like utility.

Details: Like the other full-size SUVs, the Yukon Denali has a new independent rear suspension that provides a better ride and, importantly, a lot more rear space for passengers and cargo.

  • Two V-8 engines are offered, plus a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel that's great for towing heavy trailers.
  • I really liked the large multicolor head-up display which is easy to read, even in sunlight, and helps minimize distractions.

The bottom line: The Denali sells for $71,400, but my test vehicle had an $11,255 "Denali Ultimate Package" that included a rear-seat entertainment system, retractable steps, a panoramic sunroof and much more.

  • The final sticker price was $83,495, a big price for a huge vehicle.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 28, 2021 - Energy & Environment

GM plans to end sales of gasoline powered cars by 2035

GM CEO Mary Barra at the GM Orion Assembly Plant plant for electric and self-driving vehicles in Michigan. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

General Motors is setting a worldwide target to end sales of gasoline and diesel powered cars, pickups and SUVs by 2035, the automaker said Thursday.

Why it matters: GM's plan marks one of the auto industry's most aggressive steps to transform their portfolio to electric models that currently represent a tiny fraction of overall sales.

Dave Lawler, author of World
16 mins ago - World

Americans increasingly see China as an enemy

One in three Americans, and a majority of Republicans, now view China as an enemy of the United States, according to a new survey from Pew Research Center.

By the numbers: Just 9% of Americans consider China a "partner," while 55% see Beijing as a "competitor" and 34% as an "enemy."

Scoop: Leaked HHS docs spotlight Biden's child migrant dilemma

A group of undocumented immigrants walk toward a Customs and Border Patrol station after being apprehended. Photo: Sergio Flores/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Fresh internal documents from the Department of Health and Human Services show how quickly the number of child migrants crossing the border is overwhelming the administration's stretched resources.

Driving the news: In the week ending March 1, the Border Patrol referred to HHS custody an average of 321 children per day, according to documents obtained by Axios. That's up from a weekly average of 203 in late January and early February — and just 47 per day during the first week of January.