As a former full-size-SUV owner, I know that driving a big vehicle is really about hauling people. But owning a Yukon Hybrid is more than that - it's also about hauling gear, being comfortable on long trips and doing it all with a dash of green, earth-loving sassiness.
This green behemoth has spacious seating for seven and hauls a boat or pop-up camper with its 6,200-pound towing capacity. The Yukon Hybrid and its sister SUV, the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid, are two-mode hybrids. Don't glaze over yet - this means they can run on a battery-powered engine - up to a point - in city driving and a powerful V-8 engine during highway cruising.
Keeping the Yukon in battery mode became a game for my family - thrilling since the ABC road sign game gets old. While paying close attention to my driving I got close to 22 mpg in a mix of city and highway driving; otherwise my mileage averaged between 20 and 21 mpg. It was much harder for me to change my driving habits than I would have imagined. I had trouble adjusting to other drivers' snooty impatience when I would slowly move away from a stop sign to stay in battery mode. Hybrid or not, I will have to make some adjustments to my lifestyle to up my fuel economy numbers.
In my day-to-day grocery-getting life, I loved that when my kids sat in the Yukon they weren't even close to touching each other. I could easily fit three booster seats across the middle row (three five-point harness child-safety seats would also fit, depending upon their dimensions) and the kids were able to buckle their seat belts without any problems.
I did feel a little uneasy about the nickel-metal hydride battery, which sits directly below the second-row seats. A GM engineer assured me it's safe, but the idea of my kids sitting on top of a giant battery makes me feel about as comfortable as someone building an elementary school next to a power station.
If a family wants to maintain a lifestyle that includes moving kids, stuff and trailers, and occasionally going off the beaten path, then getting 20 mpg in the Yukon Hybrid is a lot more appealing than 15 mpg in its non-hybrid sister - that's a 25 percent gain in fuel economy. But if high gas prices are making you consider a hybrid, I suggest stepping outside your SUV comfort zone altogether and broadening your hybrid horizons.
*For more information on the 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid and its safety features, visit Cars.com. With questions or comments regarding this review, write to email@example.com.
LET'S TALK NUMBERS
Latch Connectors: 2
Seating Capacity (includes driver): 7
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Galore
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample-Galore
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Great
Fun Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove On): Good Times
2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid
Base price: $50,045
Price as tested: $50,045
Engine: 332-hp, 6.0-liter V-8
Fuel: 21/22 mpg
Ground Clearance: 9.5"
Turning Radius: 19.5 ft.
Cargo space: 16.9/60.3/108.9 cu. ft.
NHTSA Crash-Test Ratings
Driver's side: 5 stars
Passenger's side: 5 stars
Front occupant: 5 stars
Rear occupant: 5 stars
Rollover resistance: 3 stars
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