Though gas mileage ratings for GM's full-size SUVs are impressive among their competitive set, they aren't likely to bring smiles to anyone at the pump; competitors aside, their combined ratings still linger in the teens. The 2009 Yukon Hybrid changes that to a degree. Along with its twin, the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid, it promises a 25 percent improvement in overall gas mileage. The Yukon Hybrid is only available with a short wheelbase and in one trim level, but it can come with either rear- or four-wheel drive. It seats eight people.
New for 2009
There are no significant updates.
GM says the Yukon Hybrid's minor exterior changes are intended to make the SUV more aerodynamic.
A modified bumper drops the regular Yukon's fog lights for some chunky bodywork and two small portals. The grille has horizontal slats instead of the previous single-piece design. The SUV also includes lower side cladding and unique 18-inch wheels. Differences notwithstanding, few onlookers will mistake the Yukon Hybrid for anything but a Yukon. Exterior dimensions come in at 202 inches long and 79 inches wide; the same as the short-wheelbase GMC Yukon.
Standard exterior features include:
- 18-inch aluminum wheels
- Assist steps
- Heated power mirrors (driver-side auto-dimming)
- Low-rolling-resistance tires to reduce road noise
- LED rear taillamps and extended rear spoiler
The Yukon Hybrid features the same interior as the regular Yukon. Differences include the hybrid's center display screen, which incorporates an animation showing the flow of power through the hybrid drivetrain. Gauges include a gas mileage meter.
Three rows of seats are standard, with seating for eight. Cargo volume with all rows up measures 16.9 cubic feet. With the second and third rows folded there is 108.9 cubic feet available, which is the same as the regular Yukon and comparable to other full-size SUVs. Along with the hybrid's higher price, many luxury amenities are standard.
Standard interior features include:
- Remote vehicle starter system
- Automatic climate control, tri-zone air conditioning
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls
- Leather-appointed seats
- Bose audio system
- Navigation with hybrid power flow display and rearview backup camera
Under the Hood
The Yukon Hybrid uses a two-mode hybrid system jointly developed by GM, BMW and DaimlerChrysler. The system augments the SUV's V-8 engine with two electric motors packed into the transmission. Both are powered by a 300-volt battery pack. One of the motors operates the Yukon Hybrid in city driving and the other works for highway cruising. A cylinder deactivation system cuts power to four of the eight cylinders during low-stress situations, such as downhill coasting, and braking friction is used to recharge the battery.
GM says the Yukon Hybrid achieves 25 percent better gas mileage than the conventional Yukon, which gets up to 21 mpg in city driving. When properly equipped, the rear-wheel-drive Yukon Hybrid will tow 6,200 pounds; the regular Yukon tows up to 7,700 pounds.
Powertrain features include:
- 332-horspower, 6.0-liter V-8 with cylinder-deactivation, generating 367 pounds-feet of torque
- Two-mode continuous electric ratio hybrid transmission with four fixed gears
- Rear- or four-wheel drive
- Electrically driven variable-assist power steering
- Additional engine intake induction tuning reduces interior noise
- Electrically driven air conditioning cools cabin even with the engine off
Standard safety features include:
- Dual-stage front airbags with passenger-sensing system
- Side curtain airbags with rollover sensor
- Four-wheel-disc antilock brakes
- Electronic stability control with traction control
- Tire pressure monitoring system
- Standard OnStar with one year subscription to Directions & Connections plan that provides voice-guided directions, automatic crash response and Bluetooth hands-free calling