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; their combined ratings still linger in the teens. The Yukon Hybrid changes that, to a degree. Along with its twin, the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid, it promises an improvement in overall gas mileage. The Yukon Hybrid is only available with a short wheelbase and in two trim levels, but it can come with either rear- or four-wheel drive. It seats eight.
New for 2011
The Yukon Hybrid gets GM's OnStar 9.0 telematics system that GM says provides better voice recognition. GM also said they have redesigned the second-row head restraints to provide better protection in rear impacts.
GM says the Yukon Hybrid's exterior changes versus the gas-powered Yukon 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. Exterior features include:
- 18-inch wheels standard
- 22-inch wheels on Denali
- Assist steps
- Heated power mirrors (auto-dimming on driver's side)
- Low-rolling-resistance tires to reduce road noise
The fully equipped Denali adds luxurious features to the hybrid model, including 12-way power-adjustable cooled leather front seats (Denali and base models both have heated seats).Optional items include a sunroof, a rear DVD player and a blind spot warning system. Three rows of seats are standard, with seating for eight. Along with the hybrid's higher price, many luxury amenities are standard.
Standard interior features include:
- Automatic climate control, tri-zone air conditioning
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls
- Leather seats
- Bose audio system
Under the Hood
The Yukon Hybrid uses a two-mode hybrid system. The system augments the SUV's V-8 engine with two electric motors, both 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 50 percent better gas mileage than the conventional Yukon. The Yukon Hybrid manages up to 21 mpg in city driving. When properly equipped, the rear-wheel-drive Yukon Hybrid will tow 6,200 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