By David Thomas on February 2, 2008
Since the Chicago Auto Show is known as one for trucks, we're really impressed with GMC's concept. The Denali XT Hybrid is good-looking and features an innovative hybrid powertrain that we hope will come down the line soon. What you need to know about the Denali XT is that it has a small, 4.9-liter V-8 engine teamed to an electric motor. They work together to pump out a very respectable 326 hp.
GM says it will get 50% better fuel economy than comparable "small trucks." We're not sure what those would be, but let's assume they're talking about the Honda Ridgeline, which has a 17 mpg combined figure. If the XT got 25 mpg combined, that would be pretty impressive. The engine uses cylinder deactivation and direct injection to improve efficiency, and if it were produced it would also be the first E85 capable hybrid.
Built on a unibody frame instead of a conventional truck frame, the Denali XT would have a better ride — with a stiffer body and four-wheel-independent suspension — than a traditional pickup, but would tow only 3,500 pounds. The Ridgeline, for example, can tow 5,000 pounds. There's a configurable midgate that separates the bed from the cabin. It can be lowered to extend the bed, but the window is fixed so only items like lumber and surfboards would fit. Sorry antiquers.
The Denali XT sounds good, but not many people have bought the Ridgeline, which was one of the better-executed trucks of its size in some time. Perhaps the bling looks — and especially the hybrid powertrain — will draw in new buyers. For now, we'll just have to wait and see if this becomes a reality. Let us know in the comments if you think a vehicle like this is needed, and check out more photos below.
Managing Editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David