2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid

Just saying GMC Yukon Hybrid sounds strange – most folks don’t think of large SUV’s and hybrids at the same time. GM is aiming to change that though, with their pending release of this possibly revolutionary vehicle. I say possibly because no one has real world numbers yet – so it’s hard to say how this beast will perform under the daily grind. We won’t know for sure until Q4 2008, when the Yukon Hybrid is due to be released.

So, what’s so great about the Yukon Hybrid? For starters, it’s a “real” hybrid, unlike the mild hybrid designs that GM is currently so fond of. It is, in fact, the first “two-mode” hybrid to be released, which is interesting. It’s powered by the familiar 6.0 liter Vortec V8, and is still capable of towing 6,000 lbs ( less than the regular Yukon, but significantly more than any other hybrid on the road.

A look at the two-mode system

The first mode is for city driving, and allows the Yukon to drive solely on electric power at low speeds. Similar to other hybrids, the engine shuts off in stop and go traffic, and at stop lights.

The second mode is for highway driving. The electric motor assists the gas engine when needed, and does some fancy footwork like active fuel management, cam phasing, and late-intake valve closure.

Stylistic changes

The changes made to the Yukon Hybrid aren’t only mechanical. Part of the hybrid mantra is aerodynamics – and GM took this to heart. The Yukon Hybrid gets a new hood, front and rear fascias, and a new grille to help make it more aerodynamic. Granted, it still has the overall aerodynamics of a large brick, but every bit helps.  In addition, weight reduction across the board means that the hybrid Yukon won’t weight significantly more than the gas-only version.  Very nice tough.

What isn’t great

You all know that I’d find fault with this vehicle, as I do with most. And I did, a very real one, and one that’s just not acceptable. In this brand new 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid, loaded with all sorts of advanced technology and voodoo, GM saw fit to cheap out and outfit it with a 4 speed automatic transmission. Folks, 4 speed auto’s aren’t acceptable in $16,000 cars. Who knows what the Yukon Hybrid will cost, but you can bet it will be well north of $40,000. It’s simply embarrassing to use such an archaic transmission. C’mon GM – you almost had a great thing going. Six speed autos are all the rage these days – they improve power delivery and fuel economy – not to mention they’re much smoother than their 4 speed counterparts.

The Yukon Hybrid will rock

Transmission issues aside, people will be the Yukon Hybrid in droves. A 25% increase in fuel economy without giving up the size or V8 power, in addition to getting a “green” feeling, means there will be buyers lining up outside of GMC dealerships.

UPDATE : Engine size updated to the correct 6.0 liters.  Thanks for the correction Bill.

Published on July 7, 2007 in GMC,Hybrids

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