Based on the standard Yukon model, the Yukon Hybrid is GM's green alternative for those who need a full-size SUV but wish to be at least moderately environmentally responsible.
As if having a full-size hybrid SUV is not counter-intuitive enough, one must also consider that there is a V8 engine underhood as well.
The 6.0 liter is good for 332 horsepower at 5,100 rpm and 367 lb-ft of torque at 4,100 rpm. Fuel economy for both two- and four-wheel-drive models is rated at 20 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. This compares favorably to an equivalent 2WD Tahoe with a gas engine only, which is rated at 14 mpg city and 20 mpg highway. Towing capability is rated at a maximum of 6,200 lbs for the 2WD and 6,000 lbs for the 4WD model.
The gasoline engine utilizes GM's Active Fuel Management technology to shut down four cylinders when less power is needed as well. Then there is a 300 volt battery pack that fits in the rear cargo area without intruding on passenger space. That battery pack also runs the air-conditioning and power steering, as the truck is capable of moving without the big V8 being lit thanks to two 60KW (or 80 hp) motors that power the wheels.
The motors are integrated into what looks like a four-speed automatic transmission, but is actually a continuously variable set-up, although it does have four fixed ratios when the gas engine is needed to charge the batteries.
In addition to all the high-tech gadgets, GM engineers saved gas the old-fashioned way: by putting the Yukon Hybrid on a diet. They managed to shave about 350 lbs by using lighter wheels and seats, a smaller starting battery, an aluminum hood, liftgate, front bumper beam, shaft and engine and eliminating the starter motor.
The aerodynamics were also improved via the use of some unique body components, and when coupled with the gas-electric hybrid tech, the vehicle was nearly able to make a 50 percent improvement in city mileage.
Standard content includes 8-passenger seating, leather 6-way power and heated front seats, a navigation system integrated into the sound system with a rearview camera, tri-zone air conditioning, one year of OnStar, stability control and traction control and 18-inch wheels, among others.
All Yukons come standard with dual front, front side and full-length side-curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems.
Outside of mechanically identical GM models like the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid and Cadillac Escalade Hybrid, there are no gas-electric full-size SUV competitors to the Yukon Hybrid. However, those willing to spend a bit more money for a slightly smaller vehicle can choose more luxurious and fuel efficient rides such as the diesel variants of the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GL-Class.