2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
July 24, 2008

The 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid carries cargo like a brute ute--but drinks fuel at a sedan-like pace.

TheCarConnection.com’s hybrid experts studied the latest reviews on the new 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid to write this conclusive review. Experts from TheCarConnection.com also drove the GMC Yukon Hybrid and have added opinions and observations where they help you make a better decision. This review also compares the 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid with other vehicles to give you the best advice even when other reviews present conflicting opinions.

For some buyers, the big news about the 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid will be fuel economy. GMC achieved EPA ratings of 21 mpg city/22 mpg highway for the Yukon Hybrid two-wheel-drive model. This is impressive mileage for such a big vehicle, and the EPA numbers easily surpasses the standard Yukon's standard (and less powerful) 5.3-liter V-8, which manages 14 city/20 highway mpg. The Yukon Hybrid's mileage is so good that it nearly equals that of mid-size sedans in city driving cycles. For example, the efficient 2008 Chevy Malibu with the 2.4-liter Ecotec four-cylinder is rated at 22 mpg city, only 1 mpg better than this full-size SUV.

For other buyers, simply driving a vehicle that is considered green is what really matters--provided it doesn't crimp their style. It is the opinion of the experts at TheCarConnection.com that the 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid won't impede your vehicular life in any way. And here's why: The 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid includes all the goodness that comes with the nonhybrid GMC Yukon model, and in most every respect, it drives like a standard nonhybrid Yukon equipped with a big V-8.

Operating and benefiting from the advanced gasoline-electric two-mode technology requires absolutely no special knowledge or skills. Once you get yourself a 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid, all you do is hop in, tumble the key, pick a gear, and get rolling. In some cases, the gasoline engine may not start, as this GMC is capable of running up to 32 mph on only electric power. This full-size SUV can even tow, with a maximum trailer load weight of 6,000 pounds.

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The 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid's advanced powertrain combines a specially outfitted 332-horsepower, 6.0-liter V-8 with what looks like a regular automatic transmission. But the transmission isn't "regular" at all, because it's actually an Electrically Variable Transmission, a four-speed automatic transmission combined with two electric motors. The technology (co-developed with BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Chrysler) works very well. The result is that the 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid drives beautifully. There is an abundance of power, and the extra torque from the twin electric motors make this full-size SUV feel lively and agile. Cruising is quiet, especially when the SUV is running on battery power. At first it's a bit eerie, but you get used to it, and then other vehicles simply seem loud.

Inside and out, the 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid is different from other SUVs based on the GMT900 truck platform, including the Chevrolet Tahoe. The exterior has been aerodynamically refined with special features that help the Yukon Hybrid slip through the air more easily. Inside, the Yukon Hybrid is equipped much like the premium Yukon Denali, but the instrument panel is unique, as are the lightweight leather-trimmed front seats.

Unfortunately, the 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid suffers from some of the same issues as the standard GMC Yukon, such as the cramped third-row seat. A more important concern is the approximately $5,000 premium GMC charges for the Yukon Hybrid. This charge (it's rumored that GMC is losing money on this option) is so large that it would take approximately five years of driving 15,000 miles per year to recoup in terms of saved gasoline.

Furthermore, even when the Chryslers arrive, the Durango/Aspen platform is generations behind the 2008 GMC Yukon, so the GMC is simply a better truck.

If you don't need a hybrid, for 2008 competitive SUVs include the Ford Expedition, Toyota Sequoia, Nissan Armada, and Mercedes GL (which comes in a diesel version). But if buying a hybrid is the driving force behind your decision, Toyota/Lexus does offer smaller, mid-size SUVs: the Highlander and RX400h hybrid models. These are both very nice SUVs, but neither has the room, towing, or genuine four-wheel-drive capabilities of the 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid.

If your goal is to simply lower your carbon footprint, then how does a 30 percent reduction strike you? If that sounds good, consider the Jeep Grand Cherokee with the newly available 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6. It delivers EPA ratings of 17/22 mpg with excellent towing and off-road capabilities. Of course, the Jeep is considerably smaller than the 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid.

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