- Sedan-like city fuel economy
- Excellent acceleration and power
- No-compromise towing capabilities
- Smooth, unobtrusive hybrid drive
- Difficult access to third-row seats
- Much more expensive than the standard Yukon
If you aren't price-sensitive, the 2009 GMC Yukon Hybrid really is a no-compromise SUV.
Buyers of the 2009 GMC Yukon Hybrid want to have their cake and eat it too. They're looking for a large, roomy and capable SUV but also demand fuel economy that won’t break the budget or put them in bad standing with the neighbors. GMC’s Yukon Hybrid delivers on this count, with an EPA-estimated 21 mpg city, 22 mpg highway—a full 50 percent better in the city than the standard Yukon with a 5.3-liter V-8—while maintaining a respectable tow rating of 6,000 pounds.
The Yukon Hybrid was launched in 2008 and rolls quietly into 2009 virtually unchanged. The Hybrid's advanced powertrain combines a specially outfitted 332-horsepower, 6.0-liter V-8 with an Electrically Variable Transmission that GMC developed with BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Chrysler.
Driving the 2009 GMC Yukon Hybrid requires no special skills; you interact with the vehicle as you would a normal Yukon. The experience, however, is a bit different. In some cases, the gasoline engine may not start, as this GMC is capable of running up to 32 mph on only electric power. When the engine does kick in, it does so seamlessly and even features GM’s Active Fuel Management that allows the V-8 to run on four cylinders to save fuel.
The result of all this technology is a large, luxurious SUV that 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.
The 2009 GMC Yukon Hybrid looks quite similar to other GM full-size SUVs from a distance, but up close it incorporates a number of small changes. The exterior has been aerodynamically refined with special features that help the Yukon Hybrid slip through the air more easily. The interior of Yukon Hybrid is equipped very lavishly and generously—much like the premium Yukon Denali and just a notch short of the Cadillac Escalade. Lightweight leather-trimmed front seats are unique, as is the instrument panel.
Hybrid technology improves the efficiency, but it can’t magically eliminate all the limitations of a SUV. Similar to the standard GMC Yukon, the 2009 suffers from a cramped third-row seat and limited cargo room aft of the back row.