From the outside—or even inside the cabin—there's very little to distinguish the Yukon Hybrid models from the standard Yukon ones, save for some slight aerodynamic modifications and subtle badging. So if you want to advertise your green inclinations, this probably isn't the vehicle (And who really looks for a hybrid badge on a GMC?).
That said, there's a lot that's different about the Yukon Hybrid. A Two-Mode Hybrid system combines a specially tuned 332-horsepower, 6.0-liter aluminum V-8 with an electrically operated continuously variable transmission, and along with a complex mix of fixed gears, clutches, planetary gear sets, and two electric motor generators, the Hybrid can run on electric power alone at up to 27 mph when driving very gently; at higher speed it combines power sources. Both air conditioning and power steering run electrically, so they function whether the engine is on or off.
There are few compromises in the Hybrid. Even with its complex system, it can still tow 5,000 pounds; and packaging is virtually the same as in standard versions. Since the batteries are mounted under the second-row seat, third-row legroom is a bit more restricted.
The very luxurious Denali Hybrid—yes, there is such a thing—stands in the cadre of green-luxury SUVs, including the likes of the new BMW X6 ActiveHybrid, the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid, and the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class with clean BlueTEC diesel.
While the price premium for the Yukon Hybrid over the standard versions of the Yukon is quite steep, it nearly evens out when you're comparing Denali versions. Ultimately, they're both priced around $60,000, and as it works out, for the same price, you could add a few more extras to your Yukon or Yukon XL Denali, or you could have the Hybrid badge.
For more about the 2011 GMC Yukon Hybrid, please see our full review covering the 2011 GMC Yukon, where you'll find more pictures, related news, and highlights from other review sources.