2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
GMC Yukon Hybrid Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 6.0 L V 8-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 332 hp @ 5100 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 21/22 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation Yes
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid

  • Although the merits of a full-size hybrid SUV can be debated, the 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid is a successful first application of GM's new Two-Mode technology and a worthy addition to the Yukon lineup.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Significant fuel economy advantage versus regular Yukon, handsome cabin with fine build quality, comfortable ride, seats eight passengers.

  • Cons

    Third-row seat doesn't fold flat and must be removed, fuel economy still not much better than some crossovers, hefty price premium.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid is the first full-fledged hybrid model produced by General Motors. It is based on the Yukon full-size SUV that was redesigned last year.

Full 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid Review

What's New for 2008

The 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid is the first full-fledged hybrid model produced by General Motors. It is based on the Yukon full-size SUV that was redesigned last year.


Purchasing an earlier General Motors hybrid model could perhaps be equated to buying tickets to see Kiss, only to discover it's actually a tribute band made up of four guys from Ann Arbor. While GM's models like the Saturn Vue Green Line may have worn hybrid regalia, their gasoline-electric technology was unsophisticated and underpowered compared to "full" hybrids from Toyota and other carmakers. With its all-new Two-Mode hybrid technology, the 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid is the real Gene Simmons deal. A new approach to hybrid design helps create a full-size SUV that gets fuel economy in the 20s, carries eight people and tows 6,000 pounds.

At the heart of the Yukon Hybrid is the "Two-Mode" technology co-developed by GM, BMW and DaimlerChrysler. Completely understanding the differences between this two-mode system and other "full" hybrid systems basically requires an engineering degree, so if you couldn't care less how it works, skip the next two paragraphs.

As with a regular Yukon, you'll find a V8 under the hood. But this 6.0-liter V8 has cylinder-deactivation technology (it turns a V8 into a V4 when full power isn't needed) and is supported by a pair of 60-kilowatt motors packaged within the transmission to provide the electric motivation. Dubbed an electrically variable transmission (EVT), it features those two motors, three planetary gearsets and four traditional hydraulic wet clutches.

The EVT is essentially like having two transmissions inside one -- continuously variable drive for light load conditions and fixed-ratio for high load conditions. Hence two-mode. The hybrid system then constantly receives data from the powertrain and other vehicle systems to determine the most fuel-efficient means of propelling the vehicle -- be it electric power, gasoline power or a combination of the two. And like other hybrid models, there's a battery pack for storing power, regenerative braking to take advantage of momentum, and the ability to shut off the engine when the vehicle is stopped.

For those who skipped ahead, welcome back. The moral of the above story is that a 5,600-pound full-size SUV returns fuel economy better than most large crossovers. City mileage is particularly impressive, and like most hybrids, is about equal to highway mileage. This is the result of being able to accelerate up to approximately 25 mph using electricity only, a fuel-saving asset on surface streets and in stop-and-go traffic. If that's your driving domain, the Yukon Hybrid makes a lot of sense.

In addition to improved fuel economy, the 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid boasts more power than its gas-only brother. However, don't expect much better acceleration, as the hybrid tips the scales at a hundred or more pounds heavier than a fully loaded Yukon. That's despite GM's best efforts to cut weight by constructing several body panels of aluminum and trimming heft from the seats (though ironically not from the heavy removable third-row seats, which could use a nip and tuck).

Other than its sophisticated running gear, the Yukon Hybrid is essentially a fully loaded Yukon SLT. The only options are a sunroof and DVD entertainment system, with niceties like leather, a rearview camera and navigation system standard. However, the price premium is significant, ringing in at about $8,000 more than a similarly equipped gas-only Yukon. (It's also about $900 more expensive than its Chevy Tahoe sibling without offering anything extra aside from GMC's "Professional Grade" slogan.) Although the fuel economy difference is also commendable, it will take a lot of miles/years for your gas savings to justify the out-the-door premium. We'll let you decide if the environmental benefits are worth the price, but how green can a 5,600-pound SUV really be?

So, unless the 2008 Yukon Hybrid's significant towing capabilities are important, a full-size crossover like the GMC Acadia may be a better choice. It provides more usable passenger space, is friendlier to drive, gets close to the same fuel economy and is $8,000 cheaper when loaded to the gills. The new two-mode hybrid system is certainly impressive, but we're not entirely sure if the Yukon is the right vehicle for it.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid is a full-size SUV available in one trim level. Standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, rear parking assist with rearview camera, tinted windows, power-folding heated side mirrors and tri-zone automatic climate control. A trip computer, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, remote ignition, leather upholstery, power front seats and a removable 50/50-split third-row seat are also standard. In-car entertainment includes a navigation system, a hybrid system display and a nine-speaker Bose audio system with CD/MP3 player, auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio. A sunroof and rear-seat DVD entertainment system are the lone options.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid is available with rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. Both models utilize a 6.0-liter V8 engine coupled to a pair of 60-kilowatt electric motors located inside what GM calls an electrically variable transmission. Together they produce 332 horsepower and 367 pound-feet of torque. The system can accelerate the Yukon up to speeds of approximately 25 mph using electricity only, while the V8's cylinder-deactivation system helps reduces fuel consumption at higher speeds. Regenerative braking replenishes the batteries by capturing energy normally lost when coming to a stop. Fuel economy is 21 mpg city and 22 mpg highway for rear-wheel-drive Yukon Hybrids and 20/20 with four-wheel drive. Maximum towing capacity for a properly equipped 4WD model is 6,000 pounds.


Standard safety equipment includes full-length side curtain airbags, antilock disc brakes, traction control, OnStar and a rearview camera. In government crash testing, the Yukon Hybrid scored a perfect five stars in all frontal and side impact tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

Aside from instrumentation, there's nothing to distinguish the Yukon Hybrid from a traditional Yukon. Unlike in past generations, that's a very good thing. The newest Yukon boasts attractive, high-quality materials and tight panel gaps while maintaining a simple control layout. Even the standard navigation system is easy to use.

With its standard third row, the Yukon can seat up to eight passengers. Unfortunately, that 50/50 third row does not fold flat into the floor. Since the two seats weigh slightly less than a Geo, you'd better have Steve Austin on standby to help remove them. Once they're out, though, maximum cargo capacity is a whopping 109 cubic feet with the folding second row down -- much more than any other hybrid offers.

Driving Impressions

It's not a stretch to say that driving the 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid feels like being behind the wheel of a 5,600-pound Prius. There's the same eerie quiet when accelerating and braking, as the gas engine shuts off to let the electric motors do their thing. Although a tad strange, the result is a quiet cabin, while transitions between gas and electric modes, and eight- and four-cylinder mode, are either undetectable or easy to ignore.

The regenerative braking system produces a firm braking feel and, according to GM, actually stops the big SUV better than the regular Yukon's conventional brakes do. Although the Hybrid is the most powerful Yukon available, it's also the heaviest, so don't expect particularly brisk acceleration. Still, its abundance of low-end power -- aided by those torque-rich electric motors -- produces plenty of "motorvation" for around-town chores and trailer towing.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

No buyer's remorse here!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid 4dr SUV (6.0L 8cyl gas/electric hybrid 4A)

After the Hybrid stickers were removed, my family and I stand back and admire the beauty of this automobile. We had been persuaded away from American-made cars several years ago and went the way of the foreign minivan. We were leery of Government Motors, but are extremely happy with the quality of this vehicle. The ride is smooth, the gas mileage is really 20 mpg, and the cargo room is expansive with the last row of seats out. All our stuff can fit and when the grandparents come to town, everyone has ample room. GM did a great job without sacrificing anything. It's solid and the quality is on par with any Toyota/Honda/Nissan minivan out there!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Tremendous vehicle!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid 4dr SUV 4WD (6.0L 8cyl gas/electric hybrid 4A)

I have had my Yukon Hybrid for a year and a half and in that time I have discovered a whole new level of sophistication. Previously I have had Range Rovers which are very nice but just don't offer the same level of performance. I have had one recall for a minor issue but other than that in 19,000 miles it has never missed a beat. Fuel mileage seems to average around 20 mpg mostly city driving, but the carbon foot print of this vehicle is far lower than my last few which is the reason I bought it. At stop lights with the engine off the other hybrids are usually running...enough said. You do have to learn to change your driving style to get the most out of this vehicle.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Great truck & mileage after

by on
Vehicle: 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid 4dr SUV 4WD (6.0L 8cyl gas/electric hybrid 4A)

Love this truck for it can idling when parked and no carbon foot print. The truck was receiving poor gas mileage, but after the transmission recall it is getting what is estimated. I love the fact it gets around 20 miles per gallon and I have a lead foot. Wondering if GM will credit me the fuel cost from their error?

My yukon is always in

by on
Vehicle: 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid 4dr SUV 4WD (6.0L 8cyl gas/electric hybrid 4A)

The actuators that move the door locks keep burning out, one after the other. I am on my fifth replacement. I will be contacting a lawyer when the next one burns out.

Nice truck, but has some

by on
Vehicle: 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid 4dr SUV (6.0L 8cyl gas/electric hybrid 4A)

Bought this truck new on New Year's Eve 2008. After 7 months and 12k miles, I'm a bit disappointed with the mileage. We're only getting around 17 MPG. I have a lead foot, but my wife doesn't and she is the primary driver. Don't see how other reviewers are getting 20+. Have also had to take it to the dealer twice for brake issues. Covered under warranty, but still a hassle. Interior is laid out nicely, but materials seem really cheap. Driver's seat has great leg and head room, but comfort of seat is lacking on long trips. Overall, pretty happy with it. Has a very good ride even at 75-85 MPH. With 3rd row seats out, cargo area is spacious. Can't use NAV without radio on.

Great vehicle!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid 4dr SUV 4WD (6.0L 8cyl gas/electric hybrid 4A)

This is a very well engineered vehicle. In 9 months I have driven over 27,000 miles in both city and highway driving, as well as a short 300 mile trip towing a medium size Uhaul. Very comfortable on the road and around town. For a 5,600 lb. SUV with 4WD I can't complain getting 18.5 MPG pulling a trailer at 80 MPH and 19.5 MPG on the open road at 85 MPH. Around town I average 20 MPG and I don't drive like a little old lady.

Talk About The 2008 Yukon Hybrid

2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid Discussions See all Started By

when the 2008 yukon hybrid comes out will it have a denali hybrid also?...

Gas Mileage


  • 21
  • cty
  • 22
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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