Envirobeast: The Yukon Hybrid

Regardless of their chatter, many North Americans still love huge automobiles. They just don’t want to pay for gas and prefer to look like they’re doing something for the environment.

Enter the Yukon Hybrid. It’s massive.

For the chic it’s plastered with that Hybrid logo. And for the cheap it delivers an impressive 10.5 L/100km fuel consumption rating in the city – 9.8 on highways.

Okay, impressive for its girth. It’s still drinks like a sailor.

The two-mode hybrid system is clever, modulating between the electrical system and the hearty Vortec V8 engine, or a combination of the two. A 300-volt battery powers two 60-kw motors in the transmission. Braking regenerates the battery. When it shifts to battery mode, the whole truck goes silent and you think you’ve stalled. You haven’t. It’s simply quiet, imagine that.

Hippies: Stay beneath 50kph and you can remain completely on electric power. Great for the city, provided you have plus-size parking.

Accelerate and the V8 engine’s management system stops four of the eight cylinders pumping until there’s greater demand for power. On highways, it functions normally but calls on extra electrical power when needed (passing, toeing, hills).

Decelerate without braking and it emits a sound like a distant siren. You begin searching the mirrors for an approaching police car.

Though built to tow, it’s a people mover instead of backwoods utility truck, seating eight with two collapsible seats in back, though they don’t disappear completely. In fact, considering the size of the exterior (202 inches long, 79 wide and 74.8 high) there’s little space leftover inside. Unless you’re hugely popular, eschew the optional 3rd row seats for extra room.

Then enjoy the extra boom from the 9-speaker Bose sound system. Two flank the driver, cleverly built into the columns housing the windshield..

PRICE

Base $69,885

As tested $74,570

SPECS

Engine: Vortec 6.0L LIVC V8 with Active Fuel Management and Hybrid electric propulsion system with 300-volt hybrid battery pack and high voltage management module

Brakes: Regenerative braking system recharges the 300-volt battery pack

Steering: Power electric, rack and pinion

Suspension: Front, coil-over-shock with stabilizer bar; rear, multi-link with coil springs

Transmission: 4-speed automatic integrated with hybrid electric propulsion system

Tires: P265/65R18 all-season

Wheels: 18″ light-weight aluminum

Drive: Autrotrac automatic 4-wheel drive

OPTIONS

Leather, heated front seats with 6-way power adjusters
3rd row seating
Automatic climate control
Nav system with voice recognition
Rearview camera
Bose speaker system
Power folding mirrors
Ultrasonic Parking assist
Rear audio controls (second row)
115v outlet
Rear entertainment system: $1,750
Sunroof: $1,325
XM satellite radio: $260

Total options: $3,335

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