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2009 GMC Yukon Denali Hybrid Preview

2009 GMC Yukon Denali Hybrid Preview

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2008
2009 GMC Yukon Denali Hybrid Critical Knowledge:
  • Joins Yukon Hybrid and Sierra Hybrid in GMC's lineup
  • Powered by GM's 2-mode hybrid technology
  • Features an electrically variable transmission (EVT) and regenerative braking
  • Estimated 21 mpg city fuel economy
  • No-deductible, 8-year/100,000-mile hybrid powertrain warranty
  • Seats 8 passengers and tows up to 5,800 pounds
  • Features 22-inch, 8-spoke flangeless chrome wheels
  • Pricing starts at $59,185 (2WD models) and $62,030 (4WD)
  • Arrives at dealerships in May of 2009
Introduction
Over the past two years, General Motors has been steadily rolling out hybrid versions of its full-size trucks that feature the company's new 2-mode hybrid technology. Hybrid versions of the 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon SUVs were first to market, soon followed by the 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid. Also for 2009, GM introduced the full-size 2009 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra hybrid pickups. And now, announced at the 2009 New York International Auto Show, an upscale version of the Yukon Hybrid joins the mix-the 2009 GMC Yukon Denali Hybrid. To be sold alongside the hybrid versions of the Yukon and Sierra at GMC dealerships beginning in May of 2009, the arrival of the Yukon Denali Hybrid gives the brand three full-size hybrids-an industry first, according to GM.

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2009 GMC Yukon Denali HybridModel Lineup
In addition to the features found on regular, non-Denali versions of the Yukon Hybrid, ordering the more upscale Denali trim will net buyers luxurious amenities such as standard 12-way power, heated and cooled, perforated leather front seats and a heated second-row bench seat upholstered in leather. Buyers may choose between Ebony or Cashmere interior colors, and only three options are available on the well-equipped Yukon Denali Hybrid: a sunroof, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, and side blind-zone alert mirrors. Enhanced connectivity includes standard OnStar with Directions & Connections and Turn-by-Turn Navigation, navigation radio with a rear camera system, a Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound System, and three free years of real-time XM NavTraffic.

Hardware
The 2009 GMC Yukon Denali Hybrid features the same 2-mode hybrid powertrain system found in GM's other full-size hybrid trucks. Powering this hybrid system is a fully integrated combination of two lightweight electric motors packaged in the transmission; an electronic brake emulator that provides blended regenerative braking; electric power steering; and an electric air conditioning compressor. The heart of the system is GM's 6.0-liter Vortec V-8 engine, complete with cylinder-deactivation technology to save fuel. It produces 332 horsepower and 367 lb.-ft. of torque. The Yukon Denali Hybrid features an electrically variable transmission (EVT), which blends continuously variable operation (for low-load driving situations) with fixed-gear operation (for high-load conditions such as towing or highway driving).

The Yukon Denali Hybrid is equipped with GM's MagnaRide suspension, which uses magnetic particles in the shock absorber fluid to adjust the damping rate of the shock absorbers, based on road conditions and vehicle dynamics, to help keep the tires in contact with the road. The Yukon Denali Hybrid rides on new 22-inch, 8-spoke, flangeless chrome wheels.

2009 GMC Yukon Denali HybridSafety
The 2009 GMC Yukon Denali Hybrid features a comprehensive safety package of crashworthiness and crash-avoidance features, including dual-stage front air bags with a passenger-sensing system; head curtain side air bags for all seating rows; front-seat safety belt pre-tensioners with rear-impact deployment capability; tire-pressure monitor; and a stability control system with traction control and rollover mitigation technology. Optional safety features include a rain-sensing wiper system; Ultrasonic rear parking assist; side blind-zone alert; and a rearview camera system that provides a view of objects/people in the vehicle's rearward path. The 2009 GMC Yukon Denali Hybrid also comes standard with the OnStar communications system with one year of Directions & Connections service with Turn-by-Turn Navigation. The OnStar plan includes GM's Advanced Crash Response System, which notifies emergency services in the event of an air bag deployment.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2009 GMC Yukon models receive perfect 5-star ratings in frontal and side-impact tests. In the agency's rollover testing, the Yukon receives a 3-star rating. As of this writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has not crash tested any models of the current-generation GMC Yukon family.

Technology
The 2009 GMC Yukon Denali Hybrid uses regenerative braking to capture energy that would otherwise be lost during vehicle deceleration. By using one or both of the EVT's traction motors as a generator, braking energy is converted to electrical energy and stored for future use to propel the vehicle. The regenerative brakes are used along with the standard hydraulic brakes to slow the vehicle and/or bring it to a stop. Depending on the amount of braking force required, the hydraulic brakes may not even be used, such as during mild deceleration. When additional braking is called for, based on a change in the position of and/or the force applied to the brake pedal, the hydraulic braking system will be called on to assist the generator(s) in slowing or stopping the vehicle. The anti-lock braking system/electronic stability control modulator used on the Yukon Denali Hybrid has been adapted to allow this interaction between the hydraulic brakes and the regenerative braking system.

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