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2012 GMC Yukon Hybrid Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 GMC Yukon Hybrid was new.


Performance: 8.0

When it comes to performance, reviewers say the 2012 GMC Yukon Hybrid does pretty well. Most are impressed with its two-mode hybrid system, which gets good fuel economy for such a large SUV. Many reviewers report that the Yukon Hybrid handles like the big, ponderous SUV it is, though it does have a smooth transition between gas and electric power.

  • “It's not a stretch to say that driving the … 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 it's a tad strange, the result is a quiet cabin.” -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

The 2012 GMC Yukon Hybrid comes standard with a 6.0-liter V8 engine that’s paired with an electric motor. Together they put out a total of 332 horsepower. Altogether, reviewers are impressed by the system, saying it delivers pretty good acceleration and a seamless transition between gas and electric power. The Yukon Hybrid uses an electrically variable transmission that most reviewers say works adequately.

Despite fuel economy that's estimated to be 30 to 50 percent better than the gas-only Yukon, buyers shouldn't expect Prius-like mpg ratings for the Yukon Hybrid. After all, it is still a large SUV. Both two- and four-wheel drive Yukon Hybrids get an EPA-estimated 20 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. While these aren’t great numbers for smaller hybrids, they bring the Yukon Hybrid’s fuel economy into compact SUV territory, which is no small feat. Reviewers are suitably impressed.

The base two-wheel drive Yukon Hybrid can tow up to 6,200 pounds, but opting for the top-of-the-line four-wheel drive Yukon Denali Hybrid reduces that number to 5,700 pounds.

  • "The Yukon Hybrid behaves much like its conventional siblings. The electric-to-gas transition is almost completely transparent.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "Burly acceleration when needed.” -- Cars.com
  • “Although the Hybrid is the most powerful Yukon available, it's also the heaviest, so don't expect particularly brisk acceleration. Also, the transmission can hesitate when you ask for full power.” -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

Test drivers aren’t particularly impressed with the 2012 GMC Yukon Hybrid’s handling, though they say it has a very smooth ride. Keep in mind that the Denali’s larger wheels result in worse handling and ride quality. Reviewers can’t agree on the brakes, with some saying brake feel is good, and others saying it’s mushy. The Yukon Hybrid comes standard with two-wheel drive, but its optional four-wheel drive comes with a two-speed transfer case.

  • "Smooth brakes for a hybrid.” -- Cars.com
  • "GM's Autoride load-leveling suspension quells some float, but doesn't add demonstrably to ride comfort.” -- Consumer Guide
  • “Handling is about what you'd expect: safe but ponderous. Most crossovers are notably more carlike from behind the wheel.” -- Edmunds

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