Concept-GMC Denali XT Hybrid Preview

  • New 4-door, 4-passenger, rear-wheel-drive (RWD) hybrid sport utility truck
  • (SUT)

  • Leather interior

  • First combination of GM 2-mode hybrid system with E85 ethanol-capable engine

  • New 4.9-liter V-8 engine with Active Fuel Management

  • Expected to achieve 50-percent fuel economy improvement

  • Height-adjustable suspension

  • Cargo space-enhancing Midgate

  • Custom 23-inch Kumho tires

  • 3500-pound towing capacity


The GMC Denali XT Hybrid Concept is a 4-door, 4-seat, RWD sport utility truck just unveiled at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show. The new design, says GMC, serves as a test well for the division's future design direction. It is the first combination of the patented GM 2-mode hybrid system with an E85 ethanol-capable engine. While it's instantly recognizable as a Denali, the Denali XT Hybrid features a new take on many signature Denali items-like the iconic grille. New technologies and features add to the SUT's appeal-like height-adjustable suspension and the cargo space-enhancing Midgate. In announcing the Denali XT Hybrid Concept SUT, GMC says the vehicle offers a 50-percent combined fuel economy increase over small pickups-when running on gasoline. The SUV also boasts leather interior and an estimated towing capacity of 3500 pounds.

Model LineupThe GMC Denali XT Hybrid SUT has not been announced as a production model-yet. But with consumer concern over ever-rising fuel prices and the need to reduce dependency on foreign oil, as well as consumer desire for more environmentally friendly vehicles that still pack performance and utility, the prospect is good that this SUT, or some derivative of it, will make it into production. GMC says its design will serve as a test well for all its future design. In fact, according to the company, the innovative technologies used in the combination of the GM 2-mode hybrid system and the 4.9-liter V-8 engine go beyond two other recently announced GMC models: the Yukon Hybrid and Sierra Hybrid.


GMC turned to Holden Design, GM's Australian arm, for design and construction of the Denali XT Hybrid Concept. According to the company, the resulting design is pure Denali-muscular, capable, with a firm stance-accented by large wheels, a low-profile roof and sleek-looking headlamps.

As for specific design touches, the iconic GMC grille features the large red GMC logo and signature Denali background, along with a prominent 4-bar element. Denali XT's aggressive road stance is accentuated by flared fenders, lowered air-adjustable suspension, large 23-inch wheels, and custom Kumho tires.

The four seats are leather-trimmed, as are interior contact surfaces. The instrumentation and controls reflect Denali XT's aircraft cockpit-design: instrumentation that appears to float, with interior illumination by Osram. There's ample distance between front- and rear-seat occupants due to the high-cowl architecture of the SUT. This permits larger interior and cargo bed dimensions, GMC says.

The cargo area in the rear of the Denali XT Hybrid Concept is 55 inches long and 47.5 inches wide. The Midgate can be lowered to extend the Denali XT's cargo capacity. Rear seats fold flat for a longer load floor. Estimated towing capacity is 3500 pounds; estimated payload is 1100 pounds.


GMC's Denali XT Hybrid Concept SUT makes the first-ever use of a RWD 2-mode hybrid transmission coupled with a smaller displacement version of the small-block engine-the new 4.8-liter E85-capable engine, which features direct fuel-injection technology and Active Fuel Management. Preliminary power estimate is 326 hp.

An electrically variable transmission works to enhance both city and highway driving fuel efficiency. In city driving, at low speeds, all-electric propulsion is used. On the highway, Denali XT's fixed-gear operation maximizes performance-even while trailer towing, GMC says. In addition, Active Thermal Management, another powertrain technology, transfers thermal energy between driveline components to improve efficiency, the automaker adds.

The Denali XT features a unibody structure and stiffness greater than most conventional body-on-frame trucks, GMC says. Four-wheel independent suspension, with multilink front and 4-link rear, provides performance feel, crisp responsiveness to driver input, and greater cornering control and reduced body roll, the maker adds.


Besides the patented GM 2-mode hybrid technology and the new 4.7-liter V-8 engine, Midgate and height-adjustable suspension, other technology features on a possible production model are as yet unknown. Most likely to be included as either standard or optional are a navigation system, AM/FM stereo with CD/MP3 player and auxiliary input jack, heated and ventilated seats, OnStar, XM satellite radio, and more.