The hybrid versions of the full-sized 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon SUVs will deliver fuel economy gains of 50 percent in the city over the standard, non-hybrid models.
Today at the Texas State Fair, General Motors will announce the EPA fuel economy estimates of 21 mpg city and 22 mpg highway for the two-wheel drive versions of the Tahoe and Yukon hybrids.
Those fuel economy ratings are expected to give GM best-in-class fuel economy for large SUVs. The ratings also rival those of many midsize and large cars. For example, the 2WD Tahoe and Yukon match the four-cylinder Toyota Camry's 21 mpg city rating and beat the V-6 Camry's city rating by 2 mpg.
GM expects to sell 10,000 units per year, combined, of the hybrid SUVs. Prices won't be announced until closer to launch, but are expected to start in the low- to mid-$40,000 range.
The Tahoe and Yukon hybrids are the first vehicles to use the innovative Two Mode hybrid transmission GM developed with DaimlerChrysler and BMW. GM will also use the hybrid system in pickup trucks.
The EPA fuel economy figures are lower than some expected, but that's due to the agency's changing its test procedures to more accurately reflect real-world driving conditions.
The official EPA figures for both vehicles are 21 city/22 highway for 2WD models and 20 mpg city/20 mpg highway for 4WD models.
The Yukon and Tahoe hybrids are equipped with GM's cylinder deactivation system, which cuts off four of the V-8's cylinders when the vehicle reaches highway cruising speeds. They have lightweight body panels and wind-cheating bumper covers.