2008 Chicago Auto Show: GMC Denali XT Hybrid Truck Concept


  • Looks like: A stylish Honda Ridgeline
  • Defining characteristics: Hybrid V-8 with looks and efficiency
  • Ridiculous features: Surprisingly none, unless you include the giant 23-inch wheels
  • Chance of being mass-produced: Consumer feedback will dictate, but if we find out the powertrain is real, its chances will rise exponentially

Since the Chicago Auto Show is known as one for trucks, we're really impressed with GMC's concept. The Denali XT Hybrid is good-looking and features an innovative hybrid powertrain that we hope will come down the line soon. What you need to know about the Denali XT is that it has a small, 4.9-liter V-8 engine teamed to an electric motor. They work together to pump out a very respectable 326 hp.

GM says it will get 50% better fuel economy than comparable "small trucks." We're not sure what those would be, but let's assume they're talking about the Honda Ridgeline, which has a 17 mpg combined figure. If the XT got 25 mpg combined, that would be pretty impressive. The engine uses cylinder deactivation and direct injection to improve efficiency, and if it were produced it would also be the first E85 capable hybrid.

Built on a unibody frame instead of a conventional truck frame, the Denali XT would have a better ride — with a stiffer body and four-wheel-independent suspension — than a traditional pickup, but would tow only 3,500 pounds. The Ridgeline, for example, can tow 5,000 pounds. There's a configurable midgate that separates the bed from the cabin. It can be lowered to extend the bed, but the window is fixed so only items like lumber and surfboards would fit. Sorry antiquers.

The Denali XT sounds good, but not many people have bought the Ridgeline, which was one of the better-executed trucks of its size in some time. Perhaps the bling looks — and especially the hybrid powertrain — will draw in new buyers. For now, we'll just have to wait and see if this becomes a reality. Let us know in the comments if you think a vehicle like this is needed, and check out more photos below.


Marc Archambeau

I have been holding out for a new car for some time waiting for a hybrid from GM. I left GM after 20 yrs of driving after a debacle with a Muncie trans.

I want a pick-up. I want it hybrid. I think the majority of people don't car about it being full sized or can tow tons. Just someting for light duty work that gets great mileage and getrs me off of Arabic Oil.

If GM had a plug in Canyon or Volt out I'd be there tomorrow. This model featured looks like an EL Camino on a bad steroid trip, but if was ethanol, hybrid , and maxed fuel efficiency, I got my deposit---where's the good?

Patiently waiting for GM to get the lead out.


Very Pretty.

I have a ridgeline and its not a truck. I brought it because it looks good. This is what i need A truck that gets great gas milage and can tow. Hopefully it will be out in 2010.

Troy in Ft Walton Beach

I own a Ridgeline. I see some similar looks with the XT. The Ridge has some better capabilities (tow rating and RT4wd) and probably costs less than the XT will. Also, the Ridgeline is available now.

I can atest to the unibody/box hybrid chassis and frame. The 4 wheel independent suspension as well. I can easily tell the difference between the Ridge and my dad's '08 Silverado. The ride quality of the Ridge is much better. The cabin is free of squeaks and rattles and The handling, braking and steering is more sedan like as compared to my dad's truck.

The kicker would be the fuel economy and HP rating. The Ridge lacks a little in both areas IMO. I routinely get 17 MPG in town and on the past 4 180+ mile road trips, I got between 20.9 ans 23.4 MPG on the highway. That's respectable for an AWD quad cab truck. The XT may be able to top the Ridge in those categories however. If it can do that and not break the bank, GM will have a hit IMO.

An item I use almost daily is the in bed trunk. I hope the XT has something similar at least (not a big fan of the midgate). I honestly thought the trunk was a gimmick but, after owning my truck for a year, it's proven quite handy. All the diehard truck owners I run across at work, in the neighborhood and on the road actualy like the Ridge after riding in it or looking at it in person versus on line etc... I've been instrumental in 4 new Ridgeline owners due to those attributes.

Will the XT be price competitve? Will it get better MPG? Will the better MPG offset the MPG? Is there enough originality versus copy catting? ( look at the HHR versus the PT cruiser as example) I can at least give Kudos to GM for the efforts. I hope the XT makes production as I will give it a look. BTW, did the designer of the Ridgeline (Gary Flint) used to work for GM?

Talmadge Wayne Powell

I have not seen a car or truck in 40 years that impressed me but the gmc denali xt does have the features,empressive style of a new
hot rod of the 1960 and 1970 era. If gmc does not make this vehical just as it is , you will have made a big mistake.

Juan Carlos

see, the ridgeline isn't a truck. finally someone with some sense. and they own the car.

Troy in Ft Walton Beach

The Rideline won Truck of the Year. Guess that means the automotive "experts" think it's a truck.

Juan Carlos

but is not. and they felt for the spin and rewarded it for "innovation." but enough of this, is not a truck. period. is an acord that looks like an avalanche, that is all.

Troy in Ft Walton Beach

Juan. If it looks like a truck, then it's a truck. Take a look at the XT. Alot of Ridgeline similarities and the XT's apparent competition is the... you guessed it... Ridgeline. It appears GM thinks the Ridgeline is a truck too. You may choose to put your blinders on and hate Honda for producing a truck that thinks and performs outside the box but, it happened.

Trucks are evolving from the dinosaurs of yesteryear. I don't like it either but, it's true. Everything is evolving. Crossover vehicles instead of vans, econoboxes that are lightyears ahead of yesterday's Metro, Fiesta and Yugo. And look, the trend is shifting toward the truck market too.

People want more than a bouncy spartan 3 position bench seat cabbed gas guzzler with a bed these days.


The angle of the windows and greenhouse, and sweept of the hood to huge grill remind me alot of the Chrysler 300 influence. But everybody can see what they want. I know this truck be out of my price range

Let's not be silly. The Ridgeline is a truck. It can tow over 5,000 lbs too which is more than the XT here. The Ridgeline is also the smoothest riding truck I've tested.

I think the low tow rate will hurt this if its the final number or if this ever hits production.

Otherwise I think it's going to be interesting to see if people buy this for the mileage, utility, looks or what. Think about it though. This will get the same mileage as a Toyota Highlander Hybrid AND have 326 HP!!!! Awesome.

Troy in Ft Walton Beach


Any idea on what the XT will cost? I like it.


Please oh please make this truck. I work for gm and I hope that the big whigs are gonna build this. I think it will really take off. I have been waiting for a truck from gm that will be luxury enough for my family but still lets me use it for my toys. I think this is it. I hope gm is listening...


Does it come in AWD like my 1991 GMC Syclone? Either way my wife & I like it and it's a GMC!!

Harry W.

Great looks can go a long ways. However, to replace my GMC Sierra Denali it needs to be slightly more functional. More payload towing, longer bed, AWD would do it. This concept can really take of or die on the vine which ever GM wants. Keep in mind, out West, where I am, every other vehicle is a pickup! Gm needs to do a little more work here. Last thing, that tail gate upper fixture that molds the body above the tail lights is awful, smooth that out!


Dude, I don't think GMC want to coax you out of your Sierra Denali. They'll will have a lovely Sierra in future for you, and the last thing they want is to coax their own buyers.

This is almost certainly aimed at Ridgeline buyers - those people who aren't looking for huge towing, but want some truck functionality in addition to way more car like day to day driving. THAT'S where the money for GMC is - new market segments.


I love the looks and the concept of this truck. However, it does need to have an AWD option. I live in Idaho, which does get some nasty snow and ice. A RWD vehicle is fine 75% of the time here, but that other 25% of snow and ice is a problem that can only be solved by AWD. I expect to buy a new car in the next 4 years. I like the idea of the Subaru's and their AWD, but every granny in town seems to own one and I can't put myself into that category. The Toyota ABAT is intriguing, but the front end really needs a re-design. The hottest looker of the bunch is the Denali XT. Keep the prices reasonable, get AWD, and I will be there at the dealership to trade in my trusty old Ranger for the XT.


GM what are you waiting for both the Buick Velite and the Denali XT sound and look great and they are both vehicles the public wants. Personally I am not a truck person so I do not want a truck but before you guys even showed the Denali XT I was thinking why don't they bring the Chevy El Camino back or something like that. Alot of us want a vehicle with a car like ride that will offer us the ability to haul around a bike, skies, ice chest you know light duty things with out having to put it in the back of a large truck or inside a SUV or a CUV. I don't know why you just don't build them. You don' have any competition. The Buick Velite was the only four seater (sport performance) convertible available. All other manufactures did not even come close, sure they offered sporty looking convertibles but with no guts in other words pretend sport cars. The Denali XT it is ready to go. I never wanted a truck but when the Honda Ridgeline came out I thought alright finely something that rides like a car and has hints of a SUV and truck combined but not overly truckish. I liked the car feel of the inside cabin and I liked the small truck bed and all its little features but when I drove it, no matter how well it drove I felt to high up like I was in a truck. On one of the Denali XT video clips I saw two Men standing next to it and they were both taller than the roof line and I said Yeah!!!. Not mention the gas saving hybrid and the performance handling of XT but I would have to say it looks like the XT would cover my sport handling, light duty hauling, car feel ride, money saving fuel enconomy issues. Come on GM its A win win situation.

Thnk you,
Art Matus


I like the look of the Denali XT very much ,and would buy one ,if the price is right.Bring it on !!

frank guilliams

i would be insterest in this truck, will there be an 2 door/1 seat? that would be what i really would like. how soon can i get one, etc,etc,etc

Aaron Handzus

I agree, give me a pick up that tows 5000lb and gets 25 plus miles to the gallon not in tow! Also make it off road worthy and able to haul a 4x8 piece of ply wood or drywall 2x4s etc. I wish jeep would start producing trucks again cause they are dam close with their liberty and patriot. Give me a god dam liberty with the top rear cut out!!!

PS leave out power everything and give us something thats cheap and practical!!!


I like the Denali Hybrid - Ask GMC if they need someone to promote this great vehicle - I am that somebody!

angel david cifuentes roblero

what is the cost of the Sierra Denali XT Hybrid concept, can be exported to mexico

hell yeah dis car is needed for a family car


Please make this truck, its my favorite car/truck period. I could careless if it only tow 3500lbs, if I wanna tow something I'll get a heavy duty, n its not like ur going to b towing something every day. Some people have trucks an never tow anything an I live in the south. This truck is a new concept that reminds me of a el comeno, I promise if u could make this truck aroud the $35000 range or even low, I guarenty I will buy it, I even have it as my screensave,

Ps. The ridgeline isn't that appealing to the eye, y u think the avalanche an the cadilac ext r good sellers, not because of their performance but the looks


i cant afford one but would love to be a spokesman to aquire one. sincerely

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