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GMC Denali XT concept

GMC launches the Denali XT concept at the 2008 Chicago auto show.

GMC Denali XT concept
GMC unveiles the Denali XT concept at the Chicago Auto Show. GMC

GMC takes a major step in reimagining the SUV with the Denali XT concept unveiled at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show. Although this concept uses a pickup truck style body, all of its tech innovation can be applied to an SUV, a class of vehicle that includes the current production GMC Yukon Denali. Unlike traditional SUVs, which consist of a body bolted onto a frame, the Denali XT is built on a unibody architecture, similar to how today's cars are built. Unibody vehicles are considered to have better handling, and a more comfortable ride. However, they are not considered good tow or work vehicles. GMC made the body of the Denali XT stiffer than current body-on-frame trucks to increase towing and work capabilities.

Denali XT interior
The Denali XT borrows design elements from Chevrolet's Camaro concept. GMC

Besides its looks, much of the Denali XT's story centers on the engine. GMC developed a 4.9-liter V-8, and coupled it to the two-mode hybrid system used in the current GMC Yukon Hybrid. GM is a big proponent of ethanol fuel blends, so GMC made the Denali XT flex fuel capable. It's the first example of an E85-capable engine paired with a hybrid system. GMC said the Denali XT gets 50 percent better fuel economy than other small trucks. The truck also has an air suspension, so its ride height can adjusted for different conditions. The interior shows similar design characteristics to the Chevrolet Camaro concept launched last year, including brushed aluminum accents and rectangular, rather than circular, openings.