By KBB.com Editors
The 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid is a powerful full-size pickup that can deliver 40 percent better city and 25 percent better overall fuel economy compared to its conventional counterparts without sacrificing full-size truck capabilities, which include a 1,459-pound maximum payload and a 6,100-pound towing capacity. Teaming GM's sophisticated Two-Mode Hybrid system with a 332-horsepower aluminum 6.0-liter gasoline V8, it can operate battery-only up to 30 mph, yet drives like any other large pickup under most conditions. Most importantly, it consumes significantly less fuel at both city and highway speeds and even when fully loaded or towing. With EPA economy ratings of 21/22 city/highway mpg with two-wheel-drive and 20/20 city/highway mpg with four-wheel-drive, its 26-gallon fuel tank can deliver a range of 500 miles or more.You'll Like This Car If...
If you have serious work to do and want to burn less fuel doing it, this is your truck. While Ford and Dodge full-sizers are new and much improved for 2009, GMC's recently redesigned Sierra remains fully competitive, is the only hybrid and by far the most fuel efficient on the road.
Fuel efficiency costs money, so these Two-Mode Hybrid full-size pickups are more expensive than conventional trucks, and they do sacrifice some top-end hauling and towing capability. Future fuel prices will determine how long it will take for them to earn back their higher stickers.What's Significant About This Car?
Preferring to deploy its "Two-Mode" hybrid technology in large, heavy vehicles first to optimize per-vehicle fuel savings, GM rolled it out last year in Chevy Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade full-size SUVs and adds Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups for 2009. This technology doesn't come cheap, but it makes these easily the market's most fuel-efficient full-sizers.Driving It Driving Impressions
The fact that this big, quiet, comfortable and highly capable pickup can launch from a stop, accelerate (gently) and run silently for some distance on its battery alone is a little eerie, but it's a clear demonstration of its low-speed fuel-saving potential. Another feel-good cue is seeing (on the Driver Information Center) Active Fuel Management switch the big V8 seamlessly from eight to four cylinders as a reward for cruising it smoothly down the road at highway speed. Otherwise, the sophisticated Two-Mode Hybrid system is mostly transparent and allows the Sierra Hybrid to operate like a conventional truck. It does add weight and sacrifices some high-end towing and hauling capability, but it steers, rides, handles, brakes and goes about its business essentially as well as any non-hybrid Sierra. And there is plenty of power on demand when needed.Favorite Features
Two-Mode Hybrid System
A GM design co-developed with BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Chrysler, the heart and brains of this sophisticated system is an advanced Electrically Variable Transmission (EVT) that continuously and seamlessly chooses the most fuel efficient blend of torque from its two internal electric motors and the V8 engine.
A fairly new feature of GM's OnStar security and convenience system (the subscription is free for the first year), "Turn-By-Turn" provides easy to follow verbal directions to where you want to go without an expensive GPS navigation system.
All 2009 Sierra Hybrids get the spacious, highly functional "pure pickup" interior found in all but top-of-the-line conventional Sierras. There's a large double glove box, a lockable storage bin (big enough for a laptop, and with its own 12-volt power outlet) built into the 40/20/40-split front bench, and the controls and door handles are hefty enough for easy use with gloved hands. The 60/40-split rear seat can be folded up easily with one hand, without using a release handle, to provide a wide, flat load floor, or either section can be stowed independently to accommodate both cargo and a rear-seat passenger.Exterior
The 2009 Sierra Hybrid shares the GMC signature wide-mouth grille, domed hood, muscular fenders and broad-shouldered stance of its conventional stablemates but wears a deeper black air dam under its front bumper, a drag-reducing tonneau cover over its bed and contrasting stripes with "hybrid" badging on its sides. Rear-seat access and entry are eased by doors that open a wide 170 degrees, and the large, grab-style door handles are designed for easy use with gloves.Notable Standard Equipment
Offered as a crew cab with two- or four-wheel drive, the Sierra 3HA Hybrid comes with dual-zone automatic climate control, AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio with steering wheel controls and Bluetooth, a driver information center, OnStar, XM Satellite radio, StabiliTrak stability control, locking rear axle, trailering package, low-rolling resistance P265/65R18 tires on 18-inch polished aluminum wheels and dual-stage front and head-curtain side airbags. Efficiency enhancing features include the engine's cylinder-deactivating Active Fuel Management (AFM) and late intake valve closing (LIVC), an electric air conditioning compressor (which operates even when the engine is off) and electric variable-assist power steering.Notable Optional Equipment
An available 3HB package includes such upscale additional features as leather bucket seats with six-way driver and passenger power, Power Flow navigation with Bose audio and rear-seat controls, rear park assist, power adjustable pedals and a three-piece hard tonneau cover. A power driver's seat is optional on the 3HA, and the only other stand-alone factory option is the power sunroof available with the 3HB package.Under the Hood
The 2009 Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid is equipped with a 6.0-liter V8 engine with GM's Active Fuel Management (AFM) system, which cuts fuel to four of the eight cylinders when not required. The two-mode Electrically Variable Transmission, or EVT, employs two powerful electric motors housed inside the transmission casing. These units add additional torque when required and, under the right conditions, can actually move the vehicle without the gasoline engine's assistance up to 30 mph. The electric assist also allows the gasoline engine to run in four-cylinder mode more often, saving further on fuel. And, when needed, the Silverado Hybrid is capable of towing up to 6,100 pounds (2WD).
332 horsepower @ 5100 rpm
367 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/22 (RWD), 20/20 (4WD)
The 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid 3HA with two-wheel-drive carries a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $39,500. The 3HB equipment package boosts the MSRP to right around $45,500, while four-wheel drive adds $3,150. Because the Sierra (and mechanically identical Chevy Silverado) Hybrids are the only full-size hybrid pickups on the market and available in very low volumes, their Fair Purchase Prices are the same as their MSRPs, but a $2,200 federal tax credit should apply to most buyers. Check Fair Purchase Prices to see what buyers are actually paying in your area. Residual values of expensive but fuel-efficient hybrids are difficult to predict long-term, but KBB sees these as holding their values at least as well as conventional counterparts, perhaps better, depending on future fuel price and availability.