KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors
- Updated Date: 6/23/2011
Several fuel-efficient full-size pickups are now available. These range from the Chevrolet XFE (Extra Fuel Economy) to V6-equipped versions of the Ford F-150 and they deliver up to 22 miles per gallon in the government's highway driving test. Some might think that this has rendered obsolete the 2011 GMC Sierra Hybrid (and its corporate twin, the Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid). While the Sierra Hybrid full-size pickup doesn't hold the fuel-economy lead that it once did, it retains its title as the most fuel-efficient full-size pickup on the market with a rating of 20 mpg in the EPA's city driving test and 23 mpg in the highway regime. In addition, it boasts a beefy V8, a 6,100-pound tow capacity and room to comfortably accommodate up to six passengers.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you need a pickup truck for work or pleasure and want to limit costly fill-ups, the 2011 GMC Sierra Hybrid is ready to serve. It remains the most efficient full-size truck on the road.
You May Not Like This Car If...
It costs money to save money. The technology responsible for the 2011 GMC Sierra Hybrid's class-leading fuel economy has a direct and negative impact on the truck's sticker price. Buyers who really work their trucks will also be disappointed by the Hybrid's lower payload and towing capacities.
What's Significant About This Car?
Few changes have been made to the 2011 GMC Sierra Hybrid. Gray Green Metallic has been added to the color palette, an updated OnStar system is included and efforts have been made to reduce the amount of wind noise that makes its way into the truck's cabin.
Hybrid vehicles have come a long way since first being introduced. The utter lack of power is largely gone, as are the grabby regenerative brakes. The 2011 GMC Sierra Hybrid shows what can be done with this technology, offering a 6,100-pound towing capacity paired with up to 23 miles per gallon on the highway. The driving experience is much like any other Sierra, meaning the steering is nicely weighted and the handling predictable. On the plus side, the Sierra Hybrid's ride is commendably smooth and the truck suffers few ill effects during travel over rough pavement.
Two-Mode Hybrid System
Created through a joint venture with BMW, Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz, this technology uses a pair of electric motors to balance fuel economy with power demands.
In the early days of hybrids, it seemed that the promise of top-notch fuel economy was rivaled by a new "green" model's conspicuous look-at-me styling. The Sierra Hybrid looks much like any other Sierra, a point likely appreciated by shoppers who would rather not drive a social statement.
GMC offers the Sierra with two distinct interior designs, one for the working-class trims and one for more luxurious models. The 2011 GMC Sierra Hybrid is fitted with the former, which is host to large handles, knobs and dials that can be easily manipulated by gloved hands. Storage provisions include dual glove boxes and a spacious locking bin.
Visually, very little separates the 2011 GMC Sierra Hybrid from its conventionally powered counterparts. It is only offered as a Crew Cab model. All Sierras have the same body panels, grille and lights, but the Hybrid steps out of the lines just a bit with its unique badges, low-rolling resistance tires and aerodynamic improvements, which include a lowered suspension and soft tonneau cover for the bed.
Notable Standard Equipment
GMC offers its Sierra Hybrid with a healthy serving of standard equipment, including an updated version of OnStar, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, leather interior accents, and steering wheel-mounted audio controls. The truck also features a heavy-duty suspension and tow package, satellite radio, and safety equipment such as four-wheel antilock disc brakes, electronic stability control and front-side and side-curtain airbags.
Notable Optional Equipment
With the understanding that some buyers want a truck loaded with features, GMC has created a rather long list of options that can be ordered with the 2011 Sierra Hybrid. Some of the more notable items include power-adjustable pedals, a rearview camera, leather seats, and a navigation system. Like any Sierra, the Hybrid can also be ordered with four-wheel drive.
Under the Hood
Central to the 2011 GMC Sierra Hybrid's fuel-efficient nature is its Two-Mode Hybrid system. This is similar to that found on buses and unlike that in almost every other automotive hybrid. It features a pair of electric motors, one that helps propel the truck and the other that also starts the gasoline engine and allows the four-speed transmission to act like a fuel-saving continuously variable transmission. The main propulsion comes from a 332-horsepower, 6.0-liter, gasoline-fed V8, which employs Atkinson cycle operation to enhance mileage. A 300-volt nickel-metal hydride battery pack feeds the batteries. The Sierra Hybrid can travel up to 30 mph on electric power, without any input from the gas engine.
6.0-liter V8 with two 60-kilowatt Electric Motors Atkinson Cycle Two-Mode Hybrid
332 horsepower @ 5100 rpm (gasoline engine); 80 horsepower (each, electric motors); 492 net horsepower
367 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4100 rpm (gasoline engine)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/23
The 2011 GMC Sierra Hybrid carries a base Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just about $40,000. Due to its exclusivity and limited production, the Sierra Hybrid's Fair Purchase Price on kbb.com is within $1,000 of MSRP. Deep discounts are not the norm, but be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price on kbb.com to see what local buyers are actually paying. Residual values for hybrids are difficult to predict long-term, but KBB believes GMC's Sierra Hybrid will hold its value at least as well as conventional pickups, or perhaps better, depending on future fuel prices and availability.