- Drives like a standard V-8 truck
- Respectable towing capacity
- Modest price for the hybrid upgrade
- No storage under backseat
- Lack of an affordable base Hybrid model
The GMC Sierra Hybrid is pricey, but it shows that using less fuel doesn't have to come with any day-to-day penalty.
Following in the footsteps of the GMC Yukon Hybrid launched last year, a new Hybrid version of the GMC Sierra bows for 2009.
Unless the 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid is fitted with the optional hybrid decal package, observers will likely not notice it as different from a standard GMC Sierra. That's not a bad thing; the Sierra was completely redesigned, alongside the Chevrolet Silverado, for 2007, and because of its conservative but tasteful style, it still looks fresh today. Hybrid-only features include a tonneau cover over the pickup box that provides a 5 percent reduction in aerodynamic drag and better fuel economy. Although the Sierra is offered in countless configurations, the roomy crew cab body style is the only one available for the Hybrid.
The new powertrain in the 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid is completely different from what was last offered a couple of years ago. The new two-mode hybrid powertrain mates an all-aluminum 6.0-liter V-8 (with variable valve timing and Active Fuel Management) to an electrically variable transmission (EVT) that utilizes two electric motor/generators and four fixed-ratio gears. A 300-volt nickel-metal-hydride battery pack stores electricity for the system, which altogether is rated at 332 horsepower and 367 pound-feet of torque—bringing acceleration similar to that of the standard Sierra's 5.3-liter V-8. But most noteworthy, the powertrain brings EPA fuel economy ratings of 21 mpg city, 22 highway with rear-wheel drive, 20/20 mpg for four-wheel drive.
While a Hybrid model might be expected to carry a reduced tow rating, the Sierra Hybrid can pull a very respectable 6,100 pounds in its two-wheel-drive version.
The 2009 GMC Sierra has smooth, responsive performance, even though it's 300 pounds heavier than the standard version. The system's dual electric motors, each rated at 81 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, give the Hybrid great off-the-line oomph, and the system will power the truck in eerie silence at speeds of up to 25 mph and beyond, without the V-8 firing up. Braking is very capable, and of course a regenerative feature helps charge the battery system. During our tests, the hybrid system routinely moved the pickup on battery power alone to 25 mph and beyond in eerie EV-mode silence. When needed, the V-8 starts up seamlessly and delivers power through the transmission.
Just like on the outside, there's very little to distinguish the 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid from a standard Sierra V-8 truck. The stylish instrument panel layout, great front seating, and nice, sturdy materials inside continue to impress TheCarConnection.com. The only slight sacrifice of the Hybrid model is in the backseat area of the Crew Cab, where the battery pack doesn't permit the under-seat storage of the regular models.
Along with front side airbags, the 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid includes head-curtain side airbags that cover both rows of seating, plus GM's StabiliTrak stability control system with rollover mitigation. Crash tests on the Sierra yield top five-star results from the federal government.
Serious truck users are likely to find the 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid's price a little steep; it starts close to the $40,000 mark and stretches up to about $50,000. It does come well equipped, however, with dual-zone air conditioning, power windows, remote keyless entry, and MP3-capable CD audio with steering-wheel controls. An upgrade package includes leather seating, rear parking assist, and power adjustable pedals.