GMC's Sierra Hybrid debuted to a substantial amount of skepticism about the viability of a hybrid pickup truck, but after a few test drives, the automotive press appears to be sold. Indeed, reviews read by TheCarConnection.com show that the 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid can hold its own against conventionally powered competitors when it comes to towing and hauling.
The 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid features a true hybrid system, which Cars.com says "includes a 6.0-liter V-8 gasoline engine, coupled with an electric drive motor that can move the vehicle on its own up to 30 mph." ConsumerGuide remarks that the GMC Sierra Hybrid "accelerates from a stop and passes much like a conventional model," while only "a faint surge is felt and heard when it shifts between full electric and gasoline operation." According to Automobile Magazine, the total system "output is 332 hp at 5100 rpm and 367 lb-ft of torque at 4100, a slight reduction from the standard" 6.0-liter engine. However, despite the slightly lower output, MotherProof notes that the GMC Sierra Hybrid "can tow up to 6,100 pounds." The impressive GMC Sierra Hybrid packs quite a punch for a pickup, as Automobile Magazine reports that "this truck accelerates to sixty mph in 9.7 seconds and through the quarter-mile in 17.3 seconds at 85 mph."
The secret to the GMC Sierra's success is its transmission, an innovative and very capable two-mode system, based on a concept originally developed by GM for use on hybrid city buses. Car and Driver reviewers observe that the "sophisticated two-mode transmission...allows the engine to operate at peak efficiency all the time," and ConsumerGuide notes it "is responsive" in daily driving situations. The transmission comprises two distinct units, according to Car and Driver; it "essentially combines continuous variability with a four-speed automatic; the infinite gear ratios are efficient for most driving, with the exception of steady-state (think freeway) operation." Like most pickups—and unlike most hybrids—the 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid is available with either rear- or four-wheel drive.
The gas/electric propulsion system and dual-mode transmission team up to offer remarkable fuel economy for the 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid. According to EPA estimates, the 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid should get 21 mpg city and 22 highway in 2WD mode, while the 4WD versions should return 20 mpg city and 20 on the highway. Autoblog credits part of that fuel economy boost to the fact that "the 6.0L V-8 also features Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation), which allows it to run on as few as four-cylinders when not under load." Based upon the EPA numbers and the GMC Sierra Hybrid's fuel capacity, Cars.com calculates that "two-wheel-drive models have a cruising range of more than 500 miles between fill-ups."
The 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid surprises more than a few reviewers with its decent handling characteristics. Car and Driver reports that "the steering is now electrically boosted and the brakes are of the regenerative type, a setup that offers less pedal travel and a mushy, spongy feel. These traits are definitely noticeable, but were you to buy one of these trucks, we think you'd get used to them rather quickly." According to MotherProof, the 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid also features "regenerative braking to capture energy from braking and coasting and store it in the battery for future use."