The marketing types of this world would have you believe that there
are car people and truck people. They also like to divide car buyers
into the "green" hybrid types and the more traditional fossil fuel
burning "muscle car" drivers.
While these simplistic stereotypes
may hold true on some level, the fact remains that people buy cars and
trucks that best meet their needs.
In other words, most people
purchase pick-up trucks because they have a job or a need for the
utility that only the pick-up affords, and others purchase hybrids
simply because of the gas and money savings over the more traditional
gas only models.
The GMC Sierra Hybrid is the best of both of
these words. It has the utility that only a 7,300 pound crew cab
pick-up can provide, while at the same time returning a stunning 20 mpg
in both city and highway driving.
In other words…you can have your cake and eat it too…sort of.
get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the cutting edge GMC Sierra
Hybrid. It does everything that you'd want a full-sized pick-up to do
and it does it well.
It will tow 6100 pounds all day long.
The 6.0L V-8 engine has a cool party trick in that it runs on either 4 or 8 cylinders to conserve fuel.
It comes in both a 2WD and 4WD version for folks in colder and slicker climates or in need of that extra 4WD security.
crew cab version will seat six in relative comfort with enough headroom
for either a cowboy hat or work helmet, or perhaps some old school
beehive style hairdo.
You can have your tailgate pizza party and
before or after load up the Sierra with your work gear, or your friends
furniture when they need help moving, and you've got the biggest and
baddest truck of the old gang.
The Sierra (especially in 4WD
trim) will easily load two dirt bikes and take you and your buddies
into the rugged back country for some gnarrly dirk bike riding, or it
will accommodate two very wet and very happy Golder Retrievers who
really like the way back seating better than the inside space.
so the Sierra Hybrid does sound a bit like a 7000 pound refrigerator
when the air-conditioning is on, and the pick-up is driving around your
local Home Depot parking lot using only the battery to propel the GMC.
speaking of the battery, GM's clever two-mode hybrid system is almost
transparent except for a pretty high-tech electric engine hum as the
Sierra accelerates from the stoplight.
But as with anything in
life there are a few small penalties that must be paid for all of this
new technology. The most obvious is the sticker price. At $42,790 my
tester wasn't cheap, and for that kind of money you can get a lot of
features stuffed into a similar sized Ford F-150 including leather, sat
navigation, premium stereo, heated and cooled seats, and much much more.
the Ford won't get close to the GMC's gas mileage, but it will get you
to Home Depot and back in more comfort, and perhaps a bit more style.
the Sierra is handsome in a rugged "Marlboro Man" sort of way the
design is starting to look a bit too conservative, and perhaps (dare I
say) old fashioned in a my dad's truck sort of way.
The Sierra is
also very much a pick-up in the old and perhaps best tradition of the
breed. You sit way on top of the beast, and sort of feel the road float
below you as you point the big GMC in the general direction that you
hope to go.
With the bed empty, the back end tends to jump around
a bit, especially under hard breaking. There is nothing particularity
wrong with this sort of classic pick-up handling and ride, but today
the bar is set higher (read more car-like road handling) by many of the
What really strikes me after spending a
week with the Sierra Hybrid is that GM has a huge opportunity today to
own a substantial and I believe profitable market niche. All GM has to
to is take a page out of Toyota's Prius playbook, and build a unique
hybrid pick-up using a unique name.In other words, don't just base it
on any existing model like the extremely poorly selling Malibu hybrid.
shrink down the Sierra Hybrid by about a third, and make it much more
aerodynamic, even less thirsty and more hip and modern…and much more
Think GM pick-up-Prius.
I bet GM would
have a substantial new market of truck type buyers who are "green" but
in the "show me the cash savings" definition of the word.
2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid Crew Cab 4WD
Price as Tested: $42,790.00
Engine, Transmission: Vortec 6.0L V8 SFI with 2-Mode Hybrid propulsion w/300v energy storage system w/four fixed gears
Towing capacity: 6100 pounds
PocketDyno Test Data
1/4 Mile: 18.65 second at 79.15 mph
0-60 mph: 10.81
Max Acceleration: 0.43 g's
EPA Fuel Economy Estimates
City: 20 mpg
Highway: 20 mpg
Combined: 20 mpg
As tested: 19.1 mpg
CO2 per year: 11,738 lbs
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Roman Mica is a columnist, journalist, and author, who spent his early
years driving fast on the German autobahn. When he's not reviewing cars
for the active set, you can find him training for triathlons and
writing about endurance sports for, EverymanTri.com. Mica is also the Endurance Sports Examiner. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.