Flash Drive: 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid
This 2009 review is representative of model years 2009 to 2013.
By Staff of MSN Autos
The Sierra is one of the best pickup trucks on the market, so making it available with a hybrid powertrain is a good idea — in theory, anyway. Unfortunately, a full-size truck with the power of a 4-cylinder engine isn't. So GM created a hybrid system that teams an electric motor with a 6.0-liter V8 engine. This means there's plenty of power for strong acceleration or towing around 6,000 pounds. Unfortunately, fuel economy isn't great. I was able to achieve only 18 mpg with an empty truck bed and an extremely light right foot — hard to imagine coming close to this figure with a fully loaded truck. The regenerative brakes are almost impossible to operate smoothly — the brake pedal acts more like an on/off switch. Yes, this truck will probably achieve 5 to 6 mpg better than a nonhybrid version. But with a sticker price for our tester approaching $50K, it's hard to make a financial argument in favor of the Sierra Hybrid. – Perry Stern
The 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid is a perplexing vehicle because it does improve fuel economy, rated at 20 mpg city with 4WD — and I achieved the high teens, even in the steep Seattle hills. But the price of the entry-level truck is also steep, beginning at $38,000 and going up with options, making it hard to decide if it's a wise purchase. Where the Sierra Hybrid fits best is for the person who occasionally needs towing capacity but relies on the same vehicle for daily transportation. The gasoline engine shuts off at most stops, and the Sierra Hybrid takes off smoothly under electric power with the gasoline engine kicking in quickly as needed. GM's new dual-mode hybrid system works well, delivering plenty of power from the 6.0-liter V8 engine, combined with electric power when needed, but improving fuel economy significantly around town. The fuel-economy numbers aren't like a Malibu Hybrid, but you can still tow or haul when you need to. – Mike Meredith
The GMC Sierra Hybrid is simply too large for an urban setting, even more than other full-size pickup trucks we've tested. I very nearly bumped the various barriers in the parking garage at work. All the money spent on yards of metal on the outside of the Sierra would have been better spent on the interior; the plastics inside weren't even cut smoothly, and there were exposed areas that seemed ready to scratch my hand on every drive. The big size does provide room for a reasonable truck bed and surprisingly large rear seats. To complement the spacious interior, the ride is smooth and the engine offered power sufficient for any task I posed for it. – Paul Hagger