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Although the first-generation GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid was GM's first-ever hybrid passenger vehicle when it debuted in 2005, this truck's "mild hybrid" technology and limited availability put a damper on its appeal. The current Sierra Hybrid, however, is far more technologically advanced. Its dual-mode hybrid system enables its gasoline-powered V8 and twin electric motors to work either separately or in tandem -- the gas engine shuts off at low speeds when it isn't needed, and it seamlessly re-engages when acceleration is called for, remaining permanently active above 29 mph. Cylinder deactivation (from eight to four) also takes over during relaxed cruising.
However, the Sierra Hybrid is a niche product. That high-tech powertrain delivers lackluster and nonlinear acceleration, and while it can yield up to 40 percent better city mileage than a standard V8 Sierra, highway mileage is only slightly improved. Overall, the latest Sierra Hybrid's high initial cost, powertrain quirks and limited fuel economy gains make us question its value for many potential buyers.
Current GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid
The GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid is a full-size crew cab pickup available in one trim level with a choice of two- or four-wheel drive. Like its Chevy Silverado twin, this high-tech truck employs a 6.0-liter V8, two electric motors and a 300-volt battery pack under the rear seat. The sophisticated transmission can act as if it has variable ratios like a continuously variable transmission (CVT) or it can switch over to four fixed ratios for better towing performance. Official combined power output is 379 horsepower, and the maximum tow rating is a respectable 6,100 pounds.
Notable standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, OnStar, Bluetooth and a CD/MP3 stereo with steering-wheel audio controls and satellite radio. The available 3HB package adds luxury and convenience features including rear parking sensors, a hard bed tonneau cover, leather upholstery, power front bucket seats, a navigation system, a rearview camera, an upgraded audio system and power-adjustable pedals. A sunroof is also available.
On the road, we found that the Sierra Hybrid's power plant is a little too complex for its own good. The horsepower numbers are impressive, but our acceleration testing yielded a disappointing 0-60-mph sprint of 9.2 seconds, which even the regular Sierra's base 4.8-liter V8 might match. There are also some tangible pauses and hiccups in the power delivery thanks to the complex transmission and power plant. It might all be worth the added expense if you simply must get your green-freak on and maximize fuel economy around town, but the less expensive regular V8s offer superior performance and similar highway fuel economy.
Used GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid Models
The current second-generation GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid debuted for the 2009 model year, and besides a new navigation system for 2012, hasn't received any notable changes since.
GM launched its first-generation "parallel hybrid" version of the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra in 2005. In this mild-hybrid design, the electric motor was housed within the transmission flywheel assembly and provided only engine cranking, battery charging and power for accessories. The 5.3-liter V8 automatically shut down when the truck came to a stop, and electric power restarted the engine when the brake pedal was released. Three auxiliary batteries were mounted under the rear seat to store and provide power. Several AC outlets were mounted in the bed, making this truck an attractive choice for contractors who often need to plug in electrical devices on the job. Availability of the first-generation GMC Sierra Hybrid was limited, but it remained on sale through 2007.
If you are looking for newer years, visit our new GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid page.