Alternative system enters pickup market — 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid

April 4, 2009/Steve Tackett

MOTOR MATTERS KEANE ON WHEELS BY CONNIE KEANE

Efficient, fuel-sipping hybrid technology is available in the full-size pickup truck segment. The 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid pickup — with its 6,100-pound towing capability — gets 21 miles per gallon city, 22-mpg highway.
On first blush these fuel economy numbers may not appear so impressive, but they are. General Motors reports they are a 40 percent improvement in city economy over the standard normally aspirated full-size truck. Consider these figures: a comparable standard 6.0-liter V-8 gets 13-mpg city. Now that makes the 21-mpg, 6.0-liter V-8 hybrid stand up and get noticed.
The full-size GMC Sierra Hybrid is offered as a five- to six-passenger, four-door Crew Cab for 2009. The test truck was a 4WD model (2WD also offered), with a base price of $41,540. The truck had just one option, the $275 six-way power driver’s seat. The destination charge on the 2009 truck is $975, bringing the final price on this 2009 hybrid pickup truck to $42,790.
The overhead valve 6.0-liter Vortec V-8 with Active Fuel Management is coupled to GM’s 2-Mode Hybrid transmission with four fixed gears and a 300-volt nickel-metal-hydride Energy Storage System. GM’s hybrid component parts have a warranty of 8 years/100,000 miles. One of the jobs of the 300-volt system is to provide air conditioning, even when the gasoline engine is not running.
The continuous electric variable transmission lets the Sierra pickup truck start up and operate at up to 30 mph on the electricity system and is also designed for the tremendous trailering capability, according to GM. The benefit of the Active Fuel Management is the cylinder cut-off operation that lets the V-8 truck run economically in a V-4 mode. The GNC Sierra hybrid 2WD pickup, with a 26-gallon gas tank, has a full tank driving range of 500 miles; the 4WD model drives on a full tank for about 470 miles.
The Sierra Hybrid 4WD returns just slightly less than the 2WD in gas economy with 20/20 mpg fuel ratings.

And while the 2WD Sierra Hybrid tows up to 6,100 pounds, the 4WD model has a maximum trailering of 5,900 pounds.
Besides the better fuel ratings, one of the other more notable characteristics of a hybrid is its hushed, quiet operation. This is also evident in the 2009 Sierra Hybrid’s huge passenger cabin. Aiding in the quiet ride that we experienced on the test drive were the new exhaust system for the 6.0-liter Active Fuel Management operation, engine induction tuning, plus quiet-tuned, 18-inch low-rolling resistance tires for road noise reduction.
In addition, the 2009 Sierra Hybrid’s Z85 suspension system features uniquely tuned shocks and a new hydraulic mount that the automaker says smoothes out a choppy ride over the rough bumps on rugged road services.
GMC’s body-on-frame pickup with four full-swing wide doors has a short box cargo bed and a payload rating of 1,418 pounds on the 4WD tester. The 2WD pickup payload increases to a capacity rating of 1,459 pounds. Stadium-style seating with a 60/40-split fold is the arrangement in the rear seat of the Crew Cab.
The Sierra full-size pickup has a five-star frontal crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The 2009 Sierra Hybrid pickup comes standard equipped with StabiliTrak. And a stronger frame and body structure is designed to provide increased compatibility with other vehicles.
Sierra Hybrid is a full-size capable pickup designed with work capability, passenger comfort and fuel economy. It’s also about the quietest pickup on the road today.

Send e-mail to keane@motormatters.biz

Next week: 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt XFE
Next week 3-Pack: 2010 Toyota Prius

SPECIFICATIONS
2009 GMC SIERRA HYBRID CREW CAB
VEHICLE TYPE_________________ 5/6-passenger 4WD full-size pickup
BASE PRICE___________________ $41,540 (as tested: $42,790)
ENGINE TYPE__________________ Vortec OHV V-8 w/SFI
DISPLACEMENT_________________ 6.0-liter
HORSEPOWER (net)_____________ 332 at 5100 rpm
TORQUE (lb.-ft.)_____________ 367 at 4100 rpm
TRANSMISSION_________________ 2-Mode Hybrid
WHEELBASE____________________ 144 in.
TRACK (front/rear)___________ 68/67 in.
OVERALL LENGTH_______________ 230 in.
OVERALL WIDTH________________ 80 in.
HEIGHT_______________________ 74 in.
TOWING CAPABILITY____________ 5,900 lbs.
CURB WEIGHT__________________ 5,882 lbs.
FUEL CAPACITY________________ 26 gal.
EPA MILEAGE RATING___________ 20 mpg city, 20 mpg highway

Spare Parts
2009 MERCURY SABLE: The Mercury Sable’s modern, distinctive look builds on the clean, modern design themes featured on the Mercury Milan and Mariner. Sable’s integrated front-end design centers on Mercury’s signature satin aluminum waterfall grille, flanked by detailed jeweled projector beam headlamps that sweep up over the front fenders. Starting at $24,425, Sable features an award-winning 3.5-liter V-6 engine and a sharp, 6-speed transmission. The Duratec 35 engine produces 263 horsepower and 245 lb.-ft of torque.
AUTO JOB PROTECTION: General Motors and Ford Motor Co. are offering to make car payments for buyers who lose their jobs. GM said it would provide payment protection for two years as part of its GM Total Confidence program. The company will cover up to nine vehicle payments of up to $500 a month for new-vehicle buyers. Ford unveiled the Ford Advantage Plan, which will cover payments for up to 12 months. (Source: Automotive News)
CAR TAX INCENTIVE: A concept embraced by President Obama would provide cash to buyers of new fuel-efficient cars — if they traded in a clunker. Similar incentive programs overseas have lifted automobile sales despite the awful economy. “The Germans started this a few months ago, and it did help stimulate their auto business,” noted Annette Sykora, a past chairwoman of the National Automobile Dealers Association and owner of two dealerships outside Lubbock, Texas. (Source: The New York Times)
Copyright, Motor Matters, 2009

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