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2009 Sierra 4WD Hybrid Crew Cab

by J.T. Hills
SGN Contributing Writer

Top

  • 25% increase in fuel economy over gas engine
  • Comfortable seating for five
  • Luxury features typically found in high-end sedans

Bottom

  • Size prohibitive in urban environment
  • Regenerative brakes are touchy, feel slower to stop

GMC's Sierra was completely redesigned for the 2007 model year. For 2009, the half-ton Sierra Hybrid pickup returns with a General Motors' two-mode hybrid system that combines the 6.0-liter Gen IV gasoline engine with Active Fuel Management and late intake valve closing technology with GM's advanced Electrically Variable Transmission (EVT) and a 300-volt nickel-metal hydride Energy Storage System. This combination provides for a 40% greater city fuel economy and a 25% improvement in overall fuel economy. The Sierra Hybrid can also drive up to 30 mph on electricity alone, and also allows the engine to operate in its more economical V4 mode for longer periods. After spending a week with the 2009 GMC Sierra 4WD Hybrid Crew Cab, I've assimilated, corrugated, encapsulated, conjugated, and insinuated my own observations, and here they are:

GMC Sierra Hybrid is big, brawny, 4WD, and reduces your carbon footprint
I come from a rural background  country redneck, or, as my mother tries to spin in a more socially palatable manner, Washington State Pioneers. On the land in the far northeastern part of the state where my family has been for over 100 years, they raise cattle and grow Fords; one's sprouting up in a field all the time. Just to get from the closest town to home six months out of the year, a car would do little if no good; if you're not plowing through snow, you're trudging through mud. I can't think of a member of my family that doesn't have a full-size truck or SUV. Even the earthy east-coast Gays that live next door  next door being a mile away  drive a full-size 4WD truck, though it's a Japanese brand (which generates as much suspicion as their being east-coast transplants). Believe me, when gas prices spiked at $4 a gallon, if they could've gotten away with driving a fuel-efficient car, they would've. So a hybrid full-size truck generates interest not only from an environmental point of view, but from an operating cost standpoint.

The 6.0-liter V-8 power two-mode hybrid power plant on the 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid 4WD produces 332 hp. at 5100 rpms and 367 lb.-ft. of torque at 4100 rpms and gets 20 mpg city and 20 mpg highway. The 2WD version of the Sierra Hybrid gets slightly better gas mileage at 21 mpg highway and 22 mpg city. The Hybrid Propulsion comes from a 300-volt energy storage system. Ironically  or maybe not so ironically since I live in Seattle  I spent the entire week with the truck doing in-city driving. In an urban environment, I appreciated the fact that while I was driving a vehicle that occupies a lot of physical space, as I was crawling along in traffic, I was doing so in a more carbon-conscious manner. Also, for the first time in a very long time I really thought about the trips that I made and how I could make them more efficient  not necessarily because I wanted to be more gas-conscious, but because finding a parking space big enough was a challenge.

I also liked the interior features of the Sierra Hybrid. The big captain's chairs up front were extremely comfortable, and the back bench provided spacious room for three more. GMC took a lot of design cues found in passenger sedans and incorporated it into the Sierra  for instance, dual-zone climate controls, and a touchscreen navigation system with XM NAV Traffic, CD, rear audio controls, and Bose speakers. There was also an optional sunroof. It came with rear parking sensors and great big mirrors, which was great for parallel parking  provided you could find a big enough space.

Okay, for an MSRP of $49,645, what do you get?
The 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid 4WD Crew Cab comes extremely well equipped, the only option was the moonroof for $995. Here's a look at some of my favorites:

Technical Features

  • Vortech 6.0-liter V8 SFI with Active Fuel Management Transmission, two-mode hybrid
  • Hybrid Propulsion Electronic with 300 volt energy system
  • Col-over-shock front suspension
  • Multi-leaf rear spring suspension
  • Z85 handling/trailering suspension
  • Power rack and pinion steering
  • Heavy-duty trailering equipment
  • Autotrac transfer case

Safety Features

  • Four-wheel ABS with dynamic rear proportioning
  • Dual stage front airbags, head curtain side airbags
  • Auto headlamps with flash to pass
  • Stabilitrak stability control
  • Tire pressure monitoring system
  • Bluetooth

Interior Features

  • Dual zone climate control
  • Leather seating surfaces
  • AM/FM stereo with CD
  • Navigation audio system with touchscreen, CD, rear audio controls, Bose speakers, and XM Nav traffic
  • XM Satellite radio
  • Steering wheel with audio controls
  • Power adjustable pedals

Optional Features

  • Moonroof ($995)

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