( WorldCarFans )- General Motors' recently released hybrid-electric system for full-size trucks, recently debuted in the Tahoe and Escalade SUVs, continues its inevitable march through the truck portfolio with the introduction of the 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid, set to break cover at the Chicago Auto Show next week.
Like the Tahoe, the Sierra Hybrid takes advantage of GM's new two-mode hybrid system to boost fuel economy up to 40 percent, in a vehicle that can certainly use it. The Sierra Hybrid can operate in a fully electric mode at speeds up to 30 miles per hour, by virtue of a 300-volt nickel-metal hydride Energy Storage System. Additionally, its 6.0 liter V8 uses Active Fuel Management to shut off cylinders when the extra power is not needed. This allows the full-size pickup to operate in a fuel-saving four-cylinder mode in low-load situations and still bring the V8's full power to bear should the Sierra Hybrid's full 6100-lb towing capacity be needed. The hybrid system's battery pack lives behind the rear seat, and the system has been tuned for minimal noise.
The Sierra Hybrid is available with two- or four-wheel drive, and only as a Crew Cab. StabiliTrak stability control, side-curtain airbags and a trailer-towing package are standard on all Sierra Hybrids. An electric air conditioner compressor and electric power steering ensure that the Sierra Hybrid is fully functional even when the gasoline engine is shut off, correcting an oversight that drew criticism in GM's last attempt at a full-size hybrid pickup.
The Sierra Hybrid goes on sale during the fourth quarter of 2008, and joins hybrid versions of the Chevrolet Tahoe and Cadillac Escalade is bringing a measure of fuel efficiency to General Motors' full-size truck lineup.