2011 GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid Performance

$18,879 - $24,631

2011 GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2011 GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid was new.


Performance: 7.3

Reviewers are impressed with the GMC Sierra Hybrid's high-tech components, but are split on its performance. While most are positive on the day-to-day drivability and fuel economy of the truck, others question if the loss of some towing and hauling capabilities is worth the fuel economy gains.

  • "The engine makes 332 horsepower and enables a towing capacity of 6,100 pounds with rear-wheel drive and 5,900 pounds with four-wheel drive - not as much as the regular Sierra's 10,500-pound maximum towing capacity, but not too shabby for a hybrid." -- Cars.com
  • "Like all GM full-size pickups, the Sierra hybrid is a lovely truck to live with-smooth, quiet, eminently civilized, and nicely finished inside and out." -- Car and Driver
  • "The GMC Sierra Hybrid is a heavy-duty truck meant for hauling payload and towing. It is designed to be a workhorse and that means adding weight and durability to the frame as well as body structure to absorb payload weight. Weight, however, is not a good partner for electric/hybrid vehicles." -- NADA Guides

Acceleration and Power

The 2011 GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid has a complex powertrain that combines a 6.0-liter V8 engine with two electric motors. This V8 and its electric motors make a total of makes 332 horsepower and 367 pound-feet of torque. For the most part, reviewers are impressed with the smooth and seamless power delivery of the two-mode hybrid system.

  • "GM's two-mode hybrid system enables ‘full’ hybrid operation with the capability to cruise on electric power up to 30 mph. The gas engine kicks in if more acceleration is needed, as well as at higher speeds; for maximum grunt, the electric motors and gas engine work together." -- Cars.com
  • "Sierra Hybrid accelerates from a stop and passes much like conventional models, but a faint surge is felt and heard when it shifts between full electric and gasoline operation. CVT transmission is responsive." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The [2011] GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid doesn't feel as powerful as 6.0 liters and a claimed 379 hp would suggest. The main culprit is the powertrain's complexity: Floor the Hybrid from a stop and there's a noticeable pause as the truck creeps forward in electric mode, then hurtles away once the gas engine comes online.” -- Edmunds
  • "During driving, the engine switched itself off and on seamlessly, with the electronic control system providing a smooth flow of power from any combination of battery and engine." -- HybridCars.com
  • "These Hybrids don't drive the way one might expect a high-mileage pickup would. There is a torquey feel off the line, and a steady, linear response to throttle. Driven flat out from a standing start, the Hybrid is reminiscent of a regular gas V8-powered pickup. And it can hit 0-to-60 mph, GM says, in less than 8.4 seconds." -- Popular Mechanics

Fuel Economy

Given that the Sierra Hybrid is a full-size truck, reviewers are suitably impressed with its fuel economy. The EPA estimates that both the two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive models get 20/23 mpg city/highway. By contrast, a gas-only Sierra with the same engine gets 13/18 mpg city/highway. The hybrid engine performs especially well at low speeds, such as rush-hour traffic, since it can run on electricity up to 30 mph.

  • "Racking up 10,000 miles a year, split equally between city and highway travel, the hybrid system saves about 140 gallons of gasoline annually. That's more fuel than you would save by jumping from a Toyota Camry to a Camry Hybrid-although not quite as big a savings as switching from that conventional Camry to a Prius." -- HybridCars.com
  • "The Sierra Hybrid's impressive around-town fuel economy -- typically 6-7 mpg higher than competitive non-hybrids -- is arguably the best reason to buy. Its dual electric motors can motivate the truck up to nearly 30 mph before the 6.0-liter V8 takes over, making stoplight lurches and freeway gridlock largely a gasoline-free activity." -- Edmunds
  • "During a 30-mile tour of practically every San Antonio neighborhood, I achieved an amazing 25 mpg. Without causing any significant hindrance to traffic, the Sierra's electric motors handled propulsion duties most of the time with the engine starting only occasionally to power one of the electric motors operating in generator mode." -- Automobile Magazine

Handling and Braking

With handling that’s average for a full-size truck, the 2011 GMC Sierra Hybrid lives up to reviewer expectations. Reviewers single out the braking as a high point. While the Sierra Hybrid uses regenerative braking, like other hybrids, the brakes don't have the grabby feel that often plagues these systems. 

  • "Sierra Hybrid accelerates from a stop and passes much like conventional models, but a faint surge is felt and heard when it shifts between full electric and gasoline operation. CVT transmission is responsive.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "The electric power steering is transparent enough not to highlight itself as in other hybrids. Brake feel, however, alternates between artificial and frustrating. There's a delayed response to actual braking force, then grabby deceleration on engagement." -- Edmunds
  • "The brakes feel strong and remarkably progressive for a hybrid." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "Ride quality is good; only certain bumps and surfaces betray the solid rear axle. Everything felt solidly bolted together, and we heard no squeaks or rattles at all. At speed, wind noise was apparent, but tolerable." -- HybridCars.com

Hauling and Towing

Reviewers give the Sierra Hybrid mixed reviews for its hauling and towing capabilities.  Some are impressed that a hybrid vehicle can tow 6,100 pounds, but mention that this decreases its fuel economy to similar levels as a gas-only truck.  A Sierra Hybrid can tow 6,100 pounds, and a gas-only Sierra with a 6.0 liter V8 can tow up to10,700 pounds.

  • “Not as much as the regular Sierra's 10,500-pound maximum towing capacity, but it's not too shabby for a hybrid." -- Cars.com
  • "I recorded 10 mpg while towing, about the same I've experienced towing similar sized boats with large conventional-powertrain pickup trucks." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The truck's most impressive feat by far was towing that boat uphill-on electricity alone-for almost a minute." -- HybridCars.com

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