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2012 GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid was new.


Performance: 6.8

Reviewers are impressed with the 2012 GMC Sierra Hybrid's high-tech components, but are split on its performance. While most praise the truck’s day-to-day drivability and fuel economy, others question if the quirky power delivery, mushy brake feel and the loss of some towing capabilities is worth the fuel economy gains.

  • "Nearly as capable and just as quick as their regular counterparts, these pickups do have a mushy-feeling brake pedal.” -- Car and Driver

Acceleration and Power

The 2012 GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid has a complex powertrain that combines a 6.0-liter V8 engine with two electric motors. The V8 and electric motors make a total of 332 horsepower and 367 pound-feet of torque. For the most part, reviewers are impressed with the amount of power the system has, though more than one writer noted that it felt like the power came on in surges during acceleration, especially when starting from a stop.

The Sierra 1500 Hybrid comes standard with two-wheel drive, but offers optional four-wheel drive. According to the EPA, the Sierra 1500 Hybrid get 20/23 mpg city/highway in both two- and four-wheel drive. That might not seem particularly impressive, but keep in mind that a gas-only crew cab Sierra 1500 with four-wheel drive and a 6.2-liter V8 engine gets just 12/18 mpg.

  • "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 … 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. Acceleration comes in surges between 4,000 and 5,000 rpm.” -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

With handling that’s average for a full-size truck, the 2012 GMC Sierra Hybrid lives up to reviewer expectations. They say it has a smooth ride, but most dislike its regenerative brakes, which tend to feel grabby, which is a typical complaint of hybrids. More than one test driver notes the Sierra Hybrid’s numb steering.

  • “Being these are large pickups, there’s noticeable body lean in fast turns and quick changes of direction. The steering is nicely weighted, if a bit numb, and the brakes are responsive with fine pedal feel.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "As with all big pickups, push the Sierra hard on a curve and body roll is noticeable. The electrically boosted steering is on the numb side, but there is no need to constantly adjust the steering wheel to keep it between the white lines.” -- HybridCars.com
  • "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

Towing and Hauling

Reviewers give the 2012 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 when towing, fuel economy is comparable with a gas-only truck. A Sierra Hybrid can tow 6,100 pounds, but a gas-only Sierra with a 6.2-liter V8 can tow up to 10,600 pounds.

  • "That's not as much as the regular Sierra's … maximum towing capacity, but it's not too shabby for a hybrid.” -- Cars.com
  • "Compared with similarly equipped, regular GM pickups, there is a slight loss in terms of payload capacity and tow ratings.” -- Car and Driver

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