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2013 GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid was new.


Performance: 6.8

The 2013 GMC Sierra Hybrid receives one of the lowest performance scores in the class. By itself, reviewers don’t mind the Sierra Hybrid’s power or handling, and they appreciate its excellent-for-the-class 20/23 mpg city/highway fuel economy rating. However, with diminished towing capacity compared with other non-hybrid trucks and steady improvement in fuel economy and handling in the class as a whole, for most reviewers, the Sierra Hybrid just doesn’t stack up.

  • "Overall, the dual-mode system performs like GMC's conventional pickup powertrain and is mostly transparent. It does add around 450 pounds of weight and delivers less towing and hauling capability, but it rides, handles, steers, brakes and goes about its daily business as well as any congenital Sierra." -- HybridCars.com
  • "The combination of V8 power, serious hauling capability and a robust frame simply should not equate to frugality at the pump. Yet the 2012 GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid is proof positive that it can." -- Edmunds (2012)
  • "In Consumer Guide testing, a rear-drive model averaged an excellent 20.0 mpg in mostly highway driving. Sierra Hybrid uses regular-grade gas." -- Consumer Guide (2012)

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 Sierra Hybrid is powered by a 6.0-liter V8 that produces 332 horsepower and 367 pound-feet of torque. The V8 is paired with a four-speed automatic transmission that contains two electric motors tied to the Sierra Hybrid’s battery pack. With either two- or four-wheel drive, the Sierra Hybrid earns an EPA fuel economy estimate of 20/23 mpg city/highway, which is among the best ratings in the class. Only the 2013 V6-powered Ram 1500 can match the Sierra Hybrid’s 21 mpg combined fuel economy rating.

Critics give slightly differing opinions on the Sierra Hybrid’s powertrain. Some think the power comes on immediately, while others note a slight delay before the gas engine kicks in. For the most part, though, they agree that there is plenty of power on tap. One reviewer mentions that the transmission responds quickly.

  • "I found that accelerating from a stop rather briskly, and then easing off the accelerator to allow the electric motors to take over, gave us the most distance in electric-only drive up to around 30 mph. Same procedure works for implementing the V-4 operation of the engine - at around 40 mph, smoothly boost speed and then ease off. Of course when power acceleration is really needed, a quick, firm push on the accelerator unleashes the V8's 332 horsepower and 367 pounds-feet of torque plus, assist from the electric motors." -- HybridCars.com
  • "Upon first drive, the 2012 GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid may not feel like there's a string of 379 ponies under the hood. … Some drivers may sense a noticeable pause as the truck creeps forward in electric mode, and then feel as if the truck hurtles away once the gas engine comes online. Others may feel acceleration surges at higher rpm. It just takes a little practice to optimize one's driving pattern for the most fuel-efficient and enjoyable driving experience." -- Edmunds (2012)
  • "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 (2011)

Handling and Braking

The Sierra Hybrid comes standard with rear-wheel drive, while four-wheel drive is optional. One reviewer says the Sierra Hybrid has a comfortable ride, adding that it feels a bit more refined over rough roads than other full-size pickups. Multiple critics comment on the steering. One wishes it offered a bit more road feedback, while another says the amount of feedback is fine. One reviewer dislikes the Sierra Hybrid’s brakes, noting that they don’t seem to offer much stopping power initially, but then feel overly grabby.

  • "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 Sierra 1500 Hybrid uses electrically driven variable-assist power steering. This arrangement contributes about 0.5 mpg to the Hybrid's fuel economy and is responsive enough, with appropriate levels of effort. Brake feel, however, alternates between artificial and frustrating. There's a delayed response to actual braking force, then grabby deceleration upon engagement. Then again, once you get accustomed to the response you can utilize the regeneration mode to help reduce brake-pad wear and increase battery power." -- Edmunds (2012)
  • "Sierra Hybrid uses GMC's comfort-tuned Z85 suspension; it provides a comfortable, compliant ride, and there's less reverberation over bumps than in most pickups." -- Consumer Guide (2012)


A two-wheel drive Sierra Hybrid is rated to tow as much as 6,100 pounds, while four-wheel drive models are rated at 5,900 pounds. These figures are about 4,000 pounds less than the maximum towing capabilities of most gas-only full-size pickup trucks. One reviewer notes this as well, but indicates that the towing capacity is still impressive for a hybrid vehicle.

  • "That's not as much as the regular Sierra's … maximum towing capacity, but it's not too shabby for a hybrid." -- Cars.com (2011)

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