I drove the Sierra Hybrid 240 miles over the weekend, mostly on the highway, but I still managed only an indicated 16 mpg. That's 4 mpg less than the EPA expects out of this vehicle. (I definitely could have eked out a bit better mileage if the Sierra had a gauge that gave the driver some comprehensible feedback, as Phil noted. Seriously, GMC: how much would it cost for you to add a "+" and a "-" to that cryptic economy gauge?) Not very impressive, especially considering the fact that I drove mostly on the highway between 70 and 75 mph.
What is impressive, however, is the smoothness of this powertrain, as my colleagues have noted. Torque is abundant, and merging onto the highway is never stressful. Even the two-mode CVT avoids feeling unnatural, unlike some other CVTs (hybrid and otherwise) on the market.
Even though my observed mileage was far less than the government's ratings, I'm pretty confident that I would have gotten 2 or 3 fewer mpg in a nonhybrid 6.0-liter-powered Sierra under the same driving conditions. So to me, hybrid pickups make a lot of sense, even with the extra sticker price. That said, it seems like the 5.3-liter V-8 would also work well in a hybrid GM pickup, and it would likely yield a couple more miles per gallon. Plus, the electric motors would help add some extra torque, which is very important to pickup owners.
A couple other comments: The door armrests have some elbow-assaulting hard spots. Quite a bit of wind noise enters the cabin from the A-pillars. This hard-framed soft tonneau cover is very nice, particularly for security.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor