GMC has quietly announced it will add a mild hybrid "eAssist" powertrain option to its Sierra pickup line this Spring.
We say "quietly," because the announcement isn't a preview of an auto show unveiling; it comes to us in a straightforward press release that might as well be talking about a redesigned door handle.
Unlike the complicated-but-capable two-mode hybrid system GM offered on its big trucks prior to the 2008-2009 market meltdown, this is a mild hybrid setup similar to that found in the Buick LaCrosse lineup: it uses a small (around 45 kg) battery pack located under the centre console (or the front bench seat) to drive an electric motor that backs up the 5.3L V8 engine. It can't drive the truck alone, but adds up to 13 hp and 44 lb-ft of torque to the V8's 355 hp and 383 lb-ft.
The usual hybrid functionality is here, with the Sierra eAssist gaining auto stop/start capability and regenerative braking, and aero improvements that GMC says make the truck slip through the air six percent more smoothly.
Naturally, GM claims reduced fuel consumption, too, to the tune of 1.5 L/100 km in city driving (to 14.4 L/100 km) and a 0.8 L/100 km in combined driving, for a rating of 13.0 L/100 km.
With this powertrain likely being a relatively low-volume option, GMC is offering it in one very specific trim: Sierra SLT Crew Cab 4WD with the premium plus option package, which is also available in non-hybrid 5.3L, and 6.2L Sierra trucks. That means all Sierra hybrids come with kit like LED headlights, fog lights, and taillights; Apple CarPlay/Android Auto; navigation; upgraded stereo; wireless phone charging; heated steering wheel; backup camera; and safety items including lane keep assist, forward collision alert, front and rear park assist, and automatic high beams.
GM Canada says the Sierra eAssist will be available across Canada in limited numbers "starting this spring."