When General Motors announced last week details on the 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickups, notably absent was any mention of the hybrid models of the Sierra and Silverado.
Speculation that GM would take the hybrids out of the lineup – though still available as 2013 models – surfaced in late summer. Now reports are saying GM North America President Mark Reuss has confirmed the Sierra and Sliverado trucks will use only internal combustion engines.
The engines are the company’s all-new EcoTec3 powerplants available as the standard 4.3-liter V6, or the optional 5.3-liter V8 and 6.2-liter V8.
EcoTec3 engines feature direct injection, cylinder deactivation and continuously variable valve timing to make the most of power, torque and efficiency across a broad range of operating conditions, according to GM.
Under light load cylinder deactivation cuts four of the cylinders on the V8 engines and two cylinders on the V6, operating the engines as a V4 for improved efficiency.
GM says the new 5.3-liter has better fuel economy than the previous 5.3-liter.
In their five-year history as part of the light-duty truck lineup, sales of the hybrid versions of the Sierra and Sliverado pale next to the their gas-engine counterparts.
As of November of this year the Chevy Silverado Hybrid sold 18 units, with a year-to-date total of 422 vehicles, effectively a 50 percent decline across the year. The GMC Sierra Hybrid had markedly better November sales of 170 units, while year-to-date sales totaled 326 units.
The non-hybrid Chevy Silverado posted in excess of 30,000 units for November.
A leading motivator for any hybrid purchase is significant improvements in fuel economy compared to most vehicles with traditional engines. Yet the GM hybrid trucks aren’t drastically outpacing the gas engine trucks in efficiency, while at the same time costing more.
EPA mpg ratings for the two-wheel drive, 5.3-liter V8 engine 2013 GMC Sierra 1500 are 15 city/21 highway/17 combined on regular gas. The two-wheel drive 2013 GMC Sierra Hybrid (with 6.0-liter V8 engine) offers 20 city/23 highway/21 combined.
The hybrid Sierra starts at $42,300; the non-hybrid 5.3-liter V8 Sierra starts at $35,430, and has a 10,500-pound tow capacity versus the hybrid’s 6,100-pound tow rating.
The hybrids’ comparatively limited sales numbers reflect which type of engine GM truck buyers prefer, and GM has moved accordingly for the 2014 model year.
Potentially good news for enthusiasts of GM’s hybrid engine offerings is that for now the company hasn’t announced plans to terminate the Yukon, Tahoe or Escalade hybrid variants from their respective brands.