the past year or so, GMC's slogan has been "professional
grade." That tagline gets an extra kick with
the 2006 hybrid version of the Sierra half-ton
pickup - cousin of Chevy's hybrid Silverado. Case
in point. Many Sierras are bought for heavy-duty
work such as construction industry jobs or for
down and dirty camping trips far from the maddening
crowds. Wouldn't it be nice to plug a coffee pot
or microwave oven into a standard AC electric
outlet in the middle of nowhere and have dinner
on schedule instead of trying to fan a campfire
into life? That's reality with the hybrid Sierra.
With four 120-volt 20 amp underseat or truck bed
power outlets, one could operate power equipment
or even save a refrigerator full of food for 30
hours during a major power outage.
gasoline electric hybrid Sierra gives out lots
of voltage, but it doesn't need to take it back
in through a special heavy duty garage outlet
or recharge posting station halfway through a
trip. Rather, the motions of driving, braking
or coasting alone continuously recharge the 40-volt
lead acid battery pack that assists the drive
system with starting and acceleration, and helps
past the differences in technology beyond standard
internal combustion engine action, Sierra remains
a GMC staple workhorse that retains its heavyweight
hauler ability to tow as much as 7,700 pounds.
It comes in budget-minded two-wheel drive, or
four-wheel drive version when demands are tough.
for '06 models -- available throughout the U.S.
for the first time -- include revised extendible
outside camper mirrors for a greater field of
vision. Two new colors, Steely Gray Metallic and
Stealth Gray Metallic, are added. On the amenities
side, there's available XM Satellite radio with
steering wheel controls combined with GM's OnStar
safety/communications system. And for the discerning
camper, premium Bose sound is available with a
passenger-side Panasonic DVD system, combined
with next-generation Radio Data System. Gone are
multiple antennas. Signal receptors now combine
as one unobtrusive module.
has more than one earth friendly trick. Among
non-hybrid versions is an Ultra Low Emissions
Vehicle (ULEV) version, and a 6.0-liter, V-8 that
can run on gasoline or compressed natural gas.
Upmarket amenities include chromed front bumpers,
tilt-adjustable power steering, full-size spare,
heavy duty battery, "PASSLock II" theft
deterrent, and driver information system. For
those intent on going hyrid and who don't mind
plunking down about a high $20K base, traveling
just got a whole lot more interesting.