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Hybrid pickups have increased fuel efficiency, but make compromises

The only hybrid pickup trucks on the market are the full-size 2011 Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid (Base MSRP: $38,340 to $47,820) and its twin, the 2011 GMC Sierra Hybrid (Base MSRP: $38,710 to $48,109) . Reviewers say these full-hybrid trucks offer superior gas mileage in city driving; otherwise, you'll be making a few compromises for owning a hybrid.

Under ideal driving conditions, the Silverado and Sierra hybrids can run on their electric motors only at speeds up to 30 mph. Their fuel-economy ratings of 20 mpg city/23 mpg highway/21 mpg combined are better compared with other gasoline-powered full-size pickups, which typically do around 16 mpg in the city, but the hybrid trucks carry a substantial price premium up front.

Tow capacities for these trucks, 5,900 pounds with four-wheel drive and 6,100 pounds with rear-wheel drive, are low for full-sized trucks in this price range, too. Last year, General Motors told that it plans to improve towing capacity by 50 percent in its next-generation hybrid trucks, but those aren't due until 2013.

As with other hybrid vehicles, a number of factors determine whether the higher retail price will pay off in long-term fuel savings versus a comparable nonhybrid model. For more discussions on this, visit the What To Look For pages of our full reports on hybrid cars and hybrid SUVs and crossovers. 

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