EnG – Mystery vehicle revealed

Thanks for all who played along with my little guessing game.
As you may recall, I wrote that I was driving a unique vehicle this past week, and I invited you to guess the identity. Here were the criteria:
1. It is a gas-electric hybrid.
2. It was manufactured by a division that was a part of General Motors at the time of manufacture.
3. It has some of the best seats that I’ve ever encountered on any car. I still like the seats in the 9-5 a bit better, but these are darn good.
I put about 1200 miles on this vehicle over the course of the week — much more than typical. I drove from Nashville to Louisville, Kentucky, then from Louisville to Indianapolis, Indiana, then from Indianapolis to Chicago, and then on a loop through Chicagoland that included St. Charles, Illinois and Gary, Indiana. St. Charles and Gary are about 65 miles (100 kilometers) apart, meaning that I did a fair amount of city/suburban driving within that stretch. I got intimately familar with it, in other words.
Brian and JK get credit for “correct enough” answers. Well done!
For the answer and photos, take the jump!



This week I drove our company-owned demonstration vehicle, a 2009 GMC Sierra two-mode hybrid Crew Cab.

Toughtruck side.jpg

It is equipped with 4×4 drive layout; I kept to two-wheel-drive for the entire week. My “grandboss” (my boss’s boss), a 4WD rock-climbing enthusiast, specified the vehicle and selected the modifications, which include a lift kit, 22″ KMC XD-series “Rock Star” wheels, Nitto Dune Grappler tires in size 305/40-22. The latter makes this truck LOUD on the open highway. The road noise from the wheel/tire combination is insane!
On the flip side, I was impressed with the hybrid set up on this truck. Very smart for those that are using a truck for work where idling or frequent stops are a regular part of the routine. As a two-mode hybrid, this truck doesn’t really act as a true hybrid; either it’s on battery power or it’s one gasoline power for the most part. There are a few times where I observed both at work, but not many. The engine turns off at a stop and soon after the electric motor brings the truck up to 15 miles per hour (about 25 kilometers per hour), the gasoline engine has started and is up to speed. At idle for long periods, even with the air conditioner running, the battery will suffice for 15-to-20 minutes before the gasoline engine automatically revs to life to charge the battery for three or four minutes and turn off again.

Toughtruck cockpit.jpg

Here’s why we have this truck — to display our in-cab solutions for police, fire fighters, utilities technicians, construction supervisors, industrial repairmen, etc. That notebook is powered and connected to external antennae and peripherals through the mount and is removable for use outside the truck. It is equipped with three wireless connection radios and internal GPS. It is built to withstand the rigors of vehicle mounting and outdoor use, with a daylight-readable display, complete water and dust resistance, heated hard drive for cold weather, and vibration and drop resistance to military standards.
Once again, I’ll state that those seats are just about the best that I’ve ever encountered. Very firm, but with a very soft upper layer of padding, very breathable leather and a great sitting position. Additionally, the leg bolster is a bit longer than the average car seat, making these seats a bit more accomodating for those of above average height like me. Well done, GMC, well done.

Toughtruck rear seatr.jpg

And, here’s the back seat set-up that shows a couple of other options. Note the size of our newest PC — 5.6″ display, 8-hour battery, complete PC capability.

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