We're told by sources that the Sierra will look significantly more different from the Chevrolet Silverado than it does today. The new Sierra features the new 3-bar grille that we've seen in spy shots of the 2011 GMC Sierra Heavy Duty pickups -- which officially debut next month at the NTEA Work Truck Show in St. Louis -- and styling cues from the blocky "urban-industrial' GMC Granite small people-mover concept that debuted at the Detroit auto show last month. A sleeker exterior is expected to contribute to improved gas mileage. GM is also studying whether automatically opening and closing the grille inlets of its full-size pickups could improve aerodynamics and mileage.
Powertrain improvements are expected to include wide use of direct injection across the Sierra's engine lineup including, we're told, a (maybe 7.0-liter?) new large-displacement V-8 gas engine. GM's next-generation full-size hybrid technology will also arrive by 2013, with more-efficient, stronger electric motors and batteries, giving the gas-electric trucks up to 50% better towing capacity.