Sierra and Yukon V8s Balance Fuel Efficiency, Capability

Active Fuel Management gives GMC drivers the engine they need when they need it

May 12, 2011, 09:00 ET from General Motors

PONTIAC, Mich., May 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- It takes a powerful and capable engine to pull a 10,000-pound trailer or carry a nearly 2,000-pound payload, but when cargo is left behind, Active Fuel Management (AFM) helps drivers get more miles out of a gallon of gas.

AFM enables many of the V8 engines in GMC Sierra pickups and Yukon SUVs to behave like a four-cylinder engine when cruising with light loads while seamlessly unleashing their full muscle whenever needed. Engineers pioneered the concept of variable displacement engines, but the idea really came into its own with the development of modern electronic engine management systems and sequential fuel injection.

Under light load conditions when only a fraction of the available power is needed to keep the vehicle moving, the fuel delivery to four of the eight cylinders is switched off and a solenoid system collapses the valve lifters to reduce the pumping losses and improve fuel efficiency. As soon as the vehicle begins climbing a grade or the driver needs to accelerate to complete a pass, those cylinders are automatically and transparently re-enabled.

On the GMC Sierra and Yukon Hybrid models, engineers used the ability of the sophisticated two-mode system to provide electric drive assist at highway speeds so the 6.0-liter Vortec V8 can be kept in four-cylinder mode longer. Where a standard pickup or SUV might switch back to eight-cylinder mode while ascending a grade, the hybrids use their electric motors to maintain speed and keep four cylinders turned off, helping these trucks to achieve best-in-class EPA estimates of 20 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.

With EPA estimates of 15 mpg city and 22 mpg highway, the AFM-equipped 2011 GMC Sierra XFE is the most fuel efficient V8-powered, conventional full-size pickup in America. AFM is also currently used on the standard 5.3-L Sierra and Yukons with the 5.3, 6.0 or 6.2-L V8 as well as several Chevrolet pickups and Chevrolet and Cadillac SUVs.

"Active Fuel Management offers Sierra and Yukon owners the best of both worlds – all the capability expected of a full-size truck or SUV with better fuel economy," said Jordan Lee, global chief engineer and program manager for small block engines.

About GMC

GMC has built trucks since 1902, and is one of the industry's healthiest brands. Today GMC is evolving to offer more fuel-efficient trucks and crossovers, including the Terrain small SUV and Acadia crossover. The new GMC Sierra Heavy Duty pickups are the most capable and powerful trucks in the market.  Innovation and engineering excellence are woven into all GMCs, including the Yukon and Yukon XL and full line of Sierra pickups. Today, GMC is the only manufacturer offering three full-size hybrid trucks. Details on all GMC models are available at, on Twitter at @thisisgmc or at

SOURCE General Motors