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Auto blogFri, 19 Jul 2013 14:01:00 EST
General Motors is just coming off a complete redesign of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra for 2014, but in the US fullsize truck market, there is no rest for the weary. According to Reuters, plans are already unfurling for both trucks to drop pounds from their curb weight over the next few years, but this will unlikely be able to keep pace with the 700-pound diet targeted for the next-generation Ford F-150, a truck expected to debut late next year.
The biggest weight reduction for these trucks might not be available until the next full redesign, which will likely happen around 2019, but the article says that smaller updates could shave pounds in the meantime. Two examples given include an "aluminum-intensive" version of the Silverado that could shed 250 pounds and debut around the same time as the lighter-weight, aluminum-bodied 2015 Ford, and there is also talk of reducing weight for driveline components such as axles and driveshafts. These changes are all part of an attempt to meet strict new fuel economy standards coming in 2017, targets which will get even tougher in 2025.
Car buyers have a responsibility to be well-informed consumers. That's not always a very simple task, but some guidelines are self-evident. If you live in a very snowy climate, you generally know a Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro might not be as viable a vehicle choice as an all-wheel drive Explorer or Traverse, for example. If you want a fuel-efficient car, it's generally a good idea to know the difference between a diesel and a hybrid. But what if it's kind of tough to be an informed consumer? What if the information you need is more difficult to come by, or worse, based on different standards for each vehicle? Well, in that case, you might be a truck shopper.
For years, customers of light-duty pickups have had to suffer through different ratings of towing capacities for each brand. For 2015 model year trucks, though, that will no longer be a problem. According to Automotive News, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler Group have announced that starting with next year's models, a common standard will be used to measure towing capacity. The Detroit Three will join Toyota, which adopted the Society of Automotive Engineers' so-called SAE J2807 standards way back in 2011.
The standard was originally supposed to be in place for MY2013, but concerns that it would lower the overall stated capacity for trucks led Detroit automakers to pass. Ford originally passed, claiming it'd wait until its new F-150 was launched to adopt the new standards, leading GM and Ram to follow suit. Nissan, meanwhile, has said it will adopt the new standards as its vehicles are updated, meaning the company's next-generation Titan should adhere to the same tow ratings as its competitors.
When viewed alongside the next Ford F-150 and the Ram 1500, there is one thing that seems to be missing from the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. Where the F-150 will rely on turbocharging and aluminum architecture and the Ram sports an eight-speed automatic and an air suspension, the General Motors twins lack a big, calling-card feature. They're very good, very refined trucks, but one could argue that they're not terribly innovative.
And while it might not be as flashy a feature as air suspension or a lightweight skin, the Silverado and Sierra will get their own eight-speed automatic for 2015, a transmission that will be paired with the company's Ecotec3 6.2-liter V8. The new cogswapper will also find its way into the GMC Yukon Denali, but for now, there's no indication why the Cadillac Escalade, Suburban, Tahoe and standard Yukon are being left out.
According to GM, the new gearbox is about the same size and weight as the current Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed. By the time the new powertrain combination enters production late this year, the EPA will almost certainly have gotten around to certifying the vehicles' fuel efficiency. Until then, feel free to speculate. The current Silverado with the 6.2 and six-speed auto returns 14 miles per gallon in the city and 20 on the highway. How much do you think the eight-speed will improve those figures? Scroll down for the official press blast from General Motors, and then head into Comments.