Placitas, New Mexico, United States
A few years ago, the trend in half-ton pickup trucks was ultra-luxurious trims, often with the words "limited" or "platinum" tacked on after the model name. That was well and good, but we like this latest fad a lot more - diesel engines. First, Ram came to bat with a 3.0-liter, V6 turbodiesel for the 1500, then Nissan announced that the next-generation Titan would be getting an eight-cylinder Cummins diesel.
Now, word is coming in from AutoGuide that General Motors can, if it so chooses, drop a diesel engine into its light-duty trucks. The plot thickens, though, as it turns out that said diesel would be the same one Ram is using for its truck. According to AG, that engine comes from VM Motori, which GM owns a sizable chunk of. Therefore, GM can snag the 3.0-liter, V6 diesel for its trucks just as easily, if not more easily, than Ram.
If it's so easy for the Detroit-based manufacturer to access the engines, why not offer the a diesel-powered Sierra and Silverado from the start, then? According to GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson, The General doesn't seem so confident in a diesel pickup outside of its HD offerings. According to Wilkinson, the cost-benefit ratio doesn't line up for customers, thanks to both the impact on the truck's sticker price and the higher price of diesel, in general (the national average for a gallon of diesel is 43 cents more than a gallon of 87-octane unleaded).
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.
Thanks to the quick-to-screen-shot folks at GM Authority, we now have our first look at what is likely the 2014-15 GMC Sierra Denali. GMA reports that the image you see here was temporarily posted on the GMC consumer site, though as you can see now, when you scroll over the "trucks" tab, the image has been removed.
GM Authority states that because the truck in this image wears a blacked-out lower bumper, redesigned grille insert and shiny wheels, this has got to be the upmarket Denali version of the fully redesigned 2014 model year Sierra. The Chevrolet Silverado will be getting a similar treatment, as we've seen in recent spy shots, dubbed the High Country.
Expect the Sierra Denali to ride on large, unique wheels (the one we spied earlier this year was fitted with 21-inch rollers), and feature a huge helping of luxurious interior amenities, as well as premium features like xenon headlamps. An official on-sale date for the Denali has not been released, though it's been reported that the high-grade Sierra, along with its Silverado counterpart, will arrive after the Texas State Fair this summer.