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Auto blogTue, 15 Oct 2013 18:31:00 EST
Aside from the new General Motors offerings, there's not a whole lot of action going on in the fullsize SUV segment. That doesn't seem to be stopping GM from pushing the envelope in the market as Automotive News is reporting that the automaker is looking to introduce some new powertrain options into the Chevy Tahoe (and Suburban), GMC Yukon (and Yukon XL) and the Cadillac Escalade - all have been redesigned for the 2015 model year.
Now, we already know that GM and Ford are collaborating on nine- and ten-speed transmissions for a broad range of applications (including the big SUVs), but this new report says that GM is also considering other options as a way to one-up the competition and, of course, to optimize fuel economy. AN quotes Jeff Luke, executive chief engineer for GM trucks, as saying that "interesting powertrain technologies" are coming including a return of a hybrid SUV and possibly even a diesel engine. Although it sounds like the latter could come down to how customers respond to the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel.
Before even officially going on sale to customers, the GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado midsize pickup twins are already proving to be a success with dealer orders exceeding original projections. Now, there is even more good news for these siblings, with the fuel economy for their four-cylinder engines netting class-leading numbers and the 3.6-liter V6 getting segment-best payload ratings.
The 2.5-liter four-cylinder in the two trucks makes 200 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque, and in rear-wheel drive and six-speed manual trim it has an EPA rating of 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined. Opting for a two-wheel drive configuration with the six-speed automatic bumps those figures slightly to 20 mpg city, 27 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined. Finally, a four-wheel drive model with the automatic 'box carries a 19/25/21 rating. Those numbers are a tick better here and there compared to what's offered by the optional V6.
The twins' major four-cylinder, midsize pickup rivals are the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier, but they're both getting somewhat long in the tooth. To compare fuel economy and power, a two-wheel drive Tacoma with its 2.7-liter four-cylinder is rated at 159 hp and 180 lb-ft, and achieves 21/25/22 mpg. The Frontier with its 2.5-liter four-cylinder is good for 152 hp and 171 lb-ft, and carries 19/23/21 mpg figures.
Considering that crossovers are a rapidly growing portion of the US auto market, it's not surprising to hear that General Motors is preparing to build even more of them. The company is investing $63 million to expand its Lansing Delta Township Assembly plant that builds Lambda platform CUVs like the Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave.
According to GM, the expansion will add roughly 263,000 extra square feet of space to the plant. Of that, 181,000 square feet will be for an updated body shop with cutting-edge robots. There will also be 54,000 square feet of additional room in the paint shop and 28,000 square feet of more area for general assembly.
GM isn't saying as much, but there is the possibility that this extra space could allow for additional models produced at the factory. Cadillac reportedly dropped plans to build a three-row SUV on the Lambda platform earlier this year, however, dealers for the luxury brand were recently pitched the possibility of adding large and small CUVs, an ATS convertible or a sedan below the ATS.