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Auto blogTue, 20 Aug 2013 19:29:00 EST
General Motors has just become the first pickup truck manufacturer to receive five-star overall vehicle scores in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's New Car Assessment Program. The updated safety standards, which went into effect in 2011, are more strenuous than the previous NHTSA curriculum and involve collecting both more and more substantial data, reflecting the improved safety inherent in newer vehicles. This feat is made more impressive by the fact that both Ford and Ram have released brand-new trucks since the new testing went into effect - GM's victory is no technicality.
The rating only applies to the redesigned, light-duty Silverado, Sierra and their upmarket variants, High Country and Denali, respectively, while only Crew Cab variants were tested. Considering that the four-door body style will make up 60 percent of GM's light-duty truck sales, the exclusion of the other variants seems reasonable.
This news is sure to be yet another feather in GM's pickup-oriented cap. Be sure to scroll down for video of the crash testing, as well as the full press release from General Motors.
Spy photographers have spotted the new Chevrolet Silverado High Country and GMC Sierra Denali out on public streets for a little testing. From the looks of things, the Silverado will receive a much-differentiated front fascia along with special badges and those honking 20-inch chrome wheels. Expect to find a more posh interior as well. Likewise, the Sierra Denali will wear a tweaked nose with the familiar Denali bling. The one of the GMC trucks spotted here rolls on 21-inch gunmetal wheels instead of the 20-inch chrome pieces of the High Country.
Word has it both trucks will go on sale after the Texas State Fair this summer. While General Motors hasn't said for certain what we can expect to find under the hood, we'd be surprised to see anything outside of the range of engines found in the standard Silverado and Sierra models. That means buyers should be able to get their hands on the efficient, 23-miles per gallon 5.3-liter V8.
Big And Boxy Might Be Best
As immense fans of the Back to the Future trilogy, we sometimes like to envision an alternate timeline in which General Motors had killed off GMC and kept Pontiac instead. The G8 GXP would still be on the road handily beating German sport sedans costing twice as much, while the lowly G3 would morph into a true subcompact-killer based on what is now the Chevrolet Sonic RS. While we're at it, let's go ahead and imagine the G6 has become the best-selling car in the US and the Torrent crossover is selling 20,000+ units per month. Far-fetched, we know.
The thing is, these fanciful statements would have to be true to make the case against keeping GMC. Pontiac may have offered more excitement than GMC, but money talks, and a full line of trucks, crossovers and SUVs have made a lot more money for GM than the arrowhead brand ever did. How much? As we learned last month, about two-thirds of GM's global profits came from its fullsize trucks, and GMC's trucks typically have thicker margins than their Chevrolet counterparts.