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Auto blogTue, 24 Sep 2013 11:31:00 EST
According to General Motors, owners "just love off-roading with [its fullsize body-on-frame sport utility vehicles]," namely the 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban and GMC Yukon. If that's the case, it's a bit odd that sales of the previous generation of these models with the Z71 off-road package didn't sell particularly well.
Perhaps, considering this disconnect between owner's thoughts and desires with actual sales, it's not surprising that General Motors is reportedly "considering" an off-road specific model. That means the package would include styling changes and badges along with suspension modifications and larger wheels with appropriately sized fender flares.
There's no indication if the off-road model would be called Z71 or when it may potentially go on sale, assuming it ever goes on sale at all.
Automotive enthusiasts often wonder aloud - ourselves included - why General Motors would choose to keep GMC while sending Pontiac (and Saturn, and even Oldsmobile before it) into the great automotive graveyard in the sky. The answer, as is so often the case, is profit. It's much easier for GM to rake in money hand over fist by rejiggering the trucks, crossovers and SUVs that it would already be developing for Chevrolet and making them a bit more luxurious and *ahem* "Professional Grade" with new grilles, badges and unique packaging for GMC.
While it may sound like we're being cynical, we totally approve of GM's fullsize SUV strategy. The least-expensive way to get into the fold is with the Chevrolet Tahoe, which starts at $45,595 with a 5.3-liter V8 engine and a cloth interior. Bumping that same Chevy to LTZ trim and its $59,995 sticker price lands a much nicer leather-clad interior and more techno-bells and whistles than you can shake a stick at. But it still looks like a Tahoe, and it still comes with the smaller 5.3-liter engine. Or, you could do what we'd do: Walk into your GMC dealer and take a look at the Yukon Denali. Here's why.
The Cadillac Escalade has been at or near the top of most-stolen and insurance-loss lists for more than seven years, until it dropped to number six earlier this year. In 2011 it was fitted with a host of new security features to address its easy-to-override features and that has brought the number of thefts down, but when eight of the ten most stolen rides are large SUVs from General Motors, no one will argue that something else needs to be done.
Thus, GM has fitted this same theft-deterring tech to the 2015 Suburban, Tahoe and Yukon. The Suburban and Tahoe will get the steering lock that the Escalade and Yukon already get, plus bolted-down third-row seats to deter thefts like this, stronger door lock cylinders and shields, and side-cut keys to inhibit picking.
Additional security measures in a Theft Protection Package can be purchased for $395, consisting of sensors on the greenhouse glass and interior, an incline/tilt sensor and added "key control systems" to make it more difficult for the men in black balaclavas to steal what you bought.