Auto blogFri, 18 Jul 2014
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.
Fans of truck-based, light-duty vans can officially pour one out for the Chevrolet Express 1500 and GMC Savana 1500, as General Motors has officially put its long-serving big/little rigs out to pasture. Things aren't quite as sad as they sound, though. The heavier-duty 2500 and 3500 vans will soldier on, in order to duke it out with the largest members of Ram ProMaster, Ford Transit and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter families.
The move does seem to make a lot of sense. According to GM, customers only purchase the 1500-spec Chevrolet 23 percent of the time, while the GMC captures a mere 7 percent of the Savana family's sales. With numbers like that, it's no shock that GM thinks it can shift some of its buyers into its van family's more capable variants. "We knew we could move a lot of our 1500 customers into 2500-series territory," said GM's Joe Langhauser, the product manager for the company's full-size vans.
It's not just simple sales figures dictating the move, though. The 1500 line is taking up some valuable factory space that will be better spent on an eagerly anticipated new product.
Through the first six months of 2014, General Motors has recalled 29 million cars and trucks in 54 different actions. If your author's notoriously sketchy math is correct, that'd work out to one recall every 3.5 days (as of this writing). GM is actively fighting to make sure there isn't a 55th recall, though.
Safety critics, including perennial nemesis Clarence Ditlow of the Center for Auto Safety, are calling on GM to recall a further six million pickup trucks and SUVs in northerly climes due to corroding brake lines caused by the use of road salt. There is a catch, here, though - the vehicles in question are over 10 years old, and include the 1999 to 2003 Chevrolet Silverado, Suburban and GMC Sierra, as well as the 2000 to 2003 Tahoe and Yukon (shown above).
GM issued the following statement on the matter, obtained by CNN Money:
General Motors today announced a truly massive recall covering some 8.4 million vehicles in North America. Most significantly, 8.2 million examples of the affected vehicles are being called back due to "unintended ignition key rotation," though GM spokesperson Alan Adler tells Autoblog that this issue is not like the infamous Chevy Cobalt ignition switch fiasco.
For the sake of perspective, translated to US population, this total recall figure would equal a car for each resident of New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, Alaska, North Dakota, the District of Columbia, Vermont and Wyoming. Combined. Here's how it all breaks down:
7,610,862 vehicles in North America being recalled for unintended ignition key rotation. 6,805,679 are in the United States.
Think back to the launch of the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado. At the time, General Motors happily trumpeted that its fullsize pickup could tow up to 11,500 pounds when properly equipped - impressive stuff, no doubt. But now, revised tow rating practices have been put into place, called SAE J2807. And with these new methods of testing, GM can now officially rate both the Silverado and its GMC Sierra twin as being able to tow up to 12,000 pounds.
Of course, not all Silverado and Sierra models are capable of this feat. In fact, because of SAE J2807, most of the truck models have actually had decreases in tow ratings from the 2014 to 2015 model year. For example, a 2014 Silverado Crew Cab with the 5.3-liter V8, 5.7-foot box and 3.73 rear axle was rated at 11,200 pounds in 2014, but has since been reduced to 10,800 in 2015. Same goes for the Sierra.
But for 2015, both the Silverado and Sierra can be had with a more powerful 6.2-liter V8, as well as a Max Trailering Package that includes a 9.76-inch rear axle, heavy-duty rear springs, revised shock tuning, improved cooling and a new trailer brake controller. There are also four- and seven-pin, bumper-mounted connectors, a trailer hitch (duh), and a G80 locking rear differential. This configuration, with either model, is the only way you can actually tow 12,000 pounds.
If you have a need to relive the 1970s, then here is the vehicle for you. This groovy blast from the past is a 1976 GMC Motorhome currently for auction in Florida on eBay Motors, and it is one green machine - just not in the modern sense.
The seller claims that this beast has had just two owners and has covered a mere 61,308 miles in its decades on the road. It's reportedly never been restored or repainted and comes with all of the necessary books and manuals. A 7.5-liter (455-cubic-inch) Oldsmobile V8 with a three-speed Turbo-Hydramatic automatic transmission powering the front wheels propels this far-out RV, and the double set of rear wheels out back use a self-leveling air suspension to provide a cushy ride.
The purported low miles and good condition really make this GMC a stand out, though. The exterior combination of lime stripes and beige with just a touch of green is like nothing else on the road today. Plus, the polished bumpers and wheels make it all pop. Inside, it's even better with monochromatic green upholstery and shag carpet. It features everything you'd ever need on a long trip, including a bathroom, kitchenette and lots of seating. The only hint of modernization is an HD TV next to the stove, but its size is a perfect fit for the hole there.
General Motors' Fleet Order Guide system is often the canary in the coal mine for interesting changes on new models. The recent guide for the 2015 Corvette unveiled all sorts of changes that weren't yet known about the sports car. Now, it's time for the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon to take their bow in the spotlight, and they look worth the wait. The new midsize trucks are getting a touch more power than first thought, as well as some very nice features.
Extended Cab models of both trucks come standard with a 2.5-liter, direct-injected four-cylinder rated at 200 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 191 pound-feet of torque at 4,400 rpm. That's a bit more than the 193 hp and 184 lb-ft originally reported for the duo. The standard transmission for the extended trucks is a six-speed manual, but the Work Truck trim is also available with an optional six-speed automatic. Towing for the four-cylinder is rated at 3,500 pounds.
Crew Cab models come standard with a 3.6-liter V6 with 305 hp at 6,800 rpm and 269 lb-ft of torque at 4,300 rpm, with a six-speed automatic. That's also somewhat different than the originally reported rating of 302 hp and 270 lb-ft. Towing for the V6 is rated at 7,000 pounds.
In recent years, there have been a lot of dire pronouncements made about Lincoln's future, or a lack thereof. But Ford's premium marque is like the Rocky Balboa of the auto business; every time the company seems ready to go, it comes back for more. Apparently, that dogged persistence is paying off, because the industry analysts at AutoPacific have put a big check in their win column with their newly released 2014 model year vehicle satisfaction survey. And despite recent enmity for its seemingly never-ending recall saga, it appears General Motors knows how to satisfy new owners, too.
In fact, not only was Lincoln named as the premium brand with the highest new owner satisfaction, even scored three models on the list of passenger cars with the most gratified buyers - the MKS, MKZ and MKZ Hybrid.
GM's stable of brands was also among the top companies in this year's survey. GMC was named the top popular brand by AutoPacific, with its Sierra pickup and Acadia crossover singled out for awards in their segments. Chevrolet also did incredibly well, with more cars on the list than any other brand. The Corvette, Camaro, Sonic and Impala all made the cut in their respective categories.
General Motors has just initiated another crushingly large recall, this time affecting some 3.36 million vehicles built between 2000 and 2014 and sold in the US, Canada and Mexico. Once again, the issue surrounds the cars' ignition switches, which can be kicked out of the run position if they're carrying extra weight or if they experience a "jarring" event. In this particular case, though, GM will modify the keys, rather than the ignition itself.
A four-by-six-millimeter hole will be drilled into the key, which will more safely accommodate the weight of the key ring. As is usually the case, the work will be done free of charge. The recalled vehicles include the 2000 to 2005 Cadillac Deville, 2004 to 2005 Buick Regal LS and GS, 2004 to 2011 Cadillac DTS, 2005 to 2009 Buick Lacrosse, 2006 to 2008 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 2006 to 2011 Buick Lucerne and 2006 to 2014 Chevrolet Impala. Only the Impala is still in production, and even then, it's only sold to fleet companies.
According to an official statement from GM, there have been eight crashes and six injuries due to this latest issue. As if this isn't a dire enough blow for GM, the company has announced five smaller recalls, covering 165,000 vehicles.
In the market for a fullsize van but don't need a heavy-duty model? You're in the minority, and you're also out of luck. That's because there are barely any more fullsize vans on the market with gross vehicle weight rating of less than 8,500 pounds, the threshold that separates light- and heavy-duty vans.
According to PickupTrucks.com, neither the Ford E-Series, Ram ProMaster, nor Mercedes-Benz Sprinter are available in light-duty versions. Few of the Ford Transit configurations are, either, and now General Motors is discontinuing production of the 1500-series Chevy Express and GMC Savana.
Apparently light-duty versions accounted for just 23 percent of Express sales and only 7 percent of Savanas. Add to that the fact that these 1500 versions were the only ones using the old generation of engines and suspension, and that the Wentzville plant near St. Louis, Missouri, is trying to make room for the next Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups, and the fate of the light-duty GM van was sealed.