Auto blogWed, 18 Sep 2013
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).
Forget Corvette versus Viper. When it comes to important head-to-head comparisons, fullsize trucks are where domestic automakers really care. And until the redesigned Ford F-150 makes its debut, the Chevrolet Silverado is going to have plenty to brag about thanks to a new Consumer Reports shootout against the Ram 1500.
It was a tight race among these V8-powered titans, but the all-new 2014 Silverado (and its GMC Sierra twin) barely edged out Ram's updated pickup with a score of 81 points - enough to make it the institute's top-rated fullsize truck on the market. Its narrow victory over the Ram, which finished just three points back, was due to its superior fuel economy, better towing and payload capacity and conveniences like a lower step-in height, easy-to-use tailgate and rear bumper steps that make loading and unloading less of a chore.
Importantly, CR notes that buyers with less heavy-duty truck needs might actually prefer the Ram over the Chevrolet, since its high points include a smoother ride thanks to its coil spring rear suspension, dominant infotainment system with Uconnect, and a big thumbs up for the available Hemi engine and eight-speed automatic transmission.
General Motors has officially captured the horsepower crown for mainstream pickup trucks with its 6.2-liter V8. The big mill, available in both the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, comes to market with 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, handily outdoing its two cross-town competitors, Ram (5.7-liter V8, 395 ponies and 407 lb-ft) and Ford (6.2-liter V8, 411 hp and 434 lb-ft).
The new GM 6.2 will take a bit of an investment, though. Those that want the extra thrust will need to go with either the LTZ or High Country trims from the Chevy, or the SLT and Denali trims from GMC, which are the two highest trim levels for the respective vehicles. Trim levels aside, if you're in the business of towing, GM has you covered. Optioned with the 6.2-liter V8 and the Max Trailering Package, owners will be able to pull 12,000 pounds, a hugely impressive figure.
We still aren't certain as to what sort of economy the new engine will get, but it'll probably be a bad bet for the fuel conscious. As for availability, expect to see the 6.2-liter trucks in showrooms later in the fall.
General Motors has today unveiled its new family of fullsize SUVs, including the 2015 Chevy Tahoe, its longer Suburban sibling, and their GMC Yukon, Yukon XL and Yukon Denali cousins. More efficient powertrains, improved aerodynamics, increased connectivity and better overall refinement are what Chevy and GMC say will separate their new SUVs from the current generation.
Sporting a tried-and-true body-on-frame architecture, these full-size SUVs feature platforms that are stronger and offer a wider rear track for "a more planted stance," according to Chevy and GMC. Mounted at the front of each SUV is an EcoTec3 powertrain, which consists of a standard 355-horsepower, 5.3-liter V8 (or a 420-hp, 6.2-liter V8 for the GMC Yukon Denali alone) with direct injection, cylinder deactivation and continuously variable valve timing, that's paired with a Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission. The setup is said to be more efficient than before, though official EPA fuel economies for each vehicle are not yet available. To help the powertrain achieve the best possible fuel economy in these 5,000+ pound SUVs, the new styling was developed with aerodynamics in mind. For the same reason, electric power steering also makes its debut in the Tahoe/Suburban/Yukon family.
The front fascias of the Chevy Suburban/Tahoe and GMC Yukon are distinct, but from the base of the A-pillars back, they share most of the same styling cues. This now includes inlaid doors that tuck into the door sills, instead of over them, which improves aerodynamics and fuel economy, and lessens interior noise. The hoods and liftgate panels now are made of aluminum in an effort to reduce vehicle weight. Chevy and GMC also tout that the Tahoe/Suburban and Yukon don't share a single piece of sheetmetal or lighting element with the brands' full-size pick-up trucks.
The market for midsize pickup trucks has all but been abandoned in the US, but General Motors is about to shake the market up with the all-new (to the US) Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. Launching next year, GM already told us that its new trucks would be a "fuel-efficient alternative" to fullsize trucks, and aside from the smaller size, Automotive News says that these trucks will accomplish this with a diesel engine.
According to the AN report, the next-gen Colorado and Canyon will offer a small, four-cylinder Duramax turbo diesel with a displacement of either 2.5 or 2.8 liters - both engines are currently used in this truck for other markets. This would allow GM to join the Cummins-powered Nissan Titan and Ram 1500 EcoDiesel as the only non-HD trucks in the US to offer diesel. The article goes on to say that the diesel versions of the Colorado and Canyon would launch about a year after the trucks go into production in fall of 2014.
For nine years, Diesel Power magazine has run the Diesel Power Challenge, this year's grindfest being "a week-long torture test that features seven events, nine trucks, 8,000 horsepower, and nearly 15,000 pound-feet of torque." The road to being crowned "the most powerful truck" starts with a dyno run, and then continues through the completion of a CDL-style obstacle course, an eighth-of-a-mile drag race while towing a 10,000-pound trailer, a quarter-mile drag race without a trailer, a fuel economy test in the mountains and finally a sled-pulling test through a 300-foot-long packed-mud pit.
What kind of trucks get into such a fight? Last year's winner, for instance - who upgraded his truck this year to prove he didn't "luck into the win" - drives a 2008 Ford F-250 Super Duty with a 6.4-liter Power Stroke V8 upgraded with a custom intake, Elite Diesel triple turbos and a two-stage nitrous system. Another competitor has a 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 powered by a 5.9-liter Cummins inline-six, upgraded with Garrett turbos, dual-stage nitrous, a seven-inch exhaust stack and twin fans built into the bed to cool the Sun Coast Omega transmission. The numbers on that truck: 1,255 horsepower, and 2,063 pound-feet of torque at the wheels. Naturally, as the image above might suggest, things don't always end well.
You'll find all five videos covering this years challenge below. A scene in the dyno video sums it all up perfectly: a competitor leaves his nitrous on too long and the crew is treated to some ominous poppings, he leans out the window, throws both hands up and shouts, "Amer'ca!"
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.
At a series of industry seminars in Traverse City, MI today, General Motors executive vice president Dan Ammann gifted us with our first glimpse of the upcoming midsize pickup range from Chevrolet and GMC.
Just two slivers of nose are all we can see of the soon-to-be announced Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon, though the teaser image does make plain that the pair will follow the styling cues (at least up front) found on big brothers Silverado and Sierra.
GM hasn't given us much in the way of detail in its ultra-brief press release that accompanied the teaser image, which is to be expected. We're told only that the pair of trucks are designed to be "capable, versatile and fuel-efficient alternatives to full-size pickups" and that production will start sometime in 2014, at the Wentzville, MO assembly center.
With General Motors just having rolled out its new fullsize truck twins - the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra - for 2014, now it seems to be time to focus on its big SUVs. The Truth About Cars is reporting that the 2015 Chevy Tahoe/Suburban and 2015 GMC Yukon lineup will be making their debuts later next month at the State Fair of Texas, which kicks off on September 27.
To date, we've only seen spy shots of the new Chevy and GMC SUVs (shown above in Yukon XL guise). Based on those spies both trucks seem to be taking a different styling direction than their pickup truck counterparts - just check out the Ford-looking headlight design on the next-gen Chevys.
We reached out to GM for comment and heard back simply that there is no official announcement about the new Tahoe, Suburban and Yukon. Still, the report definitely makes a solid leap of logic, as Texas is a top market for GM's fullsize SUV lineup. It also appears that GM is still planning a separate launch for the next-gen Cadillac Escalade.
George Kennedy from Boldride.com, BMW i3, NACTOY long list, Bentley SUV
Episode #343 of the Autoblog podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth and Steven Ewing are joined by George Kennedy, Autoblog alum and Editor-in-Chief of Boldride.com. Topics include the unveiling of the BMW i3, the 2014 North American Car and Truck of the Year long list, and the green-lighted Bentley SUV. As always, we start with what's in the garage, but then answer some of your questions before diving into the week's news. For those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. You can follow along after the jump with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!
Autoblog Podcast #343: