News Column

Comeback Cabs: GMC Sierra, Chevy Silverado

Dec. 25, 2012

Larry Printz


GM has unveiled evolutionary redesigns of the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, which are expected to go on sale by summer.

The new trucks wear different exterior designs, with Chevrolet's aimed at a lower price point than the flashier, upmarket GMC. To emphasize the point, the GMC sports optional LED lighting bordering its headlamps.

For the first time on GM extended cab pickups, the rear doors are hinged at the front, rather than at the rear, making it easier to access the rear seat in tight parking spaces. And the front door no longer has to be opened in order to open the rear one.

Also, for the first time on GM crew cabs, buyers have a choice of bed lengths; the current 5-foot, 8-inch box, or a new 6-foot, 6- inch box.

"We've seen explosive growth in crew cabs," GM North America's president Mark Reuss said. "They've gone from zero to more than sixty percent of the market in the last 10 years."

All boxes will have four tie-down points rated at 500 pounds each. LED cargo lights, integrated beneath the bed rails, are optional for additional lighting at night.

Other new features: steps integrated into the corners of the rear bumper and a dampened tailgate that no longer slams down when opened.

Both the Silverado and Sierra will be offered with a choice of three all-new aluminum engines. A 4.3-liter V6 will be standard, while a 5.3-liter V8 and larger 6.2-liter V8 also will be available. All are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Four-wheel disc brakes are now standard.

All engines will be equipped with cylinder deactivation, allowing the engines to run on four cylinders under light load conditions to save fuel, while retaining the full power of a V8 when needed. This is counter to Ford, which has successfully sold a turbocharged V6 in the F-150.

GM didn't disclose horsepower or fuel economy figures, although Reuss hinted that a diesel engine is a future possibility. "There's a place for diesels here."

But the company did spotlight the trucks' new safety features, including forward collision alert, which uses a camera to notify the driver of an imminent collision, and lane departure warning, which uses the same camera to ensure that the truck isn't drifting out of its lane. Also new is a driver alert seat, which vibrates when one of these systems activates, as well as heated cloth seats.

Inside, both trucks sport similar instrument panels, with controls that are large enough to be used while wearing work gloves. As expected, the GMC's cabin is more upscale than Chevrolet's and has more standard equipment.

While pricing was not announced, Reuss did say that following the introduction of the pickups, GM would introduce new full-size SUVs, which use the same platform, followed by redesigned versions of the smaller GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado pickups.

"I think there will be a lot of interest because of the new technology we're bring to the trucks," Reuss said.

Source: (C) 2012 The Virginian-Pilot and The Ledger-Star, Norfolk, VA. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

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