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12/13/2012 1:00:00 PM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

GM Unveils New Full-Size Pickups

General Motors Co. on Dec. 13 introduced redesigned versions of its full-size Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups that feature revised engines and upgrades tailored to commercial users, but which a GM leader said will see further enhancements early in their lifecycles.

With evolutionary styling that brings a more sculpted, muscular look compared to the outgoing model, the new trucks will be powered by what GM calls the EcoTec3 line of engines. Featuring the same displacements as the existing lineup, a 4.3-liter V6, 5.3-liter V8 and 6.2-liter V8, the new engines will feature cylinder deactivation, variable valve timing and direct fuel injection. GM said these are the only engines in the light-duty pickup space to offer all three of these technologies at once. While final horsepower and torque ratings won’t be released until early 2013, GM said that the V6 will have sufficient power for installation in crew cab models, while the 5.3-liter will boast more power and better efficiency than the current model. All engines are mated to a six-speed transmission.

GM North American Mark Reuss hinted to reporters, however, that the trucks’ powertrains could see updates within the next few years. While revealing little, he offered a terse “more to come” when asked if a diesel might be added to the trucks, and responded “hang loose” when asked if transmissions with more cogs might be introduced. Rival Chrysler Group LLC recently added an eight-speed automatic to its Ram 1500 pickup. Reuss told reporters that he expects the trucks to receive updates early in their product cycles, likely within the first few years.

Upgrades to the GM trucks that may appeal to commercial buyers include a step integrated into the rear bumper and a grab handle molded into the cargo bed to aid entry into the cargo bed. Trailer brake controls for both trucks move from under the dash to a control pod located to the left of the steering wheel. The pod also includes the headlight switch and a knob that controls the transfer case for four-wheel-drive models.

The cargo beds feature four moveable tie-down hooks that can be inserted into nine pre-formed holes placed around the sides and front of the bed. Each tie-town is rated to hold 500 pounds. The bed also features four fixed eyelets along the bottom of both sides of the bed. Both trucks are also available with LED lighting that rings the underside of the bed rails to aid nighttime loading and visibility for trucks with tonneau covers, GM said.

Crew cabs can now be spec’d with a 6.5-foot bed; previously, those trucks were only available with a 5.8-foot bed. The rear doors on extended cab models now get forward-hinged doors, replaces the rear-hinged doors on the outgoing model. Regular cabs will be available with the 6.6-foot or 8-foot box lengths, while the extended cab will come exclusively with a 6.6-foot bed

Inside, models with bucket seats get a console large enough to accommodate hanging file folders.

The trucks are slated to arrive in dealerships this summer GM representatives said. Pricing has not been announced.

By Light & Medium Truck

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