GM’s Restyled Full-Size Pickups

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General Motors Co.

General Motors Co. has 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 life cycles.

With evolutionary styling that brings a more sculpted, muscular look compared with the outgoing models, 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 V-6, 5.3-liter V-8 and 6.2-liter V-8, 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 had not been released by press time, GM said that the V-6 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 6-speed transmission.

Despite these upgrades, GM North America President Mark Reuss hinted to reporters at the trucks’ December launch event 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 8-speed automatic to its Ram 1500 pickup.

Reuss added 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. 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 4-wheel-drive models.

© 2013, Transport Topics Publishing Group. All rights reserved.

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