The Truth About Cars » GMC http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 03 Sep 2015 19:10:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » GMC http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com No Fixed Abode: Denali Ain’t Just A Mountain In Alaska http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/09/no-fixed-abode-denali-aint-just-mountain-alaska/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/09/no-fixed-abode-denali-aint-just-mountain-alaska/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 13:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1158354 As those of you with access to the Internet will know, President Obama recently discovered the executive superpower to rename mountains. As a consequence, Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America and the tallest mountain in the world when the measurement is taken from the surrounding ground, is now known by the name given […]

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As those of you with access to the Internet will know, President Obama recently discovered the executive superpower to rename mountains. As a consequence, Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America and the tallest mountain in the world when the measurement is taken from the surrounding ground, is now known by the name given to it by the Athabascans: Denali.

In a prepared statement, Mr. Obama said, “With this action, I am fulfilling two of my most cherished dreams. First, I’m living the progressive dream of presiding over the surrender of a national monument to a native group. Secondly, I’m honoring my childhood memories of Mount Kenya, which rose in splendid African majesty over the place of my birth and early years.”

Just kidding, of course. Mr. Obama is as American as Dave Matthews or Steve Nash and to suggest otherwise is to lend strength to the right-wing racist slander of people like Linda Starr and Philip Berg. But enough of that twaddle. If you’re like me, your initial reaction to the news was simple: What does this mean for General Motors?


Face it: When you hear “Denali”, you think “GMC”.

The only people who don’t are certain native-born Alaskans and people who knew what a “piton” was before Krakauer published Into Thin Air. GMC has spent millions of dollars and sold hundreds of thousands of vehicles to make sure that you associate the word with a Remington-shaver grille and not a national park. If you don’t realize just how critical the Denali sub-brand is to GM’s fortunes, let me bring you up to speed.

“GMC’s Denali line represents about 23 percent of all GMC sales but is nearly 60 percent of Yukon and Yukon XL full-size SUV sales and 44 percent of Sierra HD sales.” Think about that. The plain-Jane Yukon is actually rarer than the Denali nowadays, which is a staggering fact once you consider the seventeen-thousand-dollar premium for that chrome cheese grater up front. Much of that seventeen grand is profit, and every penny is needed to balance out the continuing and inexcusably tragic implosion of GM’s passenger-car line.

Just as important, the demographics of the Denali line are beyond reproach. Buyers of the Yukon models are eight years younger than Escalade owners (46 v 54) and nearly as wealthy ($188k household income v. $200k) despite that age gap. If you read between the lines of PR comments about Denali owners, you’ll also hear a lot of socioeconomic clues about race and class. GM wrings its hands about the “athletes and rappers” image of the Escalade — “Cadillac says they wouldn’t mind retaining them, but aren’t going out of their way to attract them.” I assure you that any time a company says it “wouldn’t mind retaining” a few customers for a $90,000 product, that what they really mean is “we wish to God that we could prevent those people from driving them in public.”

The positioning of the Yukon Denali as the vehicle of choice for old money, horse-farm types, and “quietly confident” self-made business owners, compared to the old-people-and-rappers Escalade, combined with the never-ending tailspin of Cadillacs that don’t have a twelve-square-foot grille mounted at the height of the average American woman’s thorax, means that the Yukon Denali XL is, effectively, the flagship of General Motors. It’s the American S-Class, complete with a Cheap-class variant (the Acadia Denali) for the people who want the look of the premium product without the functionality or price. As such, the name is slightly less likely to disappear from GM order books than the names “Corvette” or “Silverado” no matter how politicized it becomes in the near future. If Donald Trump is re-elected and he changes the name of the mountain back, it might even cause a few progressives to shed their LX470s and Range Rovers in favor of the big GMC refrigerator, strictly as a statement of intent. “Yes, I drive a Denali, not a McKinley, thank you very much.”

Truth is, you can learn a lot about America from the place names given to GM cars in any particular era. Think of the Chevrolet Malibu: it appeared in 1964, just in time for the nation to fall in love with California. The Monte Carlo? 1970, a time when more Americans were focusing outward and looking to Europe for ideas about cars and fashion. The Pontiac Bonneville? Straight outta the power-crazed, post-war Fifties. The Cadillac Calais? An attempt to give the base ‘Lac some Continental glamour. The Celebrity Eurosport? Let’s just forget about that one.

But the choice of “Denali” twenty years ago to adorn an upscale GMC truck was one of GM’s marketing master strokes. It was the perfect name, on the perfect product, at the perfect time. At the time, the country’s upper middle class was entering a period of bizarre self-exaltation-via-self-abnegation. Bling was out: conspicuous non-consumption was in. The farmhouses of upstate New York were stripped of their rough-sawn furnishings as Manhattan housewives battled tooth and nail to make their kitchens “rustic”. David Brooks nailed it in 1998:

It is perfectly acceptable to spend lots on money on anything that is “professional quality”… You must practice one-downmanship… you will proudly dine on a two-hundred-year-old pine table that was once used for slaughtering chickens… Eventually, every object in your house will look as it had once been owned by someone much poorer than you.

The Denali, therefore, was acceptable, even desirable, “one-downmanship” from the S-Class or Siebener in your neighbors’ garages. It was “professional grade”, and it could easily be used for an expedition that your ninety-hour work-week at Goldman Sachs or Intel would never permit. Once the truly wealthy bought in to the Denali ideal, the upper middle class dutifully lined up behind them. What it means when suburban attorneys shoulder a $1700-per-month car payment they can ill afford, all in the service of pretending to be Boston Brahmin in their slummin’ truck, is an exercise I leave up to the reader.

Thus it happens that this most American of vehicles is named after a mountain in a park in a state that wasn’t even a state until after the Korean War. Nobody goes there, although it’s possible to be short-roped up the thing the same way the socialites are dragged up the side of Everest. I have no idea what the terrain around Denali looks like and neither do you. What matters is that it represents something beyond civilization:

But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can’t stand it. I been there before.

That’s what Denali is: the territory ahead that we will never reach. Instead, we’ll stay at the office for another evening of forcible civilization and Starbucks. It’s all the better for being essentially useless and inhospitable, because that helps it remain just an idea and not a place you’d use your NetJets share to visit on a long weekend.

And that’s what America has become in 2015. You live in offices and put the names of things you’ll never understand on the side of trucks you don’t need, can’t afford, and can’t even change the oil on yourself. Our president is so helpless in the face of the economy and the multinationals and the media that he resorts to apologizing to people he’s never harmed in hopes that someone will grant him absolution for crimes he didn’t commit. The daughters of your friends drive Jeeps to party schools and the daughters of the people who grow your food drive MRAPs over landmines. There are no jobs left and the ones that are available are all at Amazon, and that’s a hellhole. Every day you’re beaten over the head about your responsibility for the inevitable climate change but when you fly anywhere it’s in the middle seat of a Southwest 737, not the teak-appointed cabin of a G-Five. You don’t believe you can change anything and if you thought you could you’d be afraid to try.

No wonder, then, that the mountain is being renamed. We don’t deserve a Mount McKinley. McKinley was a winner. He protected American jobs and saved the economy and won a war and picked up Hawaii while he was at it. And when he died, the man he agreed to take as vice-president did a pretty decent job, too. We couldn’t use a guy like that nowadays; wouldn’t know what to do with him. So it’s perfectly reasonable to change Mount McKinley back to Mount Denali. Maybe Rainier will change back to Tacoma before you know it. That’s been in the works since 1921 or so, and it makes more sense. And it would free the name of Rainier to find its natural home: on the side of upscale Enclaves. Enclave Rainier. You know it makes sense. What better way to celebrate a class of vehicles, and of owners, that never looks up from the quotidian to the mountain, or, indeed, anything at all?

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Ford May Bring Ranger Back To US in 2018 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/ford-may-bring-ranger-back-us-2018/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/ford-may-bring-ranger-back-us-2018/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 15:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1152977 Ford is reportedly discussing bringing back the mid-size Ford Ranger pickup to America and Canada in its bargaining negotiations with the United Auto Workers, the Detroit News is reporting. Ford may be assembling the truck, which could be brought back as early as 2018, at its Wayne, Michigan plant. The truck would replace the outgoing C-Max and Focus […]

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Ford is reportedly discussing bringing back the mid-size Ford Ranger pickup to America and Canada in its bargaining negotiations with the United Auto Workers, the Detroit News is reporting.

Ford may be assembling the truck, which could be brought back as early as 2018, at its Wayne, Michigan plant. The truck would replace the outgoing C-Max and Focus at the plant. Ford announced production of those two products would move to Mexico in 2018.

The last U.S.-spec Ranger was most recently produced at Ford’s St. Paul, Minnesota plant, which shuttered in 2011.

According to sources, the formal decision would need to be ratified by Ford executives and the union’s board.

According to the report, Ford was enticed by the small, but growing, mid-size pickup segment. Although the segment only accounted for 227,000 sales in 2013, it is expected to grow in coming years. Toyota’s Tacoma dominates the segment, accounting for more than half of the segment’s sales, but General Motors’ Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon could slowly gain a higher market share.

Ford produces the Ranger in Thailand, South Africa and Argentina for 180 global markets including Mexico. Recently, Ford announced it would produce the Ranger in Nigeria.

It’s unlikely that Ford would would bring the global Ranger to America without significant modifications for safety and fuel economy. The Ranger’s size and classification places it firmly in the CAFE “dead zone,” which could make it difficult for Ford to find a suitable (read: efficient) powertrain.

The Ranger was last redesigned in 2011 and facelifted in 2015. A redesign for the Ranger would align with the 2018 production start date in Wayne. The C-Max and Focus are scheduled to leave that plant in 2018 as well.

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2016 Toyota Tacoma Review – Full-size Silent Assassin http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/2016-toyota-tacoma-review-full-size-silent-assassin/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/2016-toyota-tacoma-review-full-size-silent-assassin/#comments Mon, 17 Aug 2015 16:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1143473 2016 Toyota Tacoma 4×4 Engines 3.5-liter D4S (direct and port injection) Atkinson cycle V-6 with variable valve intake and exhaust (278 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm; 265 pounds-feet @ 4,600 rpm). 2.7-liter DOHC I-4 with variable valve intake (159 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm; 180 pounds-feet @ 3,800 rpm) Transmissions Standard 5-speed manual (2.7-liter); optional 6-speed automatic […]

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2016 Toyota Tacoma 4×4

Engines
3.5-liter D4S (direct and port injection) Atkinson cycle V-6 with variable valve intake and exhaust (278 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm; 265 pounds-feet @ 4,600 rpm).
2.7-liter DOHC I-4 with variable valve intake (159 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm; 180 pounds-feet @ 3,800 rpm)

Transmissions
Standard 5-speed manual (2.7-liter); optional 6-speed automatic with ECT (2.7-liter)
Standard 6-speed manual (3.5-liter); optional 6-speed automatic with ECT (3.5-liter)

Fuel Economy Ratings
19 mpg city/ 21 mpg highway/ 20 mpg combined (2.7-liter 5-speed manual 4×4)
19/23/21 (2.7-liter 6-speed automatic 4×2)
19/22/20 (2.7-liter 6-speed automatic 4×4)
19/24/21 (3.5-liter 6-speed automatic 4×2)
17/21/19 (3.5-liter 6-speed manual 4×4)
18/23/20 (3.5-liter 6-speed automatic 4×4)

MSRP
Prices start at $24,185 *and go up to $38,705*.
*Price includes $885 destination

Let’s get this out of the way first: there is no groan long enough or loud enough for how I feel about the 2016 Toyota Tacoma’s ballyhooed interior GoPro mount. The 30 cents of branded plastic to film your “eXtreme!” adventures feels more contrived and commercially unnecessary than a TedX talk at your nearest community college. It’s there, it’s usable and I want to talk about the tens of thousands of other parts around that windshield mount.

For the most part, the world of mid-sized pickups has stayed the same since the Clinton administration. (I mean Bill’s years for anyone reading this in 2017.)

Updated slightly in 2005, but mostly unchanged since the 1990s, the Toyota Tacoma has stayed firmly ahead of its time despite playing catch up to the full-size galoots. What I mean is, the Tacoma has a habit of selling far more at the end of its lifecycle than it does at the beginning. Go fig.

For example, take the last year for the Tacoma. Despite being a truck that hasn’t changed much for 10 years, the Tacoma managed to sell more than 17,000 trucks in July, its best sales month ever, en route to 180,000 sales this year, which would be its best sales year, ever. By volume, the Tacoma is the fifth best-selling truck in America, just behind the GMC Sierra, and well behind the three domestic full-size big boys. (The, um, new Tundra was sixth, by the way.)

Plummeting gas prices has helped moved metal, and so has cheap money, but the Tacoma is a very, very solid pickup and the growing chasm between reality and the price of a full-size truck leaves something to be desired for $25,000-$30,000 out the door.

So why fix something that isn’t broken? Toyota said it had nothing to do with Chevrolet and GMC hopping into the mid-size market with the Colorado and Canyon respectively. It doesn’t even have anything to do with the new Nissan Frontier coming to market soon too.

Nope, Toyota says it updated the Tacoma to step on the necks of the others and bring forward the Tacoma into the 21st century. This is as close as Toyota will get to going for the jugular.

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Exterior
The Tacoma falls into the corporate lockstep by following closely the Tundra’s front-end design. Its chunkier face, with a more open trapezoidal grille, is bookended by two LED headlights with daytime running lamps and a more angular hood. The Tacoma’s lower jaw gets a little bit of an underbite this year with its black cladded front air dam, and the fog lamps are now visually connected with black plastic all the way across its front.2016_Toyota_Tacoma_(5_of_21)

From the side, the Tacoma looks virtually unchanged from last year, and the rear end would be the same story if it weren’t for the stamped tailgate with the words “TACOMA” to tell the world what you’re driving. The rear bumper is in three pieces, which is handy for something that probably will see a lot of action in its lifetime, but the front bumper is still one piece, which seemed weird.

The Tacoma’s handsome proportions stay the same. The hood looks like it takes up more than one-third of the overall 127.4-inch wheelbase (140.6 with a long bed) and the rear end takes more than a third as well. The Tacoma’s two cab configurations — Access and Double Cab — gets sandwiched in the middle, which gives the Tacoma a muscular, compact look.

According to Toyota, more than 80 percent of the Tacomas on the road will be Double Cabs, 85 percent will be V-6, and 97 percent will be with an automatic transmission. Consequently, it wears the four doors most naturally, with the shorter Access Cab models looking somewhat incomplete. All of the models we had a chance to drive were four-door, V-6, automatic and 4×4, so we can’t really report on any variation outside of that.

(P.S. Reps from Toyota said the only people who actually buy four-cylinder Tacomas are Northeasterners who are likely to be upset that the “low boy” 4×2 is gone for this generation, and that they only account for 1 out of every 10 sales.)

All of the 2016 Tacomas will be built on the same tall chassis, regardless of whether they have a transfer case. Whether by design or by accident, the deeply black wheel wells hide the Tacoma’s wheels and tires, and it was hard for us to tell the difference between the available 16-, 17- and 18-inch wheel sizes. (The latter is standard on Limited trim only.)

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Interior
The interior of the 2016 Tacoma received more extensive improvements than the exterior did. Inside, most Tacomas will wear either a 6.1- or 7-inch touchscreen display with Entune apps, six speakers, Bluetooth, USB connectivity, and Siri Eyes Free. For the most part, the system is easy to use and straightforward, except the integrated navigation system commits the cardinal sin of not being usable when the car is in motion. Like other writers here, I sincerely wish automakers would use the passenger-side airbag sensor to determine whether someone else were riding along and unlock commands when a passenger is present. It would be helpful to use that touchscreen sometimes.Toyota Tacoma Limited 35

A useful 4-inch multifunction display in the instrument cluster relays vital information (and looks like a Camry, by the way) including tire pressure, temps and fuel range. Thankfully, the Tacoma’s outdated tachometer and speedometer have been replaced with smaller, plainer dials that ditch the white halo and just give me the straight dope.

The interior, including door inserts, dash and seats, are a stitched together combination of medium-grade fabrics, passable vinyl and touchable, textured hard plastics. In all, I’m thankful that the Tacoma is so readily rough and tumble — especially in lower trims — but I don’t feel the same way about its touchscreen infotainment system. I’ve coated one of those things in dust before and it’s a mess to clean. It also doesn’t feel like it’d be particularly useful with gloves on.

Thankfully, every trim above the SR model (which goes SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road and Limited) gets a leather-wrapped steering wheel that’s firm and comfortable to grip, albeit with limited telescoping ability.

Last generation’s Neolithic climate control knobs have been replaced with a more modern, compact LCD system (dual-climate controls are standard in Limited, available in TRD Off Road and Sport packages) that’s easy to read and isn’t lifted from any other Toyota that I recognize. I like that.

Gated shifter? Check. Hand operated parking brake? Check. Better transmission boot around the shifter? I can’t fault any of these things.

I would, however, like for Toyota to revisit the ergonomics of its steering wheel-mounted controls. Anyone who can naturally find the volume control without looking gets a cookie. It’s impossible.

(Interior images provided by the manufacturer)

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Powertrain
The biggest news this year is the outgoing 4-liter V-6, which is giving way to a smaller, more potent 3.5-liter Atkinson cycle V-6 with direct and port injection.

And the latter mill makes the most of available technology from Toyota. The Tacoma is the first Toyota-branded vehicle to use direct and port injection (direct is used to make lower speeds more efficient, port is used at higher rpms to boost available output) and the first truck application for that system. Paired with a smaller displacement and an Atkinson cycle, the new Tacoma powertrain manages 15 percent to 20 percent better fuel economy, all while gaining 42 horsepower. The only sacrifice: the Tacoma loses its distinctive roar.

2016_Toyota_Tacoma_(8_of_21)The 4-liter’s noise is gone and has been replaced by the quiet hum of the 3.5-liter V6. Although Toyota never wants to use the word Tacoma and Camry in the same breath, their relationship is undeniable. The new Tacoma drives like a Camry, and that’s not altogether bad.

Toyota didn’t make available its I-4, nor did they want to talk about it all that much. Including that engine in the newest generation of Tacoma didn’t wholly make a lot of sense to me, and I wouldn’t be completely surprised if a version of their turbo four (beefed up for truck duty) made its way into the lineup sometime soon.

Power is handed off to the Tacoma’s 6-speed automatic (for both I-4 and V-6), 5-speed manual (I-4 only) or 6-speed manual (V-6). The smooth-shifting automatic had an easy time keeping the revs low on the street, but required more guidance off road. Without using ECT (gear holding) or engaging the Tacoma’s low-range, the truck searched for gears on dirt roads and felt a little too eager to shift up. That could be inevitable to achieve higher fuel economy ratings, but it’s noticeable.

In TRD Off Road packages the Tacoma gains a crawl control feature that famously unsticks it from sand, or traverses down a mountain. You could make a case that serious off roaders who are interested in banging their Tacomas around the mountain probably don’t need automated throttle controls or advanced hill descent features, but I don’t know many people who could manage to unbury all four wheels. Bring on the robots.

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Drive
It takes an enormous amount of confidence to update a truck that’s selling so well now, and Toyota is smarter than to stifle its own success.

In reality, Toyota didn’t do much to its Tacoma that couldn’t have been done before. A different head unit, some better interior materials and better packaging isn’t revolutionary — they’re evolutionary.

The 3.5-liter V-6 does its best to replace an engine that wasn’t great to begin with, and it’s a solid start. The Tacoma is a comfortable drive and a capable off roader.

The Tacoma doesn’t go for the throats of the other mid-size truck makers, and it certainly doesn’t exhibit any killer instinct. In reality, the Tacoma is just a killer pickup, and that’s it.

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2015 GMC Sierra Crew Cab Review – America: The Truck http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/2015-gmc-sierra-crew-cab-review-america-truck/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/2015-gmc-sierra-crew-cab-review-america-truck/#comments Tue, 11 Aug 2015 19:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1138058 2015 GMC Sierra Crew Cab SLT 4×4 6.2-liter OHV V-8, direct injection, cylinder deactivation, CVVT (420 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm; 460 lbs-ft @ 4,100 rpm) Hydra-Matic 8L90 8-speed automatic 15 city/21 highway/17 combined (EPA Rating, MPG) 16.5 mpg, mostly city driving while yelling “AMERICA!” at full trot. (Observed, MPG) Tested Options: 6.2L Ecotec3 V-8, navigation, polished exhaust tips, sunroof, spray-in bedliner. As […]

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2015 GMC Sierra Crew Cab SLT 4×4
6.2-liter OHV V-8, direct injection, cylinder deactivation, CVVT (420 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm; 460 lbs-ft @ 4,100 rpm)

Hydra-Matic 8L90 8-speed automatic

15 city/21 highway/17 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

16.5 mpg, mostly city driving while yelling “AMERICA!” at full trot. (Observed, MPG)

Tested Options: 6.2L Ecotec3 V-8, navigation, polished exhaust tips, sunroof, spray-in bedliner.

As Tested (U.S.):
$52,300 w/ $1,195 destination charge (sheet)
As Tested (Canada):
$59,615 w/ $1,795 destination charge and A/C tax (sheet)

A farm, lots of mud thanks to rain from the previous day, and a dose of sunshine to dry out the ground just enough so my feet wouldn’t lose their boots in the slop. This is the perfect location — along with the perfect conditions — to test one of the latest from the pickup crop, the 2015 GMC Sierra.

Or is it?

Under the hood of the SLT-trimmed Sierra sits a V-8 less suited to farm duty and better equipped for automotive trolling.

Before we get into the meat and potatoes of the Sierra, I have a small announcement to make. TTAC now has an off-road area for testing trucks and SUVs. Sort of. It probably won’t be fully available for us for a little while, but shenanigans will be had before the end of the summer. Here’s hoping the automakers send us some metal so we can put it to the test at this newfound playland.

As for this Sierra, well, it isn’t a farm truck. Hell, it’s barely a work truck. The Sierra is available in four different trim levels — base, SLE, SLT and the top-trim Denali. Our SLT-trimmed tester arrived with its bench seat still intact, which is great for mid-summer-romance canoodling and one of the reasons girls dig guys with trucks, maybe.

Interior configuration aside, the real news for this Sierra is under the hood. The 6.2-liter Ecotec3 V-8, with its 420 horsepower and 460 pounds-feet of torque, is a nod to old-school solutions to making power and a pragmatic approach to efficiency. The pushrod V-8 might sound antiquated next to the new turbo and diesel units from Ford and Dodge, but that doesn’t make it any less valid.

2015 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT 4x4 6.2 (1 of 25)

Powertrain
Big power, these days, is easy to make. When you can go out and buy a family sedan with over 700 horsepower for under $100,000, power is almost insignificant — unless you are also trying to pair that power with fuel economy.

Previously only available on the chrome-laden Denali, the 6.2-liter V-8 now finds its way to lesser, more restrained trims like this SLT model — and it’s a punisher. Paired with fairly unassuming looks, the bigger V-8 will give a lot of performance cars a run for their money. We aren’t talking M3-beating performance here. After all, regardless of what you folks may think, I am not completely delusional. Yet, with this combination you could definitely catch a few people off-guard at stop lights.

That would be completely true if it wasn’t for the incredible amount of latency experienced from a standing start. It feels like you can count the number of seconds between your foot depresses the accelerator and the V-8 comes to life. The experience is painful. At busy intersections, you are left questioning the Sierra’s ability to get out of its own way and, more importantly, that of oncoming cross traffic. Why that latency exists, I’m not quite sure. It could be a matter of many causes. It surely isn’t because the engine is lacking power or torque, however.

The modern six-speed automatic transmissions from GM have always impressed me with their smooth-shifting antics regardless of the lazy speed in which they perform those shifts, but the eight-speed slushbox in our tester seems to have lost a little bit of its refinement while still retaining its lethargic nature. Paired with the big eight-cylinder engine, shifts can be abrupt at mid-throttle and deeper into the revs. Thankfully, when putting around town, the Hydra-Matic 8L90 exhibits the same silky demeanor as its six-geared counterpart.

In reality, the eight-speed is meant to deliver increased efficiency and not Rolls-Royce shift quality. In that regard, and in combination with the L86’s cylinder deactivation turning the V-8 into a V-4, direct injection, and CVVT, the V-8 is rated similarly to the Ram 1500’s 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 on fuel economy while delivering 25 more horsepower and 50 more pounds-feet of torque. I call that a win. For the turbo and diesel averse, it’s a no brainer if you’re looking for big numbers. And comparing the Ecotec3 with the HEMI gives GM a win for payload and towing by multiples of hundreds of pounds — when properly equipped, of course.

2015 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT 4x4 6.2 (18 of 25)

Exterior
This category is the only one that separates a GMC from a lesser Chevrolet and it’s also wholly subjective. Personally, I’d take the Sierra over the Silverado for the extra half sandwich it costs for a cleaner, three-lettered grille and headlights that don’t appear to be lifted from one of Michael Bay’s “Transformers.” Aft of the front fascia, the two trucks — save their badging and color choices — are completely identical.

Compared with the F-150, the Sierra looks much more restrained and professional, less Tonka-like and thrown together. Ignoring that the Ram Rebel grille exists, I think the FCA offering is the most handsome of the domestics — and easily much better looking than the Tundra and Titan. Again, wholly subjective.

In profile, the squared-off wheel wells are trimmed well in off-road-looking plastic. However, ignoring that GM design cue, the Sierra and Silverado are slab-sided pickups — and that’s totally, perfectly, absolutely okay. The day I see a BMW-esque flame surfacing on a pickup is the day I give up on humanity.

Around back, GM ignores fancy RamBox and Ford retract-a-step features for customizable anchoring solutions and a notch cut into the bumper for pickup bed ingress. GM seems much more pragmatic when it comes to their trucks, preferring simpler, usable solutions over flashy, marketing-friendly buzzword features like those found on Fords and Rams.

But, if there’s one thing that bugs me about GM trucks, it’s the bed. I will freely admit this is something my somewhat OCD brain thinks is an issue and probably isn’t … but! the ridges in the bed floor are all wrong. Being someone who hauls motorcycles in the pickup beds, I like the very middle ridge in the bed floor to go down, not up, so I can put the tires of the motorcycle I am hauling in the center groove and know for certain the weight of said motorcycle is evenly distributed side-to-side. Also, it helps ease my unfounded worries that the motorcycle tires will slip to one side or the other riding atop one of the ridges. Yes, I know this is a me issue.

2015 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT 4x4 6.2 (19 of 25)

Interior
If you want a quiet place to do your work, you can’t find a much better cabin than that of GM’s full-size pickups. Thanks to clever sealing solutions and active noise cancellation, the Sierra is “library silent” — that is unless you put your foot down for a quick scoot to 60 as the 6.2 still makes enough of a ruckus to be heard loud and clear.

If you order a Sierra without the optional captain’s chairs up front, the middle can be used as a console or additional seat for drive-in theater trips. Also, since the console isn’t fixed, the floor space is open from side to side. Transporting a very important package along with a very important person? You can keep both up front.

The seats themselves, while they do provide a wide range of adjustability along with the moveable steering wheel and pedals, didn’t provide the best comfort. It wasn’t until the very end of the week that I found a seating/pedal/steering wheel position combination where I was somewhat comfortable. The seat leather is just fair. The overall design of the interior is OK.

In the back row of our crew cab tester, space is ample and the seats are easy as pie to fold up. There is no latching. They simply flip up and stay there — sometimes. If you plan on traversing some rougher roads, those latchless seats will flip back down without warning.

All that said, I like the Ram interior more overall, but this bests the F-150 in my eyes.

2015 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT 4x4 6.2 (21 of 25)

Infotainment
I still do not understand how navigation is an option on a $50,000 pickup, especially when the cost of it is probably negligible for the automaker. On a base model? Sure, make people pay for the ability to find their way in an automated fashion across the country. In an almost top-trim truck, well, you’re just taking the piss.

Maybe my brain is wired a bit differently than Aaron’s father — that’s the guinea pig yardstick Aaron uses to figure out if a system is user-friendly or not — because GM’s system always confuses me. On top of that, the screen is so damn far away from the driver. If you need to do anything on the infotainment system while driving, you need to move ahead just short of unbuckling yourself to reach the screen.

2015 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT 4x4 6.2 (8 of 25)

Drive
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to test the Sierra with a load, but the unloaded drive gives a good impression of its capabilities. Effortless power. A smooth (for a pickup) ride. I just wish I was a bit more comfortable.

There’s something to be said for a big, American-style V-8. The Sierra, unlike the EcoBoost F-150, will put a 6.2-liter-sized grin on your face. This is about as close as you can get to a muscle car with a bed in the back. I’d even go far as to say this particular truck probably has more in common with the muscle cars of yesteryear than the modern muscle cars of today to their forebears. It’s unapologetic and without flash. Just a truck with a big engine that does exactly as its throaty lump advertises. The 6.2-liter L89 will completely embarrass that Craigslist Ferrari you’ve been eyeballing and be less of a basket case when it comes to repairs in the long run — not that you’d cross shop the two.

Yet, I cannot emphasize enough that this truck isn’t a workhorse. It might have the capability, but it’s too dear to be used around the cabbage patch. As a family hauler with the might to tow along a travel trailer or boat, however, it would feel right at home.

General Motors provided the vehicle and insurance for this review.

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GM Investing $877M into Flint Pickup Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/gm-investing-877m-into-flint-pickup-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/gm-investing-877m-into-flint-pickup-plant/#comments Tue, 04 Aug 2015 16:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1133409 General Motors will spend $877 million to upgrade its Flint, Michigan pickup plant, the automaker announced Tuesday. The assembly plant, which is the oldest GM factory in North America, will get a new body shop as part of the investment along with general improvements. The plant makes full-size trucks for GM, including heavy duty versions. […]

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GM Truck Assembly Flint

General Motors will spend $877 million to upgrade its Flint, Michigan pickup plant, the automaker announced Tuesday.

The assembly plant, which is the oldest GM factory in North America, will get a new body shop as part of the investment along with general improvements.

The plant makes full-size trucks for GM, including heavy duty versions.

The $877 million improvement was the final plant improvement announcement for the automaker, who said in April that it was spending more than $5.4 billion at its facilities.

Last month, GM announced it would spend $1.4 billion at its Arlington, Texas SUV plant for a new body shop and paint shop. That plant makes full-size SUVs for several automakers including the Cadillac Escalade and Chevrolet Suburban.

In 2011, GM announced a $1 billion investment for the Flint plant, which included a new paint shop. According to GM, the Flint Truck Assembly plant is a destination for truck buyers who want to watch their trucks roll off the assembly line.

Construction is scheduled to begin on the new facility in 2016 and will be complete in 2018.

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Piston Slap: 6L80E…eeeeeek? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/piston-slap-6l80e-eeeeeek/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/piston-slap-6l80e-eeeeeek/#comments Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1132041   Nathaniel writes: Sajeev, Long time listener, first-time caller. I’m responding to your plea for new Piston Slap questions. I purchased a gently-used 2008 GMC Yukon Denali AWD a couple of months ago. Other than its appetite for fuel, the only negative is that it has 141,000 miles. I believe the previous owner changed the […]

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gearshift

Leather is better. (photo courtesy: image.automotive.com)

Nathaniel writes:

Sajeev,

Long time listener, first-time caller. I’m responding to your plea for new Piston Slap questions. I purchased a gently-used 2008 GMC Yukon Denali AWD a couple of months ago. Other than its appetite for fuel, the only negative is that it has 141,000 miles. I believe the previous owner changed the transmission fluid at 100,000 miles (Carfax shows that the transfer case fluid was changed at this point, and I can’t imagine doing that and not doing the transmission). The fluid was relatively clean but I changed out several quarts via the dipstick tube using a fluid extractor after I purchased the vehicle, replacing them with the specified Dexron-VI. I believe the fluid level is correct but it’s difficult to read.

On a recent road trip, the 6-speed automatic (6L80E) transmission stumbled during the 2-3 shift while driving through the mountains and went into a failsafe mode. The check engine light came on. I pulled over, turned the ignition off and on again, and the truck operated normally. The CEL remained on for the next several ignition cycles. When I called OnStar to obtain the fault code, they could not retrieve it because the CEL was no longer on.

I was able to reproduce the problem by giving the truck wide open throttle. The 1-2 shift occurred normally. The 2-3 shift was delayed (the engine revved higher than the normal shift point of about 5,500 rpm), it eventually shifted into 3rd, and stayed there. The CEL lit up and the truck slowed down to about 40 mph, but it eventually allowed me to speed up, staying in 3rd the entire time. I pulled over, turned the ignition off and on again, and again it was back to normal. I called OnStar again, and they pulled codes P0700 (a generic code indicating a transmission problem) and P2714 (clutch pressure control solenoid stuck off). The CEL disappeared after a few ignition cycles.

A few TSBs, #PIP4304A and #PIP4184B, and 09-07-30-004A, appear to be on point. I’m not that familiar with how automatic transmissions work, but the TSBs appear to involve disassembly of the transmission and the possible replacement of valves, control modules, etc., which sounds fairly involved. I have not noticed a delay in the engagement of forward gears after putting it in drive, which I think is mentioned in one or more of the TSBs.

There appear to be no other mechanical problems with the truck. I see the options as follows:

  1. Do nothing for now, try to avoid full throttle upshifts, see whether the problem gets worse (how much danger is there in doing this?);
  2. Bring it to the selling (GM) dealer, beg for mercy on the cost of any repairs since they only sold me the car a couple of months ago (on the theory that any assistance they might provide is less and less likely as time goes by); or
  3. Take to an independent transmission shop. (Does anyone actually do repairs anymore or do they try to swap in a remanufactured transmission?)

Any advice?

Thanks,

Nathaniel

Sajeev answers:

Fantastic assessment, especially the two hyperlinks. Kinda sad, however: the 6L80E is quite an impressive gearbox most of the time, like the robust GM 4-speeds before it. However, if your vehicle is (one of?) the first GM trucks using this gearbox, perhaps teething problems are par for the course.

Since you did the work for me, I’ll be brief:

  1. Not a bad idea, because this problem will likely take a long time to get bad enough to warrant removal/rebuild.
  2. A better idea: talk to your salesperson and ask for a referral to the service manager. Granted its a 6-7 year old vehicle with well over 100,000 miles, but there could be some goodwill in your purchase. Maybe a steep discount, hopefully a free diagnosis of PIP4184B (as per your Corvetteforum.com thread) with their fancy pants Tech 2 diagnostic gizmo.
  3. Consider this after 1 and 2 run their course. Also consider something like a Jasper reman gearbox shipped to the mechanic of your choice; whatever works best in your part of the country.

I’d start with #2. If the dealership deems the fix within their tolerance for goodwill repairs, that’ll be great! If not, stick with #1 until the gearbox’s bad behavior is unbearable: save your repair/diagnosis for a bigger problem. Adding a new valve body to a gearbox that might have 140,000 hard, clutch-wearing miles of towing by the previous owner isn’t my idea of money well spent. You never know!

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Colorado, Canyon Diesels Pricy Propositions With $3,730 Premiums http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/colorado-canyon-diesels-pricy-propositions-with-3730-premiums/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/colorado-canyon-diesels-pricy-propositions-with-3730-premiums/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 20:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1127001 When the 2016 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon start arriving at dealer lots this fall, they’ll be sporting more than an additional diesel option under the hood. Monroney stickers will be afflicted with much higher prices to the tune of $3,730 more than an equally equipped V-6 model. However, you will get increased towing capability […]

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2016 Chevrolet Colorado 2.8L Duramax Turbo Diesel

When the 2016 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon start arriving at dealer lots this fall, they’ll be sporting more than an additional diesel option under the hood. Monroney stickers will be afflicted with much higher prices to the tune of $3,730 more than an equally equipped V-6 model.

However, you will get increased towing capability thanks to a standard towing package, improved fuel efficiency, and a diesel engine brake to minimize wear on brake components.

2016 GMC Canyon SLE

According to GM, the trucks will get their 181 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque from “the cleanest diesel truck engine ever produced” by the company. The cleanliness of the diesel mill is due in part to cooled exhaust gas recirculation, says the release. The GM midsize twins will also use diesel exhaust fluid for cleaner emissions. It is recommended the DEF be topped up with each oil change at around 7,500 miles depending on vehicle usage, said Otie McKinley, Chevrolet’s representative in change of Trucks and Colorado.

Towing capacity is best with 2WD models at 7,700 pounds, an increase of 700 pounds over the V-6 model. Adding 4WD brings the tow rating down to 7,600 pounds. Keeping your load in control is a smart exhaust brake based on a similar system used in Silverado and Sierra HD trucks.

The Colorado and Canyon are now available for order.

2016 Chevrolet Colorado 2.8L Duramax Turbo Diesel

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Instead of Mid-engined ‘Vette, Expect a New Malibu in 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/instead-mid-engined-vette-expect-new-malibu-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/instead-mid-engined-vette-expect-new-malibu-2016/#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2015 22:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1123513 Next year for General Motors could be defined by a new lower, longer Spark, production starting on the Bolt and a convertible Camaro, according to Automotive News’ facts and factoids department. The automotive publication posted a speculative timeline of cars that may or may not be in GM’s future, including fuzzy details on a mid-engined Corvette that […]

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2016-Chevrolet-Malibu-007

Next year for General Motors could be defined by a new lower, longer Spark, production starting on the Bolt and a convertible Camaro, according to Automotive News’ facts and factoids department.

The automotive publication posted a speculative timeline of cars that may or may not be in GM’s future, including fuzzy details on a mid-engined Corvette that may or may not happen in or around the year 2020.

In case you’re wondering, we don’t know either.

The timeline includes tantalizing details that GMC may be looking at adapting the Chevrolet Trax — which could be called the “GMC Granite” — and that the Colorado/Canyon may finally get an off-road ZR2 edition next year.

The story also summarizes their earlier claim that GM will be shrinking the Equinox and offering a new, mid-size crossover based on the current Traverse. Cadillac wasn’t included in their analysis, but the automotive publication spelled the death for the Chevrolet SS. We can’t have nice things.

A redesigned Malibu will see the light of day next year, and the curtain may fall on the Spark EV.

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Ford Announces Nearly $60K-to-Start “Limited” F-150 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-announces-nearly-60k-start-limited-f-150/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-announces-nearly-60k-start-limited-f-150/#comments Tue, 21 Jul 2015 19:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1121473 Ford announced Tuesday its new range-topping truck, the F-150 Limited, which will go on sale this winter. The Limited replaces the Platinum as the most you can pay for an F-150, and while the automaker didn’t specify how much the Limited may cost, it’s clear it will be knocking on the door of $60,000 — if not […]

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2016 Ford F-150 Limited

Ford announced Tuesday its new range-topping truck, the F-150 Limited, which will go on sale this winter. The Limited replaces the Platinum as the most you can pay for an F-150, and while the automaker didn’t specify how much the Limited may cost, it’s clear it will be knocking on the door of $60,000 — if not kicking it down.

Limited only in name, not in price, Ford’s newest F-150 is aiming to push average transaction prices higher and further than they’ve ever gone before. According to Reuters, the average price paid for a pickup was $42,429 so far this year.

The Limited model sports 22-inch wheels, a 3.5-liter EcoBoost turbocharged V6, 360-degree cameras and massaging seats.

The F-150 Limited will take head-on the Ram 1500 Limited and GMC Sierra 1500 Denali, which cost $51,370 and $51,160 respectively.

In addition to unique exterior and polished aluminum wheels, the F-150 Limited sports four colors: Shadow Black, Magnetic, Blue Jeans (!) and White Platinum Metallic.

The new Limited trim features all of the interior goodies available: Ford’s Sync infotainment system, panoramic sunroof, cross-traffic alerts, remote start and tailgate release, and a laser-engraved production number plate on the center console that shows the position of your truck in the likely five-figure “limited” production run.

2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited

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Report: Chevrolet Prepping for New Mid-size Three-row Crossover http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/report-chevrolet-prepping-new-mid-size-crossover/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/report-chevrolet-prepping-new-mid-size-crossover/#comments Mon, 20 Jul 2015 17:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1120097 Chevrolet will slot a new mid-sized crossover between the Equinox and Traverse in coming years, Automotive News is reporting. Three sources within General Motors confirmed the new Chevrolet crossover would be dervied from Cadillac’s upcoming XT5, which is replacing the SRX next spring. The upcoming Chevy model’s architecture would be a shortened version of the Traverse, which is […]

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1024px-2011_Chevrolet_Equinox_LTZ_--_03-09-2011

Chevrolet will slot a new mid-sized crossover between the Equinox and Traverse in coming years, Automotive News is reporting.

Three sources within General Motors confirmed the new Chevrolet crossover would be dervied from Cadillac’s upcoming XT5, which is replacing the SRX next spring. The upcoming Chevy model’s architecture would be a shortened version of the Traverse, which is built on the Lambda platform. According to the story, GM will move the Equinox to the smaller D2XX platform — shared with the Chevy Cruze, Orlando, Volt, GMC Terrain and Opel Astra — by 2017 to make room for the three-row crossover.

The new, unnamed crossover will target the Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota Highlander and could be powered by a 2-liter turbo four, a 3.6-liter V6 or perhaps a hybrid power plant.

The report also details Chevrolet’s position to directly compete with Ford’s Escape-Edge-Explorer trio for crossover sales. The Edge isn’t a three-row crossover in the U.S. (it’s offered in three row, long-wheelbase configuration in China), but Chevrolet’s unnamed crossover would sport a third row of seats.

GMC would use the new mid-size crossover as their Acadia, as sales of that full-size crossover have dwindled in recent years. The Cadillac XT5 will go on sale next spring. There’s no mention of a Buick crossover to sit between the D2XX-based Envision and full-size Enclave, assuming the latter stays full-size along with the Traverse.

The story also said Cadillac won’t use the longer Traverse as a platform for a full-size crossover it’s working on.

Or, this could be an elaborate test to see if the market will bear yet another crossover.

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General Motors Investing $1.4B into Texas SUV Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/general-motors-investing-1-4b-texas-suv-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/general-motors-investing-1-4b-texas-suv-plant/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2015 21:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1116713 General Motors announced Wednesday it would invest $1.4 billion into its Arlington Assembly Plant, which produces SUVs. The investment will create a new paint shop, body shop and “general assembly area upgrades” for the plant that produces Chevrolet Tahoes and Suburbans, GMC Yukons and Yukon XLs and Cadillac Escalades. Construction will take three years and plant […]

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GM Arlington Plant

General Motors announced Wednesday it would invest $1.4 billion into its Arlington Assembly Plant, which produces SUVs.

The investment will create a new paint shop, body shop and “general assembly area upgrades” for the plant that produces Chevrolet Tahoes and Suburbans, GMC Yukons and Yukon XLs and Cadillac Escalades.

Construction will take three years and plant operations won’t be impacted, GM said.

GM received tax incentives from Arlington for the plant expansion in April. According to minutes from the Arlington City Council, the plant will add 589 new jobs as a result of the expansion.

The announced $1.4 billion for the Arlington plant comes ahead of GM’s negotiations with the United Auto Workers, which will focus on pay raises for “second-tier” workers hired after the recession.

GM said it will invest $5.4 billion in U.S. manufacturing over the next three years. GM says it has identified $4.5 billion in improvements so far.

 

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General Motors Reveals Updates to 2016 GMC Sierra [Video] http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/general-motors-reveals-updates-2016-gmc-sierra-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/general-motors-reveals-updates-2016-gmc-sierra-video/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2015 18:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1116569 General Motors is revealing its updates to the 2016 GMC Sierra lineup days after Chevrolet revealed its new face for the 2016 Silverado. In a video posted to its YouTube channel (via Automotive News), GMC trotted out the new front fascias, bumpers and C-shaped LED daytime running lamps for the full-size pickup. The video shows three trims of […]

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2016 GMC Sierra 1500

General Motors is revealing its updates to the 2016 GMC Sierra lineup days after Chevrolet revealed its new face for the 2016 Silverado.

In a video posted to its YouTube channel (via Automotive News), GMC trotted out the new front fascias, bumpers and C-shaped LED daytime running lamps for the full-size pickup.

The video shows three trims of the GMC Sierra 1500, including Denali (pictured below), SLT and All-Terrain, all with unique front ends and in varying levels of chrome-iness.

In addition to the bumpers, daytime lights and front fascia, the new Sierra will have C-shaped LED taillights.

2016 GMC Sierra Denali

GMC said more details about the truck would be released in “coming months.”

On Monday, Chevrolet announced the Silverado would be sporting a body-colored grille and two strips of LED lights on higher trim levels.

Here’s the video:

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Confirmed: Isuzu N-Series Will Be Sold by Chevrolet in U.S. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/confirmed-isuzu-n-series-will-be-sold-by-chevrolet-in-u-s/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/confirmed-isuzu-n-series-will-be-sold-by-chevrolet-in-u-s/#comments Mon, 15 Jun 2015 16:18:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1092825 As previously rumored, General Motors and Isuzu confirmed today they’ve “reached an agreement on a U.S. commercial vehicle collaboration” that sees low cab forward trucks making their way to our shores with bowties. Six new models will be available in the U.S. – Chevrolet 3500, 3500HD, 4500, 4500HD, 5500 and 5500 HD – all based on […]

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As previously rumored, General Motors and Isuzu confirmed today they’ve “reached an agreement on a U.S. commercial vehicle collaboration” that sees low cab forward trucks making their way to our shores with bowties.

Six new models will be available in the U.S. – Chevrolet 3500, 3500HD, 4500, 4500HD, 5500 and 5500 HD – all based on the Isuzu N-Series.

According to a release from GM, two cabs (regular and crew), three engines (GM 6.0L V8 gas, Isuzu 3.0L turbodiesel and 5.2L turbodiesel) and varying chassis lengths from 109 to 212 inches will be available. The two companies will “explore the use of GM commercial vehicle components” for the trucks and GM will continue its supply of 6.0L V8 gasoline engines and six-speed automatic transmissions to Isuzu. Chevrolet-badged V8 gas models will be assembled in Charlotte, Michigan.

GM has sourced trucks from Isuzu in the past but exited the medium-duty segment in 2009. Isuzu previously sold passenger vehicles in the U.S. but abandoned the market in January 2009 after trimming its lineup down to GM-sourced SUVs and midsize pickups.

The new trucks will go on sale at participating dealers next year.

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Crapwagon Outtake: GMC Syclone and Typhoon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/crapwagon-outtake-gmc-syclone-typhoon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/crapwagon-outtake-gmc-syclone-typhoon/#comments Mon, 08 Jun 2015 12:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1086513 Like I mentioned last week, turbocharging and all wheel drive were big selling points in the early ’90s. GM didn’t want to miss the party and commissioned a limited run of turbo 4.3 V6s, threw some monochrome cladding on their compact pickup and SUV, and created a hotrod sensation for the new decade. The newsstand […]

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Like I mentioned last week, turbocharging and all wheel drive were big selling points in the early ’90s. GM didn’t want to miss the party and commissioned a limited run of turbo 4.3 V6s, threw some monochrome cladding on their compact pickup and SUV, and created a hotrod sensation for the new decade.

The newsstand rags were so excited. Anyone else recall Car and Driver’s comparison between the Syclone and a Ferrari 348? Those silly Ann Arbor boys tossed a Confederate flag plate and a gun rack in the Ferrari, and ran the only test (1/4 mile) that the truck had a chance of winning.

This pair, offered in Akron for $15k, honestly looks to be a bargain. As an Ohioan, I know one must always assume Uncle Bondo has paid a visit to the salt-vulnerable areas. The market for high-performance, limited edition GM products is as strong as ever, so if these are as clean as described, these should be as good of an investment as one can make off Craigslist.

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General Motors Files Third Application For GMC Granite Nameplate http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/general-motors-files-third-application-for-gmc-granite-nameplate/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/general-motors-files-third-application-for-gmc-granite-nameplate/#comments Tue, 02 Jun 2015 15:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1082057 While General Motors dealt with trademarking issues over the Chevrolet Bolt, the automaker filed a new application last month for the GMC Granite nameplate. The application is the third to secure the Granite name for a product which may see the light of day, AutoGuide reports. The name was originally used for a concept compact […]

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While General Motors dealt with trademarking issues over the Chevrolet Bolt, the automaker filed a new application last month for the GMC Granite nameplate.

The application is the third to secure the Granite name for a product which may see the light of day, AutoGuide reports. The name was originally used for a concept compact crossover, which made its debut at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show.

GM filed its first application for the nameplate a couple of months prior in early November 2009, abandoning it the following September. Nearly two years later, the automaker filed for a new application with the intent to use the name on “motor land vehicles, namely on-road passenger automobiles.” The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office required the company to provide proof the name would be used in commerce within six months.

Since then, GM filed all five of its six-month extensions, the last in November. With no product bearing the Granite nameplate in sight, however, the automaker had to start the process once more with its third application filed May 26 of this year. Time will tell if anything comes out of this ongoing effort to hold onto the name.

[Photo credit: GMC]

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Last Rides Premium Selects: All XUsed Up http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/last-rides-premium-selects-xused/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/last-rides-premium-selects-xused/#comments Fri, 29 May 2015 15:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1060698 The Envoy XUV is one of those unicorns I seem to recognize on the street immediately. As the owner of a Taurus X, I sometimes wonder how my arduous life would change had Ford went ahead with it’s transformer counterpoint to this sub-niche of vehicle. Then I realize, “Probably, I would be scrounging for more […]

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04xuv1

The Envoy XUV is one of those unicorns I seem to recognize on the street immediately. As the owner of a Taurus X, I sometimes wonder how my arduous life would change had Ford went ahead with it’s transformer counterpoint to this sub-niche of vehicle. Then I realize, “Probably, I would be scrounging for more weird, rare electric roof trim garnish power regulators at the junkyard.” “Probably not much.”

I imagine the boys in Ford’s marketing department took one look at their competitor’s commercial, mouth agape, and finally decided they just couldn’t compete with such formidable before-it-was-cool ’80s promotional panache. One of them, no doubt, pointed out, “They’ve even got the sort-of a song that I kind of know!”

The thing that struck me about this example, found in a Joliet yard, was it’s fantastic condition (other than vultures lightly pecking at the fresh carcass). I mean, you just don’t see many ten year old models at all, unless they’re irreparably smashed, or irreparably a Sebring.

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Quarter million miles be damned, times must not be too bad in America anymore.

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The 5.3 under the hood is still in one piece, so chances are good the your camshaft is trashed, too sort of dialogue wasn’t a factor in it’s demise.

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It’s unicorn horn removable mid-gate was still waiting for a patron to have the “This isn’t a tailgate. It’s a trim panel,” argument at the checkout counter.

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Then, evidence of the previous owner’s medical afflictions helped fill in the blanks. Nothing will send a Mitsubishi to the junkyard faster than a piece of paper that looks like this, it seems. The name on this one, is “high profile” around these parts, and if you can somehow figure out what I have omitted, please don’t. This is a fictional piece, and I would like to keep it that way.

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The McGill empire was going through a transitional period.

“I’m just saying…don’t be surprised when I graduate, that there’s nothing for me,” Reece told his father.

The old man broiled in the passenger seat. “Don’t give me that bullshit. Your ancestors, who lived out their lives in indentured servitude, would punch you right in the mouth if they heard you say that,” said an irate Patrick.

The young Reece withdrew to the driver’s door of the Envoy. He should have known. At any moment, the old man would additionally remind him about working for the family business, most likely reminding him about how he started it all with a single questionable 1970 Autocar. “…and you can always work for me,” added Patrick, pulling out his Medtronic Access Review DBS controller. Ever vigilant after going through some issues with his implant’s battery, he checked it’s condition. Holding the remote to his chest, it beeped, and verified a good state of charge. Such an action repeated itself several times throughout the day, mostly done out of habit, and boredom.

As the Envoy cruised high above the Des Plaines River with a smoothness rivaling a maglev train, Reece observed the filthy snow that was still piled up along the sides of the tollway well into March. The frigid sight induced an application of Carmex. A crosswind came out of the west, causing the wind whistle from the aft-most window to intensify. Reece compensated by turning up the volume on his My Gold Mask CD, which was hopelessly jammed in the radio. This track was one of his favorites. He hadn’t listened to it in over a year, since leaving for FAU. However, when Dad said, “Give it a rest,” and turned on XM MSNBC, he didn’t protest.

Reece slowed the XUV on the off ramp for Route 7 where the brakes cried out their hunger for more pads. Reece and McGill senior did what they normally did, which was simply glance in the general direction of the anomaly.

As they waited for the light the boy inquired, “So how is the new…calibration?” regarding his father’s follow up procedure.

“It’s a little better. There’s still some little tremors…but I don’t think anything will change that now,” said the man, lifting his hands to show a faint car-waxing motion with his right extremity.

Reece faced forward, realizing the light had turned green. The S…UV arched across the intersection, and then summoned their attention with a “Boong Boong Boong”. Reece looked down at the information center, and turned to his father almost with glee. “Reduced engine power!”

Reece buried his foot in the gas and turned his hazards on in preparation for what would assuredly be a lazy journey back to McGill Trucking. The men were experienced in these matters from when the throttle body failed five years prior.

“Goddamit,” said Patrick, “Try to turn it back off…or on…fuck.” He was referring to ‘the trick’ they had learned from Trailvoy.com. Sometimes that would make the problem go away for a short time. Reece tried this technique in a church parking lot, but the power remained elusive.

“Come on stupid!” Reece shouted at his rear view mirror. A Cavalier honked behind them, it’s driver dumbstruck by the meaning of a pair of flashing tail lamps and a pointby. The Cavalier finally made the pass, it’s exhaust sounding like compressed air being released while the man at the wheel delivered a Luigi death stare at the hapless GMC.

“I told you that you needed to get rid of this piece. What’s gonna happen when I’m not around to drive you? They’re gonna find you in a snowbank somewhere after you get stranded,” Reece told his father.

Patrick didn’t respond. He pulled the Blackberry from his pocket and dialed his wife. “We’re having some car trouble right now. Yeah. It’s just driving slow again. We’re gonna be late to the meeting. Just see if those guys can wait a bit longer.”

Reese felt a shock. Oh shit, he thought, how did he know about the meeting? He braced himself against the wheel in anticipation of the shitstorm.

“What do you mean it’s already over?!” Patrick yelled. “Look. I’m still a part of this damn company!” Reese could hear his mother on the other end trying to break things to his father gently. His grandiose plans of acquiring another dead trucking firm, when they were struggling to hire and pay more drivers, just wasn’t going to work. A rift was growing between the elder McGill, his wife, and his best friend.

Reece tuned out and listened to the click-clock of the hazards as his father yelled into the phone. I don’t want any of this crap, he thought to himself. Working with family is the worst. A career of surfing, golfing, and traveling Europe would suit him just fine. And when the facility to do that ran out? Whatever.

Finally, the screaming stopped.

“I’m just going to head home,” said Reece.

Patrick washed down a pill with some bottled water. The meds kicked in. His anger was gone. He now felt dejected, betrayed, robbed of the world he created.

“You should just take me to the casino,” Reece replied, laughing. “I’m not taking you to Joliet! Especially, not in this thing.” He hit the overhead Homelink button and the double wrought iron gates swung open.

The old man punctuated the end of their journey with a depressing statement of fact. “I told you this would be the last car I ever own.”

Reece could only respond with “Come on, Dad,” while his father waddled into the large manor house with an abbreviated gait.

Reece stayed out on the drive and began to vape. As French Vanilla filled his lungs, he observed the flurry-laden dark clouds rolling in to put an end to an already shortened day.

“This is bullshit,” he said. This meaning not-Florida during spring break. He puffed and looked at the Envoy, juxtaposed to the fancy stonework and brick paver driveway. Sure, back in the day, the $40,000 fully-loaded GMC was impressive. Reeve even showed off the clever engineering of the magic gate and retractable roof to his buddies. That was back before the “Clear Roof Obstruction” notices, failed glass regulators, smoked switches, a transmission, bad HVAC components, a weary fan clutch, some dead lifters, and lots of puzzled technician labor hours turned it into an Envoy of Theseus. For the amount spent, Reece estimated there could have been a ‘sweet-ass G Wagen’ sitting there.

“Hrmfff,”, he exhaled.

When Reece came into the house, his father greeted him with the signed pink slip to the Envoy.

“Here. It’s yours. Do whatever you want with it.” The last part of that statement was said in a way to allude “Get it fixed, and use it.” Reece clumsily replied, “What? I…come on…” The old man then disappeared into his study.

The Envoy’s shifter was put into neutral to coast down the hill at a higher rate of non-PCM-regulated speed as it entered “the prison city”. Reece silenced the hazard relay for the final time. He summoned the man from the office that he had spoken to on the phone earlier, who popped off his chair with an excited “Let’s take a look.”

“Hey, this doesn’t look too bad. I might just sell this.”, said the man.

“I would strongly recommend that you don’t,” said Reece.

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2015 GMC Canyon SLE 4×4 V6 Review – Full-Size Experience, Mid-Size Wrapper http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/2015-gmc-canyon-sle-4x4-v6-review-full-size-experience-mid-size-wrapper/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/2015-gmc-canyon-sle-4x4-v6-review-full-size-experience-mid-size-wrapper/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 12:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1067506 Today we are running two reviews of the GMC Canyon at the exact same time – one V6 and one 4-cylinder – for your reading pleasure. If there ever was a time to compare the same truck with different powertrains (and two reviewers with different perspectives), this is it. The last (and only) truck to […]

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2015 GMC Canyon V6 SLE All Terrain (2 of 18)

Today we are running two reviews of the GMC Canyon at the exact same time – one V6 and one 4-cylinder – for your reading pleasure. If there ever was a time to compare the same truck with different powertrains (and two reviewers with different perspectives), this is it.

The last (and only) truck to grace my driveway in an ownership role – a 2008 Ford Ranger – taught me as much about itself as it did pickups in general. The 3.0-liter Vulcan V6, while durable, was as effective as a donkey pulling a container ship for towing. And just because a truck is rated to tow or haul X pounds certainly doesn’t mean it should. There were also times I would’ve rather had an automatic transmission, like when I inadvertently jumped on Connecticut’s Merritt Parkway. In a snowstorm. With a trailer. 3-4-5-4-5-4-3-4-5. Wipe sweat. 3-4-5-4-5-4-3-4-5.

For better or worse, the Ranger did everything I absolutely needed of it: haul, tow and not throw a rod as I traveled the no-stop, shoulderless freeways over Louisiana swamp.

Creature comforts? Fuhgeddaboudit. Crank windows. No A/C. Not even a CD player.

The new GMC Canyon, with its 3.6-liter V6 engine and semi-plush interior in SLE trim, is nothing like my long departed Ranger. And while it’s logical to compare the Canyon to the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier on most fronts, it’s more fitting to put it up against the full-size competition on others.


The Tester

2015 GMC Canyon SLE 4×4 Crew Cab w/ Standard Box (6’2) and All Terrain Package

Engine: 3.6L DOHC V6, direct injection, VVT (305 horsepower @ 6800 rpm, 269 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm)
Transmission: 6-speed automatic, Driver Shift Control, tow/haul mode

Fuel Economy (Rating, MPG): 17 city/24 hwy/20 combined
Fuel Economy (Observed, MPG): 17.4 mpg, approx. 75% city

Options: All Terrain Package, SLE Convenience Package, engine block heater, heavy-duty trailering package, wheel locks, 3″ round step bars, rear sliding window, spray-on bed liner

As Tested (US): $38,605 (sheet)
As Tested (Canada): $42,060 (sheet)


2015 GMC Canyon V6 SLE All Terrain (12 of 18)

Dimensionally speaking, the Canyon takes on the American-built Japanese options head-to-head. The 6-foot-2 bed in the tester is just a smidgen bigger than the long bed options available on the Tacoma (6 feet, 1 and 1/2 inches) and Frontier (6 feet, 1 and 19/64 inches). The width between the wheel wells is also the same for the Canyon and Frontier (44.4 inches), while slightly less in the Tacoma (41.5 inches). If you’re like me and would rather load up two sportbikes in the back of a pickup than hook up a trailer and lug around all that extra weight, space between the wheel wells matters. You’d also probably like to close the tailgate if at all possible.

The payload rating for our particular truck is limited to 1,470 lbs which more than enough to take your toys with you on a camping trip. Towing capability rings in at 3,500 lbs or 7,000 lbs when equipped with the optional Z82 trailering package. Compare that with the maximum 6,500 lbs of towing ability in the Tacoma only achievable in Access Cab configuration.

2015 GMC Canyon V6 SLE All Terrain (10 of 18)

Wheelbase dimensions are dead-on across the board as well. All currently available mid-sizers float around 140 inches in long-wheelbase guise. However, even with a similar suspension setup as the more established offerings, the Canyon delivers a superior ride. Not car-like, but definitely within the realm of what one might call comfortable. The typical wheel chatter of a pickup with a light rear-end is virtually eliminated. Further cementing the Canyon’s position within the pack of current trucklets is its overall length. While it might be visually hefty, it’s only within a couple of inches of the Tacoma and Frontier.

 

GMC puts their fully-loaded Canyon right beside a poverty spec Tacoma on GMC.com.

GMC puts their fully-loaded Canyon SLT right beside a poverty spec Tacoma on GMC.com’s comparison tool.

Under the hood is the same 3.6-liter V6 you’ll find in any other GM product. With 305 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque, the Canyon bests the Japanese pair on horsepower but loses out to the Frontier on torque (281 lb-ft). Also, to hit those peak numbers in the Canyon, you really need to give it some revs. Luckily, a fair amount of torque is available further down the curve, so you’re unlikely to need to punch it often. During the week-long stint with GMC’s newest truck, I tallied a 17.4 mpg high score, just 0.4 mpg off the official city number; acceptable when you consider nearly 3/4 of my driving was on city streets.

Sending power to all four wheels is GM’s Hydra-Matic 6L50 six-speed automatic transmission with a 4.10 final drive (the same transmission is used in the four-pot version with a 3.42 final). Whether it is electronic controls or mechanicals, the six-speed is slow to shift when the Canyon’s accelerator is planted with urgency. However, it does make up for that slowness with smooth gear changes in day-to-day, stop-and-go driving.

Inside the Canyon isn’t airy and open, but it isn’t claustrophobic like the Frontier with its A-pillar placed in such a way that you’re constantly aware of its presence – directly in front of your face.

And this is where comparisons to the Tacoma and Frontier end. The Canyon is smoother, more powerful, sized the same and generally competitive with the rest of the mid-size pack. But, as soon as you sit inside the upmarket Colorado, it makes more sense to treat it like a full-size pickup hit with a low-powered shrink ray.

2015 GMC Canyon V6 SLE All Terrain (15 of 18)

Up front, the dash and seats make you feel as if you’re sitting in a 9/10ths Sierra. There’s nothing wrong with that. I quite like the Sierra interior, especially now that GM has discarded button blanks, a design element also implemented in the Canyon. It’s an exceptionally quiet mid-size truck, too, another inherited trait from its bigger brother. Switches and knobs, particularly the physical HVAC controls, are plain and easy to use. (Thank you, GM.) And the red stitching on the seats and dash – part of the All Terrain package – don’t feel out of place in the dark grey pickup. It is all quite … upscale.

2015 GMC Canyon V6 SLE All Terrain (17 of 18)

Remember how Mr. Cain said Colorado and Canyon sales weren’t having a negative impact on those of the Tacoma and Frontier? I think the sense of being in a full-size pickup when in the Canyon explains it. With Toyota and Nissan, you get a decidedly mid-size truck experience. In the Canyon you get a full-size experience in a mid-size wrapper.

That is until you do anything aft of the front row. The back half of the cab brings you right back to mid-size reality. For starters, if you expect a 6-foot-ish person to sit behind another 6-foot-ish person for a long trip, consider a full-size truck instead. The Canyon won’t be hauling crews to and from the work site anytime soon.

Also, when you flip up the rear seat for more loading space, you will be introduced to a plastic holding area instead of a flat floor. Large objects requiring a level load space are relegated to the outside bed. You can flip down the back cushion of the seat if you so desire, but then you’re just putting seat on top of seat on top of stupid plastic holding area and seriously compromising your cargo volume for taller objects.

2015 GMC Canyon V6 SLE All Terrain (16 of 18)

GMC IntelliLink (called MyLink in the Colorado) is another infotainment system I could wholly do without. Confusing, clunky and slow, IntelliLink is the Vega of infotainment systems. And since GM is going through the trouble of installing an 8-inch screen in my dash, why can’t they just give me navigation? Our tester didn’t have on-screen GPS, a deficit that would force a buyer into making a potentially embarrassing phone call to OnStar for directions to Dildo, Newfoundland. (We tried this during the Silverado launch. The OnStar operator didn’t even fucking giggle. Words cannot describe my disappointment.)

Even though the Canyon one-ups its competitors in almost every measurable way, there’s one fact you can’t escape: it’s as close as makes no difference to $40,000. That’s a lot of coin for a “budget” truck. As much as I like this right-sized pickup – as it fits my lifestyle, at least – I can’t justify spending forty grand on a Canyon when I can buy a decent amount of Sierra, Silverado, Ram or F-150 for the same coin.

That said, if I was replacing my aging Ranger today, the Canyon is still the best option – just not configured like this tester. If I needed something to tow and haul my mechanical mistakes from home to track and back, I’d have this Canyon SLE Extended Cab 4×2 V6 without options for nearly $10,000 less.

Or just wait for the diesel.

General Motors Canada provided the vehicle and insurance for this review.

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2015 GMC Canyon 4×4 2.5L Extended Cab Review http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/2015-gmc-canyon-4x4-extended-cab-review/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/2015-gmc-canyon-4x4-extended-cab-review/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 12:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1058706 Today we are running two reviews of the GMC Canyon at the exact same time – one V6 and one 4-cylinder – for your reading pleasure. If there ever was a time to compare the same truck with different powertrains (and two reviewers with different perspectives), this is it. Let’s begin this review with a […]

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2015 gmc canyon front 34

Today we are running two reviews of the GMC Canyon at the exact same time – one V6 and one 4-cylinder – for your reading pleasure. If there ever was a time to compare the same truck with different powertrains (and two reviewers with different perspectives), this is it.

Let’s begin this review with a disclaimer: I don’t get pickup trucks.

Having lived in or near a big city my whole life, I simply don’t understand the need or appeal of the pickup. To me they are work vehicles with cramped cabins and no trunks. Heavy and inefficient, too. They were great when I worked construction in college, where we loaded the bed with crap and trailered a skid-steer behind, but I just can’t understand why anyone would choose to drive a pickup daily. But two million Americans buy pickups every year, so clearly they must know something I don’t.

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The first thing about the mid-size Canyon (and its Chevy Colorado twin) is there is nothing mid-size about it, measuring up about on par with mid-90s Ford F-150 and significantly bigger than its Sonoma ancestor as professionally eyeballed by me when both trucks were parked nearby. Have you not been in a full-size pickup in the last decade? Go sit in one. They are huge! GM is betting that for thousands of buyers full-size trucks are just too big they won’t cry for a V8, either. This is in stark contrast to Ford and RAM who chose to go big and offer only full-size trucks, albeit with more interesting engine choices.

Unlike full-size trucks, where the cabin feels amazingly wide and one needs to stretch to adjust the radio or climate controls, the Canyon cabin feels just right. There is plenty of room in all directions for the driver and front passenger. The overall interior layout is simple and easy to use, with all switches and controls exactly where you’d expect them to be. Visibility is good but those not used to pickups may find parking and reversing a bit more intimidating – this is a vehicle longer than most SUVs. Interestingly, while windows, door locks and the driver’s seat have powered controls, the outside mirrors on this base truck do not.

This lower trim level model had the optional IntelliLink audio system with a wide angle back-up camera, Bluetooth, and USB and auxiliary audio inputs. It also came with an app to stream Pandora off your phone which worked great. However, it did not have satellite radio and the system was not too happy streaming that off my phone app. Part of this audio system upgrade is OnStar, including control buttons on the rear view mirror, which I accidentally called while adjusting my view.

2015 gmc canyon dash radio

Not surprisingly, the rear seats of this extra cab model are useless for anyone over five feet tall, but my seven year old daughter and her friends loved sitting there; they didn’t even need booster seats. My three year old son’s big Recaro toddler seat surprisingly managed to fit in there and he even had room for his little legs when the front seat was about mid-point on its tracks. If you’re serious about having more than one passenger in the Canyon, I strongly suggest the Crew Cab model.

For those insisting on the extended cab model, which should really be called regular cab as there is no conventional regular cab offered, GM has an interesting solution for those bulky car seats. Removing the headrest from the rear jump seat and inserting it into the bottom cushion extends the length of the cushion, giving the toddler seat more support. Oddly, I did not see this written in the owner’s manual and I only realized it when writing this review.

The best use of the space behind the front seat, however, is as storage. In my time with the Canyon, I had to drop off three boxes of stuff at a donation place. I placed them in the bed in the morning. Midday, I had to move them inside the cab due to rain. When I picked up my daughter from school, I once again had to move the boxes into the bed. When I parked the truck for the night, I had to move the boxes back inside the cab once again because I didn’t make it to the donation place during the day. I understand that the aftermarket offers a ton of bed caps and covers, but a lockable, waterproof “trunk-in-bed” like on the Honda Ridgeline or the RAM boxes does make sense.

2015 gmc canyon extra cab doors

The extended cab model is available only with a 6’2” bed, whereas the Crew Cab is available with either 5’2” or 6’2” bed. Whichever bed you choose, it will be 57.8” wide at floor, with 44.4” between wheel-wells, and 20.9” deep. A sheet of plywood would need to be transported above the wheel wells, with an open tailgate on long bed models. There is a light in the bed, which is not very bright, and very useful steps integrated into the rear bumper like on the Sierra/Silverado. Part of the Convenience Package is an EZ Lift-and-Lower tailgate utilizing an internal torsion bar and a damper for easier opening and closing. It works great. While the tailgate is lockable, it is not connected to the vehicle’s central locking system.

The vehicle in this review was equipped with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder DOHC engine making 200 horsepower and 191 lb-ft of torque. The rear wheel drive version can me matched to a manual transmission but a vast majority of buyers will likely opt for the excellent automatic. In my opinion, GM has always done a great job of programing their automatic transmissions and here they didn’t disappoint. That transmission doesn’t have much to work with however, as this engine seems inadequate for duty in this 4,100 pound truck.

The truck was fine in casual driving around town or highway cruising. However, when the road gets hilly or highway passing is required, it screamed for more power with the gas pedal to the floor. Like most pickup trucks on the road, the bed of mine was empty. I can’t imagine hauling anything of substantial weight or towing with it at highway speeds. If this was a car, I would say its four-cylinder engine sounds a bit unrefined, too, but it gets a pass as truck engine.

2015 gmc canyon extra cab bed long

This combination of engine, driveline, and chassis is rated by the EPA to get 19 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. According to the on-board computer I got 19 mpg driving at a leisurely pace from Boston to New York City and 17 mpg on the way back driving with a heavier foot. All driving was done at night with minimal traffic. The difference between the real world numbers and EPA is quite stark in this case and feels like it’s because this little engine had to work a lot harder than the V6 would in its place. The maximum payload for this truck is 1,470 lbs. If it had a trailer hitch, as all pickups should, this Canyon would be rated to tow 3,500 lbs. A V6 model with a trailer towing package can tow up to 7000 lbs.

The base GMC Canyon 4-cylindeer 2WD extended cab starts at under $22,000 with designation charges. The vehicle in this review, a 4-cylinder, 4WD, extended cab has a starting price of $27,935. The Convenience Package is $590; factory spray-on bed liner is $475; and the upgraded audio system is $275. Total MSRP for this vehicle, with destination charges, is $30,200. A fully loaded V6, 4WD, extended cab with a long bed model can clear $45,000.

Full-size pickup trucks, especially the quad-cab models with short covered beds, have become the modern large American sedans. They can even look like sedans from certain angles and interior can be optioned out to compete with luxury sedans. But despite what some manufacturers claim, full-size pickups are not for everyone and there is a good business model to sell smaller trucks, as Toyota has proven over many decades. GM saw that large gap in the highest volume market and filled it with what seems like a great not-so-little truck.

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Kamil Kaluski is the East Coast Editor for Hooniverse.com. His ramblings on Eastern European cars, $500 racers, and other miscellaneous automotive stuff can be found there. He used a different camera for this review and most pictures came out crappy. He is sorry about that. 

General Motors provided the vehicle for the purpose of this review. 

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General Motors Doing Well In Midsize Truck Segment, Success May Not Last http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/general-motors-well-midsize-truck-segment-success-may-not-last/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/general-motors-well-midsize-truck-segment-success-may-not-last/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 18:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1052369 General Motors’ return to the midsize truck segment has done wonders for the automaker and the market, but skeptics aren’t sure how long that will last. Ever since the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon twins left for the showroom last fall, the segment has grown to over 2 percent of the overall U.S. new-vehicle market […]

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2015 Chevrolet Colorado front side 2

General Motors’ return to the midsize truck segment has done wonders for the automaker and the market, but skeptics aren’t sure how long that will last.

Ever since the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon twins left for the showroom last fall, the segment has grown to over 2 percent of the overall U.S. new-vehicle market from 1.4 percent last summer, Reuters reports. Industry execs add that as many as 500,000 midsize pickups could be sold this year, double what was sold in 2014.

However, IHS Automotive analyst Tom Libby found that 9 out of 10 Colorado and Canyon owners traded in other GM cars and trucks for the smaller pickups, with over 16 percent coming from ownership of Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierras alone. Libby warns this could be a sign of undercutting of sales of models with higher margins.

GM execs and dealers, on the other hand, are happy with the midsize twins. GM President Dan Ammann called the duo a “very good investment,” while GMC’s director of marketing, Rich Latek, says the midsize segment as a whole is “a sleeper segment with huge opportunity.” AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson adds the Colorado and Canyon happen to have been the right trucks to come at the right time to give the segment a shot in the arm.

The party may not last for the duo, though. LMC Automotive notes that the segment would hold at 2 percent for this year, then slip back down by 2020. Meanwhile, the twins would fizzle out from projected sales of 74,000 for the Colorado and 29,500 for the Canyon this year, falling 8.4 percent and 21 percent over the next five years.

[Photo credit: Blake Z. Rong/The Truth About Cars]

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New York 2015: 2016 GMC Terrain, Terrain Denali Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/new-york-2015-2016-gmc-terrain-terrain-denali-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/new-york-2015-2016-gmc-terrain-terrain-denali-debut/#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 18:42:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1036361 The 2016 GMC Terrain and Terrain Denali made their debut at the 2015 New York Auto Show, the brand aiming to bolster its success in the compact SUV segment. Both models feature new front and rear designs, power dome hoods, LED daytime running lamps, and a couple of new colors: White Frost Tricoat and Crimson […]

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The 2016 GMC Terrain and Terrain Denali made their debut at the 2015 New York Auto Show, the brand aiming to bolster its success in the compact SUV segment.

Both models feature new front and rear designs, power dome hoods, LED daytime running lamps, and a couple of new colors: White Frost Tricoat and Crimson Red Tintcoat.

The overall Terrain range has been restructured to four trim levels — SL, SLE, SLT and Denali — with a number of features available depending on the trim chosen. The Denali model rides upon 19-inch aluminum wheels, and offers a smoother ride via dual-flow dampers exclusive to the model’s suspension system. The other models ride upon 18-inch aluminum wheels, and come with premium cloth or leather, and chrome accents for the higher end trims.

Power for the compact SUV comes from either a 2.4-liter direct-injection four or 3.6-liter V6, the latter putting out 301 horses and 272 lb-ft torque while also boosting trailering capability to 3,500 pounds. AWD is available for SLE, SLT and Denali models.

Other features include: GMC IntelliLink connected-vehicle system; programmable power liftgate; blind-zone alert; rear parking assist; forward collision alert; and MultiFlex sliding rear seat.

No pricing was announced at this time, but General Motors says the 2016 Terrain will hit the lot this fall.

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General Motors Cutting Back 100K-Mile Powertrain Warranty http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/general-motors-cutting-back-100k-mile-powertrain-warranty/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/general-motors-cutting-back-100k-mile-powertrain-warranty/#comments Fri, 13 Mar 2015 12:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1021025 Due to lack of interest, General Motors is cutting back its 100,000-mile/five-year powertrain warranty for 2016 Chevrolet and GMC models. Automotive News reports the new warranty will cover the powertrain for up to five years or 60,000 miles, with courtesy transportation and roadside assistance still available for the period. The new standard matches those of […]

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Due to lack of interest, General Motors is cutting back its 100,000-mile/five-year powertrain warranty for 2016 Chevrolet and GMC models.

Automotive News reports the new warranty will cover the powertrain for up to five years or 60,000 miles, with courtesy transportation and roadside assistance still available for the period. The new standard matches those of Toyota, Ford and Honda. The coverage’s two-year free maintenance scheme will also be cut from four free visits for oil changes, tire rotations et al to just two.

Though the original extended warranty was meant to give consumers more confidence in GM products when first introduced for the 2007 model year, the memo sent out to dealers this week stated the following:

Through research, we have determined that when purchasing a new vehicle, included maintenance and warranty rank low on the list of reasons why consumers consider a particular brand over another. As a result, we have benchmarked our competitors, reviewed our current offerings and have concluded the following modifications to align closely with our customers’ needs and expectations.

Only the Chevrolet Volt will retain the 100,000-mile powertrain warranty for its battery pack and drive unit; Buick’s and Cadillac’s six-year/70,000 warranty will remain unchanged, as well.

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Reuss: Low Priority For Ford Raptor Competitor http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/reuss-low-priority-ford-raptor-competitor/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/reuss-low-priority-ford-raptor-competitor/#comments Mon, 09 Mar 2015 14:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1018018 Will there be a Silverado or Sierra ready to battle the Ford Raptor in Baja Valley anytime soon? Not quite, according to General Motors. Edmunds says GM doesn’t have current plans to build a Raptor competitor, despite speculation that Chevrolet and GMC are working on such a beast as of this writing. The brands themselves […]

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Will there be a Silverado or Sierra ready to battle the Ford Raptor in Baja Valley anytime soon? Not quite, according to General Motors.

Edmunds says GM doesn’t have current plans to build a Raptor competitor, despite speculation that Chevrolet and GMC are working on such a beast as of this writing. The brands themselves also won’t confirm if the “Badlands” name filed in February with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is meant for a high-performance full-size off-road pickup.

Per GM global product development boss Mark Reuss, his company has the capital and a lot of priorties on the table, of which a Chevy/GMC Raptor is among the lowest in priority. Reuss added that he would not rule out such a thing, citing the Colorado ZR2 concept from the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show as where GM may go if it so chose.

Meanwhile, Buick-GMC vice president Duncan Aldred had this to say about the “Badlands” name:

When you are looking at terms, or names and phrases, the first thing you do, even if it is a speck of an idea, you trademark the name because it can become a legal mine field. If someone says, “I like that,” you generally go for it and work out if you might use it later. We’ve probably got hundreds, if not thousands, of names (we) don’t use.

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General Motors Discussing Jeep Wrangler Challenger For GMC http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/general-motors-discussing-jeep-wrangler-challenger-gmc/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/general-motors-discussing-jeep-wrangler-challenger-gmc/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 11:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989898 Remember when we told you about GMC’s Duncan Aldred wanting a “professional-grade” Jeep Wrangler? General Motors thinks it’s a good idea, too. The Wall Street Journal reports GM recently sought feedback from its dealers regarding the market viability of a Wrangler challenger joining GMC’s lineup of trucks, crossovers and SUVs, the idea of which has […]

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2015 GMC Sierra

Remember when we told you about GMC’s Duncan Aldred wanting a “professional-grade” Jeep Wrangler? General Motors thinks it’s a good idea, too.

The Wall Street Journal reports GM recently sought feedback from its dealers regarding the market viability of a Wrangler challenger joining GMC’s lineup of trucks, crossovers and SUVs, the idea of which has been “kicked around real hard” according to one insider. The automaker’s growing interest comes as 150,000 units of the iconic vehicle left for the Rubicon or college in 2014, some of them going for as much as $50,000 fresh out of Ohio. The Wrangler also boasts one of the highest resale values around, second only to the Toyota Tacoma in 2015 per Kelley Blue Book.

As for what a GMC Wrangler would look like, GM said its Jeep would take cues from Hummer’s orphaned offerings; Hummer joined Pontiac, Saturn and Saab in the afterlife back in 2009 during the dark days of the Great Recession. The new model — still in the discussion phase without a name or a green light — would also help GMC capitalize on the brand’s own success, with sales rising 11 percent on the backs of the Sierra and Yukon in 2014 to 501,853.

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Capsule Review: 2015 GMC Yukon Denali http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/capsule-review-2015-gmc-yukon-denali/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/capsule-review-2015-gmc-yukon-denali/#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 15:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=975233 Over the last decade, General Motors observed a dramatic reduction in full-size SUV sales. GMC Yukon U.S. sales volume, for instance, fell 52% from 86,571 in 2004 to 41,569 in 2014. Yet these vehicles remain relevant in the U.S. automotive landscape. GM, the best-selling manufacturer in the U.S., generated 8.7% of its volume with six […]

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2015 GMC Yukon DenaliOver the last decade, General Motors observed a dramatic reduction in full-size SUV sales. GMC Yukon U.S. sales volume, for instance, fell 52% from 86,571 in 2004 to 41,569 in 2014.

Yet these vehicles remain relevant in the U.S. automotive landscape. GM, the best-selling manufacturer in the U.S., generated 8.7% of its volume with six full-size SUV nameplates in 2014, up from 7.7% in 2013. At this point, they’re not vehicles built exclusively for the rich and famous, the Secret Service, owners of big boats and RVs, and families with five children.


• USD Base Price: $67,965
• Horsepower: 420 @ 5600 rpm
• Torque: 460 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm
• Observed Fuel Economy: 12.7 mpg


How well would one version fare when GM Canada sent a CAD $84,695 copy for a one-week stay to a family with one child, no security team, no Jayco, no riches, and no fame? Quite well. But the 2015 GMC Yukon Denali did a better job of making the case for another GM vehicle than it did for itself.

I AM JUST A POOR BOY
In Canada, the regular-wheelbase 4WD Yukon Denali starts at $75,290, an $18,345 jump from the cost of a base 4WD Yukon. Our Yukon Denali included a $5000 touring package: sunroof, rear seat DVD, head-up display, enhanced security package, and 20-inch chrome wheels. Those wheels were swapped out for $545 22-inch alloys. Power retractable running boards added $1920; adaptive cruise control rang in at $1780.

In the U.S., 4WD Yukon Denalis start at $67,965, a $16,780 jump from the base Yukon SLE. Equipped like the one pictured here, the U.S. price would rise to around $77,000.

2015 GMC Yukon Denali frontI SEEM TO LEAN ON OLD FAMILIAR WAYS
The Denali’s heated steering wheel and three-stage heated seats (which can warm both buns and backs or buns only) were more than a little appreciated, as was the remote start, as our winter kicked into high gear after Christmas. The two front seats are also cooled, a feature I did not dare test when the windchill fell below 0°F. Warmed or cooled or not, front seat comfort is where full-size SUVs excel. Space is abundant, storage is plentiful, an ideal seating position is easy to find, there’s a significant amount of bolstering for broader folk, and no control requires a long reach.

But let’s face it, this interior doesn’t scream money. As the guy who didn’t pay big bucks to actually own this Yukon, it wasn’t hard for me to enjoy the simplicity of GMC’s IntelliLink (certainly not after a week with Acura’s convoluted system) and the vehicle’s high feature load. Still, any time I was left waiting in the Denali, I remembered other interiors at this price point and was left balancing the lower-class ambience of the Denali’s interior with, “But I can tow 8100 pounds and the Audi A8 can’t!

2015 GMC Yukon Denali interiorMaking matters worse, standard-wheelbase models just aren’t that roomy in the back. Second row passengers have far less knee room than you’d expect in a vehicle that’s 17-feet long. (Key dimensions: 204 inches long; 80 inches wide; and 74 inches tall on a 116-inch wheelbase.) Third row space would be decent if not for a floor so high that it jacks up knees to chin height. Standard-wheelbase, full-size SUVs continue to have an issue with cargo space behind the third row, as well. 15.3 cubic feet is the official figure, but making the most of that space requires artful placement of very slim luggage. The 57.6 cubic feet of space behind the second row is box-shaped, but the load height has been elevated to make a flat floor possible. This reduces overall space and makes life a pain for dogs who don’t have extensive agility training.

SLOW DOWN, YOU MOVE TOO FAST
Criticism that’s been levied against lesser versions of GM’s latest K2XX SUV platform is dismissed by the Denali’s magnetic ride control. Not only does the Yukon Denali ignore the worst pavement, its cabin is also very quiet. Pair that smooth silence with a monstrous V8 and speed is generated with great haste. Fortunately, confidence-inspiring brakes, good visibility, and composed handling cause the speeds produced by the 6.2L V8 to seem far more normal than they should for a vehicle which weighs, according to GM, 5784 pounds.

Sure, there’s a truck-like momentary lapse in the steering on and just off centre, but modern pickup trucks (and offshoots such as this Yukon) continue to impress with deftness that belies their size. Car & Driver says the Yukon Denali accelerates to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, a shocking figure which will likely be reduced by a smarter 8-speed automatic. This outgoing 6-speed never shifts poorly, but it doesn’t manifest the intelligence of newer automatics.

2015 GMC Yukon Denali column shifterOfficially, the Yukon Denali’s forthcoming 8-speed doesn’t make a huge fuel economy difference, increasing the 6.2L’s city number from 14 to 15 mpg and leaving the 21 mpg highway figure unchanged. (The real-world gains are surely more meaningful.) In our 6-speed tester, we saw 12.7 mpg, a figure exacerbated by winter rolling stock (285/45R22 Bridgestone Blizzaks), cold weather, excessive idling, and city driving. The 4WD system was left in auto mode for the duration of its stay, save for a handful of RWD moments at the end of our cul-de-sac after a light snowfall. You can imagine why.

GOING TO THE CANDIDATES’ DEBATE
At this price point, there are countless ways to spend your money, not just in the wide-ranging automotive spectrum but in the SUV world and even the GM portfolio.

The Escalade’s CUE will improve upon the Denali’s interior style quotient, if not its usability. There are smaller vehicles which do a better job of squeezing in seven occupants. Although the Yukon Denali handles well for what it is, there are genuine track-capable utility vehicles in existence. I couldn’t help but value the vehicle’s surplus all-around capability, however, and the GMC’s knack for coming across as a pleasant vehicle to live with despite being built to do rugged things conventional crossovers can’t.

2015 GMC Yukon Denali seatsAs a three-row vehicle, it comes up short. As a luxury contender, I’m not sure it lives up to its MSRP. Nevertheless, the Yukon Denali convinces me that GM is at its best when GM is building their most profitable vehicles. It also convinces me that I’d prefer to pay less for more vehicle. Thankfully, that vehicle exists. It’s called the Chevrolet Suburban.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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NAIAS 2015: Chevrolet, GMC Add Paint & Chrome Packages To Silverado, Canyon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-chevrolet-gmc-add-paint-chrome-packages-silverado-canyon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-chevrolet-gmc-add-paint-chrome-packages-silverado-canyon/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 20:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=981817 Nissan, Ford, Toyota and Ram, even Hyundai, brought a lot to the truck party at this year’s Detroit Auto Show. So, what did General Motors contribute to the buffet? Paint and chrome packages for the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Canyon. AutoGuide reports Chevrolet is offering a “Custom Sport” package for the 2016 Silverado LT and […]

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Nissan, Ford, Toyota and Ram, even Hyundai, brought a lot to the truck party at this year’s Detroit Auto Show. So, what did General Motors contribute to the buffet?

Paint and chrome packages for the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Canyon.

AutoGuide reports Chevrolet is offering a “Custom Sport” package for the 2016 Silverado LT and LTZ. Said trim consists of body color-matching bumpers and chrome-accented grille/surround. Chrome door handles, mirror caps, side molding and 20-inch wheels complete the package, expected to retail between $1,950 and $2,950.

GMC, meanwhile, introduced the “Nightfall” package for Canyon SLE crew-cab buyers, which throws black paint all over the body. Polished exhaust tips, 18-inch wheels, automatic climate control, and remote start make up the rest of the offering. No price was mentioned at this time.

Silverado-Custom-Sport-10 Silverado-Custom-Sport-5 Silverado-Custom-Sport-4 Silverado-Custom-Sport-2 Canyon-Nightfall-12 Canyon-Nightfall-10 Canyon-Nightfall-9 Canyon-Nightfall-8 Canyon-Nightfall-1

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