Granite State: It Looks Like GMC's Finally Pulling the Trigger on a Sub-Terrain Crossover

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

A Jeep Wrangler fighter it ain’t, but that doesn’t mean General Motors’ truck division can’t go smaller and still have buyers lining up at its door.

Spy shots taken in Arizona show not one, but three small camouflaged crossovers undergoing tests, and the horizontal chrome slats filling the grille should tip you off that there’s a future GMC vehicle under those wrappings. A small or subcompact model has long been in consideration for the brand, and one look at Buick would tell GMC brass why it’s a good idea to have an Encore-like model of its own.

However, GMC buyers would not be pleased if their new vehicle looked like a Chevrolet Trax or Encore.

As we see here, GMC isn’t following its sister divisions’ lead to the letter when it comes to styling. This model, tentatively called the Granite (GMC released a concept vehicle under that name in 2010 and trademarked the nameplate in 2015) rides atop whatever platform underpins the next-generation Trax and Encore, but looks more butch doing it.

Think back to the first-gen Terrain, and how it stood out against its Chevy sister. (Try not to think about the second-gen Terrain.) After looking at recent spy shots of the next Encore, this model appears slightly longer in body — it could be a trick, but perhaps it’s necessary to attain a more squared-off look. Check out that front overhang!

While the front-end camo ends up making this thing look like something rejected by Fiat Chrysler designers, circa 2014, it’s clear there’ll be a generous grille opening, putting further design distance between it and its siblings.

GMC boss Duncan Aldred previously said that going smaller is a logical step for the brand. Unfortunately for those GM fans who like to play in the mud, rumors of a brawny, compact off-roader failed to materialize, though this family-friendly gambit seems like the more profitable choice.

Powertrain-wise, there’s little to go on, but sharing architecture also means sharing a great deal of moving parts. The Granite, if that is the model’s name, will likely appear in 2020 and field a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder, at least as a base motor. As six speeds is still enough for the Acadia, expect a similar number of cogs in this one.

GMC’s U.S. sales rose 2.4 percent over the first half of 2018, with volume up 6.6 percent in the second quarter of the year.

[Images: Brian Williams/Spiedbilde]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • JohnTaurus JohnTaurus on Aug 14, 2018

    I would love to see the GMC Jimmy return based on a shortened Canyon/Colorado platform, a true off-road SUV. Not a copy of the Wrangler (or the ungainly TrailBlazer from other markets), but a worthy competitor. Two and four door, removable top, true 4WD. Oh, and the diesel from the Canyorado would be icing on the cake. Make it exclusive to GMC. Chevy can sell its own versions wherever GMCs aren't sold (world markets). I'm still holding out hope that Ford's Bronco will be a true off-road warrior, and perhaps it'll inspire GMC to field its own entry. The Wrangler is an icon, but like the Mustang, it deserves some serious competition. All these FWD CUVs like this, the EcoSport, Kicks, etc- I get why they exist (there is obviously a market for them), but they're far from the enthusiast's consideration (unless he/she is buying them for their college-attending daughter, or grandmother in the case of the Encore).

    • Scott25 Scott25 on Aug 15, 2018

      Agree, bringing back the Jimmy name for that purpose is so obvious. The Bronco will be a bellweather, determining if the Xterra returns, if Toyota makes a small off-roadish utility, and if GMC enters that space. They just need more proof than the 4Runner that a proper SUV that isn’t the Wrangler will sell.

  • IBx1 IBx1 on Aug 15, 2018

    I absolutely loved the Granite concept car when it came out almost a decade ago. That was near the end of GM's clean-lined and cohesive designs, before they became hunday and started throwing blobby lines everywhere to eliminate negative space. I'd have bought one of those, but this may as well keep the camo on.

  • Cprescott I'm sure this won't matter to the millions of deceived Honduh owners who think the company that once prided itself on quality has somehow slipped in the real world. Same for Toyoduhs. Resting on our Laurel's - Oh, what a feeling!
  • Jrhurren I had this happen numerous times with my former Accord. It usually occurred when on a slow right curve in the road. Somehow the system would get confused and think the opposite lane (oncoming traffic) was an impending head-on collision.
  • Cprescott The Ford Shamaro is ugly, thick bodied, and a Mustang pretender.
  • Analoggrotto Speaking of mud, does anyone here enjoy naked mud wrestling?
  • Jkross22 Nope. Too expensive, too little wear. Besides, there are so many great all seasons that are great to use that last longer, the use case for summer tires has gotten smaller.