On Wednesday, General Motors announced plans to launch a version of Super Cruise on the 2022 GMC Sierra Denali modified to work with trailers. The hands-free driver assistance system (GM can’t call it “autonomous” because it technically isn’t) will stop being exclusive to Cadillac products and branch out into premium offerings from GMC and Chevrolet’s Bolt EV.
While unavailable until late in 2021, the next round of vehicles to be equipped with Super Cruise is supposed to see continued improvements to the system that allow for greater coverage. When the system originally launched on the Cadillac CT6 sedan, it was only eligible for use on specific divided highways for safety reasons. The greater emphasis on avoiding accidents was appreciated but it made the system seem more like a flashy gimmick than something any serious person would use on the regular. But GM has taken great strides to make sure that didn’t remain the case — hence the new trailer capabilities and ever-widening operating area.
It should surprise absolutely no one that after the recent reveal of the new Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, there wasn’t long to wait before we glimpsed an updated version of the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL.
The actual surprises come in how General Motors’ truck brand intends to differentiate itself from Chevrolet while addressing criticism from journalists and the public alike on how to make a better full-size SUV.
Today’s truck trio includes three very expensive rigs that aren’t likely be used for hauling duties or any other truck-type responsibilities. And that’s a good thing, because they’re loaded up on equipment and leather, and covered in nice metallic paint. Which nice truck gets used as kindling? Let’s find out.
If Chevrolet’s Silverado is truly like a rock, the upper trims of GMC’s Sierra line are semi-precious gemstones, continuously growing in hardness and value. We’ve sampled Chevy’s new-for-2019 half-ton already, but last week was GMC’s chance to turn its glitzy 2019s loose — while keeping the lesser trims’ intriguing 2.7-liter four-cylinder, as well as the late-availability 3.0-liter diesel inline-six, out of reach of journalists’ paws.
Yes, the range-topping Denali earned top billing during this Newfoundland jaunt, but General Motors’ truck division seems to be growing into its self-declared status of premium truck provider. There’s a new flavor of Sierra 1500 for 2019, and it’s neither spartan nor cheap: AT4 — the off-roader for people who like nice things.
There are several truths in this world: death, taxes, and the profitability of pickup trucks. General Motors has shown us several iterations of its 2019 half-tons since they dropped one from the sky at Texas Motor Speedway in December, despite the trucks not being scheduled to be found on dealer lots until this fall.
Now, GMC is rolling out another trim of its Sierra cash machine, the Elevation. Think of it as a color-keyed whip that can be opted with an “off-road lite” package. One thing’s for sure: fans of the brand will be spoilt for choice when the new truck appears in showrooms.
And, oh yeah, it’ll come standard with a 310 horsepower inline-four. Will truck buyers embrace a machine with half the traditional cylinder count?
TTAC recently spent some time out in rural Utah, where GMC was keen to show off the 2018 Sierra Denali’s capabilities in both towing and everyday driving. Does the soon-to-be-replaced luxury pickup have what it takes to get the job done?
That depends on the options boxes, and which ones have been checked.
With the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado having been unveiled at the North American International Auto Show earlier this year, the GMC Sierra is unlikely to give us many surprises in terms of hardware when it shows up in March. But, as it’s also being fully redesigned for 2019, the Sierra won’t look the same as previous incarnations and still has to differentiate itself from its Chevy sibling.
Based upon the shadowy teaser image, now a common practice within the industry, the recipe for telling the two apart will remain largely unchanged. While the new Silverado adopted even smaller headlamps than the outgoing model, the Sierra will persist with fresh versions of the large C-shaped units. Unlike Chevy’s split grille, the GMC is likely to have singular “chrome” reaching beyond the top of the headlights. The Sierra is assured to have unique taillights and wheels as well.
We did it! Thanks to the modern obsession with larger vehicles and opulence, domestic luxury brands are taking off like a rocket. It’s going so well, in fact, that American automakers are starting to steal market share from high-end import manufacturers. Of course, this is only applicable to SUV and crossover sales.
As you know, sedan sales are losing ground to their high-riding counterparts. While this hasn’t resulted in the obliteration of the passenger car market, despite claims to the contrary, those vehicles are being massacred by wayward consumers. Sedans are becoming passé and this has allowed sport utility and crossover vehicles to amass a significant portion of the pie.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the luxury market. The rapid growth of the luxury truck segment has substantially increased the United States’ share of domestic models sold with an average transaction price of $60,000 or more. Apparently, the inarguably phenomenal Mercedes-Benz S-Class doesn’t have jack squat on the GMC Yukon Denali.
Suck it, cars.
Yesterday, GMC unveiled the 2018 Yukon Denali Ultimate Black Edition, billed as an “exciting new package” featuring the very best in premium GMC styling and attributes.
That’s excellent marketing-speak, but we all know why there is suddenly an uber-Denali: the regular one just isn’t good enough for the school drop-off line anymore.
Not surprisingly, you’ll pay more for the redesigned 2018 GMC Terrain than its squared-off predecessor, but you’ll pay considerably more for the top-flight Denali variant.
Perhaps this isn’t surprising, as the luxury Denali trim is General Motors’ favorite way to [s]squeeze profit[/s] give consumers what they want from GMC’s lineup.
America loves its trucks, perhaps to an unhealthy degree.
Domestic automakers aren’t complaining, as pickups are among the most profitable vehicles the companies can produce. Compared to cars, trucks are typically easier to manufacture, but fetch a higher price. Tack on costly options and the expensive trim levels the market seems to adore, and you’ve practically printing your own money.
Still, you might be surprised by the percentage of buyers springing for top-end variants of vehicles once loved only by construction companies, public works departments and landscapers.
Buick’s stunning Avenir Concept from the 2015 North American International Auto Show will not reach production, but the concept’s Avenir nameplate will be used as a Buick sub-brand.
In the same vein as GMC’s upmarket Denali sub-brand, Avenir will become the high-end trim level “on three [Buick] models around the globe in the next 18 months,” Buick spokesperson Stuart Fowle told TTAC.
Strange as it seems to those of us who clearly remember 16-inch wheels as the sporting option on midsize sedans, 20-inch rims on a 2016 GMC Yukon Denali appear downright tiny.
Indeed, the 20-inchers pictured above are the poverty-spec wheels on the Yukon Denali, a simple way of avoiding a set of $2,495-2,995 22-inch wheels that will — and here’s the kicker — make your Yukon Denali distinctly less comfortable.
General Motors may use an advanced cylinder deactivation technology, co-developed with Delphi and Silicon Valley startup Tula Technologies, in its SUVs and V-8 cars to shut down up to six cylinders to maximize fuel economy, Automotive News reported.
According to the automaker, GM in 2012 invested in Tula, which specializes in automotive engineering. The automaker announced in January that it would pursue the advanced cylinder deactivation technology for some of its SUVs, which could improve fuel economy by 15 percent in cars with engines with more than four cylinders.
The system, dubbed Dynamic Skip Fire, keeps the throttle open during operation and controls cylinder firing through a special valve that cuts off oil to the deactivated cylinders’ valve lifters. According to the company, the engine computer changes the deactivated cylinders to avoid vibration or noise.
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?