unveils at the Texas State Fair in Dallas today its redesigned-for-’15 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra heavy-duty pickups, part of a year-long rollout of trucks aimed at staking out sales leadership in the segment.
The Silverado and Sierra HDs arrive first-quarter 2014 and their unveiling in the heart of America’s truck country comes just weeks after the new light-duty versions began arriving at U.S. dealerships.
Redesigned models of the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL large SUVs, as well as a new Cadillac Escalade and a redesigned pair of midsize pickups replacing the discontinued Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon, also arrive in first-quarter 2014.
The product push will give GM the freshest truck lineup in the business, from the entry-level to the pinnacle of rugged luxury, and for its pickups a chance to unseat cross-town rivalas king of the segment.
narrowly outsold GM in total pickups last year – 607,854 to 601,426, according to WardsAuto data.
“I think GM can own that segment again,” GM North America President Mark Reuss recently told WardsAuto of the automaker’s outlook on the pickup segment.
The new Silverado and Sierra HDs blend elements from their light-duty brothers now hitting the market, such as exterior and interior designs and creature comforts. But the beefier underpinnings leverage redesigns made to the three-quarter and 1-ton pickup chassis in 2010 for the ’11 model year.
Key exterior elements include a switch to inlaid doors that recess into the body side. It creates a quieter cabin than before, when the doors overlapped onto the roof and A-pillar.
The bodies of the pickups feature slipperier designs, so air flows more smoothly to further reduce wind noise and improve aerodynamics for better fuel economy.
GM paid attention to air flow to maximize engine cooling without sacrificing aerodynamics, so the pickups can perform their generally heavier towing and hauling tasks amid higher ambient temperatures.
Both the Silverado and Sierra receive extensive exterior styling enhancements. The Silverado’s design emphasizes power and function, while the Sierra’s new look builds on its “Professional Grade” theme with a priority on technical precision.
Their renovated cabs boast increased passenger room and more storage space for owners who oftentimes use them as mobile offices or travel long distances with trailers.
Controls are bigger to accommodate gloved hands, and they are placed more logically.
The pickups receive broader connectivity options through the available Chevy MyLink and GMC IntelliLink infotainment systems, which include 3-D navigation, natural voice recognition for hands-free operation, and enough ports and outlets to accommodate multiple personal devices.
Overall, the cabs are stronger thanks to greater use of high-strength steels. The rear doors on crew-cab models are larger for easier ingress and egress, while second-row seating room grows larger. A new double-cab model does away with clumsy clamshell doors in favor of forward-hinged rear doors that make access easier in tight parking spaces.
A new suite of available safety options complement familiar Silverado and Sierra HD driver-assistance technologies such as grade braking and diesel-exhaust braking designed to make towing and hauling easier and safer on steep grades.
The frames are fully boxed, using a large cross section and hydroforming and high-strength steel in key areas, GM says. The front suspension can accommodate snow plows and other accessories, updates made to the chassis with the ’11 redesign.
Newer tweaks to the underpinnings raise maximum payload to an industry-best 7,374 lbs. (3,212 kg) from 7,222 lbs. (3,146 kg) on the ’14 models. Maximum conventional towing power grows to 19,600 lbs. (8,538 kg) from 18,000 lbs. (7,841 kg), which also makes for industry leading capability, GM says. Maximum fifth-wheel towing increases to 23,200 lbs. (10,106 kg) from 22,500 lbs. (9,801 kg).
GM offers a choice of three powertrains, starting with a standard 6.0L V-8 gasoline engine rated at 360 hp and 380 lb.-ft. (515 Nm) of torque on 2500 models and 322 hp and 380 lb.-ft. of torque on 3500 versions.
A compressed natural gas option is available through a second-stage supplier to GM, and the bi-fuel pickups are delivered to the customer just like a gasoline or diesel model.
The top of the range remains the 6.6L turbodiesel V-8 making 397 hp and 765 lb.-ft. (1,037 Nm) of torque mated to an Allison 1000 transmission.
The Silverado and Sierra HDs are built in Fort Wayne, IN, and Flint, MI.
Pricing and fuel-economy estimates will be released closer to the on-sale date.