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- If similar in size to their platform mate, the Isuzu D-max,
these trucks will not be as big as expected. Heck, GM is now calling the present Sonoma a mid-size:
Why make a mid-size when you can market your old compact as one (Revenge of Ron Zarella?!?). Maybe GM got some good intel on the Dakota being shrunk next generation and decided not to be behind the power curve. Probably GM also read the writing on the political wall (read: CAFE) and knew they needed to compensate for Yukons/Denalis, Escalades, Silverado 1500's and the like. Might be the reason GMC, quite a while after the Colarado was announced, finally announced the Canyon. Corporate might have forced them to have a small truck so all the CAFE averaging pressure isn't on Chevy.
- The engine debate is also interesting. Again GM is going for fuel economy IMO. An exec practically said so when he was quoted as wanting to sell a lot of 2.8/5-speed combos. Owning both a vehicle with a 4.2L I-6 Vortec and one with the old 4.3 V-6 Vortec, I can attest for the new engine's smoothness and higher end power. But GM is putting in an I-5 version for mileage. Even with balance shafts it won't be as smooth. Plus, it has less torque than the 4.3. In the end it might come down to buyer's perceptions. Ford dealer's will be quick to learn "Yes, their's is nice, but OUR's has a V-6. The 3.5L will best the 4.3 Vortec by 25-35 HP (depending on which version (2wd/4wd)4.3L is compared to) but it does lose 20-25lb-ft of torque in the same comparision. Will buyers be more concerned with torque output and engine size/number of cylinders? Ford's top Ranger engine is a 4 liter four with 238lb-ft of torque.The 4.3 had this beat on both accounts. Of course, the Ranger out-sold it, so maybe the 3.5 will outsell it due to horsepower (8hp more). I'm not so sure though. With the I-6, GM out-muscled the 4.0 in the Explorer and even out HPed theV-8. The advantage was clearly GM's. In this case though, I don't think the advantages are as clear cut. Especially with Ford salesman asking True-Blue American pick-up buyers if they want a "Japanese-designed pickup with one of them smaller foreign style five-cylinder engines in it." Hopefully, GM's gambit to lower it's CAFE numbers with this truck will work, but it might be at the expense of the truck's marketability (read: fleet sales). To address the lack of a "new" six cylinder truck, GM could introduce a 4.2L I-6 powered limited option base version Silverado/Sierra when the 4.3L goes out of production, similiar to the old W/T C/Ks. Problem is GMC wouldn't want a version because it doesn't fit there "Professional Grade" upscale image. Of course, this helps CAFE numbers some more (nice since EPA just raised them) but lessens profitability on a per unit basis, which continues to make Wall Street nervous. Got to like it when Government "enviropolicy" rather than market forces effect product decisions.
This all the information GM has released, expect a small V-8 or a Turbo I-5 for the SS version in about 2-3 Years!
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