New Chevy TruckHere's your first look at the Avalanche show vehicle. It's being introduced as a UUV (Ultimate Utility Vehicle), a new market niche Chevy is hoping to nab. This truck is a four-door fullsize with seating for six, and it shares a platform with the new Tahoe, Suburban, and Silverado. Its wheelbase is 130 inches (the 1500 Silverado shortbed extended-cab 4x4 is 14311/42). It has a 5.3L Vortec V-8, a four-speed automatic transmission, multilink rear suspension, Autotrac four-wheel drive, a sunroof, and OnStar. But that ain't all. What makes this concept truck unique is its reconfigurable bed, and that Chevy plans to put it into production in 2002.
Chevy says that its Convert-a-Cab system makes trunk pass-through, long a feature of cars, finally available in trucks. The system includes a lockable three-piece cargo cover, a lockable tailgate, folding 60/40 rear seats, and something called a Midgate. The Midgate includes a '68 Corvette-inspired removable rear glass and Pro-Tec, which is a composite material found on the tailgate, the storage boxes, and the inside surfaces of the bed. It protects all of those surfaces from scrapes and dents.
There are also tie-downs, integrated lighting for the storage and bed areas, a rubber cargo-bed floor mat, and an assist handle mounted on the bumper step and cargo bed. A lockable box on both sides of the bed is also a bonus.
The Chevy people say that if you like what you see here, you'll like what they offer in 2002-it won't be exactly like this concept vehicle, but pretty close.
'01 Toyota SequoiaYes, they finally picked a name. It's Sequoia-as in the tree. We have to admit to staring at the photo of this truck for a long time. We suggest you do the same. Look. Look! What are you thinking? Yeah, us too. Land Cruiser. Maybe even 4Runner.
The Sequoia swooped the Tundra V-8 powertrain and a modified version of its platform (see "4x4 of the Year," Feb. 2000, to learn what we think about this). It will make its debut at dealerships later this year.
The new Toy is roomier and larger than the 'Cruiser, and its overall length, width, height, and wheelbase are said to be larger than the Chevy Tahoe and just about identical to the Ford Expedition. Eight passengers, three rows.... The sport/huges are all starting to blend together.
Curtain-shield side airbags and three-way seatbelts for all passengers are what the Sequoia boasts. The front suspension will be independent double-wishbone, just a bit different from the Tundra's, and the rear will be a five-link live axle with coils. Four-wheel disc brakes will be at all corners. Kind of sucks to be a 4Runner right now, doesn't it?
Campfire TalkGuess what the Dakota Quad Cab was once going to be called? The Family Cab.
The new five-door Mazda sport/ute will be called Tribute. It's a joint venture between Mazda and Ford, although it will be an all-new platform. Expect a 200-horse 3.0L V-6, a turbodiesel for the European market, and a low-friction tranny. The redesigned '01 Ford Explorer looks a lot like a downsized Expedition. It'll also have a third row of seats.
Lexus has been selling cars and trucks in the U.S. for 10 years and just sold its one-millionth unit. We're hearing rumblings that a small 4x4 Nissan will be introduced in Europe. Southern California rental-car companies are scoring $175 a day for the Ford Excursion. They say they can barely keep them on the lot. Once again, we're in the wrong business. A DaimlerChrysler analyst is predicting that the year 2000 will be the first time in history that light trucks will outsell passenger cars. If you think you'll look like da bomb in one of those brand-new Ford Explorer Sport Trac pickups, you'll need somewhere in the neighborhood of $22,225 for the two-by and $25,820 for the four-by.