New Trucks Unveiled at the Los Angeles and Detroit International Auto Shows
Nissan Shows Its Titan Fullsize Pickup; Chevrolet Debuts the Cheyenne; Plus, the New GM Midsize Colorado and Canyon TrucksThe 2003 Los Angeles International Auto Show and the 2003 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Michigan, are arguably the most important shows for the North American market; the Los Angeles show due to the sheer volume of the California market as well as the impact the California car culture has on the rest of the nation; the NAIAS because, well, it's in the motor city. Both shows were packed with production and concept vehicle debuts that continue the trend toward functional, activity-driven designs. In short, the designers continue to build in more function for pickups.
The factory design departments provided a barrage of new truck concepts and production vehicles, and it's clear that the most profitable - and popular - segment of the market is still light trucks, SUVs, and pickups. By all accounts, the light truck segment remains the jewel of the North American auto market.
The competition in the light truck segment is proving to be fierce with the introduction of the most significant new vehicles of the season, the new '04 F-150 and the '04 Nissan Titan. The Ford F-150 is Ford's best-selling vehicle - period. The new model is extremely important to Ford, and the new Titan is equally important to Nissan. Throw in GM's Cheyenne and Dodge's Hemi-powered truck plans, and you can be sure we're witnessing the beginning of a truly epic struggle.
This competition between truck makers will bode well for off-road enthusiasts as the quality, utility, and level of design ramps up to influence our choice in trucks. Here's a brief rundown on the cool new trucks for 2004 and beyond.
'04 GMC Canyon Midsize Pickup GMC's version of the new midsize pickup platform offers a distinctive front end with a strong family resemblance to its fullsize brothers, with a red GMC logo prominently displayed on the grille with chrome surround and dark smoke-gray crossbars.
As with the Chevy Colorado, the Canyon offers two new inline engines based on the award-winning Vortec 4.2L inline-six engine introduced in the '02 GMC Envoy sport utility vehicle. The standard engine is a 2.8L Vortec inline-four with 175 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque. The optional 3.5L Vortec inline-five produces 220 hp and 225 lb-ft of torque. Both engines boast state-of-the-art features such as electronic throttle control, variable valve timing, and coil-on-plug ignition.
Other powertrain features on the Canyon include an available all-new five-speed manual transmission, a new transfer case for four-wheel-drive models, and the four-speed Hydra-Matic 4L60-E automatic transmission. Originally engineered to handle the stresses of GM fullsize pickups, the application of this transmission to the midsize bode well for its durability.
The Canyon is constructed with a reinforced safety cage and side guard door beams to help enhance the safety of the driver and passengers. Canyon also features high-intensity halogen headlamps and available foglamps for forward visibility. Other safety features include a highly deformable all-steel body, standard four-wheel ABS brakes, rack-and-pinion steering, a new driver information center, three-point lap shoulder belts in all three rear seating positions, and the LATCH system. Canyon production will begin at the General Motors Shreveport truck plant in Shreveport, Louisiana, in the fourth quarter of 2003.