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Drivelines - January 2014

2015 Chevy Tahoe
Drew Hardin
| Contributor
Posted November 12, 2013
Photographers: Manufacturers

The Latest Industry News

GM Unveils ’15 SUVs
General Motors’ new truck rollout continues. The ’14 half-ton pickup trucks just now hitting the market will soon be joined by revamped versions of the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban, and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL. On sale in the first quarter of 2014 as ’15 models, these new SUVs share some mechanical components with the Silverado and Sierra—including their drivelines—but no sheetmetal is common between the trucks and SUVs.

The EcoTec3 5.3L V-8 will be standard equipment in all four SUVs, while Denali models of the Yukon and XL will be available with the 6.2L EcoTec3 V-8. The frames of all four SUVs have been strengthened and their tracks widened to improve stability. Chevy LTZs and GMC Denalis will be fitted with the latest generation of magnetic ride control, which “reads” road conditions and can adjust damping levels in milliseconds.

"No sheetmetal is common between the trucks and SUVs"

Inside, rear-seat passengers get 2 more inches of legroom, and the second- and third-row seats now fold flat to better accommodate cargo.

Initial trailering specs show the 4WD Tahoe and Yukon can tow up to 8,300 pounds; the 4WD Suburban and Yukon XL 8,000; the AWD Yukon Denali 8,100; and the AWD Yukon XL Denali 7,800.

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This Just In
Automotive News recently published its annual crystal ball–gazing future product reports and turned up several interesting tidbits. Among them:

• There are plans for a “baby” Wrangler, but it sounds like a crossover vehicle, as it will be built in Italy with Fiat 500X models. The standard Wrangler is due for a revision for 2016, when it could get a diesel engine option.

• The next-generation F-150, due next year, is going on a serious diet with extensive use of aluminum in its construction. Also look for a new “Nano” V-6 engine. The truck will reportedly look a lot like the Atlas concept truck.

• A luxury ’15 Grand Wagoneer is coming to compete with the likes of the Cadillac Escalade and Lexus LX models.

• Along with a Titan redesign, Nissan is freshening its compact trucks. Changes to the Frontier pickup and Xterra SUV are expected for 2015.

• GM will reintroduce the compact Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups in the fall of 2014. A year after launch, a 2.5L or 2.8L four-cylinder Duramax turbodiesel will become available as an option.

• Expect to pay more for these new trucks than ever before. According to a study by TrueCar Incorporated, the average transaction price for a new vehicle this summer was $31,252, a record high.

• We keep hearing rumors that Toyota is going to stop making the FJ Cruiser, but the FJ will continue for at least another year. There are no changes for 2014, although a new Trail Teams special edition will be available early in 2014.

New Euro Wrangler
Jeep unveiled a new limited-edition Wrangler Polar Edition at the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany. Most of the accessories are cosmetic: special Hydro Blue paint, gloss-painted wheels, and a body-color hardtop. As we read the press release we were reminded that in Europe the standard Wrangler powertrain consists of a torquey 2.8L turbodiesel, while the Pentastar V-6 is an option.

Diesel for Next Titan
Soon the Ram 1500 won’t be the only light-duty pickup on the market with a diesel engine option. Nissan is working on a much-needed update for its Titan fullsize pickup. The next-generation Titan will be available with a Cummins turbodiesel. The 5.0L V-8 will produce more than 300 hp, says Nissan, with pound-feet of torque peaking in the mid-500 range.

Little else is known about the new Titan—not even the on-sale date—though Nissan has said it will “add powertrain options and cab-and-box configurations to broaden the appeal of the new truck when it comes to market.” Diesel is one part of the puzzle; there could also be a regular-cab version (the truck is now King and Crew Cab) and possibly a V-6 engine option, both of which could put the truck on the radar of commercial users and buyers looking for a more economical version of the truck.

Nissan is touting the new Titan’s made-in-the-USA roots. The truck was designed at Nissan’s Southern California studio, is being tested in Michigan and Arizona, and will be built in Mississippi. The Cummins engines will be built in Indiana, while gas engines will be assembled in Tennessee.

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Earth Watch
• Laws allowing modifications to truck exhaust systems vary from state to state, and keeping up with those laws so you don’t get a ticket can be difficult. The SEMA Action Network has compiled state-by-state exhaust laws on its website (www.semasan.com).

• Jeep has renewed its partnership with Tread Lightly! for the 23rd year in a row. The land-use advocacy organization reminds members that they are eligible to buy any Chrysler vehicle at up to 1 percent below factory invoice through the Chrysler Affiliate Rewards program.

There’s an App for That
GMC has developed a new trailering app, available through the iTunes store, to help truck owners (and buyers) safely tow with their trucks. The app includes trailering tips, power and weight ratings, a prep checklist, and even a glossary of trailering terms.

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