It's no secret that full-size SUVs are the bread and butter of Detroit, and especially General Motors. Since their introduction in 2001, several formidable competitors have popped up in the meantime, including the Toyota Sequoia and the Nissan Armada. But the General has no intention of letting the imports eat their lunch, or anyone else for that matter.
In a nearly unprecedented move, GM is releasing photos and specifications of their 2007-model SUVs even before the end of Calendar 2005. But considering the extent of the changes and upgrades on the models, it's understandable that they'd want to spread the news as far and fast as possible.
Of most interest to power-hungry enthusiasts, the power output of the available motors has been boosted across-the-board. Even the smallest 4.8L Vortec V-8 available in 2WD Tahoe models boasts a respectable 290 horsepower. But the new big gun in the artillery is the all-new 6.2-liter L92 V-8, featuring an aluminum block and heads, and variable valve timing. Claimed output for this new bruiser is 380 horsepower (the likely rating for the GMC Denali models) up to 400 horsepower for the new Cadillac Escalade.
And although power is up across the board, efficiency is improved as well, thanks to displacement-on-demand technology on the 5.3L LY5 engine, offering 320 horsepower. This engine also has E85 capability as well. Though not all of the new engines get the D.O.D. feature, they're all mated to an all-new HydraMatic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission, adding two additional cogs to mix for quicker acceleration as well as increased fuel economy.
Starting with a clean sheet design allowed GM to address one of the former platform's most glaring shortcomings: its wobbly driving dynamics. Well, the former torsion-bar front suspension and recirculating ball steering of the previous generation have been replaced by coil springs all around on half-ton models as well as rack-and-pinion steering. The front track is up by 3 inches in the front and 1 inch in the rear.
And in an acknowledgement of its popularity with the "baller" crowd, GM is offering up to 22-inch wheels as a factory option, though appropriately enough, only the Caddy gets the double-deuces. Standard wheel sizes go up one inch, depending on model, up to 17 and 18 inches, respectively. Also sure to appeal to the Sharper Image crowd are multitude of audio-visual options available now, including MP3-player (read: iPod) plug & play capability, XM Satellite radio (of course) flip-down center DVD monitor and available touch-screen navigation system.
As of this writing, GM has only released photos of the volume-leader Tahoe model, but stay tuned as photos of the other models trickle out. As soon as they're released, we'll have them up here as well.