The New Generation Of GM Trucks Looks Poised To Reconquer The Light-Duty Segment
Well, they're finally here, a few months behind schedule-but then again, it's been nine years since their last redesign, so what's a few more months? Better late than never, we'd say, and either way, we'd wager the new GMT900 line of light-duty trucks will prove well worth the wait to new-truck buyers and Bow Tie aficionados alike.
For would-be new owners, the operative word from GM is "choice." The new Silverado/Sierra platform will be offered with a mind-boggling array of tailor-it-yourself chassis, powertrain, work, and comfort options: five different engines, three interior trim levels (four on the Sierra: the high-zoot Denali package tops the list), three different bed configurations, and five distinct suspension packages, including the preferred-by-us Z/71 Off-Road package and a new NHT Towing setup that gets you a beefier 9.5-inch rear axle and a 10,500-pound haul rating.
For 2007, GM designers labored long to give the Chevy and GMC unique design characteristics, and in fact the two marques feature radically different stylings, inside and out; the two brands sport their own front clips, headlamps and fascias, bedsides and taillights, as well as different box designs. To our eye, the GMC looks stockier and brawnier than in the past, the Chevy perhaps a bit sleeker and aerodynamic. But as always, it's what's under the shiny stuff that really counts, and The General is all over it with a plethora of power offerings for 2007.
Engine choices range from the base 4.3L regular-cab V-6 engine rated at 195 hp to the 367hp 6.0L V-8 (available with Crew Cab and Extended Cab models) to the stump-'whumpin' 6.2L Vortec L92, rated at 400 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm, which can be had on Sierra Denali models. The most popular powerplant will likely remain the venerable 5.3L V-8, now rated at 315 hp and 338 lb-ft of torque and flex-fuel compatible across both platforms. Either the Hydra-Matic 4L65 or 4L70 four-speed automatics are the standard gearboxes, but extended-cab Sierras with the 6.0L will get the music-to-our-ears 6L80E six-speed automatic as an option in 2007.
Suspension is now an independent, control-armed coilover setup in front (good riddance, torsion bars), with a solid 8.6-inch rear axle located by leaf springs and monotube shocks that have been reangled outward for improved handling. The NVG246 "Autotrac" part-time four-wheel-drive system with 2.64:1 low-range carries over from the previous year, and for added traction (some might say "clunk steer"), the storied Eaton G80 automatic rear locking diff will be available with the Z71 package.
We didn't have a chance to test drive either of the new pickups-and no pricing info was available at press time-but we'll have both a Silverado and Sierra in our 2007 Pickup Truck of the Year test, and by the time we get them outfitted to our liking, they will be two discrete vehicles with their own interiors, cab configurations, and chassis and suspension dynamics. Stay tuned to the March 2007 issue for all the details.
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Vehicle model: 2007 Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra
Base Price: N/A
Engine Type: 4.3L V-6/4.8L V-8/5.3L V-8/6.0L V-8/6.2L V-8
Valvetrain: OHV, two valves/cyl
Aspiration: Sequential EFI
Mfg.'s max hp: 195/295/315/367/400
Mfg.'s torque (lb-ft): 260/305/338/375/415
Transmission: Hydra-Matic 4L60E/4L65E/4L70E four-speed automatics; 6L80Esix-speed automatic (Denali only)
Transfer case: NVG246 part-time two-speed
Low range ratio: 2.64:1
Axle ratio: 3.23:1 to 4.10:1
Suspension (f/r): Upper, lower control arms, coilover IFS; solid axle, leaf springs
Steering: Power rack-and-pinion
Brakes (f/r): 13.1-inch discs/13.5-inch discs(over 7,000-pound GVW)
Wheels: 17x7.5 to 20x8.5
Tires: P245/70R17 to P275/55R20
Wheelbase (in): 133.9 to 157.5
Length (in): 220.6 to 249.2
Width (in): 79.9
Height (in):73.7 (4x4)
Track, f/r (in): 68.1/67
Curb weight (lb): 5,143 to 5,265
GVWR (lb): 6,800 to 7,200
Ground clearance f/r (in): 9 to 9.3
Approach/departure angle (deg): 16 to 16.4/22-23.3
Max towing capacity (lb): 8,300 to 10,500
Max cargo capacity (cu. ft.): 53.2 to 75.5
Fuel capacity (gal.): 26 to 34
EPA mileage estimates (mpg): N/A