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General Motors future models - GMC

By Glenn Brooks | 9 September 2019

AT4 is new for the 2020 Acadia range

AT4 is new for the 2020 Acadia range

For a long time, not even General Motors itself seemed to know just what GMC was meant to be other than an alternative to Chevrolet when it came to light trucks in North America and the Middle East. The brand has lately become more premium, more rugged and in many ways, GM's all-American answer to Jeep, albeit without the smaller vehicles. 

SUVs

Rumours come and rumours go about a subcompact GMC called Graphyte but for now, such a project appears to be on the backburner. This seems strange when there is clearly strong demand for 4.0-4.5m long SUVs in all three North American markets. Not to mention the opportunity to help push GMC above the 600,000 units per annum total in the US alone: in H1, the brand sold 277,277 vehicles, a year-on-year gain of 2.9 per cent.

GMC's smallest SUV is the Terrain. In common with its twin-under-the-skin Chevrolet Equinox, the latest generation uses GM's Global Delta platform. Production commenced in May 2017 with the first deliveries to US dealers taking place during the following month. Fresh for North America's 2018 model year, the Terrain offers three turbocharged engines: 1.5- and 2.0-litre petrol/gasoline units and a 1.6-litre diesel. The petrol engines are each linked to a standard nine-speed automatic gearbox.

Changes for the 2020 model year Terrain include additional features for the so-called 'Pro Safety' package. The 2021MY Terrain will likely be facelifted and an AT4 variant added. As GM keeps shortening life cycles as it consolidates most big volume light trucks on new platforms, the next generation model should arrive in CY2024. The architecture should be VSS-F.

The Envoy or Jimmy badges might return for an additional GMC model which is due to arrive in 2020 or 2021 and which would use the 31xx architecture. An SUV, it would be based upon the Canyon pick-up and aimed at the Ford Bronco. General Motors applied to register Envoy with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in December 2018, so the return of that model name might be for this vehicle. On the other hand, there have been rumours that the Jimmy name will be revived.

The current generation Acadia, a five-, six- or seven-seat crossover, is shorter (4,917mm) than the previous shape model (5,101mm). GM quotes the 2WD versions weighing from 1,794kg versus 2,112kg for the old model. This is mainly thanks to a new, lighter platform.

This generation, C1UG, was new for the 2017 model year and the first vehicle to use General Motors' C1xx. The front- and/or all-wheel drive architecture is mainly for crossovers and SUVs and was developed with several wheelbases in mind.

All variants feature a drive mode selector, which allows the driver to alter chassis and powertrain attributes to suit a variety of driving conditions. Front-drive versions offer Normal (2x4), Snow, Sport and Trailer/Tow modes, while AWD vehicles offer 2x4 (AWD disconnect), 4x4, Sport, Off Road and Trailer/Tow.

The All Terrain variants have an AWD system with an Active Twin Clutch. This replaces Off Road mode on the drive mode selector, which, according to GMC, works with the model's exclusive AWD system to offer enhanced hill-climb capability. All Terrain Acadias are distinguished from the rest of the lineup with a body-colour grille surround, black chrome-look trim and unique wheels. Inside, there are covered storage bins in the rear cargo floor in place of a third-row seat.

In February, GMC announced a facelift, the addition of the AT4 variant (pictured) and powertrain changes for the 2020 model year. The truck's debut took place two months later at the New York auto show. A turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and a nine-speed automatic transmission which GM brands Hydra-Matic 9T65 are new. This replaces a six-speed transmission. Buyers may instead choose 2.5-litre four-cylinder or 3.6-litre V6 engines. No further exterior changes are expected and a replacement is due for the 2024 model year.

Some believe there could be an extra model in GMC's future, positioned in the size space below the 5.1m long Yukon (but much smaller than the giant 5,700mm Yukon XL). It might even be stretched to 5.2m as being a unibody CUV, these vehicles are chasing different buyers. An 'Acadia XL' would have three rows of seating and a big boot, while also being about the same length as the previous generation Acadia. Such a vehicle could be added when the next generation arrives during 2023. On the other hand it may instead be fast tracked and join the existing model for the 2021 or 2022 model year.

In common with GM's other large SUVs which are sold mainly in North America, the next Yukon series should be based on the T1XX architecture, also known as VSS-T. There may also be PHEV variants, though this is not yet confirmed. Among key engineering changes will be independent rear suspension instead of the live axle which has been part of every previous generation. The new Yukon, Yukon XL, Yukon Denali and Yukon Denali XL are due for the 2021 model year.

Pick-ups

The Canyon is GMC's equivalent of the Chevy Colorado. It was revealed at the Detroit auto show in January 2014. New for North America's 2015 model year, this mid-size pickup is available in either two- or four-wheel drive with an extended cab and six-foot bed; crew cab with five-foot bed; or crew cab with six-foot bed. The Denali model grade was added for the 2017 model year, premiering at November 2015's LA auto show. It went on sale in late 2016.

The standard engine is a 193hp 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol unit, with a 302hp 3.6-litre V6 optional. A 2.8-litre four-cylinder Duramax diesel became available during late 2015. This was part of the news for the 2016 model year line-up. There are few changes for MY2020. A facelift should be the main news for the 2021 model year, with the successor due out in calendar 2023.

The Sierra is the twin of the Chevrolet Silverado. The latter was revealed at the NAIAS in January 2018 but the Sierra wasn't shown until a media preview event two months later. Its auto show debut took place in New York City in March 2018. This was also the venue for the premiere of the AT4 off-road variants.

The Silverado and Sierra were the first vehicles for GM's T1 architecture. The latest truck has a roll-formed, high-strength steel bed floor. Unlike Ford's rival F-150, aluminium is not used for the frame. The lighter material is limited to hinged panels (doors, hood/bonnet and tailgate) but all fixed ones (fenders/wings, roof and bed) are steel.

The Silverado and Sierra are also the first models to be available with a new in-line 3.0-litre diesel. The Duramax-branded six-cylinder engine is manufactured in Michigan at GM's Flint Engine Operations. Originally to be new for the 2019 model year, the engine was held over until the 2020 model year due to delays with EPA certification, it was stated in May. The diesel trucks are only now rolling into US dealerships.

The bigger selling powertrains are General Motors' 5.3- and 6.2-litre pushrod petrol V8s. As with the diesel, these send drive through a ten-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission.

In addition to the V8s and six-cylinder diesel, there is a 2.7-litre gasoline unit. The four-cylinder turbo, which has outputs of 310hp and 348 lb-ft, replaced the 285hp and 306 lb-ft 4.3-litre pushrod V6 in certain trim levels.

GM made the two trucks far more different than was the case with the previous models, which, incidentally, continue to be built. They are sold as cheaper models but the line-up of available variants was hugely slimmed down.

Unlike the Silverado, the 2019 Sierra can be ordered with options that include a six-way adjustable tailgate and an industry-first scratch-proof, dent-proof and corrosion-resistant cargo bed. There is also a video monitor in the rearview mirror, a three by seven-inch head-up display and adaptive ride control with active dampers. An optional weight-saving 'CarbonPro' bed floor was announced in April.

GMC offers two versions of the truck which are exclusive to markets in the Middle East. These are the Elevation and AT4 regular cab.

The next major news for the T1XG series Sierra should be a facelift in early 2022. The replacement is due for the 2026 model year.

Announced to the media in January, the latest Sierra Heavy Duty 2500 and Sierra Heavy Duty 3500 are new for the 2020 model year. Each went on sale in North America a few weeks ago. Chevrolet had revealed images and details of their twins, the 2020 Silverado HD trucks, last December.

The new HDs are bigger and each has a longer wheelbase than the previous generation variants. Both 2500HD and 3500HD dual rear wheel and single rear wheel configurations are available.

There is a choice of two new powertrains: a 401hp and 464 lb-ft 6.6-litre gasoline OHV V8 (GM engine code: L8T) with direct injection mated to a six-speed transmission, or a 6.6-litre Duramax diesel V8 (L5P). This delivers 445hp and 910 lb-ft of torque through a new Allison-branded 10-speed transmission.

These Flint, Michigan-built trucks are scheduled to be facelifted and have mechanical updates in CY2022, while their successors should appear for the 2028 model year.

PHEV and EV pick-ups

General Motors is said to be developing a Sierra Plug-in hybrid and a Sierra EV as well as Chevrolet Silverado/Cheyenne equivalents. This follows the announcement in January by Jim Farley, a Ford executive, that a BEV version of the F-Series was in the pipeline. Ford will first offer an F-150 Hybrid, that truck being set to appear by the end of 2019.

The hybrid trucks will likely be added to the Silverado and Sierra line-ups in 2021 with the EVs to follow in 2022.

Van/Minivan

A successor for the Savana, a delivery van and passenger van which will turn 18 in January, is not expected to appear until late in CY2023. It may use GM's T1XX architecture. Some sources however, believe that the next model could be electric and based on GM's BEV3 architecture.

The other scenario had been for Nissan North America to adapt its slow-selling NV full sized van for General Motors. In that case the Savana and near-identical Chevrolet Express would have been manufactured by Nissan at its Canton plant in Mississippi. These plans are now said to have been cancelled.

Reports for many other manufacturers' future models are grouped in the OEM product strategy summaries section of just-auto.com.

Future product program intelligence

More detail on past, current and forthcoming models can be found in PLDB, the future vehicles database which is part of QUBE. Details of GMC models not named in the above report can be found there.

This was the fifth feature in a series which examines future models for the passenger vehicle divisions of General Motors. The first one looked at Baojun and the second one had Wuling as its focus, both brands which are co-owned by General Motors, SAIC and Liuzhou Wuling Motors. These were followed by Chevrolet cars, then Chevrolet SUVs and pick-ups. The final three will examine Buick, Cadillac, and Holden.