General Motors has a number of changes in store for its light-and medium-duty lineup in 2006, including new additions and tweaks to existing platforms.
Ed Pepper, general manager of GM's Chevrolet Div., says the company's new mid-size SUV, the HHR, is appropriate for commercial use since it has 63 cu. ft. of storage space. In addition, it can be equipped with a slide-out cargo tray and adjustable cargo holders.
The HHR will be available in two models, the LS and LT, with two engine options: a 2.2L, 143-hp. 4-cyl. and a 2.4L, 173-hp. 4-cyl.
Since GM has an all-new full-size pickup and SUV platform in the pipeline, the GMT 900, its Silverado and Sierra pickups will receive only a few tweaks for the 2006 model year. For the one-ton model, payload capacity has been boosted to 9,600 lb.; for the crew cab version, 9,900 lb. Half-ton pickups will be available with 6.6L, 345-hp. V8 gasoline engines, capable of 380 lb.-ft. of torque, with a 9.5-in. rear axle. A 4WD version will be on the market first, followed by a 2WD version later in the fall.
GM's 6.6L Duramax diesel engine will be more widely available for the 2006 model line, offering more horsepower and torque. In addition, the diesels can now be matched to new 6-sp. Allison heavy-duty automatic transmissions. According to Brian Bowden, director of cross-vehicle marketing for GM, the transmission has a new “tap shift” feature that lets drivers shift manually for more precise control on mountain grades.
On the medium-duty side, the 2006 TopKick and Kodiak trucks will have a 300-hp. Duramax engine option capable of generating 605 lb.-ft. of torque. According to John Gaydash, GM's director of vehicle marketing, this powerplant can be mated to an Allison 1000 series automatic transmission, with has Generation 4 controls that allow for smoother shifting. Exhaust brakes will be optional.
Gaydash notes that C-Series conventionals will have an optional axle configuration of 13,000 lb. in front and 20,000 lb. in the rear. T-Series cabovers will have a 21,000-lb. rear axle. New for the W-series cabovers will be a 300-hp. 6L V8 Vortec gasoline engine option.
On a final note, Gaydash says GM's heaviest medium truck platforms-both straight and tractor configurations-will continue to offer gasoline engines as an option, largely to combat worries over how the impending 2007 emission regulations may affect the performance of diesel-equipped vehicles.