Originally Posted by C&DIntroduced as 2007 models, the current Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickup twins are due for a revamp. Our spy photographers (dressed like snow leopards, we hope) have nabbed several shots of both extended- and crew-cab versions during cold-weather testing. While it’s difficult to make out much in the way of design aside from the familiar cab-in-front, bed-in-back layout, here’s a rundown of what changes to anticipate.
Gen V Small-Block
GM already has confirmed its investment and a few details on the fifth-generation small-block V-8, and you can count on the new engine(s) powering these trucks. As we’ve mentioned in our recent sightings of the C7 Corvette, the new small-block also will make its way into Chevy’s iconic sports car; historically, truck production volumes have supported the small-block program, making the Vette’s V-8 possible. We know all Gen V small-blocks will feature aluminum blocks, direct injection—which in turn allows for a higher compression ratio—and a “new combustion system design” that has us intrigued. In addition to the new fuel-saving tech, we’re also expecting to see the continued use of cylinder deactivation
Additionally, with the Ford F-150 bushwhacking a V-6–powered trail, we’re thinking we’ll see wider use of a six-pot in the new Chevys and GMCs. At the very least, expect the prehistoric 4.3-liter V-6 that comes standard on base 1500 trucks to die, perhaps being replaced by GM’s ubiquitous 3.6-liter direct-injected V-6. That engine currently produces up to an additional 100 hp and an extra 15 lb-ft of torque compared to the older, larger-displacement six. Remaining four-speed automatic transmissions should be swapped for six-speed units.
With fuel-economy improvements a must, we hear the new trucks could drop as much as 500 pounds from their current curb weights. That seems extreme, and we’re hopeful it’s true; keeping a stout body-on-frame configuration means GM will have to look to lightweight materials such as aluminum and plastics to aid in weight reduction. Swapping the remaining iron-block V-8s with the aforementioned all-aluminum engines will itself help trim a good deal of the fat.
New Interior, Similar Suspension
In the face of stiff competition from the Ram 1500 and Ford F-150, the next GM twins will feature new interiors with what we can only imagine will be better materials (since cabin plastics can’t get much more plasticky than what’s in the current trucks). Rear-seat space, a major shortcoming with the current models compared to the competition, should increase significantly based on the extended greenhouse seen in our pictures of the crew-cab model. While we wait for some of the camo to drop for confirmation, you can count on the Chevy’s face to carry its signature bow tie bisected with a chrome bar and the GMC to feature an open-mouth design.
With the latest Ram moving to a costly multilink coil-spring setup in the rear for a better ride, one might think that Ford and GM would follow suit with their latest iterations. We hear that won’t be the case for these two, as GM engineers feel it’s not warranted; expect to find leaf springs supporting the next Silverado and Sierra. These new workhorses should debut next year as 2014 models.