By now you've heard that the media debut of the new GM half-tons — the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra — will be Dec. 13 at an undisclosed location. Along with this information, GM released a close-up view of a projector headlamp, presumably to be used on one of the upper-level trim packages.
There has been much speculation about what types of new-technology option packages will be offered, how dramatically different the interior will look, and what types of new powertrain packages will exist. With the EcoBoost V-6 technology working very well for Ford and the Ram's new eight-speed transmission garnering all sorts of praise by the various media outlets, GM needs to offer something special if it wants to compete sufficiently.
We might get a clue from, of all places, the new Corvette as to what that key piece of technology might be. There has been quite a bit of buzz recently surrounding the coming 2014 Corvette. The plant in Bowling Green, Ky., is reported to be shut down for almost a total of six weeks for the changeover, but the big news is the release and use of a new Gen V small-block V-8 engine, reported to offer the most power and fuel economy for any standard Corvette engine.
Our guess is a lot of the technology included on this engine will make it into one of the engine choices that will be offered for certain models of the new Silverado and Sierra 1500s. For that reason, it's worth looking at some of the highlights of the engine. (Click here to download the full press release from GM.)
Highlights include an aluminum block and oil pan, direct injection, new active fuel-management system, continuously variable valve timing, new head design, higher compression ratio, more advanced cooling, and a highly modified combustion chamber and spark plug setup. These advancements provide huge improvements in efficiency and power output, and we're almost certain they will be carried over to the new truck engines.
We're hearing through some back channels that a lot of these same technologies could be brought into all the engine options for the full-size half-tons, but we won't find that out until mid-December. In the meantime, we know all the manufacturers have some very aggressive fuel-economy standards to meet in the coming decade, so we expect to hear quite a bit of noise about better fuel economy, lighter trucks, multispeed transmissions, turbocharging and even cylinder deactivation.
No doubt the engineers and marketing folks at GM (not to mention Chevy and GMC dealerships) can't wait to finally get their half-ton products to the marketplace, but what will be most interesting to us is whether or not they bring all their weapons to the fight in one big blaze, or if this is just the first phase of a multilayered, long-term battle strategy. We're guessing the latter, but they might surprise us. We'll also get a closer look at the trucks at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. Stay tuned.