2015 GM Pickup Trucks to Get More Gears

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GM is likely to pull forward its plans to pour more fuel-efficient technology into the next-generation Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500. Earlier predictions had GM giving its 2014 pickups a mid-cycle refresh as far away as 2017, but that's changed. With all the attention the 2015 Ford F-150 has been getting and the recent announcement that the Ram 1500 will get a minor update next year and major update in 2017, clearly GM thinks it must move up its timetable. However, whether the Chevy or some of the GMC's higher trim packages get the technology first is undetermined.

According to The Detroit News, Jeff Luke, GM's executive chief engineer for pickup trucks, has said the pickups are likely to come to market next year with a more advanced transmission with several more gears than the existing six-speed. Stop-start engine technology is a possibility as well; 2015 models will go on sale later this year.

Other technologies mentioned during a recent debut and test drive of the new Chevy Suburban and Tahoe included a smarter and more efficient gas and/or diesel hybrid setup, as well as more aggressive weight-saving strategies that could include more use of aluminum and alternative fuel combinations.

According to GM, when the new trucks debuted they weighed between 200 and 300 pounds less than the vehicles they replaced (which effectively zeroed out the extra insulation, electronics and added structural supports). We'll know more by fall.

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Well it sounds like they will get a new Tranny this year, but I'm guessing Refresh is still 2017.

That would be great if they would put this transmission in the new Colorado/Canyon. If not at least a six speed auto.

Why does it sounds to me like they are in one big mess and they want to use all the technology used by other manufacturers at once, but on the end of the day, they will just push old stuff with more incentives.

What is the lighter duty version of the GM 8L90 going to be called?
8L70, 8L60 perhaps

2015.5 would be some friendly rain on Ford's parade.

I have to say the GMC looks way better then the Chevy. Chevy should have make the Silverado look more like the new Suburban up front.

I wish someone would explain where this all ends. Is a six speed bad? How long until anybody with an Eight Speed feels underpowered.

There is a point of diminishing returns involved.

I'm keeping the Silverado a little longer. I'll just have to get by with only four forward gears.

Papa Jim a six speed is not bad, but an eight speed is more efficient. I'm sure they will be an end to how many gears are in a tranny, probably around 10 speeds and after that they will have electric vehicles anyway.

More proof GM's current design ain't getting it done. GM needs less talk and more action.

I predict that RAM's 2015 refresh will include use of FCA's new nine-speed tranny with possibly an updated Pentastar V-6 engine. I think the newly configured 5.7 Hemi is still a little ways off and will likely debut with the new 2017 redesign. By the way, I can't wait to see what that truck looks like!!

If Ram gets rid of the Passenger floor hump, I'll buy one.

It won't be an 8 speed. It will be a 10 speed.

Also, on the Detroit News piece, GM did not state GM would get a new tranny with several more gears next year. GM said there would be some changes.

The Detroit News is predicting one of the changes could be a new transmission. Although no date was given, this is the same transmission that Ford is getting.

“You’ll see some neat updates on the trucks and SUVs, you’ll see them coming, I’d say in short order,” Luke said. “Then the year after that, the year after that, the year after that, you’ll see some neat things coming in a whole host of areas.”

No, duh.

Papa jim knows everything. I will reserve judgment on this transmission, but yes the more gears the more efficient.

It doesn't sound like the plan is changing much. Sounds more like hype from the media and anlalysts.

We all knew Ford and GM have partnerened on a new transmission that is coming soon.

If it is in fact coming for the 2015 model, that would be great, but I did not read that from Detroit News.

Papa Jim is a moron. However, in this case he is 100% correct. There is a point of diminishing returns. More gears equals more shifting. More shifting equals more heat and loss of efficiency. At some point you'll get to where all the shifting and excess heat is offsetting benefits.

I use this simply as one example out of thousands...but a 1990s Jeep Cherokee with 3 speed automatic would easily get 20-22 MPGs highway. A 2014 Jeep Cherokee with 9 speed automatic gets barely any MPG bump at all and that's including a more aerodynamic shape and high tech engine.

Bottom line is this...in the real world, adding more and more gears does NOT automatically give you better gas mileage or performance.

More gears is one step in the right direction. They sure need to do something to make their trucks more competitive! Can't live on history forever.

@ papa jim
I think the benefit of an 8-speed over a 6-speed is that you can get the low 1st gear like what you have in with a 6-speed but you wont have that big drop into second and so on. I think with the more evenly spaced gears of an 8-speed you get better FE by not being an a lower gear than need be and you also get better performance. Also an added benefit of the 8-speed over the 6-speed is that you do not need a very low axle ratio. The Toyota AB60 has a tall first gear which requires the Tundra to have a low HWY FE killing axle ratio.

You can see how evenly placed the gear ratios are http://www.allpar.com/model/ram/dodge/2013-ram-powertrain.html. Now look at the 6L80 which has a taller 1st gear than the 8HP and are not as evenly spaced http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GM_6L80_transmission. I think the 8-speed is what the new GMT's are missing They believe that the 8L90 will have a 4.55 1st gear instead of the 6L80 4.027 1st gear http://www.dieseldriver.com/author/timur-apakidze/.

Now adding start/stop with that 8-speed the 2016 GMT's could improve 1cty/1hwy which would pass Ram in performance (6.2L already does) and FE on both V6 and V8. I don't know what the Ram guys will say if the 4.3L passes the 3.6L and the 6.2L passes the Hemi in FE as the Hemi is only 15/22 compared to the 6.2L's 15/21.


A 1992 Jeep Cherokee Limited 4 dr 4x4 had a curb weight of 3028 lbs and has EPA ratings of 14/18. http://www.edmunds.com/jeep/cherokee/1992/features-specs.html?style=3600

A 2014 Cherokee Limited 4x4 has a base curb weight starting at 4044 lbs and is epa rated at 19/26.

That is a fairly substantial improvement. More gears does not guarantee an improvement, but, in this case, GMs new 8 speed transmission shifts faster and is more efficient across the board. There is no engineering downside to using the new transmission.

obviously they have figured out that the new 10 speed is going to be better than the current six speed. Just because a truck has all those gears doesn't mean it has to use them all every time it accelerates. With 10 speed they can have a higher top gear and more gears in-between so you'll always be in the best ratio for towing or fuel efficiency. Can't they also have the truck skip gears up or down if that would improve the performance so if a 6 speed would work better in a given situation they can make it work basically like a 6 speed? I'm pretty sure they know what they are doing, especially when they are developing it jointly with ford. And I doubt it is really coming this year. Didn't the new ram with 8 speed improve MPG quite a bit almost exclusively because of the new transmission? My 09 4x4 with the 5.7 5 speed is rated 13/18. The 2014 ram 4x4 with 5.7 and 8 speed is rated 15/21. My guess is the chevy will increase combined MPG by 2 mpg entirely because of the new transmission when it gets it.

@Jeff S

Why reserve judgment???

Everybody is waiting with bated breath for your opinions. Please don't make us wait any longer.

How about giving us 3 or 4 paragraphs of your brilliance ...

and finish with Jeff's famous closer:

Jeff says: Everyone should get the truck that meets their needs.

I am not worthy!

GM has had a 10 speed transmission in the works with Ford for some time, so I'd believe that that is on the table for 2015. 2015 was its original role out date, too.

As it is, the trucks with 3.73 gears and 3.42 gears are at nearly 1500 rpm and 1300 rpm when at speed. Having an extra overdrive to drop that down to 1200 or so when unloaded would be a boon. For stop and go driving, you could lower the first gear below 5:1, and 2nd gear could be near the current 4.027:1. The point being that unloaded, you could start in 2nd gear, but loaded or when on an incline you could start even lower than that to get going, without needing as much throttle.


do the math:

How many extra bleeping years will you have to drive your new 10 speed truck (at an extra 2mpg) to save the extra money that it cost?

Doesn't matter which brand. The added efficiency has a price to pay. Just like with diesel engines, they cost more up front and you hope by the time it's paid off you'll recover the difference in upfront price of the truck.

1995 Jeep Cherokee 4x4 4cyl with a 3 speed: EPA rated 17 mpg hwy.
130 hp.

2014 Jeep Cherokee 4x4 4cyl with a 9 speed: EPA rated 24 mpg hwy. 184 hp.

Barely is 7 mpg? The 2014 also has 54 more hp.

Bottom line is the Ram fans are back to there "more gears no good argument" after their 8 speed gets outdated.

Once Rams gets their 10 speed in 2018, they'll be back to singing its praises. Tthe tranny may not be giving all of the performance and efficiency, but it spart of the puzzle and 7 mpg is not barely better than the 90's and it has much more hp.

@papa jim--You are so quick to judge everyone and everything. I don't know what these transmissions will be like and my opinion is not the one that counts, it will be how well these transmissions hold up. I do agree there is a law of diminishing returns like there is on razor blades, how many more blades do you need in a cartridge once you have 5. I do not profess to be a know-it-all like you. You are acting obnoxious.

Papa Jim thinks he's a no it all, but in reality he has very little knowledge and a big lack of common sense.

Nobody said there was anything wrong with the old trucks. If you're happy with a 9 year old Silverado or a 13 year old Ram or a 25 year old Ford, keep what you have. Others can ship elsewhere. People bash the new stuff not just because it is more expensive but because it makes their trucks look outdated.

JP I wouldn't deny that more gears can help with efficiency, but you're example is way far from proving the point. Many other factors contributed to the economical difference. Aerodynamics, final drive gear ratio, the engine, etc.

GM could improve their aero but getting rid of the square front end. I mean the GM trucks are four inches less tall then a Ram but yet they have worse Aero numbers.

I'm begging you guys with the 9 or 10 year old Silverados and 12 year old Rams to stop commenting about the new trucks. Yes, you are saving a ton of money keep the old truck. What do you want? A medal?

I could save more money with a 20 year old truck. That's not the point. Stick to what you know and like which is old trucks from 9 years ago. Stick to the used car lots.

We are discussing new trucks here. Go to the forums if you want to discuss 1990's or mid 2000's models.

Alex, I agree but I wasn't trying to prove that the tranny alone was giving more efficiency. I was showing that Wxman's example that a a 90's was in the 22 and the 2014 was barely better example is flat out wrong.

The facts are the 90's is 17 and the 2014 is 7 mpg better and has significantly more hp. If you are going to give examples, make sure they are factual, that is my point. Nobody is even arguing that the tranny alone is the reason so I don't know why people keep on making that point.

Are Ford and GM developing this transmission jointly? I believe that is what I read on this site, if not correct me. If so, then this transmission will be used in many of the Ford and GM product lines. There will be some glitches, but they should be able to work that out in time.

I agree with JP. I'm tired of the people who have to tell the world how happy they are with their 2006 Silverados or 2003 Rams in every post. You'll have to get by with your 4 speed. Well thanks for keeping us updated. I heard the 2007 Silverado has the best interior he has ever seen. Howie Long told me that. Enough already.

It's about the proper combinations of vehicle weight, engine outpout in a given RPM and transmission logic. Oh, and of course driving habits.

My 97 Suburban with the 5.7L and the old 4L60 was RATED for 11/15MPG. My observed actuals were 16.3 average over 15 months with over 50% city driving. When I was doing all city driving it dropped to 15.3 average. On a 1700mile cross country drive it averaged 20.

That engine was so torque heavy at low RPM that I never had to go above 1200rpm driving in the city, even while accelerating. 2000rpm was reserved for freeway onramps, anything higher was for "hot-dogging". Heck, I pulled a late 90s crew cab ram out of a 3.5ft deep creek, with the rams cab and bed flooded, while at idle.

That 4L60 was so smooth that when I first bought it used with 148,000mi I thought it had a CVT.

The idea of 8 or more gears honestly boggles my mind as to the neccessity since I was driving a 3-ton brick with a 4 speed and getting 15/20 real MPG on a 4 speed with an "underpowered" (by todays standards, 255hp is nothing and the 330lbft is pretty weak) large displacement V-8 with NO fuel saving technologies.

I will take a 3/4 ton Suburban with a diesel/hybrid please. I don't know how we still downplay the efficiency of putting a diesel in something so large. The new Ecotech 5.3V8 in the suburban produces 385 pound feet of torque. My wife's Jeep has 420 pound feet out of a 3.0V6 Ecodiesel. Sure, Ford's EcoBoost (too many Eco's...really) makes the same amount of torque, but real world MPG's have not proven to be equal to diesel. I'm not trying to start a gas vs. diesel argument because too many uneducated people who've never owned a modern diesel will profess the inequities of the Chevette they had 30 years ago.

@Jeff S - With cars, 8-speeds is about all that's ever needed. But trucks vary dramatically in usage. A truck can use 8 forward gears for normal driving, but could use the extra "granny gear" 1st, down low for the extra boost, say starting on a steep hill at max load. But can start in 2nd gear for normal driving.

Now a "double overdrive" or 10th, would seldom be used except over 80 mph, no load obviously. But it would allow for more aggressive gears, like 4.56s on 'stock' size tires. Or say 5.13s on 35" tires, and still cruise all day at 70+ mph around 1,500 rpm.

10 forward speeds are a big advancement for pickup trucks, anyway you slice it. But let's see if GM doesn't screw it up, rushing it to market. They're clearly scrambling to get the "edge" and GMs with aluminum bodies are at least 4 years away.

@DenverMike--Thanks for the info. I wasn't really sure about the extra gears in the 10 speed. I think with the new fuel standards all the manufacturers are trying to squeeze out the extra mpgs with more gears in the transmissions, direct injection and turbos, aluminum bodies, and more aerodynamics. There will be a lot of changes in the near future.

@DM--Another question. Does larger tire size help with mpgs? If so that would explain all the larger tire sizes besides just for style. I have a harder time getting the correct tires for my Isuzu and S-10. I can still get the tires but many tire manufacturers have discontinued making many different sizes.


Last time I checked, this is a site devoted to pickups. You THINK it's about new pickups.

You're wrong.

But everyone should drive the truck that meets their needs, or if they can still find one, get an Izuzu 1-5 extended cab.

Jeff S,

papa jim is not in the new truck market and has family ties to used buy-here-pay-here used car lots. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

But take whatever attacks he makes towards you, or the new tech and new trucks with a huge grain of salt. Quite frankly ke knows nothing about the new trucks or trucks in general outside of sunny Florida. He was the one who said you could just let snow melt and shouldn't plow the streets.

Politcs is another story - he seems to know what he is talking about and is very knowledgeable here.

Where will it end? These guys with the older trucks wanting to end the new powertrains would be saying the same thing in 2025 if they had bought a 2015 with more gears.

Where will the complaining about new trucks end? It won't because there is always someone with a little bit older truck that doesn't like what you have and doesn't want his truck to look old.

If it wasn't for CAFE you wouldn't have the amount of speeds you are getting.

By increasing the number of gears and the spread of the ratio's you can design engines that are less flexible and are more efficient in a tighter powerband.

These newer pickups are quite amazing with what ideas are actually coming into play.

I think Ram has the best formula, a steel pickup with a diesel. I agree with 1Adam12. But for diesel is new in the US in these applications and the manufacturers will try and profit for a couple of years.

What worries me is the additional costs involved with these technologies. They will come.

Ken, nobody is saying a 2002 truck is better then a 2014 they are just asking if the technology is worth the extra price. I could care less if someone has a better truck then me and I would hope a 2014 is better then a 2002. I pay cash for a new truck every ten years.

Ford isn't using the joint Ford/GM 10 speed until the '17 model year, so it is very unlikely that GM will use it for the '15 model year.
Ratio spread or gear? You want both.
GM's 8 speed is a large jump in gears, with a small jump in ratio spread.
Hopefully the change from 8 to 10 speed will be a large jump in ratio spread. Porsche has the widest ratio of 10.1:1 with only 7 gears.
GM's 4 speed auto had a large ratio spread-for only 4 gears, so when upshifting it was like falling into a canyon.
GM's 5 speed auto, 5L40/5L50, had close ratio spread for only 5 gear. Only 4% wider than 4 speed.
GM's 6 speed was/is about average for 6 gears.

I agree with DenverMike and Jeff S.

Adding more gears is the only way to have a large overall ratio spread (for both good acceleration and quiet highway cruising) along with a small ratio spread between gears (to keep the engine revving at its best power level for a given road speed). The higher the number, the better.

Read this piece from 2012:

People with a 2005 Silverado with a 4 speed would really see the difference if they stepped out to a 2016 with a 10 speed. They are happy with the 2005 because that is what they are used to and comfortable with.

Just going back to 2009 and adding two extra cogs to the F-150’s transmission added: a critical reprieve for Ford’s 5.4-liter V-8, improved fuel economy and a wickedly smart tow/haul mode for trailering according to Mike Levine.

This is called progress and gave the 09 F-150 a new lease on life and lead the way to the new turbo F-150. Bring on the all new next gens with 10 speeds. The people who like their 4 speeds can keep them.

Gm is famous for this.

C6 vette they went from 4 to 6 speed after a year.
Gmt900 trucks and SUVs same thing 4 to 6 speed after a year or two .
C7 vette pretty sure they just announced a 8 speed for 2nd year.
Now the new trucks.

How does that make you feel if you go out and buy the "new design"

It happen to me when I bought a tahoe and left a bad taste in my mouth.

Stuff like that and the recalls and the help from government , I think I'm done with them for a loooong time.
Never thought I would buy a ram but I did and I'm really happy with it.

Next time it's ram or ford for me.

The advantages of multi-gear trannies is understood. I get it!

The question, no different than any other technology improvement, is does it make a difference?

Do I need a 10 speed enough to trade a 2009 with only 55 k miles on the clock and take on a new book of payments? I'm driving less than 10k miles per year, so improvements in gas mileage have to be pretty damned big to make me commit to another new truck.

question: If getting great mileage is such a big deal, why didn't the Silverado Hybrid sell any better than it did? Ditto the GMC Yukon Hybrid?

Papa Jim, the hybrids didn't sell because they didn't get that great of mileage and they were overpriced. The 2014's get what the hybrids were getting without the batteries.

@papa jim
It's not what you think you need, it's what regulation is forcing to occur. There isn't much you can do about it. Freedom, yep.


To put it another way, GM should go back to the 4 speed and 2009 interiors, and lose more market share, going up against Ford and Ram, because that is all papa jim needs. It is all becoming clear now.

The question isn't what you need or if you are happy with an 09 or how many miles your truck has. It is what GM needs going forward. According to jim, the next gens need a 4 speed and a 2006 interior.

Last time I checked trucks aren't redesigned just for for efficiency. There's durability, dependability, capability, power, etc.


I don't know which planet you're from but the 2013 Silverado Hybrid was EPA rated 20/23

There is NO halfton on the market rated at EPA 20 city. Period

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