Tag Archives: GMC

Video: Classic Debate – Duramax Vs. Power Stroke

In a debate as old as time, we take a moment to discuss the new Duramax and Power Stroke diesel engines in the new Ford and GM heavy duty pickup trucks. This classic debate ignites the passion in many enthusiasts.

On the left we have the new Duramax hooked to the Allison transmission. Pumping out 397 horsepower and 765 lb-ft to the rear or all four wheels, this engine is by no means a slouch. Slamming the go pedal at 30 mph will throw the traction control into a frenzy.

On the right we have the new Power Stroke which is all new and was developed in house by Ford. Pumping out 400 horsepower and 800 lb-ft to the rear or all four wheels, this engine is on paper, king of the hill. It is worth noting this engine has already received a factory software flash to upgrade the power to exceed the new Duramax power ratings.

So take a moment watch the video below and make your call, which side are you on?

Side note- I did this video clip in one take. I know it is lb-ft not ft-lb when referring to torque. I also know it is diesel not gas. I slipped on those two occasions and did not have time to do another take. Just wanted to mention those two mistakes before the war started in the comments.

Review – 2011 GMC Sierra Denali HD: King of the Luxury Heavy Duties?

The heavy duty truck wars are heating up, and until recently the Ford Super Duties have been the only place for luxury truck buyers to go. Not anymore though – General Motors has decided there is no reason they shouldn’t fight for their share of the pie.

The Denali nameplate already exists in the GMC showroom on the half ton Sierra. Making the leap from half ton to the three quarter ton and one ton pick-ups was nothing if not logical.

The Denali HD is more of a trim package then a complete package. The exterior has the same lines as the regular Sierras. It has a blunt front end that is squared off nicely and a rear tail gate that incorporate some sculpting.

The front and rear bumpers are painted , while the upper and lower grilles are finished in signature Denali chrome. The twenty-inch wheels look terrific and really set the stance correctly on this vehicle. You can only get the Denali HD in three colors: black, silver and white. Overall, the Denali trim is a very nice looking package on an already good looking truck.

The interior of the Denali HD is similar to any other loaded up GMC Sierra. There is more “wood” splashed around the cabin and leather covering the seating surfaces, making the interior a nice place to spend your time. With plenty of storage cubbies strewn about the cabin you  definitely won’t be lacking storage space.

The optional navigation unit (which the Denali HD I was in did not have) is somewhat dated, though it gets the job done. Since I did not have the navigation screen, the rear back up camera had the screen integrated into the left hand side of the rear view mirror. I noted the lack of auto up window function on any window, and only express down on the drivers window. This seems out of place on a truck of this price. The automatic climate control is easy to operate and has decent size buttons for the most part, though a few are tiny and might be hard to operate with gloves on.

One friend commented on how well the seat warmers worked on a chilly evening and was surprised to see the availability of cooled seats. The friend also commented on the fact that they have three heat intervals, which is quite nice as the competition has just on or off. The interior is a very understated place, but still “classy” as some would call it. Sometimes the competition could be viewed as over the top. This truck would not fall into that category.

The engine really is where this beast oozes awesome. The new Duramax is a 6.6-liter V-8 turbo diesel pumping out 397 horsepower and 765 pound feet of torque. That is channeled through an Allison six-speed automatic transmission. Even with that much power I still managed to average 14.6 mpg in mixed driving. While going 60 mph on a straight stretch of highway, I was curious to see how high I could get the average fuel economy up to. Resetting the trip computer, I was able to average 23.5 mpg on a highway stretch cruising at exactly 60 mph.

The new powertrain does utilize Urea injection into the exhaust system. This is the same type of exhaust cleaning system that Ford now utilizes in the new Super Duties. With this system the days of black smoke pouring out of diesel exhaust pipes is dead. The RAM Heavy Duty is the only one of the three heavy duty trucks that does not use Urea injection in the exhaust system. GM likes to note in their new marketing campaign that the Duramax and Allison transmission combination have been put to the test. With many work trucks on the road, over twenty million miles have been logged. That is no small feat. It is also worth mentioning that Ford is now on the fourth PowerStroke engine.

The power train can tow 13,000 pounds in this configuration, which is no small number. With my family’s cabin up north closed and the boats put away, I had no boat of my own to tow. My friends had also put away their boats for the season so that was not going to work. I had tried setting something up with the local Airstream dealer, but that fell through (seeing a trend?). I did finally have something rather cool planned for my last day with the Denali , but a miscommunication caused that plan to fall through (hopefully that plan will work out next time I have a heavy duty truck sitting in my driveway). So unfortunately I did not get haul something ridiculously huge with this more-than-capable truck.

Driving the Denali HD was an enjoyable experience. With more then enough power on tap, slamming the go pedal at a stop light would immediately kick the traction control into a frenzy. The steering was light, with decent on center feel for a truck of this size. You would think a truck of this size would be a handful in the city, but you would be surprised. Handling was good and the ride was comfortable. It is truly amazing how far the ride and handling of these trucks have come in the last ten years, especially considering their capabilities.

With an as tested sticker price of $58,199, is the new Denali HD king of the luxury trucks? Until now the Ford Super Duties in King Ranch trim has held that crown with no disputes. Mainly because there has been no one in the marketplace to dispute with. I have to say, it seems to me the Denali HD and the King Ranch have very different approaches to how they execute luxury and styling.

The Denali HD is a very understated type of luxury, while the new Super Duty King Ranch is a very in your face, larger-than-life luxury. Seeing how these trucks have different approaches, one might think they will attract different types of buyers. I believe that having options in the marketplace is a great thing. Between the terrific powertrain and great looks, this new Denali HD really does turn heads. As to whether it is the king of luxury heavy duties, it will come down to what kind of luxury are you looking for.

Be sure to check out the gallery below for more terrific pictures of the Denali HD.

Full Disclosure – The review vehicle was provided by General Motors

Photography – Alex Bellus

AutoBird Podcast – Esp 34: “White Diamond Episode”

Loyal fans, we are back! Sorry for the delay, my work life has been crazy and Justin has school, between the two scheduling has been tough. Episode 34 starts with introducing this weeks guest Drew Dowdell owner of CheersandGears. Moving on we talk a little about the Fireball Run which I was in since the last recording. Moving into the garage we talk about the 2011 GMC DenaliHD I was in for the past week.

We then proceed to the clip of the week segment.  This week we feature a new ad campaign by Chevrolet called Max and Al. (Link)

We then move along to the major news of the week segment.  This week included-

  • Outrage over the Chevrolet Volt’s drivetrain (Link)
  • Chevrolet Volt not PZEV (Link)
  • Is the Chevrolet Cruze really priced out of competition? (Link)
  • Disneyland and cars? Definitely! (Link)

Next came our main topic which was discussing Fiat/Chryslers onslaught of new product.

Last we plug our respective blogs, Cheers and Gears,  AutoBird Blog and Accelerate Mpls.

Introducing the GMC Jimmy SS Hybrid

Behold in all its glory, this very rare, super special GMC Jimmy. Very few of these SuperSport Hybrid Jimmy’s were made, finding one in halfway decent condition, that’s next to impossible. My good friend Mark just happened to stumble upon this fine example driving down the highway here in Minneapolis this week.

Ok fine, you got me. There was no GMC Jimmy SS Hybrid. But, I will say somewhere there is a Toyota Hybrid that is missing a badge of honor, and I bet it wants it back dearly. As for the SuperSport badge, who knows. What a cluster this piece of work is. I must say, the 4X4 decals really do finish off the picture.

Thanks Mark for the tip.

Review- 2011 GMC Sierra 2500HD: All New In All The Right Places

Big trucks and Americans – they go together like McDonalds and fries right? Well until recently, they certainly did! With the crash of the economy, the rise of gasoline prices and many people selling their recreational toys, a lot has changed.

Not as many people are buying big trucks to haul big toys around while still using them for daily driving. The overall cost is just too much.

Where does that leave us? People that really need them are buying more and more of the big trucks we see on the road. Construction workers, contractors, mechanics, and the list goes on. These are the people that rely on their trucks day in and day out, through the heat and the cold. They need the truck to get the job done.

GMC recently launched their all-new 2011 Sierra 2500HD to compete with the refreshed competition. Looking at the truck, you might not notice that it is all-new. The money was spent where it should be (for a truck), mainly on the powertrain and the frame/suspension.

The sheet metal itself is essentially the same. The main changes to the exterior consist of a larger grille up and air inlets up front for better cooling. Luckily for GMC, the Sierra wasn’t a bad looking truck to begin with.

The interior is also essentially unchanged. With a functional design, the interior is terrific for its larger buttons and gauges. It makes the truck a great work truck for people that are wearing gloves.

Plenty of storage cubbies are strewn about the cabin and the seats are firm and supportive, though a little flat on the bottoms. Like the last generation heavy duties and the current Silverados, the interior has quite a bit of hard plastic. I am glad they decided to spend the money elsewhere though instead of gussying up the cabin.

The frame of a truck along with the powertrain and suspension are, in my opinion, the three most important aspects. GMC agrees and that is where the focus was laser pinpointed. A new fully boxed frame sits beneath the sheet metal. The front suspension is independent (unlike Ford and Dodge’s heavy duties), while the rear has wider leaf springs. The ride is fairly impressive, even when unloaded.

The truck I was in was equipped with GM’s 6.0 liter gasoline V-8. It pushes out 397 horsepower and 400 pound feet to the rear (or all four) wheels, through a one choice six-speed transmission. I was impressed with the transmission programming, as it wasn’t jumping at the chance to upshift every second.

Instead, it did its best to stay in the meat of the power band almost all the time. The programming clearly is focused more on towing rather then absolutely maximizing fuel mileage, which for this type of vehicle is terrific!

I take full responsibility as I messed up – I planned poorly for having this truck. Being so swamped with Fireball Run planning, the ball was dropped on making arrangements for some awesome towing. I assure you when I have another large truck (that’ll be soon), it will not happen again.

Is the new GMC Sierra 2500HD the king of the super duty hill? Well, I honestly can’t answer that. It is without a doubt a highly capable, heavy duty hauler though.

It is refined and powerful.  However, the competition has all upped their games and I have not had the opportunity to drive all of them. I will say this – if you are buying a new heavy duty truck, you would be making a mistake to at least not take a look at the new GMC Sierra 2500HD.

Full Disclosure- The review vehicle was provided by General Motors

Cars & Café – August 7, 2010

Aston Martin DB7 Vantage

Another month, another gathering of man and machine.  Of course I speak of Cars & Café, out at the AutoMotorPlex in Chanhassen.  This month promised, as usual, to be eventful.  I woke up a little early (4:40 am), as I did poor planning.  I had not washed the 300ZX (note to self: next month wash the 300ZX before the morning of Cars & Café). So, I washed the 300ZX and popped off the T-Tops.

As I was cruising out West to meet up with my buddy in his S2000, I saw black sky in front of me – then lightning  – and then I saw a car come over the hill with windshield wipers on (this was not going well).  I hit the gas and made it to his garage with the 300ZX still clean and dry.  We ended up taking his daily driver and leaving the 300ZX and his S2000 there, as it started pouring down rain right after I pulled into the garage.

Upon arriving, it was clear the rain, which was at this point a nice steady rain coming down, had affecte turn out.  Nooooooooo I cried to the car gods.  Luckily some of the cooler rides still managed to show up.  As I was admiring a nice Ford F150 Lightning, I heard something loud pulling into the complex.

I turn to see a true hard core car guy (you would have to be) driving a Cobra in (remember no top) through the rain.  Two Dodge GLH Turbos sat next to each other, both in ridiculously good condition.  I also counted not one but two Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbos (I drooled a little).  Quite a few Acura NSX’s showed up, along with a Lexus IS-F.

Two BMW’s caught my eyes this month.  One was a early 90’s 540i manual white on black with only 28k on the odometer.  The kicker?  It is for sale and they are asking only $25k!

Someone buy that car or buy me that car!  There was also a mid 80’s M6 in fantastic condition that caught my eye., along with an early 2000’s black Audi S8 that is a regular at Cars & Café.  I just love that car!

So good story,  I am walking by the club house and hear tires squealing like a burn out.  I look around and am quite confused.  Suddenly I realize that the sound is coming from behind this building in the VIP section.  I go running through the crowd, and as I turn the corner I almost fall over.

This Lamborghini Miura owner clearly had put the car in reverse instead of first gear (as best I can tell from the situation).  The car had gone backwards off the cement and onto the pebbles directly below.  Part of  the car definitely was resting on the cement.  The tires were squealing and these two guys were pushing the back of the Miura trying to get it back onto the cement.  Finally after a few minutes they accomplished this task, but not before you could smell the clutch and tires.  It was quite a scene.

Also filed in the – ahem – interesting category, was the Toyota Camry Solara parked in the American muscle section.  Hey at least it was on dubs!  Sitting next to that was a Chrysler 300C.  Not just any Chrysler 300C, but one riding on 24’s – and wait – it gets better.

The person had welded extensions (eyebrows?) onto the leading edge of the hood.  You can still see where the person welded and sanded them.  They were not painted yet (I am assuming they are going to paint them….at least I hope so).  Let’s not forget the white Toyota Yaris hatch with lime green wheels.


On the list of awesome cars I would include the RUF 911, Aston Martin DB7 Vantage, and a Jensen that showed up.  The red GMC Typhoon that was for sale earlier this year was on hand, along with two Ford GT’s (they are Cars and Cafe regulars).  A new Lotus Evora made the trip, along with a Ford Mustang Shelby Super Snake.

One of the cleaner Oldsmobile 442’s I’ve seen was on site as well.  Obviously I have already mentioned the two Dodge GLH Turbo’s but I want to just mentioned them again in this section of awesome.  Last but not least was the regular BMW 200ti. It is a work in progress, but hot all the same.

One cool thing was this garage that had a Corvette Z06 in it.  Ok that car was nice but you know those bag chairs you take to soccer games and such?  Well they had one of those. and then they had a ginormous one that was literally super sized.  To get a idea of just how big it was they let me sit in it and I got a picture!

Overall the rain really put a damper on the attendance, or at least it felt that way.  With most of the people clearing out before 10 AM, it had to be one of the shortest Cars & Cafés I have attended yet.  Thankfully, the doughnut holes provided by Imola Motorsports stayed dry in the clubhouse.

Yes they were tasty,and yes I ate some.  Just for the record, doughnut holes always seems to taste better when they are delivered in a BMW M5.  I can not prove that, but that seems to be my experience.  Here’s hoping for a dry Cars & Café next month!

GM Reconsidering a 4.5 Liter Duramax V8 Diesel?

According to PickupTrucks.com GM is indeed considering reviving the 4.5 liter Duramax V8 diesel.  Apparently some within GM are wondering if the shelved engine should be put back on the road map.  The reality is with higher fuel economy laws going into effect in the future, more efficient engines must play a role.  Diesel is more efficient and will get better fuel economy.  This will help with the fleet average for GM, specifically in the truck segment.  Of course cost is a factor and the V8 Duramax would have a cost premium over the standard 6.0 liter gasoline V8 in the Heavy Duty trucks currently.  The question is how much less could the 4.5 liter Duramax cost then the $8,395 6.6 liter Duaramax?  I would say, offer it in both the 2500 Heavy Duty’s and the 1500 pickups and that would make the world make sense.  I could easily see at the right price point 1500’s selling with Diesel engines.  For more information hop over to PickupTrucks.

*UPDATED* Dear Lord! Is Vuick Back?

Hold on to your hats folks.  When I was at the GM Product and Technology event put on last August I saw things.  Some things were awesome such as the future Buick Regal, upcoming Chevrolet Camaro convertible and the list goes on.  Some were not so awesome, such as the Buick that was quickly dubbed Vuick.  See it was essentially a re-badged (and I mean literally a new grille inserted) Saturn Vue.

The Vuick thing caught on quick and GM supposedly decided to kill it a mere few weeks later.  In fact they were so proudly announcing how fast they acted based on the negative feedback they were receiving (shocking).  Anyways, next to that Vuick on the floor was a upcoming small crossover for Buick.  This could possibly be dubbed the Encore.  It essentially looked literally like a shrunken down Enclave.  This my friends looked good.  It was most likely based on the new Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain platform.

Yesterday Chris Baccus was driving in Detroit and spotted this test vehicle.  He noted it looked like a Buick grille behind the cladding.  This my friends is one of two things.  The Vuick being resurrected (dear god no) or the baby Enclave (Encore?) that has been severely changed since I saw it and not for the better.  Either way you are looking at something that is not production ready.  I am sincerely hoping this is not the Vuick coming back from the dead rather just a test mule.  I hope they keep the baby Enclaves styling that I saw last fall.


Some have mentioned this looks an awful lot like the Chevrolet Captiva not sold in America.  I have also just received word from GMInsidenews that GM plans to still sell and produce the Vuick but only for China.  It will be a youth oriented crossover.

Source- Chris Baccus

Review – 2010 GMC Acadia

I will be really up front and honest with you.  When I received the email telling me a 2010 GMC Acadia was coming my way, my first thought was “I will not like this vehicle.”  The main reasoning behind this is because I actually like the current Chevrolet Tahoe (the GMC Yukon is fine but I like the Tahoe styling better) and I could not imagine why I would personally buy this mammoth crossover instead of a Tahoe.  Yes, I’m aware the Acadia starts roughly around $5,540 cheaper than the Tahoe, but pricing never entered my thoughts when making this judgment.  The more interesting thing was, I had just hopped out of a fully loaded Buick Enclave, which rides on the same platform and shares so many parts with the Acadia.  I really enjoyed my time with the Enclave, but it still didn’t sway my opinions about the Acadia.  So what happened?

The Acadia’s exterior is striking.  The headlights are unique and truly good looking.  They really set the front end apart from other crossovers.  The hood has nice sculpting in the center with lines running from the front clip into the hood on either side.  The side profile is less sculpted, but has a bulge towards the bottom of the doors near the rocker panels.  The fenders are somewhat over exaggerated but not overly done.  The rear taillights are stylized with two round turret-looking shapes in each housing.  The Acadia’s exterior is overall, very sharp especially sitting on the optional twenty inch chrome clad wheels.

The Acadia’s interior does have a few design cues shared with the Chevrolet Traverse, though it is worth noting the Acadia came to market before the Traverse.  The center stack and instrument panel are all easy to operate and organized well.  At night the gauges and switchgear all light up GMC red and white. I personally find this easy on the eyes late at night.  The standard fold-flat third row is easy to operate but as a usable seat, the space back there is really meant for a child.  With the third row in seating position, there is still room in the back for bags.  The seats while large and flat were most definitely road trip worthy.

Powertrain options in the Acadia are limited to the 3.6 liter V6 featuring direct injection. Power output is 288 hp and 270 lb-ft to either the front or all four wheels.  The power is handled by a six speed automatic with manual shift capabilities.  I am undecided on this transmissions programming.  It could be the particular Acadia I was in, but the transmission seemed lazy to me.  Shifts were not quick and crisp.  They were delayed and took longer than expected when not pushed hard.  In all-wheel-drive mode, as the tester was equipped, the EPA rated the Acadia at 16/23 miles-per-gallon.  I saw an average of 16.8 mpg in the city and 19.9 mpg cruising at 75 miles-per-hour on the highway.  It is worth noting I averaged 22.8 mpg when cruising at 65 mph.

Rear End With Third Row Seat Up

The Acadia was optioned as a SLT-2 model with a sticker price of $42,185.  The test model also included the following options: technology package, touch screen navigation with rear view camera, rear seat entertainment, power sunroof with second row skylight, heated and cooled front seats with perforated leather surfaces, and red jewel tintcoat.  The total price swelled to $49,740 after destination and the plethora of options!  That’s a lot of money for a non-premium CUV.

A few things that stood out to me while I was in the Acadia:  first, was the heads up display. I like how GMC decided to include this feature with the technology package.  Second, the cooled seats in this Acadia were some of the best I have encountered to date.  They seats cooled very quickly and prompted me to pay attention as the seats made my backside chilly.  Finally, the iPod/iPhone interface on the optional touch-screen radio worked terrific.

So after driving the Acadia for the week, was it good enough to change my original opinions?   I was sure I wasn’t going to like it.  My final opinion on the CUV is I kind of like it and I kind of don’t.  I definitely was impressed at the end of my test.  I liked the Acadia as a vehicle; more than I ever thought I would like it.  With that said, I cannot admit the Acadia would be my top pick for $49,740.  GMC is deep into luxury territory at that price and in reality, the Buick Enclave has a nicer interior.  Looking past GM’s products other vehicles in the same price category as the Acadia include: the Acura MDX, Audi Q7 and many others luxury brand CUVs.  For the same price as the Acadia, the Audi Q7 TDI or the Acura MDX might be a better buy in my opinion.  The main problem is not the Acadia, but rather GM’s pricing of the Acadia. This vehicle fits in much better at with a $44,000 price ceiling to be truly competitive.   The bottom line is, if someone was ready to buy an Acadia and asked me if they should, I would say this: if you like it, it is a good vehicle but if selecting a fully loaded one I might be cautious on purchasing.

Full Disclosure- The review vehicle was provided by General Motors

Video Overview Of The 2010 GMC Acadia