Monthly Archives: November 2010

GMC Granite Compact Pickup Concept

At the 10th anniversary of GM’s North Hollywood Advanced Design Center, GM unexpectedly unveiled a surprising little compact concept car based on the GMC Granite Concept unveiled last year. The vehicle is the Granite Compact Pickup – it’s identical to the Granite urban utility vehicle from the grille to the b-pillar, but adds a small truck bed behind the 2-seat cab.

“We designed the Granite to be modular,” said Robb McCann, design manager for GM’s California design studio. “Our first choice [after the compact crossover version] was to do a compact truck for Southern California because small trucks have been so popular here. The big idea is that it’s for someone who wants a pickup with a small footprint with great fuel economy and an occasional load in back.”

The wheelbase is only around 110 inches, but its 4-foot-long cargo box can be extended to 6 feet. Two side-hinged Dutch-style doors replace a conventional one-piece fold-down tailgate. When the doors are opened, a pallet that forms part of the floor of the cargo box can be pulled out to provide extra bed space. The cargo box also features small access doors down the side of the box to provide easier access to the space directly behind the cab.

Power would be provided by a 1.4L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine mated with a FWD propulsion system, creating the incredible fuel economy of a small car, with some extra utility (albeit small) from the bed in the back.

The truck is not likely to be produced, at least not anytime soon, but its styling and size harkens back to the Chevrolet LUV of the 70s which found a niche market, and was popular in California.

We’ve already shown how much we like the wild styling of the original Granite urban utility vehicle, and even though this small market truck is unlikely to see the road, it’s nice to see some new and interesting ideas coming from the General!


The HD Rumble In The Rockies – GM vs. Ford recently held a competition between the new GM and Ford one-ton HD trucks called the Rumble in the Rockies, pitting the trucks against eachother on the “Nurburgring of Pickups” at the Eisenhower Pass in Colorado. After their Heavy Duty Shootout over the summer, there was backlash over the short test distances as well as the newer available engine option from Ford that ups its power and torque numbers, so the Rumble in the Rockies was their final test to really find the true best truck between the GM and Ford. The two trucks used were about as apples-to-apples as you can get, with a $65 price differential, and a few lbs. difference in the GCWR – the GM was a Chevy Silverado LT 3500HD DRW 4×4 with a 6.6L Duramax, while the Ford was an F-350 XLT DRW 4×4 with a 6.7L Power Stroke with the Job 2 option of 400 hp and 800 lb. ft of torque.

This competition was done solely by a third party ( paid for their own accomodations and for all the testing) to keep any calls for purposefully schewing the numbers, after GM had challenged Ford to a real-world showdown in the Rockies but Ford declined the invitation.

The Eisenhower Pass is an extremely difficult stretch of road to encounter will pulling a loaded trailer, as basically every bit of towing and braking hardware is stressed at a very high altitude for multiple miles at a time – so what better place to stage the competition? The grade starts at 5% for 2 miles, and increases to 7% for the remaining 6 miles until the entrance of the Eisenhower Tunnel – which is the highest tunnel in the US. The trucks pulled a 6,500 lb gooseneck trailer loaded with three 4,140 lb pallets for a total of 18,920 lbs. over that stretch – this brought the total GCWR to 27,940 lbs for the Chevy and 28,160 lbs for the slightly heavier Ford.

The first part of the test ran the trucks 7.6 miles up the pass, rising 2,224 feet over that distance, before coming back down and evaluating the exhaust brakes on the way down. You can check the full article for the in-depth analysis of each run, but for our purposes I’ll just give a quick rundown: The Ford ran 4 times, starting in 4 wheel drive and switching to 2 wheel drive at approximately 30 mph, and only 3 adult males were present in the truck on the first 2 runs to offset the Chevy’s 220 lb curb weight advantage (as the article points out, 220 lbs is basically unnoticable when you’re moving 15 tons uphill.) The best run the Ford could muster was 10 minutes, 46.8 seconds with an average speed of 42.41 mph and a top speed of 58.5 mph.

Next up was the Silverado’s turn, using the same parameters as the Ford, and the Chevy was significantly faster – finsihing in 8 minutes, 38.2 seconds – more than 2 full minutes quicker than the F-350! The average and top speed of the Chevy was also higher, at 53.63 mph and 67.38 mph respectively.

The next test was the exhaust brake, bringing that 15 tons back down the pass on a white knuckle stretch of highway while trying to keep the trailer and truck controlled. The big difference between these 2 trucks being that the Silverado has a push-button activated exhaust brake, while the Ford’s exhaust brake is automatically enabled whenever the truck is in Tow/Haul and can’t be turned off by the driver.

The difference in exhaust brake performance (echoing the must shorter test performed in the HD Shootout) was starker than the difference towing up the hill

In the test, they wanted to see which truck required the least amount of wheel brake application, so when speeds reached 60 mph, the driver applied his left foot to the brake to slow down the truck to 52 mph to start the cycle again. Through four runs, the Ford had to be manually slowed down 11 to 14 times during each descent, with the exhaust brake seeiming to have minimal effect. On the other hand, the Chevy, as but it, was a “Superhero on the descent” with an average of only one to two manual brake applies on each run. The most telling aspect of the run was at the turnaround point at the bottom of the pass, where you could smell the hard-worked brakes on the Ford, but nothing coming from the Chevy.

As you can see from the results, the Chevy was the clear winner in the performance categories tested during the Rumble in the Rockies, and is the top choice among the writers over at for new HD pickups. As they put it:

There’s no question that GM’s latest diesel pickups are the performance leaders in the class. Chevy doesnt just run deep. It runs high as well.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

**Thanks to for the info on the test, head over to their site for great in-depth views into the full test**

Sierra HD Concept Coming To NAIAS In January is reporting that  GMC is going to unveil a preview of its next generation Sierra HD at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. For the 2011 model, GM introduced an all new chassis and an updated Duramax diesel V8 engine, but the body style has remained the same since its mid-2007 model year launch. More news to come when GM officially announces the concept, we’re looking forward to it!

Davis Goes To NASCAR


As part of a friendly competition here in the dealership, a few members of our staff got to attend the NASCAR race – the Kobalt Tools 500 – this past weekend in Phoenix, AZ. As a part of the lucky winning team, I was part of this group and was able to witness my first (hopefully of many) race and wow what an experience! Now I won’t call myself a NASCAR diehard, I can name a few of the drivers and keep up with the standings because I watch SportsCenter religiously and catch the results of the races, but the thrill of actually being at the race – and in the atmosphere of the massive tailgate party before hand – is second to none. I can’t picture myself sitting on the couch and watching cars drive for 500 miles, but being there in person is a whole different ballgame. The roars coming from the motors, the roars coming from the crowd, the smell of burnt rubber and Budweiser, all of it makes for a truly unforgettable experience.

Carl Edwards takes his customary backflip after winning the race

Seeing as we were all attending our first NASCAR race, we figured we better brush up a little bit on current standings, and we found that with 2 races to go, it was the closest Chase For The Sprint Cup in history, between 3 drivers – Denny Hamlin, 4x defending Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson, and Kevin Harvick all within 59 points of eachother. Johnson was also the 3x defending champion of this particular race, known as the Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 for the previous 2 years, so it made for a very interesting run up to race day. Carl Edwards ended up taking the top spot in a very exciting race, Ryan Newman opted not to pit for fuel late in the race and it paid off as he finished 2nd, while Joey Logano took 3rd place on the podium. Johnson finished in 5th, Harvick 6th, and Hamlin back in 12th to tighten the Chase up even more with Johnson 15 points back and Harvick 46 points back heading into the final race this weekend in Miami.

Now I’ll admit, the actual race itself, as exciting as it was, still wasn’t the best part of the afternoon – it’s hard to imagine without actually being there, but the sight of over 100,000 people – many in RVs that had been there for a few days – all at that track was unbelievable. We showed up a few hours early to take in as much of the experience as we could, and spend a good portion of that showing our ways through the countless tailgate parties happening at RVs parked in the lot. It’s safe to say those fans who had been there all week had been having a very, very good time and they were more than happy to invite a few more strangers into the bunch – one of the sites we went by actually had a full slate pool table set up next to their RV!

PIR on raceday - notice the parking lots full of RVs past the grandstand

A good time was had by all of us who attended the race, and I think we all agreed that we’d be more than happy to be able to go to another NASCAR event – but next time I know I’ll be renting an RV and spending the week! Big thanks to Tim Davis for sending us on an unforgettable trip.