Environmentally Friendly Pickups Will Flock

Automakers think green. But the commitment is not limited to compact cars. This time around, automakers find ways to wipe gas-guzzling pickups, sport utilities, and minivans threat to the environment.

Pickups from General Motors will take center stage – GMC Sierra and GMC Denali XT – at the Chicago Auto Show this coming Wednesday.

The Detroit automaker said the crew cab Sierra hybrid can tow 6,100 pounds and is equipped with the new two-mode hybrid system for a 40% raise in city fuel economy and 25% improvement in overall fuel economy.

The Denali XT concept, meanwhile, features new chassis, the hybrid system and a new direct-injected 4.9-liter, 326hp version of the V8 engine. The automaker said that would give it a 50% raise in combined city/highway fuel economy versus small trucks.

“It’s very eye-catching,” said Product Chief Russ Clark, GMC. “A portion of the pickup market could be attracted to vehicles like the XT. There are some folks who want the advantages of a pickup bed but don’t need all the towing and payload capability of our other pickups.”

“It looks fabulous,” said analyst Rebecca Lindland of Global Insight in Lexington, Mass. “It’s definitely a GMC, but it could appeal to people who don’t want a big, old-style truck.”

“GMC has to broaden its lineup for fuel-economy reasons,” said analyst Stephanie Brinley of the AutoPacific. “There’s no reason for the Denali XT not to happen.”

What to see in Chicago

Ford Edge: Sporty model with new engine and transmission.

Ford Transit: The Transit Connect, a European-built delivery van, debuts.

GMC Denali XT concept and Sierra two-mode hybrid pickup: Fuel-efficient truck technology in a sporty concept and full-size pickup.

Hummer H3T: Hummer’s midsize SUV gives birth to a brawny new pickup.

Hyundai Sonata: A new interior and more powerful and fuel-efficient engines highlight the face-lifted version of Hyundai’s midsize sedan.

Suzuki pickup: Suzuki’s first pickup in the United States is a midsize model based on the Nissan Frontier and features the biggest, shiniest Suzuki badge you’ll ever see. The pickup’s name will be revealed in Chicago.

VW Routan: VW’s new minivan is based on and built alongside the Chrysler Town & Country. Watch to see how VW makes the van its own and whether it gets all the nifty features the Dodge and Chrysler models offer.

[via: Freep.com]

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