'99 Chevrolet and GMC Fullsize Pickups
Bid adios to the C/K series-the new trucks from GM will be known as the Chevrolet Silverado and the GMC Sierra. The fullsizes will be available with a new generation of small-block V-8s based on the '97 Corvette's. The cast-iron Vortec 4.8L V-8 will make 255 hp at 5,200 rpm and 285 lb-ft torque at 4,000 rpm; the Vortec 5.3L V-8, 265 hp at 5,000 rpm and 320 lb-ft torque at 2,800 rpm; and the Vortec 6.0L V-8, 300 hp at 5,000 and 350 lb-ft torque at 3,600 rpm. GM hasn't introduced a new truck V-8 since the big-block in 1965.
But what about the new look? Well, these are illustrations, so they're slightly exaggerated, but make no mistake-the '99s are the largest light-duty truck body GM has produced yet. The cab is bigger, with more headroom than any other in its class. Other interior notes are an instrument cluster with a Driver Message Center that displays the status of 19 vehicle functions, and an audible turn signal reminder. The third door remains for the new model year.
The transmissions have received an overhaul, and there's a choice of a manual shift transfer case or an active transfer case available on the up-level trim package.
New Sport/Utility Magazine
Yes, they're all the craze. Heck, most of our news this month is about them. Therefore, the newest member of Petersen's Truck Group is SUV Power. The bimonthly offers up tips on performance and customizing of both four- and two-wheel drives. There will also be new-vehicle road tests, hop-up and towing hints, buyer's guides, installation how-tos, and SUV makeovers for street and trail. Look for it at your fave newsstand.
Saturn is considering adding an SUV to its lineup, and Mitsubishi is said to be mulling over designing another trucklike vehicle for the U.S. market. Word is that Ford is working on a small sport/ute for Brazil-rumored to be known in-house as the Amazon. And Porsche is talking sport/ute for 2001.
Strategic Vision's Total Value, Best of the Best study revealed the leaders to be the Ford Expedition for fullsize sport/utility; the Mitsubishi Montero for midsize sport/utility; the Dodge Ram for fullsize pickup; and the Toyota Tacoma, the Ford Ranger, the Mazda B series, and the Dodge Dakota in a tie for compact pickup.
Our sister magazine Motor Trend has named the Mercedes-Benz ML320 its 1998 Truck of the Year.
Land-closure alert: The Blue Point Bridge on the lower Salt River in Arizona has been fenced off.
Next month, we'll give you a first-look at the '99 Ford Super Duty-we're talking solid front axle and rear disc brakes. Cool.
The Isuzu Trooper Owners Guild (ITOG) is now accepting owners of all Isuzu-built sport/utilities, including the Rodeo, the Honda Passport, and the Amigo in the U.S.; the VehiCross and the Bighorn in Japan; the Frontera and the Vauxhall Monterey in the UK; the Opel Monterey in Europe; the Caribe and the Chevrolet Trooper in Central and South America; and the Panther in Indonesia. The $15 annual dues will net you service tips, trip reports, parts availability, aftermarket information, a newsletter, full access to the ITOG Web site, a window decal, and a pin. Information: The Isuzu Trooper Owners Guild, Dept. 4WOR, 26 Houston Dr., Pelham, AL 35124-2508, 205/663-5800, Web site www.bham.net/itog.
Brake company Brembo S.p.A. and Continental AG have joined forces to develop an electronic brake system, which is also known as brake-by-wire. There would be no more need for hydraulic master cylinders and the accompanying plumbing, which would lighten the load and increase space in the vehicle.