Chicago, America — One of the stars of the 2008 Chicago Auto Show, which kicks off on February 6th, is the GMC Denali XT sport-utility truck.
This hybrid pick-up truck is powered by an efficient 4.9-litre version of GM’s small-block V8.
According to General Motors, it features fuel-saving technologies such as direct-injection technology, Active Fuel Management and includes the first combination of GM’s two-mode hybrid system with an E85 ethanol-capable engine.
Based on the Global Rear Wheel Drive architecture, often referred to as the Zeta platform that was developed in Australia for the VE Holden Commodore, the Denali XT concept outputs an impressive 243kW from its advanced direct injection V8.
The V8 engine can deactivate four of its eight cylinders which, in combination with an electric motor, further improve fuel efficiency.
GM claims the Denali XT can achieve 50% better fuel economy than comparable small pickup trucks when running on petrol.
It can also run on pure electricity at lower speeds, using an electrically variable transmission. Yet on the highway or when towing a trailer, it can use it’s addition fixed-gear system (GM says the Denali XT concept has a payload capacity of 499kg and can tow almost 1600kg).
Most intriguingly, the Denali XT Concept was designed and built in Port Melbourne, Australia, at GM Holden’s design headquarters.
The lead designer on the project was the relatively young Australian Warrack Leach, who was one of the the creative forces behind VE Ute design.
Rumours suggest Leach is being groomed for bigger and better things in the General Motors design world and he said the Denali XT concept was a real opportunity for him to push the limits of the VE Commodore’s familiar underpinnings.
“This was a great program to work on as I was given the opportunity to really stretch the limits of the Global Rear Wheel Drive architecture and create a truck with unique and bold proportions,” Leach said.
“GMC has such a rich heritage of producing great trucks and it was essential we kept that in mind while at the same time exploring how far we could take this concept,” said the young Australian designer.
According to the American car company, the Denali XT features a muscular form and wide, firmly planted stance giving the vehicle a confidently capable road presence. Minimal overhangs, huge 23-inch wheels, custom Kumho tyres, sleek headlamps and a low roof profile deliver an aggressive, performance-oriented appearance.
The sports utility truck (SUT) has a wide appearance created by flared wheel arches and the concept vehicle also features air-adjustable suspension which can drop it lower to the ground.
Ed Welburn, GM’s vice president of global design and one of the most powerful men in the company, described the Denali XT concept as unlike anything else on the road:”It has the youthful look of a custom automobile that incorporates the capability customers expect from a truck.”
One of the first American concept cars to be built on the Holden-designed Global Rear Wheel Drive architecture was the Camaro concept, which has since been given the green light for construction.
Though the Denali XT concept has not been mooted for production, it’s appearance suggests that GM is working on a new series of American hybrid truck based on the Global Rear Wheel Drive architecture, which is good news for Holden.
GMC Denali XT Concept Features:
Vehicle: 4-door, 4-seat; rear-wheel drive sport-utility truck Construction: body-frame integral Engine type: 4.9L SIDI V-8 with Active Fuel Management Power: 326hp / 243kW Fuel Type: unleaded regular or E85 ethanol Transmission: two-mode hybrid Suspension: independent SLA front & rear Brakes: four-wheel discs Wheels: 23-inch aluminium; split 5-spoke Tyres: Kumho front: 255/35 rear: 285/35 Wheelbase: 125.4-inches / 3134mm Length: 205-inches / 5207mm Width: 76.3-inches / 1938mm Height: 62.5-inches / 1587mm Track: 65-inches / 1651mm Cargo floor length: 55-inches / 1397mm Cargo floor width: 47.5-inches / 1206mm Payload (lb / kg): 1100lb / 499kg Towing: 3500lb / 1587kg
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– Holden VE Sportwagon (2008)
– Holden VE Ute: SS vs SV6 (Road Test)
– Holden Commodore Sportwagon (2008)
– Holden VE Ute (First Drive)
– Holden Captiva Diesel (Road Test)
– Holden Barina/Chevrolet Aveo (2008)
– Holden Commodore SS V vs Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo (Road Test)
– Holden EFIJY Wins U.S. Concept Car Award (2007)
– Holden VE Commodore – Dual-Fuel LPG (2006)