Recently, returning the brand to a segment of the commercial vehicle market, Chevrolet announced it will begin offering low-cab-forward medium-duty trucks in the United States in 2016. The news followed an agreement between General Motors and Isuzu Motors, under which Isuzu will produce the low-cab-forward models based on its N-Series vehicles, and GM will continue to manufacture the 6.0-liter V-8 gas engine and six-speed transmission for the low-cab-forward trucks. The gas-powered models will be assembled in Charlotte, Mich.
Six new models are included in the GM-Isuzu collaboration. Set for distribution by Chevrolet dealers starting next year will be the 3500, 3500HD, 4500, 4500HD, 5500 and 5500HD in regular-cab and crew-cab body styles. Isuzu 3.0- and 5.2-liter turbo-diesel engines will also be available depending on the model. Features and specifications will be available closer to the start of production.
“Bringing low-cab-forward trucks back to our portfolio strengthens Chevrolet’s commitment to providing commercial customers with more choices and provides customers with a versatile lineup of trucks, vans and crossovers,” said Ed Peper, U.S. vice president of GM fleet and commercial sales. “This addition helps our dealers satisfy their commercial customers’ needs all in one place.”
In addition to the new low-cab-forward trucks, Chevrolet’s fleet and commercial choices include the Silverado lineup and the Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD full-size chassis cab models, the midsize Colorado, which offers a box-delete option, as well as the City Express small van and Express range of full-size vans.
Two of those models were recently made available to Fleet Equipment for test drives. Included were a Chevrolet Silverado 1500 double cab pickup with an EcoTec3 5.3-liter V-8 engine rated at 355 HP matched with the Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission.
The Silverado also featured a 3.23 ratio rear axle and an auto-locking rear differential that reacts in milliseconds in low-traction situations and without any driver input. It engages when a wheel speed difference of 100 RPM or more is detected between the left and right wheels. During normal driving conditions, the differential functions as a conventional light-bias limited-slip axle.
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