According to GM’s top truck engineer, the automaker plans to develop an off-road model for its recently redesigned large SUVs, which have been unveiled this month.
Until now GM has been selling a Z71 off-road package for the Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe and the GMC Yukon XL and Yukon, which featured bigger wheels, stronger shocks and special styling cues including larger badging and wheel flares.
Jeff Luke, executive chief engineer for GM trucks, said that the vehicles have not been big sellers and therefore the automaker considers developing an off-road model for its recently redesigned large SUVs. He added that one reason for which customers turn to bigger SUVs instead of unibody crossovers, is off-road capability.
“We are looking at, for this generation, a more off-road variant,” Luke said during a media preview last month to introduce the SUVs. “Owners just love off-roading with these vehicles. They look at this vehicle as more off-road capable” than crossovers.
GM’s next generation of SUVs will hit the market by March as the 2015 model year and Luke said they will feature more enhancements compared with the previous generation. The current SUVs have not had any major modification or powertrain upgrade since 2006 when they made their debut.
“In the life cycle of this product we’re going to continually upgrade and add technologies, including in the powertrain area,” Luke said.