GMC beefs up its line of big trucks and SUVs

Sierra HD.

Sierra HD

Sierra HD.

Yukon Denali Hybrid.

Yukon Denali Hybrid

Yukon Denali Hybrid.










CTS Coupe.

CTS Coupe

CTS Coupe.






Hot news for 2011: CTS line grows and grows . . . new coupe joins the wagon and sedan with optional “V” power; DTS and STS hold fast while a successor is being readied.

Carryover: STS; DTS; Escalade;  Escalade EXT, SRX

Starting line

•  Although Cadillac brought out a brand new SRX wagon for the 2010 model year, there’s no question that the CTS is this GM brand’s American idol. First there was a redesigned sedan, then a Sport Wagon, and now there’s an edgy and wedgy two-door coupe. This proliferation no doubt helps the CTS do battle with Mercedes and BMW and when it comes to flat-out performance for the dollar, there’s not much out there that comes close.  Aside from a dramatic sweeping roof that abruptly ends just behind the rear wheels, equally distinctive is the Coupe’s lack of conventional door handles (replaced by a hidden electronic touch pad) and hardtop styling with no pillar behind your left elbow. Compared to the sedan, the Coupe’s lowered roofline means a two-inch reduction in height. Meanwhile, overall length is a mere two inches shorter than the sedan. The Coupe provides enough space for up to four passengers, each of whom is perched in a leather-covered bucket seat, separated by a neatly integrated floor console. To maintain its sports-luxury persona, the Coupe’s base engine is a 304-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 instead of the sedan’s base 270-horsepower 3.0. To go hunting BMW and Mercedes-Benz competitors, the Coupe can be had in CTS-V trim that includes a 556-horsepower 6.2-liter supercharged V8 that comes from the CTS-V sedan via the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on both the CTS and CTS-V, while a six- automatic with driver-controlled steering-wheel-mounted shift buttons is available for both. All-wheel-drive is a $3,200 option for the V6 Coupe, but requires the automatic transmission. Standard content includes many of the features built into the sedan, but extras include keyless access and remote push-button start as well as a performance suspension with 18-inch all-season tires. The extensive list of available options includes 14-way adjustable Recaro-brand front sport seats, premium leather and wood trim, backup camera and adaptive headlights that pivot in the direction that the car is turning. There are also numerous technology updates to the CTS line for 2011 as well as free maintenance for four years. Although other luxury brands offer a number of gas/electric hybrid options, no such luck with the CTS yet. That technology rests with the carryover Escalade full-size sport utility vehicle.

Base prices (incl. destination)

CTS: Mid-size sedan; $36,000

CTS: Two-door coupe; $39,000

CTS: Four-door wagon; $39,000

CTS-V: Mid-size sedan; $64,300

DTS: Full-size sedan; $47,600

Escalade EXT: Full-size pickup; $62,800

Escalade/ESV: Full-size SUV; $64,100

Escalade Hybrid: Full-size SUV; $74,800

SRX: Mid-size SUV; $34,700

STS: Full-size sedan; $48,100


Hot news for 2011: Sierra Heavy Duty truck tops the news with a new Denali trim level; hey, this is as close as it gets to a Heavy Duty Cadillac. • Efficient XFE Sierra stretches fuel dollars. • Sierra and Yukon available with hybrid options.

Carryover: Acadia; Canyon; Sierra; Terrain; Yukon; Yukon XL; Yukon Denali

Starting line

•  The GMC brand is a bit at odds with itself in that it blends a measure of luxury and prestige (softness) along with ruggedness. How/why it’s perceived as being more of workhorse than Chevrolet, yet more Friday-night urban is a bit of mystery. Take the Terrain that was brought to market for the 2010 model year as GMC’s entry-level small sport-utility vehicle. The GMC badge automatically gave it credibility as a more rugged piece than the equivalent Chevrolet Equinox, while also providing a more upscale experience. The same goes for the new Sierra HD, which, whether warranted or not, is perceived as more nitty-gritty and utilitarian than the Chevy Silverado and with the new Denali model, this bulldozer-hauling GMC is also dressed to kill. The familiar Denali label (since it represents luxury motoring in other GMC models as well), which is assigned only to HD crew-cab body HD styles, includes a unique four-bar grille design with round air inlets, polished forged aluminum wheels, chrome exterior and interior trim, power-adjustable pedals, a Bose premium surround audio system and 12-way power seats. For more dress-up cachet, an optional heated steering wheel and heated and cooled leather-appointed seating can be added to the Denali package. HD trucks wearing the Denali badge as well as the rest of the Sierra HD lineup in regular-, extended- and crew cab styles can be had with a 360-horsepower 6.0-liter V8 (carried over from 2010), or an all-new 6.6-liter turbo-diesel (preferred by the vast majority of Sierra HD purchasers) that kicks out 397 horsepower and 765 pound-feet torque. Both engines are mated to six-speed automatic transmissions. With the right equipment, the HD can pull up to 21,700 pounds (the equivalent of nine Mini Coopers or 3.5 million ping-pong balls). For added work capability, the HD’s redesigned front suspension combined with its newly designed ladder frame increases the truck’s front-axle weight rating to 6,000 pounds, which is enough so that the optional snow plow accessory package can now be added to all HD trucks equipped with four-wheel-drive. At the opposite end, an all-new leaf spring results in a maximum gross rear axle weight rating of 6,200 pounds for 2500-series trucks (formerly 6,084 pounds) and up to 9,375 pounds for 3500-series trucks (formerly 8,200 pounds). Along with the HD’s enhanced toting and hauling capacities, the newly standard 36-gallon-capacity fuel tank means that turbo-diesel versions have a 680-mile cruising range, which is a not-too-shabby 19 mpg. Since fuel economy is just as big an issue as features and payload capacity these days, light-duty Sierra pickups can be ordered in an extra-fuel-efficient model (XFE) that uses every trick in the book — from low-rolling-resistance tires to better optimized gear ratios — to extract one more mpg in the city and two more mpg for the highway cycle. Of course, you could always opt for the hybrid model that boosts in-city economy by about 50 percent. The system is also available in the nine-passenger Yukon, making it ideal for hotel-shuttle duty or short hops to and from the job site.

Base prices (incl. destination)

Acadia: Mid-size SUV; $32,600

Canyon: Mid-size pickup; $17,800

Sierra: Full-size pickup; $22,200

Sierra HD: Full-size pickup; $29,000

Terrain: Compact SUV; $25,000

Yukon: Full-size SUV; $39,000 (2010)

Yukon Denali: Full-size SUV; $54,000 (2010)

The big news for GMC is the big trucks, which includes the new GMC Sierra HD 2500, the GMC Sierra HD 3500, the 2500 Denali HD and the 3500 Denali HD. All the vehicles are beefed up, with increased towing capacity and power.

The biggest difference between the Denali and the standard GMC Sierra is simply a matter of degrees of luxury.

“We’ve had people asking for something along these lines for five years,” said Casey Lester, Internet manager at Fuoco GMC Cadillac.

The Denali has the power to be a work truck, but has the bling to be a luxury vehicle, with standard features like the Bose premium surround sound audio system, power-adjustable pedals, 12-way power seats and optional features like the heated steering wheel or the heated and cooled leather seats.

The first new HD version of the Sierra arrived on the showroom floor in early October. It’s gone now, but more are arriving.

The GMC Terrain was new and in short supply for 2010, and availability is still uncertain.

“Inventory has been all over the board,” said Lester. “The four-cylinder has been the hardest to keep in stock. It’s a great answer for families who don’t want a mini-van.”

The Terrain is front-wheel drive and also available in all-wheel drive. The second seat can move forward and back eight inches, offering more flexibility and improving the cargo area in the rear when maximum legroom in the rear isn’t required.

Expect to see more trucks and SUVs coming soon to Fuoco GMC.

Meanwhile, the Cadillac brand itself is the big story for Fuoco GMC Cadillac.

“We lost Cadillac,” said Casey Lester, Internet manager at Fuoco GMC Cadillac. “We weren’t allowed to order any 2010 vehicles until July when we were reconfirmed as a dealer.”

The arbitration process was quick, and the need for a Cadillac dealer between Denver and Salt Lake was confirmed.

“We currently have the healthiest inventory we’ve had in 11 years,” Lester said.

The most highly anticipated Cadillac is the CTS, which comes in a sport wagon, a four-door sedan and a two-door coupe. The CTS-V is a high-performance version of the same car, with a beefier engine to make it one of the world’s fastest production cars.

The most popular Cadillac, the SRX, received a makeover in 2010. The dealership received just four models during the summer and sold them all within two months. The five-passenger crossover vehicle has a standard V-6, with an optional turbocharged engine. The V-6 version comes standard front-wheel drive, with optional all-wheel drive, while the turbocharged version is available only in all-wheel drive. Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, a 60/40-split-folding and reclining rear seats, dual-zone automatic climate control and an eight-speaker Bose sound system.

All Cadillacs also come with the Premium Care Maintenance program, which covers several routine maintenance services during the first four years or 50,000 miles, when scheduled at recommended levels according to the owner’s manual. Covered services include routine oil changes, tire rotation and engine air cleaner filter replacement.

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