By Mark Atkinson for MSN Autos
While the lifespan of a car or crossover might be five or six years between generations, for full-size pickups, those major milestones can be measured in decades. The current Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra - codenamed GMT900 - were revealed way back in 2003, and The General doesn't plan for their replacements to hit the road for at least another year.
But GM did show off the heavily redesigned 2014 Silverado and Sierra today ahead of a full reveal at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this coming January.
The new trucks feature styling that's considerably more evolutionary than revolutionary, with bigger grilles and mirrors, and the use of LED accent lights on the Sierra. However, apparently GM has put these trucks through the aerodynamic wringer and every facet of the design has been engineered to be more efficient. Some new neat touches include the permanent 'corner' step built into the rear bumpers - a feature that originated on the dearly departed Chevrolet Avalanche - along with LED accent lights in the bed.
Mechanically, the trucks will use three versions of GM's new EcoTec3 engine family: a 4.3-litre six-cylinder, and a pair of V8s in 5.3- and 6.2-litres respectively. All feature direct injection, variable valve timing and the ability to shut off one bank of cylinders when cruising to save fuel. The only transmission offered will be a six-speed automatic.
Inside, the cabin is supposed to use softer materials but still retain usability as a truck, meaning the major controls were designed to be used with work gloves on. From the photos provided, we can see a colour display between the main gauges along with a bigger eight-inch touch screen, presumably available in high-end models.
General Motors will presumably be revealing more specific information about horsepower, torque, fuel economy and pricing at the NAIAS. We'll keep you updated when more news breaks.
So what do you think? Has GM gone far enough with their new pickups? Are the people at Ford and Ram holding celebrations now? Let us know in the comments.