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Zane Merva Executive Editor, GM-Trucks.com 3/5/2018 Mark Reuss hinted that GMC was not done making news with the 2019 Sierra during the brand's live event last Thursday. A "late-March" time-frame was floated as a date when enthusiasts would hear more about the next steps for the brand. Today, we know just a little bit more. This morning media invites went out for March 26th, ahead of this year's 2018 New York International Auto Show's Press Days. GMC hopes to draw journalists and media in with promises that "The recent reveal of the next generation 2019 Sierra was just the beginning..." What does that mean? Does GMC have additional models ready to show off? Considering the brand didn't address any trim level below SLT during the recent reveal might lend us some clues. Might we see a replacement for the 4.3L V6 engine? Is a new hybrid model being offered? No-one knows yet but we'll find out later this month. What do you think GMC has up their sleeve?
One vehicle that debuted immediately prior to the show was the 2017 Chevrolet Sonic. Chevys littlest hatch has ditched the large headlights in favor of very Camaro-inspired cues. It seems the era of grafting overly large headlights and grilles onto small cars might be coming to a close. Frankly the smaller, more aggressive headlights and thinner grille suit the Sonic much more. The updates go beyond skin-deep, as the Sonic gets some of the latest GM technology, such as the latest version of the Chevy MyLink infotainment system, featured on the available seven-inch touchscreen, and thats just the tip of the tech iceberg. Theres also available gear such as 4G LTE access with Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, rear park assist, and rear view camera. Under the hood, the standard engine continues to be a 1.8-liter inline-4 or the available 1.4-liter turbocharged inline-4, which makes 138 horsepower. Output from either engine is sent to the front wheels through either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. The RS trim is the one you see above, with menacing black wheels and revised lower front fascia. It makes the Sonic one hot-hatch runabout! Speaking of runabouts, the Buick Encore was another stout, utilitarian vehicle that went under the knife for the 2017 model year. It features sharper headlights, and the move away from the large slatted grille of older Buicks. The new grille still has the Buick "slats" but are thinner and meant to be a more subtle design cue. This new looks has a more sporting appearance, and from the looks of things, less of an emphasis on the two-tone look of the 2012-2016 Encore. The result is a very clean look that clearly positions the Encore for a younger demographic. Inside, the cabin improvements have centered on a rearrangement of the infotainment, climate, and audio controls. The large 8-inch touch screen for Buicks IntelliLink is no longer perched high up on the dash, but is rather now in the center stack, right at the drivers fingertips. As such, redundant controls can be reduced, and the system has a simplistic set of tactile controls similar to that of the new Chevrolet Camaro. The Encore goes on sale in the fall of this year, and will be available with one of five trim levels: Base, Sport Touring, Convenience, Leather, and Premium models. Most trims will be available with the 1.4-liter turbo-four, which will include stop-start technology. The Encore also comes standard with Buicks exclusive QuietTuning technology, and features Bose active noise cancellation. The Encore will also be available with safety tech such as forward collision warning, lane departure warning, rear park assist, and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. It is a lot of safety tech to pack into a compact SUV, proving that the Encore boasts style and substance! Last up is the GMC Terrain Nightfall Edition-the latest GMC vehicle to receive this treatment. The Nightfall Edition is basically Murdered Out, which is to say, the excessive use of dark colors in place of the typical chrome found on GMCs models. To learn more about this vehicle and others, we spoke to GM Product Manager Jeff Giacobbe. "With this edition," explained Giacobbe, "It plats into GMCs bold styling, Especially the Terrain. One of the most important parts of a Terrain buyers purchase decision is styling. With the 2016 and previous models there has been a fair amount of chrome on that vehicle so we decided to take it in another direction, so for 2017 we decided to take it down a notch with the chrome." According to Giacobbe, this led directly to the decision to offer the Nightfall Edition for the terrain. "With Terrain," explained, "We've never done this black look. We've gotten a lot of positive feedback, so we're excited to get it out on the market and see how it does." According to GMC, the Nightfall Edition models are intended to appeal to more youthful buyers, as opposed to the more mature and well-heeled Denali buyers. The Nightfall Edition will be available on the SLE-2 and SLT trims of the Terrain and available in one of four colors (Onyx Black, Summit White, Graphite Gray, and Crimson Red). But the conversation was not limited to the latest edition of the Terrain, but also potential future special editions, including even a more off-road-oriented version of the Terrain. "One area we've been looking at," continued Giacobbe, "Is what can we do in terms of off-road capability. We explored this with the Acadia All-Terrain Edition. Its got the appearance elements, but also the hardware to back it up with the advanced all-wheel drive system, including the twin-system." "In the compact SUV space," he continued, "You could say Jeep right now is the front runner, they have several products. That's an area that we see that we can excel at. Its on our horizon for us to up our game. The Acadia All Terrain is a great first step, but well explore this for other vehicles." So will we see a Terrain All-Terrain (if that's what they call it)? It sure sounds like it- only time will tell!
We've been waiting to see what GMC had up its sleeve since Chevrolet introduced the 2016 Equinox last month. Since the Equinox and Terrain are pretty much the same vehicle, it was expected the Terrain would get an update this year too. The important updates and changes: New front and rear fascia design New chrome grille designs for SLE, SLT, and Denali New "Power dome" hood New LED daytime running lights on uplevel models New 18/19 inch wheel options on Terrain/Denali Revised instrument panel with new graphics and storage Model lineup: SL, SLE-1, SLE-2, SLT, Denali Premium cloth now standard on SL and SLE New Saddle Up leather interior on SLT New Light Titanium/Jet Black interior combination Front passenger eight-way power seat now on SLT (previously only on Denali) New transmission shifter Blind-Zone and rear cross traffic alert now available on SLE and SLT New While Frost Tricoat and Crimson Red Premium Tintcoat color options 2015 Terrain vs 2016 Terrain 2016 Terrain Denali