Picture this: You’re driving alone down a long, dark, two-lane country road in your 2014 GMC Sierra after a long day and you begin to drift off. As you drift off, your brand new Sierra begins to wander from into the opposite lane. Then, all of a sudden, you feel a vibration coming from the seat cushion of the driver’s chair. A sudden rush of adrenaline courses through your body while you simultaneously perk up and jerk the wheel back to the proper lane.
This Safety Alert Seat isn’t new to General Motors, as it’s already seen in the 2013 Cadillac XTS, but it is new in the pickup truck segment. The 2014 GMC Sierra will include safety features that have never been offered in a full-size truck, including Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning. The optional Safety Alert Seat begins acting up once you trip either one of the aforementioned safety systems.
If the Lane Departure Warning system’s camera sees that you’re leaving a lane without using the turning indicator, the driver’s chair’s bottom cushion vibrates a bolster depending on the direction you’re drifting in. If a potential collision is detected, both bolsters will vibrate to alert the driver to take evasive action. The use of this haptic driver’s chair is the result of a study conducted by GM with results showing that drivers are more likely to respond faster to the vibration than they are to beeps and chimes like other safety systems currently use.
Both the Forward Collision Alert and lane departure warning systems employ a camera that is mounted behind the windshield. A green icon shaped like the Sierra illuminates on the instrument cluster if the system sees another vehicle up ahead. If that vehicle is approaching quickly, the icon turns orange, but if the obstruction ahead closes in too quickly, red lights flash on the instrument cluster and other audible warnings begin going off. The lane departure warning system shows it’s working with a similar icon of a vehicle crossing a dotted line on the instrument cluster. This display glows green when everything is acting accordingly, but it will turn amber and begin flashing is something is out of the ordinary. Both of the aforementioned safety features are optional and can be turned off if the driver chooses to do so.
Other available safety features on the 2014 GMC Sierra include StabiliTrak, a back-up camera, front and rear park assist, trailer sway control, and a trailer brake controller. Besides that, six standard airbags line the Sierra’s interior while high-strength steel is utilized throughout the body structure.
The 2014 GMC Sierra is set to go on sale later this summer.
Long having lagged behind the foreign competition in transmission gear count, it was a big deal when General Motors and Ford announced their first partnership to develop a six-speed automatic transmission together in the mid-2000s.
Alas, technology rarely stays still, and General Motors and Ford have once again partnered up to develop automatic transmissions with one another, this time nine- and 10-speed automatics for both front- and rear-wheel-drive applications, possibly even pickup trucks.
“Engineering teams from GM and Ford have already started initial design work on these new transmissions,” said Jim Lanzon, GM vice president of global transmission engineering, in a statement. “We expect these new transmissions to raise the standard of technology, performance, and quality for our customers while helping drive fuel economy improvements into both companies’ future product portfolios.”
The first transmissions the companies co-developed can be seen in the Chevrolet Cruze and Traverse, and Ford Edge and Fusion, among other vehicles. In creating transmissions together, the two companies are able to save on parts costs, but each has their own computer programming for their respective applications. They will also be paired to each company’s respective engines without sharing any components there.
In creating compact transmissions with more gears, it allows a car’s engine to operate at a lower speed, delivering better fuel economy. Also, with shifting, there is a drop off in engine revs from gear to gear, but more gears creates smaller “gaps” between the ratios. That makes them smoother.
“With the jointly developed six-speed automatics we have in production today, we’ve already proven that Ford and GM transmission engineers work extremely well together,” said Joe Bakaj, Ford vice president of Powertrain engineering, in a statement. “Our 6F family of transmissions has exceeded expectations and there is every reason to believe we will have the same success with these all new transmissions.”
Recently, Ford introduced a new six-speed dual-clutch transmission for the Fiesta and Focus, which doesn’t have the hydraulic friction (and power inefficiencies) associated with a conventional automatic transmission. The downside to it has been what American consumers have thought to be jerkier shifting.
The new transmissions will be ready in a matter of a few short years for what we expect will be updated and all-new versions of some of GM and Ford’s most popular vehicles. Rear-wheel-drive applications may include anything from the next-generation Chevrolet Camaro and Mustang to a full-size pickup. GM’s latest rear-wheel-drive car, the 2014 Cadillac CTS, will be using an eight-speed automatic from Aisin until a transmission made in-house can be brought to market.
There are plenty of reasons to appreciate the Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia, but it seems that these crossovers have what it takes to wear the title of America’s most American vehicle. And who better to determine this than Washington, DC-based American University? Frank DuBois, an associate professor at this university’s Kogod School of Business, has come up with a new model for determining which cars have the highest content of US-sourced labor and parts, and he named the General Motors Lambda-platform triplets as the most “American made.”
Digging a little deeper than Cars.com did in naming the Toyota Camry at the top of its American-Made Index last year, the Kogod list factors in profit margin (where the automaker is headquartered), research and development, and information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration American Automobile Labeling Act (AALA). Each vehicle was given a percentage score based on seven criteria, and the Traverse, Enclave and Acadia had the top Index Score of 88.5 out of 100.
Unlike the Cars.com top 10 list that had five “import” cars, the university’s top 10 (which actually consists of 34 vehicles) only has one, the tenth-place Toyota Avalon. Oddly enough, the six-way tie for tenth place also included the Buick Regal, which was given a full score for research and development despite being derived from a European-designed Opel. Head on over to the Kogod website to see the full list of vehicles on the American Auto Index, and let us know what you think in the comments below.Permalink | Email this | Comments