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The Yanks like their cars big so the Aussie designers at the General have dished up a beast of a vehicle which will go on show at the Chicago Motor Show this week.

A concept car designed and built in Australia is about to take centre stage at the Chicago Auto Show. The hybrid-powered GMC Denali XT, a cross between a sports utility vehicle and a more traditional US style pick-up truck, was produced at GM Holden’s design centre at Port Melbourne.


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US web site Auto Blog said “Ever since it became know that GM would be bringing the rear-wheel-drive Pontiac G8 sedan to the US market from Australia, fans of the old El Camino have been salivating for them to bring over the Holden “Ute”, as well. For the uninitiated, Australians use the term “Ute” to describe utility vehicles that are car-based pickup trucks. Both Holden and Ford offer Utes based on their rear-wheel-drive passenger car platforms.

 

 

 

 

 



Camino fans can now relax, because the first US iteration is arriving in Chicago this week and it’s got some interesting twists. The GMC Denali XT concept is inspired by the Holden Crewman, which was a four-door variant of the Commodore with a pickup truck bed out back. While this layout is nothing new to our friends Down Under, what is unique to the Denali XT is its powertrain, and it provides some interesting hints as to what we might be seeing in this and other vehicles from the General.

“This was a great program to work on as I was given the opportunity to really stretch the limits of the global rear-wheel-drive architecture and create a truck with unique and bold proportions,” said lead designer Warrack Leach.


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“GMC has such a rich heritage of producing great trucks and it was essential we kept that in mind while at the same time exploring how far we could take this concept.”

The Denali XT features a more efficient 4.9 litre version of GM’s small-block V8 which has been combined with the company’s two-mode hybrid propulsion system. Capable of running on all electric power at lower speeds, the concept vehicle provides for a 50 per cent fuel economy improvement over comparable small pick-up trucks.

Although just a concept at this stage, GMC general manager Jim Bunnell said the Denali XT was perfectly suited to a variety of active lifestyle activities. “Like all GMCs, the Denali XT is functional and capable, but it blends those traits with a more efficient, sporty driving experience,” Mr Bunnell said.

 

“It is a vehicle that exemplifies GMCs engineering excellence, as well as GMs commitment to hybrid and advanced technologies.” The vehicle will be on display at the Chicago show from February 6-17.

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