Three Chevy Trucks We’d Love to See Return

January 14th, 2016 by

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Before we get started, we’re a huge fan of Chevy’s current crop of pickups. The Colorado and Silverado are two of the more competent and dependable trucks on the road, and the Express and City Express are both perfect choices for those needing that extra space for all of their cargo.

Still, there are several retired Chevy trucks that we’d love to see make comebacks. While it’s unlikely that the brand would ever rerelease one of these vehicles, a little bit of hope has never hurt. Continue reading to see the three Chevy trucks we’d love to see make a return…

Chevy Avalanche

First debuting in 2001 on the GMT800 platform, this four-door pickup lasted 12 years until its retirement in 2013. The vehicle was initially a hit, with 52,995 units sold during its first year on the market and a personal-high 93,482 units sold in 2004. The vehicle was named the 2002 Motor Trend Truck of the Year, and it was also awarded the 2007 Truck of the Year award by the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada.

Unfortunately, the popularity started to deteriorate towards the mid-2000s, culminating in a personal-low of 16,432 units sold in 2009. Despite a slight increase in sales over it’s final few years on the market, the brand decided to retire the Avalanche and the Cadillac Escalade EXT in 2013.

Depending on who you talk to, the Avalanche can be referred to as either a pickup truck or an SUV. In fact, the early advertisements told consumers that the vehicle could seamlessly change from one style to the other. No one had ever seen a midgate that could extend the truck’s bed into the cab, as the cargo area could increase from 5-feet-3-inches long to 8-feet-2-inches long. With the inclusion of this unique and innovative design, the light-weight pickup segment was changed forever, as rival engineers soon picked up on the versatility of the Avalanche.

“The Chevrolet Avalanche was one of the earliest forays into re-inventing the traditional pickup truck, said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst, Edmunds.com (via a Chevy press release). “It was a vehicle that maintained the traditional truck image and capability but was more versatile for the person buying it for personal use more than work – a lifestyle truck more than a work truck. Other variations on the theme from competitors followed the Avalanche’s debut.”

Ironically, the brand may have saved their best for last, as they released their Black Diamond Avalanche in 2013, the truck’s final year in production. The special edition model included an exclusive “body-colored bed,” as well as a new badge and several other aesthetic features. If customers opted for the standard Avalanche, they’d receive new technology like the rear camera, park assist technology, fog lights, and a remote starter.

“Although Avalanche sales have tapered off in recent years, as crew cabs have grown to dominate Silverado sales, we know there are many Avalanche enthusiasts among Chevy customers,” said Clawson. “The Black Diamond Avalanche is our way of saying ‘Thank you’ and making it just a little more attractive to own one more Avalanche.”

There were four engines available during the Avalanche’s “second generation”: a 5.3-liter LY5 V8 gas (320 horsepower, 335 pounds-feet of torque), the 5.3-liter LMG V8 gas/E85 and 5.3-liter LC9 V8 gas/E85 (326 horsepower and 348 pounds-feet of torque), and a 6.0-liter L76 V8 gas (366 horsepower, 376 pounds-feet of torque). Meanwhile, the Black Diamond Edition offered two engines: a 320-horsepower 5.3-liter Vortec 5300 V8 (with Active Fuel Management) and a 367-horsepower 6.0-liter VortecMAX V8 (with Variable Valve Timing and Active Fuel Management).

“More than 580,000 Avalanches have been sold since its introduction in 2001, and Avalanche has won major awards and recognitions throughout its run,” said Mark Clawson, Avalanche marketing manager. “So it is only fitting that Avalanche retires on a high note.”

I understand that the Avalanche retired on a high note. However, it’d be a thrill if Chevy decided to revive their pickup in the near future.

Chevy S-10

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The S-10 offered everything you could possibly want from a pickup. The vehicle was rugged and dependable, and it also featured a surprisingly powerful engine. While the vehicle evolved quite a bit during its 23 years on the North America market, it remained one of the most affordable options in the segment.

This compact pickup first hit the market back in 1982, but many of its individual parts were significantly older. Engineers borrowed ideas and aspects from several of the most popular trucks on the market during the late 1970s and early 1980s, like the Isuzu KB and Chevy LUV. The design was also inspired partly by GM’s popular G-body intermediate chassis line.

The original S-10 included Isuzu’s 1.9-liter four-cylinder engine that could produce 82 horsepower and 101 pounds-feet of torque, along with an optional 125-horsepower 2.8-liter engine produced by General Motors.

The second-generation S-10 was released in 1994. While the brand threw out all of their special edition models (including the Syclone, Typhoon and Sonoma) and a pair of engines (the 4.3-liter Vortec V6 and 2.2-liter four-cylinder) to keep up with Ford and its new Ranger pickup, they actually kept many of the truck’s best attributes, including the chassis and design. Customers had the option of a 2.2-liter and 4.3-liter V6. The high-performance SS version featured that 4.3-liter engine, delivering 190 horsepower. Several other packages were released before the vehicle’s demise.

In 2004, the brand announced that they’d be retiring the S-10 and essentially replacing it with the Chevy Colorado. Luckily, the vehicle lived on in Brazil, where the second-generation pickup continued to be produced until 2012. Although the Colorado ultimately replaced the Brazilian S-10, the nameplate remained.

Chevy SSR

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This pickup was unlike anything we had seen when it was released in 2003, and we doubt we’ll see anything like it for some time. The SSR (standing for Super Sport Roadster) featured a retractable hardtop that could transform the truck into a convertible.

Available for four models years, the vehicle originally featured GM’s impressive Vortec 5300 5.3-liter V8 engine (the 300 horsepower probably played a role in the vehicle’s prominence in motorsports). Later versions of the vehicle included the 390-horsepower LS2 V8 engine (those specs were eventually improved to 400 horsepower), as well as a six-speed Tremec manual transmission.

Despite aggressive marketing (the brand brought in Michael Bay to direct one of their commercials), the vehicle wasn’t a hit. The $42,000 pickup was only purchased by 9,000 customers in 2004, and only 24,150 were produced during the four-year run. Furthermore, the closing of the Lansing, Michigan Craft Center meant the vehicle no longer had a home plant, confirming the pickup’s demise. While we doubt the brand would invest the money and resources to restarting production, we believe the SSR could fair better on the market with a second go around.

 

There’s no precedent for Chevy reviving one of their retired pickups. Besides the vehicles mentioned above, the brand has ended production on several popular trucks, including the C/K and LUV, but we’ve never seen any of the rides make a return. However, in today’s day and age, consumers seem to love throwbacks, so the return of one of these models may not be out of the picture. We’re all aware of Chevy’s willingness to listen to their customers. If there seems to be enough public interest in the rerelease of one of these pickups, we’re sure the brand will strongly consider putting that truck back into production.

Posted in Chevy trucks