It’s a rare occurrence for a vehicle to be released as a new generation with fuel economy that is worse than the outgoing model. The new full-size SUVs from General Motors (NYSE:GM) don’t surprise, then: It was revealed that when equipped with GM’s 5.3-liter EcoTec V8, they can achieve a bump of about 10 percent on their mileage.
This applies to the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, and Chevrolet Suburban, all of which have seen significant redesigns for 2015. This means that with two-wheel drive, the vehicles can manage 16 miles per gallon in the city and 23 miles per gallon on the highway; the former of which is a 7 percent boost over the outgoing model.
The Yukon Denali and Yukon XL Denali models still carry the 6.2-liter V8, which is rated for 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. The Denali models carry a 15-mile-per-gallon city and 21-mile-per-gallon highway rating with two-wheel drive, General Motors said Wednesday in a statement.
However, the 5.3-liter models now get 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque, well over the 320 horsepower and 335 pound-feet produced by the unit in the 2014 models.
Those numbers are better, but still not great. They’re good for the segment these vehicles play in, but as diesel technologies evolve and lightweight materials become more prominent in large vehicles (like the aluminum bodied F-150, for example), GM’s families of utility rigs are going to find themselves moving back down the ladder.
With a new Nissan (NSANY.PK) Titan and Toyota (NYSE:TM) Tundra on the way that are reported to be packing 5-liter diesel units from Cummins, it may only be a short matter of time before those units wind up in Toyota’s Sequoia and Nissan’s Armada. If that were to happen — and we’re theorizing here — it could present a hefty challenge to GM’s full-size offerings n the form of more torque and better economy.