General Motors is thinking of introducing an off-road version of the redesigned large sports utility vehicles it unwrapped this month -- Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban and the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL. Jeff Luke, executive chief engineer for GM trucks, remarked that although GM has offered a Z71 off-road package – which features stronger shocks, bigger wheels and special styling cues -- for the SUV models, they haven't been big sellers.
Luke said that for this generation of SUVs, GM is looking for “a more off-road variant." According to Luke, off-road capability is one reason why customers flock to large SUVs, instead of unibody crossovers that largely have replaced body-on-frame platforms. He said that vehicle owners "just love off-roading” with such vehicles, adding that large SUVs are seen as “more off-road capable" than crossovers.
Luke said that in general, GM will offer more enhancements to the next generation of SUVs, which will be rolled out by March for the 2015 model year. The outgoing SUVs have been on sale without major modifications or improvement since they were launched in early 2006. Luke remarked that in the life cycle of SUVs, GM will continually upgrade and add technologies, including in the powertrain area.