GMC Granite to enter production soon, GM source says

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 23, 2011

The GMC Granite will enter production, a GM insider told Motor Trend. Several months ago, there were already reports that the Granite concept, which was displayed at GMC’s booth at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show, was scheduled to enter production. However, it was never confirmed by GM internal management and the matter was later dropped.

The recent Motor Trend also states that the Granite will keep the trick rear-hinged suicide doors from the 2010 concept.

The source says that the concept will be built on the same C-Segment platform that’s used by the Chevrolet Volt and Cruze, the Buick Verano, and Opel Astra. It also closely shares its floorpan (as well as its functionality and overall shape) with the Chevy Orlando, the mini-MPV that GM will be offered in Europe, Asia, and Canada.

The difference is that the Granite is more “professional-grade,” which means that the model will not have a B-pillar, requiring plenty of reinforcement from the quarter-panels to the roof.

This may be too much for the 138hp turbo 1.4-liter four-cylinder and six-speed transmission shared by the Granite and the Cruze. It’s likely that there will be other engine options offered (like the Buick Verano’s 177-horsepower 2.4-liter inline-four) to make sure that the Granite won’t be slow.

Young professionals who work in urban areas are generally social and have an active lifestyle. These are the type of people who prefer to go to clubs with their friends or load outdoor gear and take weekend trips rather than towing a boat or lumber for that matter. All of these served as the inspiration for the group of young designers working on the GMC Granite Concept. Its dimensions therefore were based on these different preferences.

The wheelbase for example measures 103.6 inches (2,631 mm), which is comparable even to the Chevrolet Cobalt. However with regards to the overall length, the GMC Granite Concept measures 161.3 inches (4,097 mm), a foot shorter than the Cobalt. Due to these measurements, it ensures that the GMC Granite Concept has excellent maneuverability and can run even on the narrow city streets. While the GMC Granite Concept may have a short body, its overall width of 70.3 inches (1,786 mm) and total height of 60.5 inches (1,536 mm) more than makes up for it.

In fact, these dimensions give it distinct proportions that are a far cry from the designs many are familiar with when it comes to the crossover, standard minivan, or SUV. According to Lyon, the design team used the best attributes coming from the different segments, like the minivan, crossover, and SUV, and then combined all of these with a commercial visual style. He added that the brand believes this will redefine the premium class that most can categorize as urban utility vehicles.

Take the four doors of the GMC Granite Concept for instance. Each of them has a hinge on each side allowing them to be opened like a set of French doors. A look into the interior shows that since there is no pillar in between the front doors and the rear doors; this allows both driver and passenger to enter and exit the vehicle easily. Doing so even while carrying large items isn’t a problem as well.

According to exterior design manager Juho Suh, the brand made sure that the GMC Granite Concept would be able to have a styling statement by expressing a design that was bold but appealing. For the next generation of urban professionals, the concept offers both the functionality and form that they prefer. To match the urban theme, designers made sure to implement a series of complex and interesting angles and planes on its exterior.

This resulted in an impression of what appears to be an industrial machine. A machine that, while created due to necessity, remains to be respected for its functional aesthetics and precision. For instance, there is a forward-angling theme that cuts through its door panels. It starts high just behind the doors then cuts to the front door’s center. This gives it the impression of being in motion. The impression is felt with the tapered side glass and high beltline.

Its rear spoiler meanwhile has been incorporated with the roof and even expands a bit above the rear glass. The other planes and angle have clearly been carefully metal-crafted. The front portion continues to have the brand’s well-known signature grille which is bordered by the headlamps that then sweep to the fenders. Since both the headlamps and the fog lamps have been placed at the far end of the bodywork’s front portion, this highlights the planted stance of the GMC Granite Concept. At the rear portion, the angles and planes have been brought tightly together and display the careful attention to detail given.

Additional elements in the exterior include the taillamps equipped with LED lighting technology and which sports a multi-layer appearance. Then there is the exhaust outlet in the center that comes with a brushed metal tip.

One distinct feature of the exterior is that no chrome is present. The trims of the GMC Granite Concept will either have the brushed metal or satin finish, which highlights the vehicle’s industrial look. Its 20-inch wheels are wrapped in Bridgestone tires and have been customized with the fender to give it that sporty and low stance. With the exterior color coming in metallic gray, the GMC Granite Concept suggests the look of its namesake.

Topics: gmc, concept, production

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