GMC Trucks For 1998
By Carey Russ
Now known just as GMC, no longer as GMC Truck, the premium truck division of General Motors has a new role. Taking advantage of the popularity of light trucks, especially sport-utility vehicles, GMC is moving upscale. This should also differentiate between GMC's offerings and similar vehicles at Chevrolet. In the future, GMC will concentrate on premium-level machinery.
The change is already occurring with the introduction of two luxury SUVs, the full-sized Yukon Denali and the compact Envoy. Additionally, the Jimmy compact sport-utility and Sonoma compact truck have styling and mechanical upgrades.
All 1998 GMC pickups and sport-utilities have reduced-force airbags.
Yukon and Yukon Denali
Nothing makes the new direction at GMC quite so apparent as the Denali. Positioned at the top of the Yukon line, the Denali has its own, very distinctive grille, front fascia, and hood. A monotone exterior scheme, leather and Zebrano wood-appointed interior, and premium Bose sound system set the luxury tone. A 255-horsepower 5.7-liter Vortec V8 matched with a 4-speed automatic transmission drive all four wheels through the sophisticated "AutoTrac" 4WD system. The "OnStar" communications and assistance system is available in the Denali and other Yukon models this year.
The regular Yukon has relatively minor trim changes for 1998. Four-wheel drive models have the same AutoTrac system as is found in the Denali. The 2-door model has been discontinued.
Envoy is a new brand at GMC. First introduced as a show vehicle early in 1997, the Envoy is slated for an early 1998 calendar year production date and should be available by Spring. It is further evidence of the new direction at GMC.
Although based on the Jimmy compact sport-utility, the Envoy is a much more upscale vehicle. Distinct bumpers and grille, monotone paint, and full cladding set the tone outside. Check the headlights - they're bright high-energy discharge (HID) lamps, not regular halogens. The Envoy is the first SUV, and one of the first vehicles at all, to use them.
They Envoy's luxury-spec interior features leather upholstery and Zebrano wood trim. A premium Bose sound system is standard. The OnStar system is available.
The Envoy has a 4.3-liter Vortec V6 and 4-speed automatic transmission, and 4-wheel drive.
The Envoy hasn't stolen all of the thunder from the Jimmy. The Jimmy has its own enhancements for 1998, highlighted by new front end styling. Body side moldings and rear styling have changed on the upscale models as well. A refurbished interior features a new instrument panel and improved seats.
All 1998 Jimmys have 4-wheel antilock disc brakes. The 4.3- liter Vortec V6 returns in the engine compartment, matched to a 5- speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. Several trim levels are offered in both 2-door and 4-door body styles, with 2- and 4-wheel drive.
GMC's Sonoma compact pickup has a front-end restyling similar to that of the Jimmy. Interior upgrades include a new instrument panel and a variety of trim and specification changes. Both airbags are depowered; the passenger-side bag may be switched off.
Sonomas are available with regular or extended cabs, with an optional third door on extended-cab models. Two bed lengths are available, and the short bed comes in "Wideside" of "Sportside" styles. A 2.2-liter 4-cylinder or two different 4.3-liter V6s are the engine choices. Two wheel drive is standard, 4WD is optional.
GMC's version of the fully full-sized sport-utility has minor interior and exterior changes this year. The optional 6.5-liter diesel engine has upgrades, and 4-wheel drive models feature the "AutoTrac" 4WD system.
The full-sized Sierra family of pickups is GMC's best selling line. This may have something to do with the number of variations. It is available in regular or extended cab form, with an optional third door on extended cab models, and in crew cab style. There are two bed lengths and styles. A number of V6 and V8 gasoline engines are offered, plus a newly-upgraded turbodiesel. All have interior enhancements for 1998.
The GMC full-sized van is just the thing for people who need something even bigger than a Suburban. Designed primarily as a passenger hauler, two lengths are available. Long-wheelbase versions can carry up to 15 people. Gasoline and diesel engines provide power; the diesel has been upgraded this year.
Bigger than a minivan, smaller than a Savana, the Safari can be just the vehicle for carrying a large family or towing a boat or trailer. Or both at the same time. The 1998 Safari comes in several trim levels, and is a rear-wheel drive vehicle with optional all-wheel drive.