[[posterous-content:pid___0]]Springtime is here, which means the hammers and shovels for do-it-yourself home improvement projects are coming out. And from Terrain to Sierra HD, every GMC is capable of carrying the load – big or small – for a variety of home renovation projects.
Home improvement is an ever-growing industry with an expected retail sales increase of nearly 4 percent in 2012 to $269 billion, according to the Home Improvement Research Institute.
“I’ve been a contractor forever so I wouldn’t even consider a vehicle that can’t fit plywood and other materials” said Eric Stromer, host of HGTV’s “Over Your Head,” do-it-yourself expert on “GMC Trade Secrets” and a GMC Sierra Hybrid driver. “The crew cab is good for my kids, I can tow cement mixers and other equipment, and with it being a hybrid, it offers that capability with a lower carbon footprint.”
With Sierra 1500 half-ton, 2500HD ¾-ton, and 3500HD 1-ton pickups, GMC offers a variety of cab layouts, bed lengths, engines, transmissions, and axle ratios. Payload capacity is as much as 6,635 pounds and with the Duramax diesel’s 765 lb-ft of torque, trailers weighing up to 23,000 pounds can be towed. According to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, home addition projects that require heavy lumber, bulky insulation, and other materials are on the rise.
For the Acadia midsize crossover, which had its best sales year ever in 2011 and will be significantly updated for 2013, do-it-yourself projects were part of the development process from the beginning.
At the core of the cargo area’s development was the ability to accommodate a 4-foot-wide sheet of drywall or plywood. The second- and third-row seats fold forward to create a practical cargo space with a flat load floor for easy loading. Healthy lifting movements were also considered when the load height was set at an average waist level. Inside, there’s no deep well in the floor that would require excessive bending.
“I’m at the home improvement store all the time and I still haven’t come across anything that won’t fit in my Acadia,” said Sue Eckel, vehicle chief engineer. “I’ve slid the SmartSlide seats forward to fit small trees without tipping them over, and I’ve slid the second row rearward to put heavy pots securely on the floor. SmartSlide is all about that configurability.”
SmartSlide is an industry-exclusive feature in GM crossovers including Acadia that allows one-handed adjustment of and access to the second- and third-row seats. According to Eckel, “you can even slide the second row back enough to recline the front passenger seat fully to carry a ladder.”
The Terrain small SUV, which gets a more powerful V-6 and an upscale Denali model for 2013, offers similar versatility. Its Multiflex rear seats can be moved fore and aft nearly eight inches (200 mm) or folded flat in a 60/40 configuration to free up 63.9 cubic feet (2820 liters) of cargo space.
For Yukon and Yukon XL SUVs, the capability includes a third row of seats that’s fully removable and a second row that tumbles forward with a single hand or push of a button with the available power fold-and-tumble second row seating. An available power lift gate provides easy access to Yukon XL's segment-leading cargo volume of 137.4 cubic feet (3891 liters). The Yukon XL 3/4 ton, with its 6.0L Vortec V-8, can tow a trailer as heavy as 9,600 pounds. And like Eric Stromer’s Sierra, the fuel-efficient Yukon Two-Mode Hybrid is ideal for remodelers looking to lessen environmental impact through all phases of a project. It offers an EPA-estimated 20 mpg in city driving and 23 on the highway.