Sometime, you can learn the most interesting things on conference calls. During a recent call with investors to discuss during General Motors' second-quarter earnings, GM CEO Mary Barra was asked about the company’s presence in the off-roading space. Her response suggests that there are more GM off-roaders to come — even beyond the soon-to-be-unveiled Hummer EV.
“We look at each brand, and we look to build our off-road offerings in GMC, as well as Chevrolet. And when you look to Hummer, you’ll see true capability there, as well,” Barra said. “We think it’s very important to customers, and we’ll continue to expand our offering.”
The best bet to arrive in the short-term is a Silverado ZRX — which seems all but guaranteed to be a full-size truck with similar mods to the Colorado ZR2 that's designed to take on the Ford F-150 Raptor. (Chevy hinted that was coming with its Silverado race truck that appeared at the Best of the Desert race last October.)
The ZRX should come packing at least the 6.2-liter V8 putting out 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. A supercharged version could be feasible, as well, seeing as how Ram has a Hellcat-powered TRX coming and Ford may bring the Godzilla V8 or a PHEV EcoBoost V6 to the new Raptor.
Though impressive, a Silverado ZRX would still be reacting to the competition, rather than forging a proactive way forward. It wouldn’t overshadow what appears to be a glaring miss on GM's part by not building a body-on-frame off-roading SUV. While Ford masterfully revived and improved on the Bronco, Chevrolet brought back the Blazer nameplate as a definitively roadgoing, unfit-for-Comerica Park crossover. (Don’t get your hopes up for a “Trailblazer,” because GM gave that name to its new subcompact crossover.)
That said, there might still be ways for the brand to plow deeper into the tough SUV space. The new Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban's Z71 off-road trim level seems perfect as a jumping-off point, for example. And considering how popular the likes of the Raptor and Colorado ZR2 have been, just imagine a full-size SUV with a 650-hp supercharged V8 and the sort of suspension that lets it drive across the desert at 100 mph.