Typically conservative to a fault (the HHR and SSR the exceptions), GM has never taken many styling risks with its trucks. In fact, several people have complained that the Chevy and GMC looked more like identical twins than cousins. Not any more. From the unique hood lines and fender flares to dramatic headlight and grille treatments, the distinctiveness of the two family members will be more apparent. Further, to its credit, GM didn't allow the pickup-truck grilles to be simple clones from those on the SUVs. The GMC unit is like a large, open mouth, while the Chevy's offers the more familiar three-bar slats, with a prominent Bow Tie in the center. Although huge improvements have been made in aerodynamics (thanks to increased tilt to the windshield, significantly decreased body gaps, and pronounced lower wind dams), GM truck designers fought to keep the distinct bumper, which is visually separate from the body. The SUVs, for the sake of pushing more air over and around the front face, have practically molded the front bumper into the rest of the body.

In addition, each of the GMT900 trucks will have unique hood designs-the GMC with a single pronounced bulge, the Chevy with a wide double-crease look. Chevy will get the more chiseled, concrete-block-looking flares and more defined cuts, whereas the GMC will have smoother, almost polished humps over the wheel arches.

Silverados will come in LS, LT, and LTZ configurations with five different engines available-a 4.3-liter V-6 (195 horsepower/260 pound-feet of torque); a 4.8 liter V-8 (285/295), two 5.3 liter V-8s (310/335), one of which is E85 capable, and a 6.0 liter V-8 (345/380). All pickups get the carryover four-speed automatic (albeit a heavier-duty version for the 6.0 liter V-8), except for the new GMC Sierra Denali-that not only gets the Escalade's 403 horsepower (detuned for the GMC), 6.2-liter V-8, but also the all-new six-speed transmission. The 5.3- and 6.0-liter will offer Active Fuel Management for fuel savings. GM reports fuel savings over similarly equipped non-AFM models is over 10 percent. Current predictions have the EPA estimates for the 5.3-liter hovering around 16 mpg in the city, 21 highway. Expect that number to improve when the six-speed transmission replaces the four-speed (both column shifters with an improved hand-contoured grip) in the SUVs and pickups in the next model year.