PHOENIX. General Motors Corp. is touting its new 2007 GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado pickups as featuring plenty of horsepower while delivering great fuel economy; and lots of comfort while being a great workhorse.

“It’s a pickup without trade-offs,” Michael Tulumello, vehicle line director—full-size truck group, told FleetOwner during a ride-and-drive event here.

“You get over 300 hp with our new 5.3 liter V8s but you also get great fuel economy at 16 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway,” he explained. “You get plenty of payload capacity and pulling power but you also get a roomy cab, excellent ride and handling, and all the creature comforts you want. You no longer have to make a trade-off between getting a work-capable vehicle or one that’s comfortable to drive. You get it all in one package.”

“Fleets are going to find the stiffer frame we’ve developed for this truck along with fuel economy improvements to be the big advantages,” added Randy Hollenstine, Silverado product manager for the Chevrolet division. “Our new frame is what both improves payload capacity and gives you better ride and handling. The fuel savings are a big plus, too—getting an extra mile or two per gallon every day adds up to big savings over time.”

However, getting the best fuel economy will be largely dictated by driving habits, cautioned Mike Norrito, lead development engineer. “Our active fuel management (AFM) system turns off four cylinders with our new V8 if that power isn’t needed—that saves fuel,” he explained. “But at 70 mph on the highway, the truck is going to keep all eight cylinders active. You’ll need that power to push a truck this size down the road at that speed.”

So while the capability to get greater fuel economy is there, the truck must be driven a certain way to get it. “Vehicle speed is the key to making AFM work,” Norrito said.

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