More than twenty years after the death of Chevrolet's famous El Camino, General Motors is giving Americans another chance to own a new car-based pickup. But like Pontiac's defunct GTO, this icon returns with a bit of an Australian accent.
And it won't get the El Camino badge.
Previewed at the 2008 New York auto show, the 2010 Pontiac G8 sport truck is essentially a lengthened G8 sedan - sans a back seat and trunk. Instead, GM's performance division worked a truck bed onto the G8's body, which first originated in Australia as the Holden Commodore. And like the G8's Holden cousin, the sport truck has already been an overseas hit as the Holden Ute.
Powered by the same 6.0-liter V-8 engine in the G8 GT, the sport truck (a temporary label for the vehicle, consumers can choose the Pontiac's final name at www.pontiac.com/namethiscar) will put out 361 hp and 385 lb-ft of torque. Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, Pontiac says the G8 sport truck can blast from 0 to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds, just a hair behind the G8 GT sedan.
Covering the 74-inch cargo bed with an available tonneau cover should help improve track times, but for those wanting a true American "Ute" work-car, the cargo bed will hold a little more than one-half ton and the Pontiac can tow up to 3500 pounds. To handle extra weight, GM stretched the G8's wheelbase by four inches, adjusted the rear suspension, and reinforced the G8's key structure areas with 60 new components.
However, there aren't many new components inside the G8 sport truck's cabin. Drivers will notice the same dashboard, controls, and options that adorn the G8 sedan, as well as 8.5 sq-ft of additional storage space behind the front seats.
We expect the sport truck could get Pontiac's G8 GXP treatment - a 402-hp, 6.2-liter V-8 engine - as early as the 2011 model year. This, of course, provided it doesn't speed to the fate of its forefather El Camino.
The 2010 sport-truck-to-be-named-later will arrive in showrooms in late 2009.
Click the links below for high-resolution G8 sport truck wallpaper images, as well as coverage of the G8 GXP.