General Motors is coming back to Australia, but not as we know it. Holden stock is rapidly thinning, and the American giant has confirmed GMSV is officially happening.
GMSV hasn’t confirmed what’s coming to our market, but to say it “will bring extra competition to niche luxury and performance segments of the car market, enhanced choice to consumers while underpinning new employment opportunities”.
Here’s the American metal we want to see on Australian shores
Cadillac CT4-V and CT5-V Blackwing
Cadillac has come close to arriving in Australia before, but never quite got off the ground.
Invites to a CTS media launch were sent out in 2009 and a batch of cars actually made it off the boat in New Zealand, but the Global Financial Crisis killed the plans at the last minute.
The General’s luxurious flagship brand has since remained a forbidden fruit for Australian buyers. That’s a shame. The CT4-V and CT5-V Blackwing would fit right in on Australian roads, given our love affair with high-performance luxury cars.
The smaller CT4-V is pitched as a rival to the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA in the USA, although it’s actually close in size to the BMW 3 Series.
That makes the CT4-V Blackwing a natural BMW M3 and Alfa Romeo Giulia QV rival. Power is expected to come from a version of the twin-turbo 3.6-litre V6 from the ATS-V preceding it, producing 346kW and 603Nm, and mated to a six-speed manual or eight-speed auto.
The larger CT5-V Blackwing is more of an M5 Competition and E63 S AMG rival, although the regular CT5 is priced like a Mercedes-Benz C-Class or BMW 3 Series in the United States.
The hot Blackwing is expected to pack a version of the 6.2-litre supercharged V8 engine from the previous CTS-V, producing 477kW and 854Nm, and mated with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Think of it as a more powerful, more luxurious replacement for what was one of Australia’s best-ever performance cars, the HSV GTS.
Chariot of the rich and famous, the Escalade is an instantly-recognisable status symbol in the USA.
In Australia, it could make the perfect American rival for the BMW X7 and Mercedes-Benz GLS. It rides on a variation of the platform underpinning the Chevrolet Tahoe, and features for the first time an independent rear suspension.
Cadillac offers it with magnetic ride control suspension and a fully-adjustable air suspension, capable of kneeling when the car is parked to make entry and egress easier. Ideal for red carpets, or when you’re trying to unload heavy school bags on the leafy streets of Toorak.
Power in the Escalade comes from a 6.2-litre V8 engine with 313kW of power and 623Nm of torque, hooked up to a 10–speed automatic. For the first time, Cadillac will also offer a diesel – a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel inline-six making 207kW and 623Nm, to be precise.
The inline-six engine’s outputs are very similar to what’s on offer in the BMW X7 xDrive30d, although the V8 engine isn’t a match for the nuclear power plant in the X7 M50i.
Inside, the Escalade majors on luxury. There’s a 14.2-inch driver display, and a 7.2-inch touch panel to its left for the driver. The central infotainment screen is a 14.2-inch unit, and all three are housed in a curved OLED cluster.
Buyers can option a 36-speaker sound system, and rear passengers can be treated with dual 12.6-inch touchscreens featuring USB and HDMI inputs. Predictably, the front and second-row seats are cushy captain chairs.
There’s a bigger version of the Yukon available, but at 5334mm long it’s already more than 350mm lengthier than an Audi Q7. It’s a better fit for Australian roads than the Yukon XL, which has its own gravitational pull.
Also on offer is the Chevrolet Tahoe, which is essentially the same car as the Yukon, but with a less luxurious interior and a more aggressive exterior.
We’ve gone with the Yukon, though, because it’s the better-looking, more lavishly-trimmed sibling.
Like the Escalade, the Yukon is offered with an air suspension system capable of raising or lowering the ride for different drive modes. It will kneel when you need to get into the car, and lift up to cross tougher terrain off the beaten track.
Inside, the Yukon is available with a 15-inch colour head-up display, complete with information about speed, navigation, and active safety. There’s also enough cameras to make George Orwell turn in his grave, with nine views in total, and a suite of systems designed to make towing easier.
Speaking of which, the Yukon Denali has a braked towing capacity of 3800kg. Power comes from a choice of 5.3-litre and 6.2-litre petrol V8 engines. Both are mated with a 10-speed automatic transmission as standard.
Australia loves utes. Along with the rampantly popular Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger, the Ram 1500 has found plenty of buyers Down Under.
GMSV will be launching with the Chevrolet Silverado, but what about something a bit smaller – but not quite as small as the HiLux?
That’s where the GMC Canyon should swagger in. A platform mate to the Chevrolet Colorado, the Canyon is what passes for mid-sized in the USA.
Even so, the Canyon is 5395mm long, 1886mm wide and 1795mm tall, with a 3258mm wheelbase. That makes it 34mm longer and 14mm wider than the now-defunct Holden Colorado with a regular tray, and a whopping 334mm longer with the extended bed option.
Like the Ram 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado, the Canyon packs a more luxurious interior than the Holden Colorado, although Colorado owners will feel right at home given both share parts of their dash cluster and infotainment system.
The AT4 is the off-road variant of the Canyon, offering a locking rear differential, 31-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tyres, red recovery hooks, and a unique suspension tune. The Denali is its more urbane sibling, with even more exterior chrome, heated and ventilated front seats, and open-pore wood trim.
Under the bonnet, the Canyon is powered by a 3.6-litre petrol V6 with 230kW and 373Nm, or a 2.8-litre turbo-diesel with 135kW of power and 500Nm of torque.
Braked towing capacity is 3500kg, dropping it right in the thick of the action with the Isuzu D-Max, Toyota HiLux, and Ford Ranger.
What GM cars would you like to see in Australia?