General motors just announced a new wrinkle in its medium-duty production: In the first half of 2017, commercial cutaway models, including 4500 GMC Savana and Chevrolet Express vans, will be built by Navistar, which brings a dormant assembly line at Navistar’s Springfield, OH, plant back to life. The cutaways are often upfitted as ambulances, school buses, and utility vehicles, GM notes.
In addition, GM and Navistar also announced plans to jointly produce a Class 4-5 conventional cab truck, “bringing medium-duty, conventional-cab trucks back into the portfolio,” according to GM. These trucks will combine Navistar chassis with GM commercial components and engines and are expected to go into production in 2018, also at the Springfield plant.
Meanwhile, arriving this summer are the Chevrolet-badged Low Cab Forward 3500, 4500, 3500-5500HD, and 4500-5500XD models based on Isuzu’s N-Series cabover trucks. They offer gross vehicle weight ratings from 12,000-19,500 lbs., and all but the Chevy 3500HD and 5500XD regular cabs—the latter claiming highest available payload for the lineup just shy of 12,800 lbs.—come in regular or crew cab variants with seating for up to three or seven passengers, respectively.
For motivation, the 3500 and 4500 trucks come with a 6.0L V8 gasoline engine producing 297 hp. and 372 lbs.-ft. of torque. The 3500HD regular cab gets a 3.0L 4-cyl. diesel that produces 150 hp. and 282 lbs.-ft. of torque as soon as 1,600 rpm, and all other models have Isuzu’s 5.2L 4-cyl.
diesel that produces 215 hp. and 452 lbs.-ft of torque as soon as 1,850 rpm.
The cabover design provides better visibility, easier entry/exit and tighter turning radius, according to the manufacturer, making them particularly suited for jobs like urban delivery routes. Overall length allows for “generous cargo space,” GM says, and various configurations.