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I've mentioned this in posts before, but the recent photos of the new Toyota Tacoma, and in light of the superb interior on the Chevrolet Colorado / GMC Canyon, I had to rant. Last I read, the next F/S truck redo is coming in 2006 (2007 model year).

2006!?

I know that there are other priorities for GM, but if I had millions of GM dollars on hand to fix one thing with the current GM lineup, it would be the full-size truck (Silverado, Suburban, Escalade) interiors.

They look so good on the outside, but when you step in, you get to feast your eyes on a taste of 1998:



Compare those "deal sealing interiors" to the Ford F-150:

The Nissan Titan:

and the Dodge Ram (boring perhaps but it employs modern "sharp edges":


About the only other full size truck on the market (other than the "Heritage F-150") that still owes its dash design to a 1995 Ford Taurus is the 2004 Toyota Tundra.

But knowing Toyota, they'll have a new truck/interior ready before 2007. Heck, they'll probably have a completely "all new" (including the powertrain) truck out by then, and GM will carry over 40% of its parts. But that's another argument.
I still think that GM trucks could be competitive in their own right, but they need 2 things:
1. A horsepower boost, or more "techy" engines to compete with tech-strong image of the competition with its new DOHC Titan engine, Dodge HEMI, and 3-valve Ford engine.
2. Redone interiors. How much engineering would #2 really entail?

I recently went to play the "push the Onstar button" game at a local Chevy dealership. I was appalled at the outdated design. And the design being "old" isn't the only problem. The interior was done by GM at a time when the sleeping giant still hadn't awoken to the need for having attractive, modern interiors in its cars and trucks. These were the pre "let's beat Audi" Bob-Lutz inspired interiors that had (and still have) Auto mag editiors shaking their heads in disapproval.

Even the Chevy Express got a major refresh in 2003 that included cleaning up the dash and making it more attractive and modern looking. Even with the same kind of rubbermaid gray plastics, it looks much better than it did. And yet the Silverado stays pat. Why? To "save money"? Money that will be used to support incentives because the interior is so ugly?

The point of my rant here is that people who would otherwise be drawn towards buying a Chevy --- people who cross-shop, not die hard Chevy fanatics who would see nothing wrong with this interior lasting until 2016 --- are going to be having second thoughts when they step in for a look-see. "The interior seals the deal" is the phrase I hear a lot, and the Silverado/Suburban/etc. interior does nothing to seal the deal for me.

Some will say a pickup truck shouldn't look like a Nissan Z car or Chevy Cobalt inside. I'll agree there. But it shouldn't have strong, bulbous, rounded gray mouse fur laden GM design cues from 1998 either. In a work truck the interior isn't important. Well, this "work truck" shares its dash with the Suburban and even the Escalade for the most part. The Escalade is competing with sharp, futuristic and modern designs from the competition and has to make do with this:

It may be hard to tell from this photo, but yes, other than the colors and a few other differences like a wood dash kit, the Escalade is a much nicer version of the same Silverado interior. It even shares the same column shifter.

Some will say "I like it like it is". But can they honestly say that if the F-150, Dodge or Nissan interiors were in the Silverado that they would want to go back to the old interior?

All I can say is PLEASE GM, do something about this interior SOON . 2007 (model year) is simply too late to correct the inadequacy of this design. Forget saving cash here, because you'll only end up boosting incentives to sell this ever more quickly aging dog of an interior.
 

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can't remember the last time i looked at a GM truck interior... but that is pretty dull! dodge doesn't look much better, actually, and nissan seems kinda overdone (like a shiny silver, space-age boombox). and yet the GM trucks still manage to sell (albeit with heavy incentives). lotsa people like GM trucks... or at least want to like them... but i agree. something has to be done soon.
 

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As for the question of how much $ it would take for a major interior redesign, it takes a WHOLE lot more than you could ever think. New crossbeams and bezels and switches require a huge amount of engineering resources for design, integration, and validation, especially for a platform that has so many variations and such a huge volume. You just can't wave your wand and have a new interior in a year. Now check out the competitors you just mentioned: Nissan, Ford, soon to be Toyota, Dodge. Yes they all have new interiors, but guess what? They are all NEW platforms! Go back 3 or 4 years and see if their interiors are similar to the way they looked when they launched the original platform. They don't make major interior redesigns either. As for the Express van, despite not looking like it, it is an brand new platform too, so you get a brand new interior. Up till 2002, the interior in those things was from the 94-98 F/S trucks! With these new platforms at the competitors, yes, it makes GM the last truck that has a 90's design. But when the new trucks come in 06, they will leading the way and the Ford and Dodge guys will be saying how outdated their interiors are, then 2011 comes and you'll be saying again how outdated the GM interiors are. Its just a big circle, depending on the year you're in. And you'd be surprise how much of the overall market for FS trucks really do go to fleets, construction, rentals, farmers, and base level trucks whose customers really don't care how aethestically pleasing their interiors are. And if its such a big problem on the Cadillacs, how come they are selling everyone they make?
 

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I just checked out the Colorado and Canyon interiors and found those rather cheap too. Really not much better than the Siverado. The seats are made of that horrible cheap airplane seat material that seems to plague lots of cars these days and it has crept up to the door panals too. Ford and Dodge aren't using it why does GM?
 

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My guess is that the next Silverado/Sierra/Tahoe/Yukon?et cetera interiors will be huge leaps over the current atrocities. I say this based on some of the positive steps GM has made in some pretty excellent cars of late.

Take, for example, the C6. Many GM's/GMI's faithful were horribly disappointed with the exterior and other largely carried over parts. My thought was that there was nothing really wrong with the C5's exterior, and it seems GM's stylists thought the same; more of an effort was placed on such things as the painfully cheap and archaic C5 interior (which is MUCH nicer in the C6) that needed vast improvements to even match the competition. And more emphasis was placed on increasing already stellar performance, particularly in the form of 50 extra horsepower.

When I saw the artist's rendition of the next gen Tahoe/Suburban in this month's Motor Trend, I was somewhat disappointed. But then I realized that there's nothing wrong with the exterior on the current models, particularly not in comparison to the interior. I would actually be disappointed if GM *did* spend a lot of cash and effort on reworking the exterior, mostly because it would come at the expense of other aspects that sorely need reworking (again, the awful interior has got to go, and the powetrains (especially trannies) need updating).

While I mostly agree with your comments, Ming, I do think it's appropriate for GM to carry over many of the parts from its old vehicles to newer vehicles. The Japanese, aka the paragons of manufacturing efficiency, do it alll the time because it's appropriate. Doing new from the ground-up vehicles every cycle is horribly costly and wasteful. Why reinvent the wheel every time you introduce a new vehicle? Again, there are many features of the full-size truck platform that work well. Why screw them up? If GM can just change the subpar parts (again, the interiors) and only subtlely improve the great parts, they will do well. Doing so also lends to manufacturing flexibility - it's no surprise that Nissan can build a host of varied vehicles at its Canton, MI plant and that they make a ton of money in North America. Flexibility translates into efficient use of factory capacity (building popular vehicles when they're popular, and cutting back on unpopular vehicles when they aren't). It makes good business sense, and it translates into gobs of cash.

As for the Toyota, based on the last paragraph, don't expect every part of the Tundra to be all new. It's not the Toyota way, but I do think much more of the Tundra needs to be new in comparison to GM's trucks only because the Tundra is so much more out of sync with what truck buyers want. Toyota has a lot of work to do to make a competitive full-size truck (though it appears that certainly have risen to the occassion, based on the FTX(?) concept).

Lastly, styling is always subjective. I've voiced my distaste for the Titan's interior (actually sitting in the Titan at the auto show and feeling the Titan's interior materials belie the apparent quality interior shown your picture). I also thought the interior on the Toyota and Dodge deserve equal remarks. Truly the F-150 (particularly the Lariat model) is a notch above the competition.

I actually have faith that GM's next generation trucks will continue to be great.
 

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The more and more you show these GM truck interiors, the more I like them-- esp compared to the Nissan and Ford which look like they're trying to copy each other. I suppose I'm just weird. Plus- the GM interiors actually angle controls toward the driver-- it's kindof a step backward not to do that, IMO.
 

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I'm gonna have to agree with the last post. I love the interiors even the radios. However, higger models such as the caddys need differentiated interiors.

Yukon is the greatest.
 

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Originally posted by mcroto97@Feb 5 2004, 03:33 PM
I'm gonna have to agree with the last post. I love the interiors even the radios. However, higger models such as the caddys need differentiated interiors.
I mean- GM truck interiors could certainly stand improvement- but the F-150 dash just doesn't impress me. I agree also that Cadillac needs more differentiation.
 

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The Escalade family is getting a new interior for 2005... Also: I thing the Gm interiors are a lot better than Toyota's ;)
 

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The Silverado's coffee/bottle cup holder location sucks. For the life of me a can't understand why its on the floor tunnel ,and not in the dash??
 

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I don't think they're that bad either. But then, I don't get worked up about Audi interiors either. You know, it must be one helluva-awesome truck for someone's MAIN gripe to be the interior. It works, all the knobs and stuff are easily accessible, and no, it doesn't feel like rubbermaid, it feels like plastic. Just like everyone else's. Big deal. And this is the main problem people have with this truck? I just have to say "Go GM" if that's the case. The C5 is another case in point, as someone brought up. I got an 04 Z06 recently, and I happen to like it. It's purposeful and well-laid out. The gauge cluster is fun to look at. Sometimes I turn off the HUD just so I have to look at it. The lighting is a cool frosted-blue. But the bottom line is that driving the car is so unbelievably fun I'm busy watching the road, not looking at the dashboard.
 

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Originally posted by Dumb_Ass_2003@Feb 5 2004, 06:21 PM
I agree that the F-150 has a nice interior. But Ford does NOT make the best truck interiors. Ever been in a Super Duty?
You're proving true to your name there, dumbass. The Super Duty is not an F-150. It's an F-250 or higher. They're two very different vehicles right now, although the '05 Super Duty will be more like the current F-150. Ford just needs time to ramp up production facilities to meet the demand.

I'm not sure anyone was arguing that Ford was better at interiors than GM, but as a general rule, your cash cow number-one selling product should be a good representative of what your company has to offer. My ex-fiancee's father had a Silverado (1997 I think) that was easily one of the worst vehicles I ever drove. Only my mom's '97 Plymouth Breeze, whose engine just blew with well under 100,000 miles on it, ranks as worse. And even there it's a close battle. The transfer case in the Silverado failed multiple times, and the truck rode like it had been dropped from five stories up every time you went over a tiny bump (which on PA roads are everywhere). I suspect that the mechanical problems of that truck are no longer applicable, but it certainly left a bad taste in my mouth. I'll reserve judgement on current models, however, as I've no experience with them.

The Nissan Titan and Ford F-150 are very similar in appearance, which is surprising to the point that I can't help but wonder if there was a bit of corporate espionage on the part of Nissan there. I seriously doubt Ford would have been the one to do the spying, simply because they know more about trucks than any Japanese company ever will. It could also simply be that a lot of interiors are becoming very similar these days. Look at the interior of the Ford 500, and then look at the interior of the new Subaru Outback. Switch the Subaru logo with a Ford emblem, and a lot of people might not notice the difference. This is not to say they're identical, of course, but the general lines are not entirely unalike anymore.

I don't think the Silverado interior being the main gripe from people is reason to believe that it's a great truck. I think it's because, where do you spend most of your time in a vehicle? Inside. So it's going to be first on a lot of people's minds. Also, if you're going around test-driving every big truck you can find, and you get into a Silverado after being in the F-150, Titan, or Ram, you're going to be a little bit taken aback, and not very impressed. You can argue that you like the truck in spite of its shortcomings, and that's all well and good. However, you're probably one of those people who would never buy anything but GM, and that's not the market that GM is supposed to be trying to attract. Yes, cater to the loyal fans, but don't presume that they're going to be enough to keep your company #1. You've got to be bringing in new people, and interiors like that sure aren't going to help at all.
 

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After going to the local new car show last night, I came away wondering just where all of these allegedly "great" interiors are coming from? Design seems to be minimalist in so many cases, especially door panel design. Everything seems to be headed in the "easy to assemble" direction rather than "high style", not to mention plastic that looks that way--i.e., "cheap".

I saw something that doors in the future will be thinner to save money, as for the basic structure. That means that any build thickness will come from the door panel assembly rather than the structure with a thin panel attached to it.

VW might have some great interiors, but at what price? The Phaeton is one of the greatest interiors on the planet, but for $76K it should be. That's only about $36K more than a Passat W8!

If you haven't noticed, the number of interior colors has now settled on about two color families--graphite and neutral. Boring! Interior fabric choices are the tighter woven fabrics, but when you use fabric patterns to substitute for labor in sewing interesting designs in the basic fabric, it all says "cheap" to me. Using colors for accent rather than some chrome trim looks "blah" in so many respects.

I know that some will disagree, but some of the best interiors I found (that really looked good) included the graphite leather in a black Regal GS. I know it's an "antique" vehicle by some measures, but the seats look and feel good. Other than the 2004 Grand Prix, this is one of GM's most luxurious interior.

Then I sat in a Park Avenue Ultra. Wow! Kind of sink down in them plus they are thicker and have a substantial feel to them. Then I got into the back seat and was greeted with more sumptuous luxury.

Instrument panel design is flowing side to side with all switches in places you can get to, unlike the DeVille that has them in unusual places. Where the Buick looks luxurious, the Cadillac looks plain, even though the Cadillac is more expensive.

To me, GM has been a little misguided in their interior design orientations. The former 2003 and back Grand Prix leather interior (seats) was great, as was that of the similar Monte Carlo, lots of nice shape in the seat covers, but when you went to the higher level Intrigue, it was all about flat panels that looked less expensive and dull. Should have been just the opposite. Maybe it has more to do with which interior in which segment they are emulating?

Personally, I much prefer designs that show smoothness of line/curves over the more "techy" and "busy" designs that seem to be where things are going on the new interiors. But these can be boring if not done correctly.

Having all of these smooth lines line up between the panels is great too, but if the plastic looks plastiky, it won't be good regardless of any great designs.

Back to the color selections. When I was first learning about what colors "went together", the rule was that black and brown did not go together. Wonder if modern interior color designers ever heard that? Woodgrain against graphite just looks out of place to me. Neutral or taupe with woodgrain is better.

Trucks? I sat in a new F-150 and gazed at the instrument panel. Colored plastic, silver colored plastic, and plastic "titanium" veneer. Not a terribly innovative design and certainly less expensive to produce that what GM's currently using (yet the whole truck costs $3000.00 more to do than the prior Ford truck?).

GM does have some of the best light truck chassis interiors on the market, especially on the larger platforms. Nice feel and materials, all things considered. But the lower end products are lacking, but really no more lacking than any of their competition.

The design cycles being mentioned as times for new interiors is accurate, but if interior refreshes are plugged into the initial vehicle production plans, they can happen at any time--just depends on how the production budget was written.

Much of what you don't see behind the instrument panel is much more common among the various GM platform's variations than you might suspect. One basic stucture and one basic set of HVAC items, just different instrument panel faces that plug onto the basic structure to make a Regal a Regal instead of a Grand Prix, for example. Designing, validation, and production do take time, but many of these things might not be quite as time consuming as has been mentioned, with respect to the total car design.

Each manufacturer knows how much they want the car to cost at the end of the assembly line. How much each module of the vehicle costs is where the juggling comes in. Adding to interior costs means that another part of the vehicle might go lacking and vice versa in that scene of things. Might have to give up Michelins for some Generals to have a better interior fabric?

In some respects, the interior design and orientation can be a precursor for the whole vehicle. If the seats are firm and supportive, if the suspension is similar, and the engine is responsive, it can make for a great driving experience. Adding to this is getting the front/rear speaker balance to be what I want it to be -- i.e., balanced to simulate a live performance instead of just "sound everywhere" -- things get better still. If the interior passes my "two elbow test" -- left elbow goes on the door panel or arm rest and the right elbow is on the console armrest (with my right hand resting on the console shift lever), both with being able to steer as needed in those positions during cruise mode, that is good. Then comes the "drive-thru test" of getting a hamburger from the drive-thru and comforbably eating it with the food spread out on the console.

Oh, I almost forgot the "ice cube test" for the a/c. Most GM designs make do with only four a/c outlets on the dash. The prior gen Grand Prix differed from that with three center outlets (as Chrysler used on their LH cars back then). The 2004 Grand Prix makes a return to the round registers of old, which were highly efficient and trouble free. The Chrysler LH cars had more a/c outlets and more air flow that got the cars cooler quicker, not to mention a much more sophisticated control for the electronic a/c.

On a related note, where GM really needs to spend some design time is on the rear body styling! When I first saw the 2004 Grand Prix--looks great from the front and side, but that rear end . . . Then we get the LaCrosse, looks good from the front and side, but that "Nissan Altima, prior generation"-styled deck lid and inexpensive tail light are not what they need to be for an upscale vehicle. The rear end if what everyone else sees after you drive by . . . which is probably more important than interior design and finesse.

And then there's that pattern on the CTS instrument panel that reminds me of the backside of a sheet of Masonite wall board . . . .

Just some thoughts,
NTX5467
 

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The Chevrolet dash, from what I've heard, was made that way so that someone wearing gloves could operate the heater and radio controls without hitting adjacent butttons. Also since it isn't as complicated on the others(i.e. Titan) you can make adjustment to the radio without taking eyes off the road. I personally like the new interiors because they don't complicate things.
 

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Originally posted by speedde423@Feb 6 2004, 12:41 PM
The Chevrolet dash, from what I've heard, was made that way so that someone wearing gloves could operate the heater and radio controls without hitting adjacent butttons. Also since it isn't as complicated on the others(i.e. Titan) you can make adjustment to the radio without taking eyes off the road. I personally like the new interiors because they don't complicate things.
Well... that does make sense. But there's no reason that the Escalade can't have an entirely different dash. I hardly think you'll see an Escalade hauling lumber or something (unless its a Xmas tree). haha :lol:
 

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The trucks sell with with or without help from GM. The interior was made to fit a truck, and a person who drives a truck used to be someone who actualy used the truck as a tool, and not as a car. But things are changing. I can see the Silvarados and other pick ups staying with the design, but the Lade, and expensive SUV's should get a new dash different then the standard Silvarado. All the new dashes look EXACTLY alike, anyone else notice that? AC vents are set up the same way, and the way the center stack is nearly the same between the 3. The Nissan's interior looks like chunks of plastic, like the mini van. The F150 by far has the best interior. Hell, there sedans dont have that kind of quality. I dont care for the difference between a floor shifter and a colum shifter. I dont think people are really that anal about it. I agree, GM needs to move quick on a updated interior, and then when the total redesign comes up in a few years, they can put more money into the interior and really make it look nice. At least do the Lade because its killing the looks of the CTS, STS, and XLR interior, especialy the XLR. I guess that when the Lade gets a new fancy interior, it will be harder to tear apart to put in mega LCD screens for big money rappers and ballers. On Rides on TLC, they had the whole interior of a lade dismantled in under 20 mins. I guess it will be harder to do if its at the level of the Navi.
 

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Some of you people think that a quality interior is only about how it looks (design wise). However, that is only part of the story (a small part, since looks are very subjective). Quality has to do with the fit............ the size of the seams (look at the GM vs Ford interior, the F150 has tiny even seams, the GM's are huge and inconsistant)......... the look of the materials, as in no hard, shiny plastic (of which the GM truck is full of). Finally it is the feel of the materials. Feel the dash, and the plastics used in the GM truck.......... then go look in the F150 (especially the Lariet and FX4). The plastics in the Ford are soft to the touch, and have give to them.

This is the difference between a quality interior and one that isn't. This is the reason that the Nissan gets criticized for its interior.......... even though it "looks" similar to the Ford. It is a sea of poor fitting, hard plastic.

BTW, the Ford interior shown is the low end, like what would be in the XL or XLT. The FX4 and Lariet use much nicer materials yet. I think that Ford has started something, with 5 distinct interiors for the 5 distinct models (XL, STX, XLT, FX4, and Lariet). While the basic shape is the same, they all use different plastics, different fabrics, and even different instrument panels.

It is nice to see a manufacturer actually realize that we spend all of our driving time INSIDE the vehicle.
 

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I had 2000 Silverdo LS and just got a 2003 GMCSLE and I like the interior just fine
Some of the new interiors are in your face.
It is like some of the new camera work on TV show the camera is all over the place.
I drive of 40,000km a years so I am a user of the truck not a looker from the outside.
The material of the is excellant warm in the winter( nice to have heater seats and power lumber ) and cool in the summer.No worries about orgeting a screwdriver in your backpocket.
What I want is electric defoster wires to melt the ice on the windshield and power side windows on the ext cab
 

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Trucks should be TRUCKS.

Sedans should be Sedans.

Sport Cars should be Sport Cars.

If you like a little of each then go for the SUV and SUV cross-overs.

Lets not try to make a truck into a Sedan.

If I am out in my Chevy / or Ford pickup and just picked up a load of Wood for my fireplace on a cold/rainy day...I don't want to have to worry about getting the PLUSH interior of my truck dirty.

Trucks should be affordable----the WORK HORSE of the American Country Side....not some Country Club Show Off....affraid of any abuse.

People that use trucks to get WORK done don't really care if the Radio is trimmed in aluminum or wood from the Island of Crete......they care if the truck is a WORK HORSE, reliable.......

I got a laugh at the NEW, concept Lincoln Truck at the Detroit auto show this year. I would be afraid to carry a Boxed Television Set in the back of that without scratching something.

I am all for improving interiors...but come on.........Common Sense.

Eye Candy does not get the WORK done. It distracts!!! Get the work done with your work-horse and then you would have money to go and get a NICE PLUSH interior for your second and third vehicles.
 
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