A few weeks ago we, along with our friends at PickupTruck.com, were given exclusive access to a vehicle whose return we've been anticipating for what seems like forever. Today our prayers to the General have been answered — the El Camino is back! In January we reported this re-bodied Holden Ute would be called the 2010 Pontiac G8 ST, and like a Phoenix rising screamin' from the ashes of a bygone era of car-platformed trucks, this new heir to the truck-car throne would emerge from the over-built and over-spec'd world of modern haulers. Just like the Phoenix, this business-up-front and party-in-the-back sport truck looks a little younger, a little more refreshed and has a bit more hawkish figure, but don't be fooled by the disguise. If we play our cards right, it may end up retaining the legendary king of truck-car names, El Camino. That's right, more important even than the return of the truck-car to the General's fleet, is the news that this car will not be called the 2010 Pontiac G8 ST. In fact, they don't have a name. Instead, you are going to be able to help choose what GM calls it. That's right, enthusiasts across the country can have a hand in giving this sport truck back the name it so rightfully deserves - a name which still dances on the breeze and lives in the heart of every red blooded hoon — "El Camino". With this in mind, we're beginning our campaign here and now to call this wondrous segment-bender the 2010 Pontiac G8 El Camino sport truck. Hit the jump for more on the Pontiac El Camino.
We're not going to spend a whole lot of time talking about the under-pinnings of the Pontiac G8 sport truck as it shares virtually everything but the nose, hood and interior with its brother from down under, the Holden Ute. We'll let the press release and video from PickupTruck.com handle that job. For the moment, yes, it's built on the same rear-wheel-drive platform also shared with the G8 ST's four-door non-truck brother, the 2008 Pontiac G8 GT. Fitting, don't you think, since Australia has picked up the wild-child mantle the US of A seems to have laid down as of late — and what a wild child this is. The G8 sport truck boasts the same 361 HP 6.0-liter V8 found under the hood of the Pontiac G8 GT. Plus, the sport truck will lose much of the rear weight we've been told hampers the true tire-squealing abilities of this born-down-under import so we expect once behind the wheel, we'll in no time be bathed in the glorious clouds of tire smoke billowing from beneath the six-foot cargo box. Pontiac even claims a 5.4 second 0-to-60 time and unlike it's crude Malibu-based forefather, the latest pickup car will sport a modern independent suspension and fat rubber all around. Getting sideways will still be the most fun way through a corner, but we're betting it will be a lot less suicidal now with this new Pontiac G8 El Camino. But like we said, we already knew all this. No, the real story is how we're going to make GM call this the "El Camino." We've been told Pontiac will have a special website set up in just a few short hours to allow enthusiasts to submit their suggestions and we're hoping to rig the vote.
Video courtesy of PickupTruck.com
PONTIAC INTRODUCES SEGMENT-BENDING G8 SPORT TRUCK
NEW YORK - The 2010 Pontiac G8 sport truck blurs the line between cars and trucks and is creating an all-new segment in the North American car market. This dramatically different vehicle blends the sporty handling of a performance coupe with the cargo capabilities of a light truck.
Based on the all-new Pontiac G8 performance sedan, the newest member of the G8 family has a longer wheelbase and a cargo bed suitable for either work or recreation. The G8 sport truck significantly stretches Pontiac's commitment to style and performance and is expected to arrive in dealers' showrooms in late 2009.
"Pontiac has never shied away from offering segment-defining vehicles, going back to the original GTO," said Jim Bunnell, Buick-Pontiac-GMC general manager. "There's simply nothing else like the G8 sport truck on the road today, and we definitely believe that there are customers who will be excited by its distinctive design, performance and cargo capabilities."
Another unique aspect of this new vehicle is the fact that it will be named by a consumer. Beginning today (March 15, 2008), consumers can visit www.pontiac.com/namethiscar and submit their name ideas. "As an important part of the G8 family, we know that 'sport truck' doesn't fully describe the vehicle's ability to blur the lines between sports car and truck," said Craig Bierley, Pontiac marketing director. "Because its fans will surely be as unique as the vehicle itself, we're giving them a voice in selecting a name that reflects its appeal." The winning entry will be announced April 15.
The G8 sport truck maintains the same sporty exterior design as its namesake sedan. Flared fenders wrap around the 18-inch wheels and give it a wide, confident stance. The roofline has a coupe-like profile that reflects the vehicle's performance pedigree.
The doors, roof and exterior panels aft of the B-pillars are unique from the G8 sedan. One-piece outer body panels give the vehicle a sleek appearance. Wrap-around taillamps and fully concealed tailgate hinges add to the sculpted look. A color-coordinated, soft tonneau cover conceals and protects items in the cargo bed from the weather.
The sport truck draws its strength from the same powerful 6.0L V-8 engine used in the G8 GT. It puts out 361 horsepower (270 kW) and 385 lb.-ft. (522 Nm) of torque. The combination of a six-speed automatic transmission and Active Fuel Management technology provides both car-like fuel economy and an unexpected 0-to-60 time of 5.4 seconds.
While these performance numbers are respectable by sports car standards, the G8 sport truck offers flexibility unlike that of a sports car. A 73.9-inch (1878 mm) cargo bed has 42.7 cubic feet (1208 L) of cargo space and a durable composite bed liner. It also can carry a payload of more than 1,074 pounds (488 kg) and tow a 3,500-pound (1,600 kg) trailer.
The G8 sport truck is based on the same rear-wheel-drive architecture as the G8 performance sedan. However, the sport truck's body structure was reinforced in key areas to support its cargo and towing duties. More than 60 new components were added to strengthen the structure. Compared to the sedan, the 118.5-inch (3,009 mm) wheelbase is approximately four inches longer and the overall length is six inches longer.
Suspension and wheels
A four-wheel independent suspension with electronic stability control delivers confident handling, whether loaded with weekend home-improvement supplies or towing a pair of personal watercraft to the lake.
The steering box is located ahead of the front axle line for a quick, direct feel. The sport truck's front stabilizer bar is one mm larger than the sedan, and the rear suspension has been enhanced to support payloads without adversely affecting handling.
The G8 sport truck rides on 18-inch machine-faced aluminum wheels with a P245/45R18 summer performance tire. All-season tires are available. An optional Sports Package includes 19-inch machine-faced aluminum wheels with P245/40R19 summer performance tires.
Brakes and steering
The sport truck shares the G8 GT's four-wheel disc brake system, featuring 12.64-inch front and 12.76-inch rear rotors. Front rotor thickness is 1.0 inch, while the rear rotors are 0.87-inch thick. Twin-piston, front alloy calipers and vented rotors and single-piston, alloy rear calipers with vented rotors are standard, as is ABS.
Comfort and convenience
Given its heritage, it's not surprising that the G8 sport truck offers many of the same creature comforts as the G8 GT, such as:
* Air conditioning with electronic dual-zone climate control
* Cruise control
* Driver Information Center
* Bluetooth connectivity
* Tilt/telescoping steering wheel with DIC and radio controls
* Power windows/locks/mirrors
* Remote keyless entry and remote start
* Theft-deterrent alarm system
Fully-bolstered, four-way adjustable cloth seats are standard. Heated, six-way leather seats are available. They can be customized with two-tone, black-and-red inserts and a coordinating gauge cluster.
Behind the seats is a surprisingly large interior cargo area with more than 8.5 cubic feet (245 liters) of storage space. There are two covered storage compartments beneath the load floor and a pair of cargo nets.
The G8 sport truck's 230-watt Blaupunkt AM/FM/six-disc CD changer has an MP3 input and five speakers. The 6.5-inch audio display controls both the sound and climate control systems.
Safety and security
A full list of safety features are standard, including:
* StabiliTrak electronic vehicle stability system
* Tire pressure monitoring system
* Dual-stage frontal air bags with a passenger sensing system
* Head-curtain side air bags
* Side thorax air bags
* Three-point safety belts in all seating positions
* Safety belt pretensioners
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By the way, we went a little early — but we couldn't help it — Edmunds blew their hot load of shots a little early for some Google mojo. Can ya blame 'em. Actually, yes.