By: Arv Voss
© 2001 PickupTruck.com

Warren, Michigan - The design chiefs of specific divisions of General Motors recently invited members of the International automotive press to get up close and personal with proposed math generated, global vehicular design concepts. There were design concepts on display representing Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, GMC, Hummer, Opel and Pontiac with design executives on hand to provide background information on the show pieces unveiled at the program.

We concentrated our focus on the three vehicles that we felt would be of particular interest to pickup truck aficionados. The first vehicle was for Bowtie fans -- the Chevrolet Borrego. The Borrego was penned at GM's Los Angeles Design Studio. Still under construction, with L.A. Design Studio Director, Frank Saucedo overseeing the unique vehicle project. The Borrego combines the attributes and features of both a sport utility truck and a sports coupe, while providing the agility offered by a traditional world rally car. The sporty crossover vehicle was influenced by Baja racers, but with a custom flair. The sturdy go-anywhere Borrego powertrain is based on Subaru's longitudinally-mounted, horizontally-opposed 4-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission and All-Wheel-Drive system. GM is a 20 percent shareholder in Fuji Heavy Industries -- Subaru's manufacturer, making this association a natural one. Just for the record, the larger H-6 will fit nicely, for even more power.

Borrego is primarily a two-seater, but the sturdy rollbar accommodates an innovative mid-gate at the rear of the passenger cab that is reconfigurable, allowing for two more passengers. To accomplish this, the rear window retracts, the mid-gate moves aft and the full roof, normally stored under the pickup truck bed, is snapped into position. The rear window can then be raised again with self-inflating seals rendering the compartment watertight, no matter what configuration it's in. When the seating is expanded, the cargo bed converts from 6 to 3 feet in length. The entire setup is quite similar to the versatile convert-a-cab system found on the soon to be on sale Chevy Avalanche featured on this site earlier. The interior sports a traditional dual cockpit layout and offers a sense of protection for rough and tumble off-roading. Gel padding and hand holds add to the sense of security, according to Rob McCann, the Borrego's chief designer " it looks like you could rattle around and not get banged up."

The rugged analog gauges contribute to the rally flavor and provide a finished, functional appearance. The Borrego features a couple of other nifty items for the adventuresome buyer -- there is a portable GPS system for navigation assistance in or out of the truck, while OnStar keeps both driver and passengers linked to the outside world. The Borrego also has an air compressor and pressurized water tank on board for inflating and cleaning up outdoor equipment, or for taking a quick shower to remove trail dust and grime.

The Borrego consists of a unitized steel body, MacPherson strut front suspension, with an independent rear trailing arm setup out back. The Borrego is reminiscent of the Subaru "Brat" of yore in its youthful appeal. It rides on 20-inch 5-spoke cast aluminum wheels shod with 245/55R 20 rubber. The 2.0 liter engine is turbocharged and produces 250 horsepower and 240 pound feet of torque.

Borrego, which will make its public debut at the Los Angeles International Auto Show early next year, is 61-inches tall, 168.2-inches long and 71.6-inches wide. The wheelbase measures 104.3-inches, and the whole unit weighs in at 3,500 pounds. The exterior is sprayed in Blue metallic, while the interior is done in primarily gray tones.

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