GMC Terra4 Concept Truck

Featured Story: GMC Uncovers Terra4 Concept

By: Michael Levine
Last Edited: 08-20-01 08:00 © 2001

In Pebble Beach, California this past week GMC took the covers off its upcoming Terra4 concept scheduled to debut next January in Detroit at the 2002 North American International Auto Show. The Terra4 is the latest in a line of well received concepts from GMC that started with the Terradyne, a full-size pickup, and Terracross, a hybrid SUV crossover.

Introduced by Scott Fosgard, Director of Communications for the GM Technical Centers, and Wayne Cherry, GM's VP of North American Design, PUTC and other journalists were shown a life-size foam model of the Terra4 meant to provide a "snapshot in time", according to Fosgard, of its ongoing development. Carl Zipfel, GMC's brand character chief designer, was also on hand to provide details around the Terra4. Zipfel is responsible for leading the team behind the Terra4's development.

The Terra4's name comes from its four forward-opening doors, four wheel Quadrasteer, 4x4 capabilities and the number of ways to access the truck's bed.

Using a cab forward design almost as extreme as the Terradyne's, the Terra4 also sports a unibody architecture integrating the bed seamlessly with the rest of the truck. A high shoulder line runs the length of the truck. "Scale is used to convey a powerful and professional grade appearance," according to Zipfel.

The Terra4's cargo box features a power retractable decklid / tonneau cover constructed of aluminum slats to provide a weatherproof and lockable storage option to protect rear cargo. The bed cover folds up on itself when not in use and is stored under the rear window in the cab like a window blind. GMC is working with an unnamed SEMA supplier on the system for the show truck.

The truck's cargo box is also accessible from the interior of the cab through a fold-down rear wall. It's similar to the Avalanche's Midgate system, where the rear seats fold down flush with the load floor, but the rear window is not removable on the Terra4. Zipfel tells us the reason for this is that the Midgate is, "special to the Avalanche".

Along the sides of the bed are two additional cargo storage areas located just above the rear wheels. Covered by lightweight SRIM composite access panels, the vertically opening storage areas are accessed manually and lift up on hinges similar to the Terradyne's rear passenger doors. It's the perfect place to put groceries after a quick trip to the store or to house your tools.

GMC's Professional Grade interior includes analog gauges and oversized controls. Note the transmission shifter in the middle of the console. It's similar to that on the upcoming Hummer H2. Another hint at the Terra4's production possibilities?

With its versatility the cargo box on the Terra4, "gives people who use their trucks for personal use something you don't get with a regular 6-foot box," stated Zipfel.

Inside the Terracross the storage fest continues. Inspired by the stowage compartments found in airplanes, the Terra4 features a cabin length storage box slotted between two sunroofs. The roof storage area is, "separated by and for passengers." No word yet on whether Terra4 passengers will be limited to only two carry-ons.

The Terra4's attention to the powertrain and fuel efficiency is just as aggressive as its cargo management capabilities.

A 5.3L Vortec engine uses GM's Parallel Hybrid electric motor and 42-volt power system to save fuel and component weight. GM claims 15% better gas mileage and no reduction in towing or driving performance using the Parallel Hybrid system.

The windshield's steeply raked 56-degree angle helps reduce aerodynamic drag along with a smooth belly pan underbody.

Also aiding drag reduction, the rearview mirrors on the Terra4 have been replaced with video cameras sitting just on the edge of the front wheel fenders.

Low rolling resistance tires from Goodyear mounted on 'torqued' fan-blade wheels help further improve gas mileage.

Other exterior items of note are the small vents which can be seen just in front of the rear wheels. These vents are used to cool off the battery packs stored under the rear passenger seats for the Parallel Hybrid powertrain.

As with any concept vehicle you always wonder about production possibilities and this is where the Terra4 gets really interesting.

Carl Zipfel told PUTC, "The Terra4 is closer to being a production vehicle than either Terradyne or Terracross...we could do this today. It's [the Terra4] really tailored to what's in place with today's trucks and plants."

Though we saw only the foam model, the final concept is being built right now on the GMT800 chassis and will be fully functional and drivable. The GMT800 is the same chassis used across GM's current lineup of full size trucks and SUVs.

Zipfel did add that, "No final decision has been made yet about production."

2002 GMC Terra4 Concept Vehicle

Body/Chassis Structure:
Body on frame, Front Engine Rear Wheel Drive/Four Wheel Drive

Body Material:
Sheet Metal

Chassis Material:
Hydroformed Steel Frame

Front – Short Long Arm (SLA) with Longitudinal Torsion Bar
Rear – Hotchkiss Rear Axle with Quadrasteer

20 inch Alloy

Goodyear – P285/60 R20

Front & Rear Disc Brakes


5.3L VORTEC V-8 with GM Parallel Hybrid Technology

285 hp

325 lb-ft

Automatic w/ selectable 4 wheel drive transfer case

Height (in / mm):
76.2 / 1934

Length (in / mm):
211.3 / 5366

Width (in / mm):
78.0 / 1980

Wheelbase (in / mm):
136.0 / 3454

Track (in / mm):
71.7 / 1822

Weight (lbs / kg):
7000 / 3175.1

The Terra4's cargo box is supplemented with 'saddle-style' rear storage compartments located above the rear wheels. Note the vents located just in front of the rear wheels to help cool the batteries and the small marker for the rearview cameras located at the edge of the front fender.