As a lifelong devotee of the concept of sitting on your engine, I was delighted to hear the news that Chevy is getting back into the “low cab-forward truck” business. I was a little less delighted to find that instead of some exciting new cabovers to scrutinize, they’re just slapping some bowties on Isuzus. Oh well.

So, even though I was hoping for some new, ideally bizarre-looking cabover truck, I can’t be too upset these Isuzus are getting a new outlet and venue for sales, because they are really well-designed, practical vehicles. As Chevrolet’s press release reminds us:

Along with the Isuzu-badged versions, the Chevrolet models will be the only low cab forward trucks in the North American market to offer a gas-powered powertrain. Additional features include:

• Excellent visibility and maneuverability – especially in urban environments.

• Easy driver entry and exit.

• Chassis lengths ranging from 109 inches to 212 inches.

• Compatibility with a variety of body types, including refrigerated box, stake/flat bed and service bodies.

• Easy-access engine compartment with 45-degree-tilting cab.

Cabovers (or cab forwards, as they like to say) are just wonderfully rational vehicle designs — all of the vehicle’s length can be used for crew or cargo, with no long hood sucking up valuable real estate and getting in the way of everything.

The trucks will offer the exact same drivetrain options as the Isuzu ones — a gasoline GM-sourced 6L V8 and two four-banger diesels, one 3L and one 5.2L. Really, these Chevy trucks are these Isuzu trucks. Isuzu is partnered with GM who has a significant ownership stake, and through the mathematical black-magic of badge-engineering, somehow money is made for all parties involved.

Actually, I guess there is a difference in the two trucks — look at those wheels! They’re somewhat different! Isuzu seems to offer chromed ones, while Chevy is going for a more restrained painted wheel. There’s the market differentiator you wanted!

Really, though I think Chevy needs to take things a step further, and use this cabover platform to make a new, cheap, workhorse pickup truck. Cheaper and more useful than a Silverado, perfect for people who don’t need a big dumb hood to make them feel tough.

Who’s with me?


Contact the author at jason@jalopnik.com.

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