Could the C-segment truck really be the next segment for automakers to conquer?
Talk trucks to Volkswagen North America’s CEO Scott Keogh and you’ll start to realize that the man thinks that US pickup manufacturers are lacking two things: affordable choices and compact proportions. Apparently, Keogh thinks that the F-150 and Silverado, and even smaller trucks like the Chevrolet Colorado and Ford Ranger, are too big and too expensive for many Americans and that there’s an untapped market for people wanting smaller trucks with car-like handling.
He may even be prepared to put money behind that idea by debuting a compact unibody Volkswagen pickup truck based on the MQB platform. It’s a risky move, though, because it assumes that US buyers don’t value size and a body-on-frame vehicle’s way of handing as much as they care about the truck body style. And the high risk that bet entails is why GM has been unwilling to announce that it’s building a car to compete in this yet-to-be-made segment.
It doesn’t need to, though, because rendering artist Kleber Silva of São Paulo, Brazil has taken the time to remove the recently-revealed 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer’s roof and D-pillar to give us a look at what a C-segment pickup truck from Chevy could look like.
While we only get a glimpse of the front end and can’t see if the short rear overhang makes the back end look too stubby, the Trailblazer pickup’s body actually looks kind of good from the view we get. Its strong side character line, which runs below the side windows, is a natural point at which to cut off the rear compartment’s roof. And even the Blazer’s plastic body cladding and angry Camaro-like face look good, as if they indicate ruggedness rather than Lexus-like aggression, when the rear end is removed and the black roof is kept in place.
We have yet to learn what the Trailblazer will pack under the hood, but it’ll likely be a turbocharged four-cylinder that’ll come mated to an automatic transmission. If that’s the case, GM could even carry over the Trailblazer’s powertrain since a C-segment truck isn’t really designed to tow lots of cargo. All-wheel drive would only help the Trailblazer actually live up to its name off-road.
No, it’s not likely we’ll ever see a Trailblazer with the Chevy Avalanche’s rear end off of the design table or outside of the SEMA show floor, but that could all change if Volkswagen proves there’s a market.