The year was 2017, and a General Motors team was hard at work on the GMC Jimmy – a midsize 4×4 SUV on a proper body-on-frame platform to rival the likes of the Ford Bronco, Jeep Wrangler, and Toyota 4Runner. The vehicle program, which was to be based on the 32XX architecture shared with the then-upcoming 2023 GMC Canyon midsize pickup truck, was ultimately cancelled – as GM Authority reported back in 2019. But there’s an interesting tidbit about the Jimmy that seems to have escaped our reporting: the engine.
You see, the stillborn SUV would have featured the turbocharged 2.7L L3B inline four-cylinder gasoline engine, branded as TurboMax earlier this month, as the standard powerplant. That should come as no surprise, given that the boosted four pot is now standard fare in the all-new, 2023 GMC Canyon. Arguably more interesting, however, is the fact that the Jimmy would have also offered something that wasn’t planned for the Canyon: a V8.
Sources involved in planning the unrealized off-roader tell GM Authority that the GMC Jimmy product team fought hard to offer a V8 engine, which necessitated certain provisions in the underlying 32XX platform, ones that would have made the SUV more expensive as a whole. In fact, it was this additional financial outlay that made the Jimmy a GMC exclusive, as GM would not bring a Chevrolet variant to market.
Additionally, an optional V8 would have been the Jimmy’s key differentiator and unique selling proposition, as the Wrangler and 4Runner did not offer an eight-cylinder engine at the time of development.
Alas, neither the GMC Jimmy, the 32XX platform, nor the V8 engine ended up making it to market, falling victim in mid-2019 to General Motors’ hard pivot toward autonomous and electric vehicles, along with their development and associated investments. As a consolation prize of sorts, GM did end up approving another GMC off-road sport utility vehicle – the Hummer EV SUV. The battery electric super SUV, however, currently carries a $100K starting price (before any dealer-added up-charges) – a far cry from the roughly $40K starting price that the Jimmy would have carried. The next best thing, then, are the Jimmy’s pickup truck variants – the GMC Canyon AT4 and Canyon AT4X. Neither of these, however, offers a V8.