Back in the early ‘00s, there was a little-known variant of the compact GMC Sonoma pickup called the ZRX. To the best of our knowledge – which is admittedly thin on this truck – less than 500 were built and it was essentially an appearance package not unlike the Sonoma’s stablemate, the Chevrolet S-10 Xtreme. We say essentially because the truck did get the bigger 4.3-liter Vortec V6, with power sent just to the rear wheels through a four-speed automatic. That powertrain was available on other GMC trucks, but combined with a short step side bed and the snazzy ZRX visuals, the little pickup was a rather sporty item.
Flash forward to 2019. The small Sonoma is long gone and folks these days are more interested in pickups that look ready to scale Mt. Everest. It might be the perfect time for a company to give street-based trucks another shot, and AutoGuide may have uncovered a clue that such an idea is percolating at GMC. The website claims to have found a recent GM trademark application for the ZRX moniker, and the only connection we can draw to is the obscure, 16-year-old Sonoma described above.
If GMC were to try and revive the street truck concept, what might a new GMC Canyon ZRX be like? We’d expect to see it as either an extended cab or crew cab model with two-wheel drive. The 3.6-liter V6 engine would have to be under the hood, developing 308 horsepower (230 kilowatts) with shifting duties handled by the eight-speed automatic. As with the original ZRX, this powertrain combination is readily available right now in the Canyon lineup, though even two-wheel-drive models have a rather substantial ride height. A revised suspension package for a lower stance and better on-road manners would make sense to us. Toss in some cool wheels, flashy graphics, and some bolt-on accessories like bed rails and voila, you have a 2019 version of the ZRX.
Take all this with a grain of salt, however. Automakers file all kinds of patent and trademark applications for items that may never see the light of day. Still, it’s a curious development, and certainly one we’ll be watching in the months and years to come.