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General Motors' 2014 full-size SUVs caught sneaking around

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 (Chris Doane Automotive)

The full-size SUV may be down, but it’s far from out.

General Motors is set to replace its very profitable Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade SUV’s late next year, and a few camouflaged prototypes were recently caught sneaking out of GM’s Milford proving grounds in Michigan.

Along with the black, padded cladding, the test trucks had their grilles altered to make them look like the ones on a Ford Expedition, but a set of stacked headlights with LED accents and Chevrolet bowties embossed on the wheel hubs of one of the trucks give up the goods.

Based on the next generation of GM’s full-size pickups, the SUV’s appear to retain a live rear axle design, which should make them formidable in the very important tow rating category. A lineup of new V8 engines is expected and according to GMInsideNews.com, the trucks will eventually get 8-speed automatic transmissions, although carry-over 6-speeds are rumored for launch.

If the rear door shut line is anything to go by, trucks that were spotted are standard wheelbase models of the vehicles. In contrast to the sleek crossovers that have replaced the GM’s midsize SUVs in recent years, the trucks retain their boxy profile, but have a few streamlining elements in an effort to improve fuel economy, including a deep chin spoiler and what appears to be a recessed hatchback and slightly tapered trailing edges on the bodywork around it. Small holes located in the bumper covers indicate that the trucks are equipped with some sort of radar parking sensors.

The heavy family haulers will likely make their debuts at either the 2013 North American International Auto Show in January or 2013 Chicago Auto Show in February, with production set to begin at GM’s Arlington, Texas assembly plant next October.