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GM Adds More Cameras for Towing Safety

Posted by Mark Williams | June 4, 2016

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As part of the ever-escalating Tow Wars that have all the big heavy-duty truckmakers looking for better and safer technologies to make towing a more comfortable chore, more cameras seems like the next logical step.

Backup cameras offer a driver the chance to see what’s going on behind them in areas they can’t without one. That’s why the federal government has mandated they be standard on all vehicles by model-year 2019.

As things begin to change rapidly, it’s worth noting that Ram was the first to include a single optional camera at the back of the cab, giving gooseneck and fifth-wheel towing aficionados a better view of their bed hitch.

Then we saw the 2017 Ford Super Duty at the 2015 State Fair of Texas where Ford showed a seven-camera trailering system that allows for added visibility on each side of the truck, in the bed behind the tailgate, along with the capability to add two more cameras to the back of the trailer to keep an eye on cargo. Now GM’s Chevrolet (and GMC), in conjunction with longtime camera supplier EchoMaster, is bringing its version to market called IntelliHaul. In fact, it’s a retrofit that will be offered for late-model half-ton and heavy-duty Silverado and Sierra pickups, meaning it can be purchased and installed on properly equipped 2014-2016 models.

We had the chance to try one out for a short period on a Silverado 2500 Z71 Midnight Edition 4×4 with the Duramax engine, which had a total vehicle price of $62,810. Although IntelliHaul was installed, the system’s cost was not included in this particular truck’s total price. Depending on the package, expect IntelliHaul to cost just less than $1,000, with an extra $349 for a wireless camera. EchoMaster has a three-year, 36,000-mile warranty on the system and parts.

The new trailering camera system uses two small cameras on the bottom part of both side-view mirrors, a tailgate camera and a control screen incorporated into the pickup truck’s dash-mounted information screen. Additionally, as noted, a wireless camera (or two) is available for the back end of any the trailer or inside for your cargo-viewing pleasure. A center-mounted brake light camera also will be available later this year for those looking to keep an eye on their gooseneck or fifth-wheel hitch while driving.

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With both the tailgate and active wireless unit, the backup camera, as seen on the center console navigation screen, is activated when the truck is put in Reverse, while the side cameras activate when either right- or left-turn signals are used. The viewing screen offers a large, clear, wide-angle image from each camera.

The screen settings for the IntelliHaul system are hidden, so you need to press and hold the Home button for five seconds to bring up the camera menu screen. Once the screen is up, the driver can select which type of screen setup he or she wants. There are several choices that will allow the driver to see single or multiple views continually or only in specific circumstances.

We found the setup easy to operate and recorded a quick two-minute video that shows off some of the screens and electronic gear on our PickupTrucks.com Facebook page. Although we haven’t towed with it yet, we like that GM is responding to the 2017 Ford Super Duty seven-camera setup (which requires a new 12-pin trailer plug), available when the new Ford debuts later this year. This is the type of surround-view system that should allow for better and safer towing both for novice and expert alike. We should note that GM still does not offer anything like Ford’s Pro Trailer Backup Assist.

For now, the Chevy/GMC system is an added install done at the dealership, but we expect the setup to be offered for much less than that, as part of a larger towing package, in the 2017 model lineup. To date, the system is offered on the full lineup of 2014-2016 Silverado 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickups, but we may see something like this move to the full-size Suburban and Escalade lineup as well.

Cars.com photos by Mark Williams

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