The Chevy Kodiak was produced by General Motors under the Chevrolet brand. It was similar to the GMC Topkick, which was produced at the same time. The Kodiak was introduced in 1980, with the last production rolling out in 2009. The reason for the stop in production was that GM was no longer going to make medium-duty trucks. As you will discover, though, that no longer is true.
If you have seen a Kodiak and are interested in its style and performance, then you have come to the right place to learn more about this vehicle. We will introduce you to its backstory and production history, along with explaining its features. We also will look at how well it sold and how consumers feel about this truck to give you some insight into owning one. You can also learn where to find one today and what GMC is doing now in terms of medium-duty trucks.
History of the Chevy Kodiak
The Kodiak was sold as a work truck. It really wasn’t meant for general consumers or casual use. It generally became the basis for dump trucks, cargo haulers and other work trucks. Since they were made from 1980 to 2009, there were various generations with different alterations to meet the needs of consumers. The first generation was sold as a Class 7 truck. The original introduction was in sync with the Caterpillar 3208 diesel engine, which needed a square-shaped hood that was taller than previous truck models. It was also distinguished by having headlights below the grille. The grille spanned the whole front for a full-sized look. This first generation was made for 10 years until the second generation came out in 1990.
The second generation had a different look. The grille and headlights were redesigned to look more conventional. The truck was more accommodating to other engines as well, so you weren’t just limited to one engine choice. During this time, other options were introduced, allowing buyer to get a four-door model instead of just the two-door.
The third and last generation came in 2003. Again, the look was updated. It still accommodated different engine choices. The body was available with two- or four-door options and had a two-door cutaway option. This time around, there was also transmission options, including five- or six-speed automatic.
Production ended in 2009 when GM stopped producing medium-duty trucks. However, in 2018, GM reintroduced a line of medium-duty trucks, but it went with the Silverado brand instead of reviving Kodiak.
It is important to note that the Kodiak was used for a variety of different vehicles. While it was produced originally as a work truck, you can find Kodiaks being used as transport vans, school buses, conversion pickups and a presidential limousine.
A Closer Look
To get a better idea of the Kodiak, it helps to take a look at some specifications and details. We’ll focus on the third generation since those are the most recent and most likely to still be out there being used and sold.
The Kodiak was huge because it was meant to be a work vehicle. You can find the conversion pickups, though, even though they were not widely produced. These are like a huge pickup truck that are very imposing. The Kodiak measured 8 feet wide and 8 feet tall. It was about 20.5 feet long. It had a conventional cab configuration that was modified in this generation to have a modern look that was smoother and more rounded than the earlier generations. The grille was very small compared to previous generations, and the headlights were compact. Due to its size, it had built-in footsteps on each side for cab access and in the back for loading access.
The interior was similar to a full-sized Chevy pickup. They were very roomy and had ergonomic designs. The seats were air-suspended and deep for comfort and functionality. However, due to the truck’s size, there were still issues with blind spots that no amount of seat adjustment would eliminate, but the Kodiak did have a rear-view camera and turn-signal-activated cameras to help combat the blind spot issues.
While there were some engine choices, the main option was the Duramax 6600. The standard transmission option was the 6-speed Allison. The engine was heavy-duty for towing and hauling loads. The transmission worked nicely as well with smooth shifting. Pair that with the UltraRide chassis air suspension and the Kodiak gave an overall smooth ride.
You can’t really find the original retail pricing for the Kodiak, but there are still many used models on the market for sale. Here’s a look at some options and pricing on used models from around the internet.
Autotrader has a 2006 model in the pickup conversion style for $59,999. This is actually a nice option because it has only 33,476 miles on it. That is very low for the 2006, making this a nice deal that will probably be scooped up very quickly. There is also a 2008 with 90,980 miles. This is the crew cab four-door model. For $49,900, there is a listing for a 2008 work truck model. This one has 47,416 miles.
Moving on, carsforsale.com also has some nice listings. There is the 2003 work truck model with 82,211 miles listed at $21,990. A passenger van style from 2009 is listed at $18,795. It has 89,992 miles and is a used government vehicle with handicap accessibility. They also have a 1994 box truck style Kodiak with 297,603 miles for $5,000.
You can also find Kodiaks on eBay. Here is a 2004 hauler style with bids at $8,100. Mileage on this one is 182,623. There is a hauler motor home Kodiak for $24,100. This one has a mileage of 120.707.
As you can see, the prices are all over the place. It really depends on the year, the style, the mileage and where you buy. The cars on Autotrader are from private sellers for the most part. Carsforsale.com is mainly dealer listings, so with those, you also have payment options and a chance for further discounts that you may not get from private sellers. Of course, on eBay you get bidding, so the price isn’t really known until bidding is over.
The New Generation
As mentioned, GM stopped production on the Kodiak in 2009. It has no plans to bring it back, but it is now producing in the medium-duty truck line again with the Chevy Silverado. Silverado is a very popular truck brand already. The introduction of the medium-duty trucks is something new, though. GM, specifically, is touting this as the replacement for the Kodiak. These new models will roll out for the 2019 sales year.
The new models are the Silverado Class 4, 5 and 6 chassis cab trucks. They are medium-duty due to classifications from the Department of Transportation. They have similar specifications to the Kodiak, using the Allison transmissions, which is a nice thing to hear since these transmissions offer a smooth ride that is not common in such a vehicle. They have a 6.6-lieter Duramax turbodiesel V-8 engine. In addition, they will be offered in four-wheel drive.
The new line is in direct competition with Ford and Ram, but Ram really doesn’t offer any direct competition. One thing that sets the Silverado apart is the air suspension in the rear of the truck. In addition, there is the inset doors with triple-seal to help make a quieter and more comfortable ride.
While these trucks are being sold under the Silverado brand, they are not just going to be a bigger version of the Silverado already on the market. They were completely redesigned and are a unique offering. They can also be customized to the user’s needs with different boxes and beds. There are cab-to-axel options, along with walk-up access to the engine. There are similarities when it comes to the features, though. Like the smaller Silverado, you get Bluetooth, OnStar, Apple CarPlay, Commercial Link, 4G Wi-Fi Hotspot compatibility, wireless phone charging and Android Auto.
The Chevy Kodiak may not be well known by consumers since it was produced and sold as a work truck for commercial customers. However, with the pickup conversion model, the Kodiak did enjoy some fans. It was a good-selling truck in the years it sold, from 1980 to 2009. Overall, the Kodiak enjoyed so much popularity because it performed well and also offered a great experience. It was a smooth ride and very versatile. The long history means there are still many of these trucks out there on the market. You can find a range of different setups and styles from which to choose when searching the used car sales.
Of course, if you are looking for something new, you aren’t going to be able to buy a Kodiak, but you could look into GMC’s new entry back into the medium-duty truck line. Sold under the Silverado brand, these new models are designed to be the modern Kodiak, offering you the same performance and style you would have found in the old model.