2001 Chevrolet Borrego conceptBorrego: a pick-up or crossover?

The answer to that question would be yes. More on that in a minute.

Around the turn of this last century we went through a period of vehicular alchemy in which traditional segments were merged and mutilated; each manufacturer hoping their formula would convert lead to gold. Subsequently, new vehicles were created that shattered segment delineations about as old as the automobile itself.

The two-seater that can seat four
History is filled with segment-busting vehicles, especially in concept and show car form. But with the popularity of trucks and SUVs super-heating in the 1990s, manufacturers weren’t short on ideas. Consumers never knew who was going to introduce that next big illusive thing they hadn’t yet realized they couldn’t live without.

2003 Chevrolet SSRChevy seemed to be particularly interested in exploring new ideas and oftentimes actually produced them. Take for instance the 2000 Super Sport Roadster concept: a hard-top convertible, two-seat sport pick-up that was based on an SUV platform. That, of course, later went into production in 2003 as the SSR–largely unchanged from its concept forebear.

2002 Chevrolet AvalancheIn 2001, Chevy introduced its 2002 Avalanche which was a new type of utility vehicle being a truck, based on an SUV, which was based on a truck… I think. Anyway, besides its unique build, something that set the Avalanche apart was its opening mid gate; for those that don’t know, the Avalanche’s rear cab backing and window could be opened and the seats folded down to dramatically increase cargo carrying capacity.

Well, it was right in the heat of this that Chevy came out with the subject concept, the Borrego. It’s what Chevy called a “crossover vehicle” at the time, something we more commonly refer to today as just a crossover or CUV.

Vehicles described as crossovers generally include those with a tall truck- or SUV-like body built on a car-based platform; as opposed to SUVs that are generally truck-based.

Borrego is actually of the former camp, it rides on a car platform and a rather capable one. I don’t know specifically which model it was derived from but as far as which make? I’ll give you a hint: hmm… how about Subarego.

Yeah, Subaru. Remember, General Motors owned a stake in Subaru or, as Chevy stated it to the press: “As a 20 percent shareholder in Fuji Heavy Industries, which makes Subaru, General Motors is leveraging its international network of automaker alliances to expand the range” of its concepts. As such, the Borrego’s all-wheel-drive powertrain is based on Subaru’s longitudinal all-wheel-drive system.

2001 Chevrolet Borrego conceptBut I’d say the Borrego certainly met the goal of expanding the range of their concepts. One way is by making the two-seater pickup pull off the trick of seating four passengers. How does it do that?

Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of it, the rear functions sort of like that of an Avalanche. Here’s how Chevy described the occupancy multiplying marvel, Borrego “accommodates an innovative reconfigurable mid-gate at the rear of the passenger cab that allows seating for two more passengers. To add two passengers, the rear window is retracted, the mid-gate slides rearward, and then the full roof, which is stored under the bed of the pickup truck, is snapped into place. The window can then be raised again. Self-inflating seals keep the compartment watertight regardless of its configuration.”

Voila! A two-seater suddenly accommodates four. The draw back? With the seating expanded, the cargo bed is reduced from six feet in length to about three of course.

2001 Chevrolet Borrego concept

But Borrego doesn’t stop there. Concepts almost always have speculative features that most consumers accept they’ll never see, such as the pressurized water tank.

Continue to page 2, below.

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