Comfortable, powerful, refined highway manner
By KonaJack on Wednesday, July 01, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,500
overall rating 9 of 10rating details
- Overall Rating
Pros: "Ride,Steering,Quietness,MPG,Power,Interior Quality"
Cons: "Transmission Quirks, Slow Nav and Interface"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Family and friends were shocked when I showed up with a new GMC 1500 SLT Crew Cab in the driveway. My tastes have run towards German sedans and Japanese SUV's with a 1995 Jeep Wrangler being the only domestic product I had bought in 30 years of vehicle ownership. Domestic products had never offered the reliability of the Japanese, the driving dynamics of the Europeans, or the interior quality of either (especially the Europeans).
I had intended to supplement or replace a beloved and dead reliable Toyota 4Runner with 215,000 trouble-free miles with something more modern and upscale, but similarly capable off-road. The Toyota Land Cruiser was one such vehicle that has intrigued me for a long time - with it's DNA of being over-engineered, its understated presence and well-known durability and reliability. In the mean time, I had ridden in an associates 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT Crew Cab and was startled by the compliant ride and overall quietness of it in operation. I had not ridden in a pickup in perhaps 10 years. It was far more comfortable than a 2000 Lincoln Navigator that I had owned back in the day. The interior, while not the most "exciting" I have seen, surely was leaps and bounds better the the old Navigator's in quality.
I test drove a Land Cruiser in the following weeks, and while built like the proverbial tank, the ride was not nearly as nice as the Silverado's and the acceleration was not impressive. It quickly became clear that engineering behind the Land Cruiser was very outdated compared to the Chevy's, shown also in the 5-speed transmission and abysmal EPA figures.
For the first time I started to entertain the idea of owning a full-size Pickup or full-size domestic SUV in lieu of an imported midsize or "almost" full-size SUV.
I initially though the Toyota Tundra would be my top candidate. I like the interior of the 1794 edition, but as with the Land Cruiser, it is in need of an update, with a ride and efficiency level that couldn't compare with the Silverado's
I also looked at the Yukon and Tahoe (gorgeous interiors IMO), but the reduction in cargo space from the previous gen and inability to delete the 3rd row seating reduced the desirability for me. The biggest problem in my mind was the astronomical pricing (easily $70k when optioned) of these sleds, putting them in Range Rover/Land Rover and Mercedes GL territory, predicting a level of depreciation I can't stomach.
Long story short, I looked at all the domestic trucks and gravitated to the GMC line. The Ram is supposed to have the best ride (and also is the only one with a 1/2 ton diesel option (which I like), but the aesthetics and interior design are too "gaudy" for me. The Ford F-150 did not feel as good on the road to me as the GMC and one has to go the "eco-boost" route with a 6 or 4 cylinder because the V-8 at this point seems to be in leftover mode.
I know the Sierra and Silverado are identical underneath but I find the styling of the GMC to be more understated and elegant (if one can say that about a truck)
One does not have to venture far on the internet to find out what testers think about the 6.2 litre "Corvette" (almost) engine does to this thing. It is a blast to drive and it is addictive.I ended up purchasing an SLT Crew Cab with the 6.2 and almost all the bells and whistles, putting the price within $2,000 of an equally equiped Denali but having the Z71 Off-Road package that I wanted and which is not available on the Denali. To say this truck has exceeded almost all my expectaions would be an understatment. Other than an occasional rough downshift out of the new 8-speed transmission (which I hope will be fixed with new programming) and rather slow to respond info screen with somewhat second-rate TomTom Navi, I have absolutely no complainants. The interior is beautifully assembled and with high quality components including stitched leather real aluminum (and I am partial to Audi interiors. I can work from my truck with 4G LTE built-in hotspot. Pandora, XM, weather radar and multiple USB ports, DC and 110v outlets all in the front console, make it a pleasure and productive to spend time in this vehicle. What this vehicle most excels at however, is transporting you down the interstate in immense and effortless comfort and silence. Set the air-conditioned leather sears on, cue up the iPhone or Pandora on the Bose stereo and I'm good for a 1,000 mile jaunt. It tracks as straight as any German car I have owned - it drives and handles more like a "car" than either the F150, Ram or Tundra. The ride reminds me of a slightly stiffer version of traditional American luxury cars from the 60's or 70's - due in no small part I'm sure to the 144-inch wheelbase. With triple weather sealing and active noise cancellation, it's as quiet as a 1960's Cadillac, too. With the optional 6.2 litre passing power is instantaneous - with testing showing an under 6-second 0-60. Rest assured 55 to 75 happens in a blink of an eye. And the best part? Over the course of my initial 4,500 miles I have averaged just over 19 MPG calculated manually. Without a headwind (which has a large effect on truck MPG at highway speeds) I average around 22 MPG at 70 MPH and 25 MPG at 60 MPH. This is mind-boggling to me considering this engines feels like a barley-tamed lion underfoot, putting out 420 HO and 460 lb-ft of torque. With V8/V4 technology, direct fuel injection and the 8-speed transmission, there was simply no need to settle for the 5.3
Having grown up in the 60's and 70's in a "GM" family, I had become a hardened critic of their accountant and marketing-consultant designed products - especially since the Roger Smith era of the 80's. The products literally insulted my intelligence. Turn to 2015 - and..this is a great truck. "If" it proves reliable in the long-term, I will have become one of the lost consumers that at least one domestic vehicle maker has brought back into the fold."
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