Category Archives: GMC

2016 GMC Canyon 4WD SLE Crew Long Box (1140)

Overview:

This is the 2016 GMC Canyon 4WD SLE Crew Long Box. This truck grew on me because they are useful, especially around the ranch. Ever notice when you have a truck people know and when they need to move something they call you.

I have a Ford F350 but I continue to expect the other shoe to fall as it breaks down yet again. It seems they are notorious for sensors to fail and that means you get stranded whenever it decides to shut you down. Very annoying.

The problem is that technology has gone amuck. Computer technology can be a detriment as well as a help. Computers watch for signals that something is wrong and even if there isn’t anything wrong they override human intervention. The fact there may be nothing wrong doesn’t allow the driver to make that decision. I suspect that in most cases that is true so we’re stuck with them. Oh, for the good old days when everything was simpler. A notice flashes on the dash – “Pull over to the side of the road and turn off the engine” or some such command from the computer. If you are in a good spot you can indeed pull to the side of the road before the whole system shuts down. If not you will have to negotiate with No brakes. Woops.

If you have similar stories about GM products, particularly GMC trucks I’d appreciate hearing about them.

General Information: It is assembled in Wentzville, MO, USA. Parts – US/Canadian 61%, Thailand 15%   Engine – Thailand, transmission – USA; Classification is Midsize Pickup. Cars from GMC: Acadia, Acadia Limited, Canyon, Savana Cargo, Cutaway and Passenger, Sierra 1500, 1500 Denali, Sierra 2500 Denali HD, 2500 HD, Sierra 3500, 3500 Chassis Cab, Denali HD, Terrain, Yukon and Yukon XL.

Handling & Performance:

I tested the Turbo Diesel option on this test vehicle and it performed wonderfully.  If you are a Diesel fan, which I am, you may want to consider that option instead of the Gas V6 priced out here. That option will increase the Standard Vehicle Price by $3,700 for a 2.8 liter 4-cylinder Duramax Turbo Diesel engine.

As noted below, if you want all the options you’ll fork over about $44,000.

Styling:

Looks sometimes are more important than the real purpose of a truck, and the trend for most trucks these days is they are built to be more car-like than a truck needs to be. The consumer however is the driving force and I suspect most want a truck for more than just work. Great looking and great features win out most of the time but you’ll notice good looks come with a higher price tag.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Cost:

Most trucks, these days, are pricy as they become more luxury than work horses.

Conveniences and comfort:

Running boards or side steps are available but I found them to be more of a nuisance than a help. Not so on my Ford F350 that is much taller and a small step ladder would otherwise be needed if the side steps were not there. For me, on this lower to the ground, GMC Canyon they were unnecessary so be sure to check that feature out and you may find them unnecessary as well.

Consumer Recommendation:

There are many variations on the theme of building your dream truck but you’ll find the process of finding the right mix of features is very frustrating. Add one feature and it wipes out others you had already selected. You need a dealer to do it right.

Recognized Competition:

GMC Canyon $35,000, Nissan Frontier $34,000, Toyota Tacoma $33,000.

Good News:

Good looking, there are many options so you can build it pretty much as you like, want or need it to be. It’s a Jimmy and that will mean a lot to many.

Bad News:

I found that building to my own specifications was a frustrating if not impossible process.

Standard Equipment:

3.6 liter 305 hp V6 engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, electric 2-speed transfer case, remote keyless entry, front, side and side curtain front and rear airbags, theft deterrent system immobilization, stability control, traction control, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, rear vision camera, locking tailgate, rear bumper corner step, power mirrors / manual fold, 17” silver metalic cast aluminum wheels, fog lights, front recovery hooks, driver 4-way power seat, rear folding bench seat, power windows,rear window defroster, cruise control, leather wrapped steering wheel, multi color display, steering wheel controls, audio system with 8” color touch screenwith Intellegent Apple carplay capability, XM radio 9subscription sold separately), 4 USB ports, ONStar with 5 year plan, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot with limited data trial period.

Gas Stats:

$2.95/ Gal avg. May 5, 2016

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

20 City 29 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $34,660.

2011 GMC Terrain AWD SLT-2

2011 GMC Terrain AWD SLT-2

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2011 GMC Terrain AWD SLT-2.  GM replaced the Envoy (2002-2009) with the Terrain. And before it was called an Envoy it was called a Jimmy. Owners I talk with consider the GMC line as tough well made no nonsense trucks and SUVs. I’ve always been a Chevy man and although I’ve owned many brands over the years GM cars have been my favorites. After many Cadillac’s in my driveway I fell in love with the newer models and particularly the CTS V lights my fire. It is not only beautifully stylish with sharp character lines, it is fast and wildly fun to drive.

It is time again for Americans to return to cars made in this country. Economic times have shipped steel production and too much oil supply to off shore countries. That was fine when our economy was strong, but that is behind us so going forward consumers should get back on the team and buy “Made in USA” products.

There was a time when Japan knew how important the name USA was and to improve their product sales they named a city in Japan Usa so they could say their products were made there. Now made in Japan carries weight of its own and they don’t need to apologize any longer. China is now accepted by Wal-Mart shoppers but I find more discerning consumers demanding US made quality products when money is not as much a part of the decision making process.

Opinion:

It would appear GM is back. They’ve trimmed down a bit and hopefully they have dumped the losers in product lines to be profitable again. It just goes to show you that big or more is not necessarily better. The temptation to grow larger is natural to men generally. Perhaps it is the need to diversify and be secure in our endeavors. I suspect it is just too much to ask of mortal man to know when enough is enough. Or is it ok to have high and lofty goals like putting a man on the moon.

That reminds me of what a women said she was curious to know why it is that “if they can put a man on the moon, why can’t they put them all there”.

As we have watched the auto industry grow it began with a good idea and one car turned into hundreds today. And just like GM, Chrysler and Ford new car companies have followed the same pattern of a growing number of models. If it didn’t make good business by boosting sales car makers wouldn’t do it. More is good when there is growth in the economy, but that leads to top heavy cost. That growth based expense when faced with a rapidly declining market car companies were all in danger of going under.

Ultimately it is the consumer who decides if GM or any company is worthy. It is interesting to note here that Ford has never done better following the failure of Detroit generally. In my search for answers I found people were praising Ford for not taking bail out money. That was the defining moment that people would remember when it came time to buy a car. They offered a hand to lift Ford up first. And I think the mood of the country is to return to buying American products which will lead to more sales of GM and Chrysler as well.

The real message here, for me, is that down deep inside we all recognize the need to stand for right for the sake of right and we appreciate those who lead us back to moral and ethical values that make society work. That is what will bring us back to full employment. The goal is 4%. Think 4%.

Handling & Performance:

As you likely know, all SUV’s are built on truck platforms. But they don’t handle like trucks and the features and suspension make the ride more and more car like. SUVs are also leaning to even lower profiles to improve handling even more. Therefore they are tagged ‘Crossovers’ more often even though SUV is still the most common designator.

The desire for an off road vehicle is nearly a faint memory now, because only 5% of these highly capable truck adaptations ever get “Off Road” anyway. The closer to the ground stance makes them handle better but of course you give up road clearance that makes it truly equipped for ‘real’ off road-ing use. Consumers know they have other choices if they are a part of the 5% who have a passion for driving roads less travelled.

Styling:

Design is distinctively GMC truck with a more square look. My recent review of the Audi counterpart to this Terrain has more rounded and softer lines. That reminds me of the round look of the late 50s and 60s and how that trend passed away. Square is not as aerodynamic but at freeway speeds approaching 30 mph on an average day, wind resistance is rarely a factor in fuel economy.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Cost:

GMC is aggressively priced. I did like the Audi, but I don’t see a $10,000 price spread in quality of the two brands.

Conveniences and comfort:

Outstanding. Very little difference from the more expensive competition.

Consumer Recommendation:

Be sure to include this GMC in your comparison shopping test drives. It will make you think twice before sending your hard earned money to Germany or Japan. Even the Korean entrant makes this GMC look all the better.

Another thing that will work in favor of GMC is that fuel economy is good compared to other AWD competitors.

Recognized Competition (MSRP):

GMC Terrain $24,250, Acura RDX $32,620, Audi Q5 $35,200, BMW X3 $38,850, Cadillac SRX $34,430, Chevrolet Equinox $22,745, Dodge Journey $22,245, Dodge Nitro $22,245, Ford Escape $21,215, Honda Accord Crosstour $29,790, Honda CR-V $21,695, Honda Element $20,825, Hyundai Veracruz $28,345, Infiniti EX $34,550, Land Rover LR2 $35,500, Lexus RX 350 $38,375,  Lincoln MKX $39,375, Mazda CX-7 $21,990, Mercedes-Benz GLK $35,500, Mitsubishi Outlander $21,995, Nissan Murano $28,520, Nissan Rogue $20,830, Suzuki Grand Vitara $19,199, Toyota Highlander $27,540, Toyota RAV4 $22,025, Volvo XC 60 $32,400.

Good News:

Solid ride, well appointed and well equipped and priced right to aggressively go after foreign brand models.

Bad News:

This class vehicle is necessarily thirsty for fuel. The real bad news is that the price is heading north of $5 per gallon in the US.

Standard Equipment:

2.4 liter 182 horsepower 4-cylinder engine, 6-speed auto trans, 4-wheel abs disc brakes, stability control, traction control, tire pressure monitor, front side and side curtain airbags, LATCH system with safety locks, remote keyless entry, auto headlights, remote start, theft deterrent, OnStar with crash response and turn-by-turn navigation, rear parking assist, deep tinted glass, power liftgate, 18” aluminum wheels, fog lights, roof rack side rails, rearview camera, sunroof, leather heated bucket seats, leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, 8-way power driver seat with memory on seat and mirrors, 60/40 split reclining rear seat, climate control, tilt & telescopic column, cruise control, power windows & locks, stereo with CD & USB port and pioneer 8 speaker system, XM Satellite radio, compass and Bluetooth.

Gas Stats:

$3.81/ Gal avg. March 5, 2011

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

16 City and 22 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $31,400.

2007 GMC Acadia FWD SLT-1 (643)

Overview:
This week we’re looking at the 2007 GMC Acadia FWD SLT-1 SUV. Your guess is as good as mine what they meant by SLT. Sounds a little nasty so I emailed GM to ask and no reply received to publication date. If you know what the acronym stands for please email me. It must be descriptive of the character of this Sport Ute in some way.

As to the definition of the new edition name Acadia (in French Acadie) was the name given by the French to a territory in northeastern North America which includes parts of eastern Quebec, the Maritime provinces and modern-day New England stretching as far south as Philadelphia. Why I haven’t a clue.

General Info:

Parts – n/a

Assembly – Lansing , MI USA

Class:  – Special Purpose

Cars: – Acadia, Canyon, Envoy, Savana & Cargo van, Sierra 1500, 2500 HD, 3500, Classic     1500, 2500 HD, 3500 and Hybrid, Yukon , Denali and Yukon XL.

Rumor has it:

Ok, this has nothing to do with rumor. It is factual that by some accounts you are 60 times safer on the battle fields of Iraq than you are on the highways and by-ways of America in your car or truck. That’s correct – in 2005 there were 39,189 fatal crashes or 3,300 deaths per MONTH. It has taken 5 years to kill that many soldiers in our much publicized war to free that Middle East people. Since most all of us have to travel by car we don’t really want to think about it – but it’s true. This statement is based on numbers of deaths only and you can make a case that based on the percentages of numbers of people who drive versus the number of people serving in Iraq the percentage view indicates it is more dangerous on the streets of Iraq . But you know what I mean. In any case that doesn’t include drive by shootings and road rage – in L.A. alone.

Buckle up and try to keep the rubber side down – it’s a battle out there.

But on another front we’re hearing more bad news about our beloved car maker Honda. Just when you think someone is beyond unethical behavior you learn Honda is being accused of engineered odometers to cheat us consumers. If true – shame on Honda. Wow, could it be my trust was misplaced? Burst my bubble Honda. I don’t trust governments – but from Honda and my wife – I expect more.

Handling & Performance:

This is not much of a mountain goat but on flat terrain it is a nice road car. It is quiet and luxurious and it is a high and wide riding SUV that is comfy.

Styling:

They have designed it to be quite striking and expensive looking. Well, it isn’t cheap but not bad for a heavily equipped solid riding luxury SUV.

Fit and Finish:

Excellent

Cost:

It is a good value in a class of equally good product.

Conveniences and comfort:

Perhaps the most interesting if not the best adaptation of the navigation systems of today is GM’s turn-by-turn feature as an add-on to OnStar. Just press the blue button give them the address you’re going to and they locate you and your destination and record the route that is then played back on your journey just before you’ll need to make a turn. It is totally hands free and somewhat more personalized. Of course that was an after thought to the very helpful OnStar real person service system to help you with a host of services. They’ll find a gas station or restaurant or almost anything you need. In an emergency they’ll be there to help as well.

Consumer Recommendation:

Although it doesn’t show up in the recognized competition I would put Chrysler Pacifica in this class and feel it is very similar to this Acadia . Add the Pacifica to your list of SUVs to your search.

Recognized Competition:

GMC Acadia $29-37,000, Dodge Durango $26-36,000, GMC Envoy $27-37,000, Mercury Mountaineer $27-34,000, Toyota 4Runner $28-38,000, Honda Pilot $27-35,000, Nissan Murano $28-32,000, Hummer H3 $29-38,000, Hyundai Santa Fe $21-28,000, Subaru B9 Tribeca $30-33,000, Ford Explorer $25-35,000.

Good News:

Large spacious and comfortable stylish adaptation of the Sport Utility that looks like more money than you’ll pay.

Bad News:

High profile and soft suspension reduces handling in the curves, only fair fuel economy even if not less than others in class. Manufacturers need to do better with fuel performance.

Standard Equipment:

3.6 liter 275 horsepower V6 engine, 6 speed auto trans front wheel drive, variable assist power steering, anti-lock brake system, stability control, dual front air bags and head curtain and front side impact airbags, passenger sensing system, child safety latch system, OnStar with turn-by-turn navigation, theft deterrent system, fog lights, heated power mirrors with turn signal lights, tire pressure monitoring system, 18” aluminum wheels, leather seats, heated front seats, power 6-way driver and 2-way passenger seats, 7-passenger seating captains chairs and 3rd row split bench seat, 2nd row slide system, three zone climate control, rear cargo storage, rear seat audio controls, tilt and telescoping leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, Bose speakers with sub-woofers and stereo with 6-CD / MP3 player.

Options: dual skyscape sunroof, power lift gate, heads up display, XM satellite radio, 115 volt power outlet, cargo area audio controls. ($2,919).

Gas Stats:

$3.15/ Gal avg. Mar. 29, ‘07

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

18 City and 26 Highway MPG

Point/CounterPoint Conclusion:

MSRP $33,225 before options.

2007 GMC Yukon XL Denali – AWD (623)

Overview:
This week we’re looking at the 2007 GMC Yukon XL Denali – AWD. This is a revisit from 1999 and 6 years has matured this SUV and refined it as you’d expect.

You know how some people exude confidence? Some cars, trucks, busses and trains do as well. I drove this Denali to the SEMA show in Las Vegas and was really comfortable. I would be flying back to Los Angeles and some flights scare the hell out of many of us. Well, the flight back was uneventful but the bad news is it was only slightly faster, all things considered, than the drive up in the Denali . I suppose that’s why folks drive so much and so often. It is flat out convenient. When I consider the drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas at about 300 miles and say 4 hours it is a no brainer to drive rather than fly. Consider: 1 hour to get to the airport, 2 hours before the flight and after a 45 minutes flight it takes another 15 minutes to get to the gate. Then you spend another half hour waiting for your luggage. It’s not over yet, because you have to get to your destination by taxi, rent a car or have someone pick you up … wow! Drive, it’s easier.

Driving the Denali it went like this… set the Nav system for the address of the hotel and hit the road. That’s it – and wa-la 3 and a half hours later I was in Las Vegas at my destination and my luggage was still behind me nicely stowed. I didn’t need a cab or whatever when I got there. As a rule of thumb if the distance is about 500 miles it is a toss up whether I will drive or fly.

Denali , of course, is a GM car so it also has GPS wonderful On Star. A must in my next car. I love it more every time I use it. Now they have added Turn-By-Turn directions just as if you were using the Nav system. It works great. And the folks at On Star are really nice people. I wonder if they will still be nice when the product gets more widely accepted – and you can be sure it will.

General Info:

Parts – n/a

Assembly – USA

Class:  – Special Purpose

Cars: – Canyon, Envoy, Savana, Sierra 1500, 2500, 3500 and Hybrid, Yukon (XL and Denali ).

Handling & Performance:

pectacular. My ride to Vegas was super comfy and lots of power and weight to give that secure feeling. Like many relationships it can be a love/hate kind-a thing. I hate gas guzzlers but I love the comfort and conveniences. Smooth is no exaggeration. I was less frazzled driving than all the hoop-la getting to and from the airport on the return trip.

Power? You want power – 6.2 liter 380 horsepower V8 is just fine thanks. Auto engineer friend Merkel would sneer at that data. Why, because real engineered cars like many European cars get 100 hp per liter Merkel will roar. I know, but – but – but …

Some of the competition

No complaints. Very clean and pretty.

Fit and Finish:

Very good. I noticed the seams were neat and components were tightly assembled, especially in comparison with the Chrysler Aspen the following week where I noticed some poorly fitting plastic cladding. The Aspen is making its debut and of course the Denali has been around long enough to get all the bugs out.

Cost:

The MSRP is $49,615 but when you add some neat stuff the price quickly jumps to $57,000. The high price tag extras (Options) are things like Navigation system with CD, DVD and MP3 for $2,100, 20 inch Chrome Aluminum wheels (great looking by the way) for $2,000 more and Rear seat entertainment system ( a must when you have kids on a long trip) for about $1,300 and finally the power sliding sunroof for another $1,000. I have little use for this option. Hey, it’s only money – right?

Conveniences:

Pop for the extras and enjoy the ride … but there are some things that are real nice and don’t add a lot to the cost, like the rearview camera system for $195. Then there is the heated steering wheel for $150 – “Say what?”  I’m with you – what’s that all about.

There are several features included in the MSRP that I like: tire pressure monitor, ultrasonic rear park assist, power liftgate and of course remote keyless entry. I can live without the Remote Vehicle starter feature – but if you live in Minnesota you may find it useful in winter. Rain sensing wipers are kind of cool, but I can usually tell when it starts to rain and my fingers know to turn on the wiper. XM Satellite Radio is very cool and worthy of consideration.

Consumer Recommendation:

If you’re in the market for a large SUV this new entry for 2007 must be seen.

Recognized Competition (MSRP range):

GMC XL Denali $47-50,000, BMW X3 $37,000, Toyota 4Runner $28-38,000, Jeep Grand Cherokee $27-43,000, Land Rover LR3 $38-53,000, Lexus GX 470 $47,000, Dodge Durango $29-38,000, Nissan Xterra $20-28,000, Infiniti FX $38-50,000, Chevrolet TrailBlazer $25-37,000, Ford Explorer $25-35,000, Honda Pilot $27-35,000.

Good News:

Solid and comfortable ride for up to 8 people and still space for luggage.

Bad News:

Less than stellar fuel economy – in fact they state on their window sticker (Fuel Economy) “Not Applicable to this vehicle”. I have news for them – it’s applicable to me.

Standard Equipment:

6.2 liter 280 horsepower V8 engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, all wheel drive, self leveling rear shocks, locking differential, dual front and side airbags (all rows), OnStar system (1 year safe and sound), 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, stability control, theft deterrent, child security locks, power windows, locks and adjustable pedals, remote vehicle starter, remote keyless entry, tire pressure monitor, ultrasonic rear parking assist, running boards, heavy duty trailering equipment, 18 inch polished aluminum wheels, power liftgate and liftglass, power folding mirrors with auto dimming and turn signals, rain sensing wipers, heated washer fluid system, leather, 12-way power front seats, 2nd row power seat release, 3 passenger 3rd row seat, audio with MP3 compatible 6-in dash CD player, XM Satellite radio service, (3 months), auto tri-zone air conditioning and driver information center. Options: Navigation system, 20 inch chrome aluminum wheels, rear seat entertainment system, power sunroof, rearview camera system and heated steering wheel. ($8,775).

Gas Stats:

$2.23/ Gal avg.

13 City and 19 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $57,265 incl options.

2006 GMC Sierra Extended Cab (589)

Overview:
This week we’re looking at the 2006 GMC Sierra Extended Cab Pickup truck. This isn’t something for everyone but in cowboy country where I live it fits right in. But even cowboys like comfort in the trucks they drive and that’s where today’s trucks shine. The SUV-like interior makes you forget you’re in a truck at all. Rick calls these SUT’s for Sport Utility Truck. I agree Rick.

I have come to appreciate XM radio and miss not having it after a week of great song selection when testing a vehicle that has it. Some vehicles have Sirius Satellite systems, but I prefer XM. I particularly like the ones with a video display so you can see who the artist is and the title of the song.    

Public service: I commute 50 miles one way to the office. Yes 100 miles per day to and from the ranch. I know a lot of you do the same thing so you can’t say I’m all that crazy – even if I am. But that’s another story. What it has reinforced in me is the observation that when I travel within a reasonable variance of the maximum speed law (stay with the flow of traffic) the commute takes a scant 3-5 minutes more in exchange for not having to watch constantly for a black and white for 5-10 mph more. Think about it. Cut the stress and don’t try to be the fastest car on the track. There’s no trophy if you get to the office 3-5 minutes sooner.

Handling & Performance:

Like I said, this truck rides more like the sedan-like SUV than a truck. It just has a stiffer suspension. Put a load on it and you’d swear you’re in a Sport Ute.

Styling:

If it walks like a duck and has feathers, it’s probably a duck. Well, this looks like a truck to me. Those truck designers must get a lot of vacation time. “Ho hum, another truck to design. Let’s see, what should it look like”. We’ll daahh Blondie how hard could it be?

Fit and Finish:

Hey, it’s a truck, right – what’d ya expect? No – just kidding. It’s a great looking ride and shucks cousin, trucks are just getting too pretty, don’t ya think?

Cost:

Not cheap. Trucks are the most profitable products for most carmakers. They’re just too popular – needed or not. When I was just a lad one of my first vehicles was a Ford ½ ton pickup truck. Still one of my most favorite rides if I were forced to pick.

Conveniences:

These things have all the comforts of home, road, farm, ranch and more. Throw a bed in the back and you can live in this truck. Or for the same money you can buy a house, buy a bicycle and save on insurance or put a pool in the back yard.

Consumer Recommendation:

No matter what your preference there is a lot of fat in the prices. Don’t bend over too far and don’t be afraid to ask for a big discount. Of course they may suggest you don’t need all those features – and they’d probably be right. That will cut to price substantially.

Recognized Competition:

GMC Sierra $16-39,000, Toyota Tundra $16-34,000, Dodge Ram 1500 $21-51,000, Chevrolet $16-36,000, Ford F-150 $16-33,000, Nissan Titan $23-36,000.

Good News:

Power for the road ahead, comfortable, and not a lot of test-drives. I love simple menu’s, don’t you. I think I’ll move to China where you can have any color you want as long as it’s green. Think about it, that’s how it was when Henry Ford introduced the Model T and mass-produced the Model A. He offered any shade of Black.

Bad News:

Expensive for a truck that’s trying to be a Cadillac – even if this isn’t just any old truck.

Standard Equipment:

5.3 liter 295 hp V8 engine with hour meter, 4-speed auto trans 2-wheel rear drive, ABS front disc rear drum brake system with dynamic rear brake proportioning, high performance suspension, dual air bags with passenger sensing system, auto halogen headlights with daytime running feature, theft deterrent ignition, short cargo bed (5′ 8”) 6500 lb GVW rating, wide access rear doors, front recovery hooks, front power reclining 10 way adjustable leather bucket seats, Electric rear window defogger, deep tinted glass, stereo with 6-disc CD player, cruise control, power locks and windows, remote keyless entry, power mirrors with power fold, auto air conditioning, leather wrapped tilt steering wheel, trailering wire harness, oil life monitoring system, chrome grille, chrome aluminum wheels, battery run down protection and 24 hour roadside assistance. OnStar plus XM radio, power sunroof.

Gas Stats:

16 City and 20 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $36,740.

2004 GMC Canyon Z85 SLE 4WD Extended Cab (501)

Overview:
This week I tested the new for 2004 GMC Canyon Z85 SLE 4WD Extended Cab Pick Up truck. It replaces the Sonoma in 2004. My construction friend Ken asked me to evaluate the Canyon some months ago when it had just arrived on the scene.

Unfortunately he bought the Chevy S-10, and although he picked up 15 added horsepower with the V6, he sacrifices 4 mpg. Unfortunate because had he looked closer I believe for his application he would have bought the GMC. Don’t tell him, though, because I don’t want him to feel bad.

He’s a GM kind of guy from Michigan where they do a lot of hunting and fishing. Ken’s a loyalist, so as expected he stayed with GM. He opted for the Crew Cab but I’ve never seen him ferry a lot of workers around, so that may be an added luxury not needed. In either case both have short beds, which is perfect for his use. But it would be limiting for a contractor who will be using it for down and dirty hauling of plywood, dry wall etc. Ken’s role in his company is more supervisory in nature. So in the final analysis, the application and expected use should be the determining factor in which vehicle you choose.

General Info:

Parts – n/a

Assembly – Shreveport, LA.

Class:  – Standard Pickup

Cars: – Canyon, Envoy, Safari, Savana, Sierra, Sonoma and Yukon.

Handling & Performance:

My first pickup truck was a fire engine red 1946 Chevrolet 6 cylinder ½ ton. But my real love was for the subsequent Turquoise 1955 Ford ½ ton Pickup. At 16 years old these are vision that never disappear and they will forever be indelibly etched on my brain. In the realm of pick-up trucks not much has really changed. The interior is more car like, and the mechanical is naturally more sophisticated and refined. But at the end of the day, this workhorse vehicle will take you back home in comfort.

And because it is a workhorse, it is enough that it is also comfortable. Speed is not it’s middle name but power and torque are both good for the task I’d expect it would need to handle. On the ranch my Dodge Ram 3500 dual rear wheel will haul a house while carrying a ton and a half of hay. As it turns out the guy who owned it before me used it for long haul of doublewide trailers. He bought it new and put on 212,000 miles when I bought it.

Styling:

Nice. It looks the part and lends a bit of confidence by its rugged appearance. Chevy would say it is “Built like a Rock”.

Fit and Finish:

Very Good.

Conveniences:

More than a work truck needs, but we all want the creature comforts when all is said and done. Anyway, I would surely opt for the auto trans and XM radio is becoming more attractive to me.

Cost:

Competitive in class.

Consumer Recommendation:

If you won’t need to haul a lot of hay, the GMC is really a nice truck and the price is right. I have a weakness for Pickups, and although I like the Crew Cab better, it isn’t that often I really need to have the back seat occupied. If you won’t be carrying 3 passengers often, this extended cab is adequate.

The Competition:

GMC Canyon $16-28,000, Ford Ranger $15-26,000, Dodge Dakota $17-26,000, Chevrolet Colorado $16-28,000, Mazda Truck $15-24,000, Toyota Tacoma $12-23,000, Nissan Frontier $13-28,000.

Good News:

Decent fuel economy, comfortable, nice looking.

Bad News:

Rear extended cab will only accommodate 2 additional passengers. The inside cargo space even with the rear seats folded away is small and not easily accessible.

Standard Equipment:

2.8 liter 175 hp L4 engine, 4 speed auto trans, power steering, front disc and rear drum antilock brakes, 4X4, front air bags, theft deterrent system, dual rear doors, rear folding seats, air conditioning, stereo with CD player, cruise control, tilt wheel, 100 channel XM radio, side curtain restraints and compass with information system.

Gas Stats:

18 City and 23 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $25,935.

2004 GMC Yukon XL Denali(2000)

2004 GMC Yukon XL Denali Review

BY Mike Mavilia

Overview:

This week we tested the 2004 GMC Yukon XL 1500 Denali. Using the same body as the standard Yukon XL, the Denali model dresses up the base model with a flashy chrome grill, Chrome 17” Rims as well as painted bumpers, mirrors and running boards. In 2001, GMC released the Yukon XL Denali which nameplate represents their top-of-the-line trucks and SUV’s. The Denali also includes All Wheel Drive and rear Air-Ride Shocks for improved handling under extreme circumstances.

The Yukon XL Denali is ideal for families as it has ample seating for 6 passengers and can be equipped to seat up to 9 with middle and rear benches. Even with seating 9 passengers, there is still plenty of room for storage in the rear. Towing is no problem with the standard tow package that has an 8100-lb. tow capacity.

Road Test:

I was fortunate enough to drive the Denali in all weather conditions as well as test its towing ability. Sun, rain and snow are no match for this All-Wheel Drive monster of a truck. Even though the car weighs close to 6,000 pounds I had found that on long road trips it’s “happy place” was running at 80 mph @ 2000 rpm.
We tested the towing capacity on this vehicle and I must say that I only became an even bigger fan of what this thing can do. I tested 2 Seadoos, a single car hauler, and even tested my 25-foot Sea Ray boat which weighs 9,500 lbs. The Denali had no problems pulling or stopping this massive boat and we never felt concerned about its ability to control what was behind it. In the snow, I must say that I had never felt as confident driving in harsh conditions as I did in the Denali. The All-Wheel drive cannot be beat in rain or snow!

Fit and Finish:

The Denali interior is well dressed with wood accents, leather seating, as well as power and heat for maximum comfort.

Convenience and Comfort:

The Radio has several options like Satellite, Auxiliary, 5 disk CD Changer and Navigation. These all come in handy when for long road trips or the weekend drive. Satellite coverage was wonderful once you left busy cities and the ability to load your own tunes in the CD changer was a big plus! the auxiliary port was connected to a 3 screen DVD system which made the 10-hour drive to Utah bearable for the kids.

Another nice feature that is often overlooked when buying a large vehicle are fold-in mirrors. Most trucks do have fold in mirrors, but the Denali has motorized folding mirrors, which makes parking in tight spots a breeze. Even though it is 18 feet long, it still fits into almost all parking spaces that were not marked “Compact”.

Good News:

Upgraded suspension for excellent handling, plenty of horsepower and torque for towing, ample seating for up to 9.

Bad News:

To be honest I really could not find anything wrong with this truck. I would like to see a little better fuel economy but it’s not horrible!

Standard Equipment:

Engine: The Gas 6.0L V8 truly is the right engine for this truck.
Transmission: The 4-speed automatic, heavy-duty, electronically controlled with overdrive and tow/haul mode transmission makes city or highway driving and heavy towing smooth sailing!
Towing capacity: Rated at 8,100 lbs. is a safe bet. I tested it at 9,500 lbs. and it didn’t skip a beat
MPG: 13 city / 17 highway is satisfactory when you consider the weight and features.
Curb weight: At 5,735 lbs., it’s not even noticeable with its power and braking capabilities
Horsepower: 325 hp
Fuel tank capacity: 31 gal
Tire size: P265/70R17
Wheel size: 17″ diameter, 7″ width

Pricing:

MSRP for the model we tested was $68,665… worth every penny!

2003 GMC Envoy XL 2-WD (433)

Overview:

Ok GM, this 2003 GMC Envoy XL 2-WD makes sense, but why can’t we get more mileage out of a two-wheel drive? You guys simply have to do better. I’ve been complaining for many years that we can put a man on the moon, but we can’t seem to drive by enough gas stations in an SUV.

Why is that? And now that gas prices are back up to two bucks a gallon in the beginning of 2003, manufacturers will be pressed to do better. Thus far they have done lousy. Hello, is anyone listening?

I wouldn’t make such a fuss but Greenpeace isn’t going away. Big companies are being watched with a suspicious eye or two. We, as a people, just seem to ignore the effects of our actions and will chop down trees without consideration for the future. Big oil companies seem to be more willing to lobby for war to protect oil interests than to develop alternate fuel vehicles to leave some of that oil in the ground. Seems cheap oil paid for with someone else’s blood is ok. Do you think Enron is secretly in the oil business?

General Info:

Parts – USA

Assembly – USA

Class:  – SUV

Cars: – Envoy, Safari, Savana, Sierra, Sonoma, Yukon.

Handling & Performance:

Quite nice. I, like most of you, like the idea of the SUV. And this is powerful and finally sports a state of the art engine. It is an inline 6 with variable valve timing, four valves per cylinder. It produces 270 horses and is similar to more advanced engines from foreign carmakers. Nice change GM, from the old push rod design engines common to American cars.

Styling:

Common to the competition and at the rate you see them on the road (trucks and SUV’s make up about 40% of all passenger vehicles out there).

Fit and Finish:

Excellent. I like how well American car makers have risen to the challenge of the Japanese in this area.

Conveniences:

Usual and ordinary. Manual air conditioning and seats. I get lazy and appreciate the comforts and convenience of power mirrors, seats and auto air. I come to expect it. Fact of the matter is that it would be cheaper to put everything in all cars since high tech is so cheap today.

Cost:

A bit pricey. Since these things are so lousy on gas consumption and so profitable to their makers you’d think they would cut us a break.

Consumer Recommendation:

Personal preference will lead you down the isle with America’s beloved SUV. They make us feel invincible and keep our wives and children safer on the road. You simply must balance that need with your budget. Compare a mini van as an option to the SUV.

The Competition: (in order of avg. price).

Nissan Pathfinder $27-34,000, Ford Explorer $26-37,000, Toyota 4Runner $27-36,000, Jeep Grand Cherokee $26-38,000, GMC Envoy $28-37,000, Isuzu Trooper $28-37,000, Dodge Durango $27-38,000, Mercury Mountaineer $29-37,000, Mitsubishi Montero $32-37,000, Infiniti QX4 $35-36,000.

Good News:

Good warranty, powerful, comfortable, spacious and nice handling.

Bad News:

Poor mileage for a 2-wheel drive.

Standard Equipment:

4.2 liter inline 6-cylinder 270 horsepower engine, 4-speed auto trans, fog cornering lights, heavy duty trailering, tilt steering wheel with cruise control, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, theft deterrent system, child safety locks, 7-passenger seating, lumbar support on front seats, remote keyless entry, air conditioning with rear controls, AM/FM stereo with CD and 6 speakers, power steering, windows and door locks, rear defroster and washer wiper, split folding rear seat, stainless steel exhaust and 3 year 36,000 mile warranty with courtesy transportation and 24 hour roadside assistance.

Gas Stats:

15 City and 20 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $30,270.

2003 GMC Sierra 1500 4WD Quadrasteer (422)

Overview:

Wow, this weeks test of the 2003 GMC Sierra 1500 4WD Crew Cab with Quadrasteer was the most innovative car/truck I’ve tested in some time. Quadrasteer is an all-wheel steering feature where the rear wheels pivot in concert with the front wheels.

The effect is exhilarating. The truck steers corners as if it were on “Rails” and it’s an “E” Ride for sure. Literally it corners better than most sports cars.

What problems are caused over time in maintenance is, of course, an unknown. One has to wonder what it would do to the alignment and therefore tire wear. You can choose 2-wheel steer or 4-wheel steer by pressing a button on the dash while in neutral. When I expect to be driving long distances on relatively straight roads I leave it in 2-wheel steer.

I didn’t tow a trailer but a good friend with SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) did have the vehicle towing a long trailer. He said it worked wonderfully for that application.

General Info:

Parts – USA

Assembly – USA

Class:  – Pick up Truck

Cars: Envoy, Safari, Savana, Sierra, Sonoma, Yukon.

          

Envoy                Safari                 Savana            Sonoma                   Yukon

Handling & Performance:

Like a lot of trucks with heavy suspension the ride was “Bumpy” as I mentioned in the Toyota Tacoma review, about this truck. Again, cement highways are awful and I’m sure you’ve noticed Black top being much smoother.

Styling:

Even Rodney Dangerfield would get respect in this truck. It is impressive and classy – for a truck. I especially like the amber lights on the top of the cab. It reminds me of a tractor for an 18-wheeler.

Fit and Finish:

Trucks today, like this GMC, are better assembled than the best cars of just a generation ago. No exception here. Good job GM.

Cost:

Well now, you get what you pay for and you’ll have to pay a bunch for the 4-wheel steering package. Try $5,525.00 if you have to have the latest and greatest in gadgets. I truly did like this feature and if it were less money it would be a no-brainer. Truth is, $5 grand is a lot.

Consumer Recommendation:

Without Quadrasteer and equipped as noted below, the price is about $33,000. If you have the bucks, (about $5,500), 4-wheel steer is cool.

The Competition: * (in order of ranking)

(1) Toyota Tundra $16-31,000, (2) Dodge Ram 1500 $18-34,000, (3t) Chevrolet Silverado 1500 $18-39,000, (3t) Ford F-150 $19-37,000, (4) GMC Sierra 1500 $19-44,000.

* – Ranking is based on cost, cu ft, number of features, warranty and gas mileage.

Good News:

Crew cab convenience, wide range of features available including the 4-wheel steering package and powerful V8.

Bad News:

Bumpy ride without a load, poor gas mileage.

Standard Equipment:

6.0 liter 300 hp V8 Vortec engine (no options), 4-speed auto trans, 4-wheel antilock long life disc brakes, tinted glass, carpets and mats, 6/40 fold down rear seat, 40/20/40 front bench seat with cloth trim, dual front seat recliners, dual air bags, auto control halogen headlamps, daytime running lights, tilt wheel, 8 bolt wheel hubs, theft deterrent ignition system, trailering wire harness, dual front hooks.

Gas Stats:

14 City and 18 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $33,620.

2001 GMC Sonoma Crew Cab 4X4 Pickup (358)

Overview:
I spent the week driving yet another truck. That’s what I came away with after the first day in this 2001 GMC Sonoma Crew Cab pickup truck. But then I had just tested the Ford Ranger, which I thought was nice, but similarly just another truck.

Ford has the distinction of being far and away the leader in this class selling 6-1. Even so, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Ford is better. I believe it’s too close to call and the majority ‘can’ be wrong. Look at some of our political races where the winner is a turkey.

Well, I don’t want to go there, so let’s get back to what the public wants in the cars and trucks. We all like to have our cake and eat it too, and that’s precisely what manufacturers are giving us in vehicles like this pickup truck. We get the utility of a truck plus car-like rides to boot, even if that doesn’t seem possible. In any case it is possible and you can discard the Kidney Belt, because the ride is more for comfort than carrying a load of rock.

Handling & Performance:

This is really good on the highway even with an empty box. You forget you’re in a truck. It really is impressive and it’s hard not to like this truck.

Styling:

I also like the way it looks – for a truck. It doesn’t have that classic styling of the 1946 Chevy half-ton pickup I used to deliver the L.A. Times in South Pasadena, California. Remember the cabs with the curved side windows? Those were exciting days for styling because we weren’t yet jaded by the ho-hum perfection of the cars we’d drive 50 years later. But back then we were more into looking cool and modifying the designs that Detroit gave us. Today, carmakers have wised up and continue to give the consumer more of what they want. Buyers are more demanding and aren’t satisfied simply because the car actually runs. Heck, they don’t even provide hand cranks any longer as a backup in case the starter doesn’t work.

Another thought is that perhaps we’re more practical minded today in even receptive to “Un-cool” 4-doors. Those two door trucks looked cool but they were really a pain in the rear. The “Crew Cab” may look awkward but they are growing in popularity because they are more functional.

The Sonoma is available in 4×2 and 4×4 versions, with regular, extended or this Crew Cab that is new for 2001. You can have long or short beds in three trims: SL, SLS and SLE. A 2.2L Vortec 4-cylinder engine powers the 4×2 models and the 4×4’s are powered by a 4.3L Vortec V6. Five-speed manual transmission is standard and a 4-speed automatic optional. Anti-lock brakes and variable-assist power steering are standard on all models, but 4×4 adds four-wheel disc brakes.

Fit and Finish:

They don’t get any better and you really will forget you’re in a truck, because they are so car like in features and comfort. The 1940’s and 50’s pickup trucks were all metal inside and basic is an understatement. Most trucks didn’t even have carpet – A rubber mat, maybe.

Conveniences:

They can be equipped with virtually everything available on a passenger car.

Cost:

You pay for what you get. There is no free lunch, as they say, so if you want a car like truck, you’ll have to pony up the bucks.

Recommendation:

I think this will appeal to a wide strata of people from the construction supervisor, the surfer dude who wants to carry a surfboard or scuba gear to the beach, and even moms who will tote the kids or pick up garden supplies from the nursery or a load of hay for the horses. Yes, these things are really versatile, but before you buy one, take a look at the Chevy Avalanche. I tested one recently in Portland, Oregon and will give it a more thorough work out in October. I’ll let you know more then.

The Competition:

Chevrolet S10 $12,849-24,909, Dodge Dakota $14,010-22,370, Ford Ranger $11,960-24,335, Isuzu Hombre $11,360-20,100, Mazda B-Series $12,345-22,085, N5ssan Frontier $11,699-24,399, Toyota Tacoma $11,845-21,965.

Good News:

Powerful V6, great ride, good for light use hauling people and materials, adjustable height seat belts, super comfort.

Bad News:

Small cargo area box, poor mileage and too much money for a pickup truck.

Standard Equipment:

4.3 liter V6 engine, 4-speed auto trans, insta-trac 4X4, double wall box with bedliner, cruise control, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, heavy duty suspension, dual air bags, fog lamps, 4-door cab, stereo with CD and cassette, power windows and locks and mirrors, leather wrapped steering wheel, full floor carpeting, sliding rear window and high back bucket seats,

Gas Stats:

15 City and 18 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $25,768.