Category Archives: GMC

2001 GMC Sierra Turbo Diesel Crew Cab (325)

Overview:
This week we’re looking at the 2001 GMC Sierra Turbo Diesel Crew Cab. This bad boy is impressive with a 6.6-liter diesel engine that produces 300 horsepower and 520 foot pounds of torque at 1800 rpm. It’s the Duramax 6600 turbo-diesel V8.

I have been looking for a diesel for the ranch and pulling a 5th wheel and I’m torn between this and the Dodge Ram. Heavy-duty truck users like my brother who has a dump truck business leans to the Cummins Diesel engine and therefore the Dodge line. That’s what powers his Peterbuilt trucks and they are the grand daddy’s of diesel engine manufacturer’s.

On balance, GM diesel engines are built by the grand daddy of car and truck companies- GM, and they have been a top car company for a hundred years. Brother John says it’s just a V8 made into a diesel, where his Cummins is an inline six cylinder made to be a diesel. He routinely hauls two ton of hay in a one ton rated truck and pulls rocky dirt road (mud and snow in winter) hills up to the ranch.

Well, at the end of the day, you’ll make a decision based on what purpose you have for the vehicle and your preference of companies. The good news is that in this heavy-duty truck market there is really only three players as noted below. GM, Ford and Chrysler. You could flip a coin as I did and it was heads for GM, tails for Chrysler and on-edge for Ford. I’ve owned Ford trucks but I tend to lean toward GM products until I began to look closely at heavy-duty needs. Now I’m not sure. Dodge trucks have a great reputation and a die hard following who will tell you this is one tough truck. I’d be interested in your comments.

Handling & Performance:

Fast is my first thought and quiet is second and comfort is third. I had just come out of the Cad Catera and my tousch told me instantly that this “Truck” had more comfortable seating than the Cad. Thanks GMC, and please talk with your buddies over at Cadillac about how to make a seat comfortable.

If you believe what GMC says about the competition, this 300 horsepower @ 3100 rpm and 520 lb.-ft. of torque at a low 1800 rpm, produces 65-70 more horsepower and 20-70 more torque than its competitors. And they say it has segment-leading acceleration at any load level.

Styling:

You get what you get because there is little difference in looks. They used to all be square looking and now they’ve rounded out the corners that I prefer now that I’ve gotten used to the look. They’ll probably stay close in styling because these truck builders don’t have the balls to be very different.

Fit and Finish:

Very nice. Trucks are as good as cars these days.

Cost:

Terrible if you’ll drive it for transportation, and great if you have a “work horse” need.

Recommendation:

Match the truck to the task at hand. If you’ll be pulling a 40-foot trailer or 5th wheel, be sure to get the long bed diesel since short bed is not recommended. You’ll pull loads with ease and get much better fuel economy from the diesel. The owners I’ve talked with agree that the gas engines are much poorer on economy than a comparable diesel engine and maintenance is less too on the diesel. In fact, they will run trouble free for twice the miles of the gas engine. If you expect to operate in snow or muddy conditions as brother John does, 4WD is a must.

Well, there are only three competitors so naturally you’ll want to drive them all.

The Competition:

Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD $21,469-36,017, Dodge Ram 2500 $20,995-26,265, Ford F-250 Super Duty $20,535-32,355.

Good News:

Powerful, quieter than most diesels (78 decibels of sound at cold-idle startup, or about half the next quietest Ford competitor), nice interior and spacious Crew Cab, PTO (power take off) capability,

Bad News:

Cummins Diesel is arguably better than the GM diesel in the GM brand.

Standard Equipment:

6.6 liter Duramax Turbo Diesel 300 horsepower and 520 ft. lbs. Torque, V8 engine, Allison five-speed automatic transmission, Factory-installed OnStar communications and security system on SLT, Air conditioning, Stereo with CD, cargo lamp, dual and side air bags, power mirrors, windows and door locks, 4-wheel antilock brakes, remote keyless entry, leather 6 way power seats and cruise control.

Gas Stats:

City and Highway MPG not available.

Pricing:

MSRP  $43,294 (includes the Diesel engine and trans for about $6,000).

2000 GMC Yukon XL 4WD (297)

Overview:
No more sub for GMC but this Yukon XL fits the bill perfectly. In fact, it sits on the same vehicle frame as the Chevrolet Suburban.

I thoroughly enjoyed driving this big hunk of steel and plastic. It not only looks great, it is extremely comfortable and if it weren’t so lousy on gas I’d like to drive it all the time. It was easy to maneuver around town and sure it’s big but you do get accustomed to the  size when parking and turning. It takes up more of any parking space and you’ll do some “high stepping” to get in and out. But overall this Yukon is a delight to drive. 

In addition to good around town driving and good handling, this is one very comfortable truck. The Captains chairs are akin to the big comfortable seats in first class on United. So for those long trips, and especially toting lots of folks and their gear, this is an ideal vehicle.

The model I drove was equipped with the OnStar communications system and that option adds about $2,500 including some other upgrades. It is slick, for sure. You simply push the little blue button (the red cross button in an emergency), and the phone dials automatically. A pleasant voice comes on line and she can pinpoint your position, tell you in which direction you’re traveling, on which road, and what color and make of automobile you’re driving. Ok, do I have blue eyes or brown? She didn’t know. But she CAN help you with directions or help you find the nearest gas station and much more.

Handling & Performance:

Good handling for a big truck. It’s very powerful and although it’s a Suburban it doesn’t feel as big. It corners well and the 4-wheel disc brakes stop on a dime and give you nine cents change.

Styling:

Very nice in my book. I’m impressed GMC. It has smooth clean lines and generally exudes a classy look.

Fit and Finish:

Top notch. It looks and feels solid and tightly put together.

Conveniences:

More goodies and gadgets than a self respecting truck driver would want. It’s a driving experience that’s as close to your big leather chair in the Den or Study. But it does come with manual air conditioning. There’s lots of storage areas and a large center console.

Cost:

Pretty pricey, but if you have to tote a lot of people a lot of the time, the cost to value is good.

Recommendation:

I had a not so old lady from Pasadena ask how I liked it because she was looking to replace her mini van. After learning she totes her 90’ish aunts around several times a week I suggested she get another mini van. They are better on gas but more importantly it is easier for older folks to get in and out. This SUV is for the young and restless with lots of agile energy. None of the competition boast’s any better gas mileage than this GMC Yukon, which is truly the Cadillac of the big Sport Ute’s in my opinion.

The Competition:

Ford Excursion $33,655-40,745, Land Rover Range Rover $59,000-67,300, Toyota Land Cruiser $51,728.

Good News:

Lots of power, lots of space including seating for up to 9, handles great, super visibility and the comfort level is outstanding.

Bad News:

Lousy gas mileage, for some it will be too bulky to maneuver, difficult for the very young and the very old to get in and out.

Standard Equipment:

5.3 liter 285 hp V8 engine, 4-speed auto trans, autotrac push button 4WD, power steering, foglamps, trail harness, dual and side impact airbags, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, rear child security locks, remote keyless entry, front and rear air conditioning, power heated mirrors, power windows and door locks, audio system with CD, 6-wau power front seats and roof mounted luggage rack.

Gas Stats:

14 City and 16 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $37,346

1999 GMC Sierra 1500 4WD Extended Cab (271)

Overview:
This 1999 GMC Sierra 1500 Extended Cab was great to drive. Standard or regular cabs must surely be on their way out because there is nowhere to put your golf clubs. I’ve owned two pickup trucks before extended cabs were available. The first was a 1946 Chevy and the other a 1955 Ford.

And no, I didn’t buy them new. But they were both great vehicles and at the time the love of my life. Young people have weird priorities don’t they? When you’ve owned regular cab pickups you appreciate even more the convenience of an extended cab. Pickups, like almost everything else, just continue to improve every year in every way. You can finally put the kidney belt in storage. Those old “rock and roll” trucks are now in mothballs, except for the ones restored by older guys in rod clubs. They know that old feeling and usually replace the suspension with new stuff. Today’s trucks are almost embarrassingly comfortable for macho guys. 

If you look hard enough you’ll find something wrong about everything. But the complaint I saw in this 1999 model is the third door. I know I should appreciate having a third door, but I feel that putting it on the driver side would have been better. I have a keen sense of the obvious and when you look around you find most cars and trucks only have one person in them most of the time. So it stands to reason that the driver will use the third door most of the time. Anyway, if you have the family along it might be better to help the little ones up on your side. Well GM, what am I missing here?  Probably nothing, because consumers must have complained too. They added a fourth door for 2000 as an option.

At the end of the day, however, that wouldn’t stop me from buying a 3-door 1999. If you’re like me you like to take advantage of the great deals for end of a model year shoppers. In any case I stopped complaining about the third door when I mashed down on the throttle and felt that old feeling. Raw power. Perhaps it’s the most noticeable impression this truck will leave you with. The Vortec 5300 5.3-liter V8 engine is really impressive.

Historically the GMC brand name goes back 90 years and it’s not surprising that Sierra has been GMC’s bestseller by a two-to-one margin. If you wondered where the “beef” is, you won’t have to look any further than the GMC truck. I like the Dodge Ram and several of my friends and family opted to buy the Ram. Even though I consider them close and tough competitors I lean to GM products because I feel they stand up better, longer. I doubt it would surprise anyone that GM expects that men will purchase 90 percent of their trucks. Women simply have far less use for a truck.

The Competition:

Chevrolet Silverado 1500 $15,355 – $32,050, Dodge Ram 1500 $14,895 – $23,850, Ford F-150 $15,285 – $30,710, Toyota Tundra $14,995 – $27,830.

Good News:

Solid feel, car like comfort, handles great, stops on a dime and you get 5 cents change, GM quality, powerful, outstanding fit and finish, quiet.

Bad News:

Typical poor mileage from a big V8, large size is tough to maneuver, stiff suspension that makes it a truck also gives bumpy ride on cement roads, and third door should be on driver side.

Standard Equipment:

5.3 liter 285-horsepower Vortec V8 engine, 4-speed automatic trans, 4-wheel drive, dual airbags with shut off switch for passenger side, daytime running lights, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), tinted glass, engine hour meter, driver message center, theft-deterrent system, cloth split-bench seat, carpeting, AM/FM stereo, Front frame-mounted recovery hooks, Power steering, wiring harness for towing and third rear access door.

Gas Stats:

15 City and 18 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $27,230

1999 GMC Suburban (245)

Overview:
This past couple of weeks I had the opportunity to test two GMC Suburban’s back to back. The first was a concept vehicle, the first version of which was in the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog in 1997. But for 1999 it is called the Yukon Denali EX. It shares the Yukon name and styling and has the distinctive look, size and interior of the Suburban frame on which it sits.

From the drivers point of view it’s the same vehicle as this Suburban with the addition of a bunch of Sony electronics, including 5 television monitors, two cell phones, a video game station, separate radios for front and rear with headsets for five and a VCR. Everyone can be doing something different and adjust the volume independently so as not to bother others. So much for togetherness and playing family travel games to pass the time. But what a great way to keep the kids from asking, “are we there yet?”

The Denali had rear-swinging doors that made loading easy, but I didn’t care for the impaired rearview. The regular Suburban had a tailgate and glass top section that lifted for smaller item loading. Better visibility, but not as convenient for opening and loading.

This vehicle’s history goes back to the 1930s when it was little more than a panel truck with extra seats and windows. The current Suburban was introduced in 1992 that has become an upscale status symbol. Suburban owners are affluent, active people looking for a vehicle with extraordinary hauling, towing and passenger capacity-requirements few other vehicles are able to satisfy. You can seat up to nine legally, including their luggage.

The 1999 GMC Suburban is available in four trims: 1500 or 2500, each with either 2WD or 4WD. In addition to the standard 5.7 liter Vortec V8, you can opt for a 6.5-liter turbodiesel V8 and for the 2500 a 7.4-liter Vortec V8 producing 290 horsepower. (That one must come with a 60-gallon fuel tank). This Suburban continues to be based on the previous GMC pickup mounted on a ladder frame with five crossmembers.

If they could improve the fuel economy even I might be able to afford to drive one. But then, the kids are grown and I have little use for all that space anyway. Like most drivers on the road I’m usually the only person in the car. I now know what a bus driver feels like without passengers.

The Competition:

AM General Hummer $65,732 – $82,421, Chevrolet Suburban $25,675 – $29,855, Chevrolet Tahoe $24,020 – $32,420, Dodge Durango $26,055 – $28,055, Ford Expedition $29,355 – $39,095, Land Rover Range Rover $58,000 – $75,000, Lincoln Navigator $40,755 – $44,405, Toyota Land Cruiser $46,618.

Good News:

42 gal. fuel tank, lots of room for up to nine passengers, good range of engines, comfortable commanding presence on the road, smooth handling, good storage and compartments for misc. stuff, center console with notepad holder, good attention to detail, good visibility, Sherman Tank safety.

Bad News:

42 gal. fuel tank required on gas-guzzlers like this Sub, you need an 18 wheel license to drive it (just kidding), but it will be difficult to maneuver for some, huge turning radius.

Standard Equipment:

5.7L 255-hp V8 engine with 4-speed automatic trans, pushbutton 4-wheel drive selector, speed sensitive power steering, 4-wheel antilock front disc rear drum brakes, dual air bags, stereo radio with clock, power door locks, theft deterrent system, tint glass, tailgate and liftglass,

Gas Stats:

No data, but it isn’t good.

Pricing:

1500 2WD 2500 2WD 1500 4WD 2500 4WD

MSRP $25,739        $27,323         $28,739 * $30,323

* – The model tested here was the 1500 4WD and added Leather, tinted windows, luggage carrier, power windows & locks, tilt wheel, speed control, aluminum wheels, air conditioning front and rear, rear heater, stereo with CD and Cassette, 6-way power and heated front seats, remote keyless entry and trailering equipment. Total window price was $41,064.

1999 GMC Yukon Denali (201)

Overview:
The Yukon Denali went on sale earlier this year as a 1999 and has a unique grille and special headlights to set it apart from other Yukons. It joins a long running fad demanding a combination of car and off road vehicle.

The nice thing about the market for anything is that it is predictably unpredictable. It will go where people decide it will go. They do that by voting with dollars. Their dollars, soon to be GM’s or Ford’s or Japans or Germany’s. Right now the craze for the SUV has brought nearly every manufacturer into the market, including the Luxury car makers. So what started out to be for “rough and ready” guys and gals driving the wind in their hair Jeep Wrangler has captured the fancy of the Rodeo Drive well healed weak and wrinkled.

These luxury versions are so far removed from the original concept that it is simply a move to capitalize on this current booming market for big, upscale sport-utility vehicles.

Somehow I just can’t see a bunch of burley guys throwing fishing or hunting gear in the back and plopping their fish hook laden vested torso on my nice baige “cadillac quality” leather seats – with mud on their boots to boot. Rodeo Drive, ok, but the real world for the rest of us, forget it.

The 1999 GMC Yukon is available in three trims: SLE 2WD, SLE 4WD, and this Denali. The standard Yukon is nearly identical to the Chevrolet Tahoe, which is bigger and roomier than the top-selling, midsize Ford Explorer—but smaller than the massive Chevy/GMC Suburban. The Dodge Durango, Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator have all been stealing sales. Thus, we have the Denali. It spices up the Yukon line The 4-wheel-drive Denali has a $42,855 base price. That’s pretty stiff, compared to the $29,919 cost of the 2-wheel-drive SLE Yukon and the $32,919 price for the SLE 4-wheel-drive Yukon.

This is the widest of the wide of the SUV’s so if you’re a potential Yukon owner you’ll need to measure the garage to make sure it fits. Another annoyance is the two swing-out cargo doors block rear vision from the driver’s seat. Loading a Yukon is a snap however. And the rear seat is easily flipped forward to allow pickup-truck-style cargo room.

For those rough spots and imaginary pot holes in and around Beverly Hills and Brentwood the Denali has a very smart college educated traction control system that automatically engages when needed.

Watch for more Denali-style vehicles from GMC, as America’s love affair with big, high-style trucks continues, unless the stock market takes a big dump, then the well will dry up and Jeep Wranglers will be back in Vogue.

The Competition:

Chevrolet Tahoe $23,900 – $32,300 Dodge Durango $26,540 Ford Expedition $28,225 – $34,690 Land Rover Range Rover $56,300 – $64,500 Lexus LX 470 $54,950 Lincoln Navigator $39,310 – $42,960 Toyota Land Cruiser $45,950

Good News:

Roomy, Powerful,Clever 4-wheel-drive, posh say some. (trivia buffs – POSH stands for “Port Side Out, Starboard side Home”. and yes, I know, that term should have gone down with the Titanic).

Bad News:

Pricy, Average steering, handling and ride, Awkward size, Poor on gas consumption.

Standard Equipment:

5.7-liter V8 255 horsepower engine, 4-speed automatic trans, dual airbags, an anti-lock brake system (ABS), child safety locks, daytime running lights, air conditioning, cruise control, tilt steering wheel, power door locks and windows, deep-tinted glass, intermittent windshield wipers, AM/FM stereo with cassette & 6-CD changer, leather trim, Zebrano wood accents, projector-beam fog lights,16-inch chrome aluminum wheels, remote keyless entry, 6-way power front seats, heated seats front and rear, roof mounted luggage rack, and a bunch of other luxury touches.

Gas Stats:

12 City and 16 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP is $ 42,855