A long-bed 4x4 work truck model. $20,200 out the door. Manual windows and locks, vinyl interior, plain bench seat with no center console. Just a basic truck with a locker rear end, towing package and not much else.
So far, the critter goes from point A to destination B reliably, though I do have some worries about the transmission. Will be taking the beast in for warranty work this coming January 2006 when the dealer relocates to a new location much closer to my humble shanty.
Getting around 15 mpg in town by driving sensibly, and was surprised to get 20 mpg on the flat freeway going 65-70 mph.
The truck is comfortable to sit in even for long distance trips. Outside visibility is good. The driving position is fine for my 5' 10" height. The brakes work well and give good stopping control on dry or wet pavement. The ABS works as it should and testing it on icy pavement resulted in better stops than I obtained in vehicles without ABS.
On-road use only, thus limited use of 4x4 capability. Used, but a few times on snowy roads due to a lack of major snow storms. However, 4x4 does provide better "get moving" traction, especially on the local small hills. Winter tires and 300 pounds of sand over the rear axle provides decent winter road traction.
So far, no oil consumption or leakage from the engine. No other leaks to be seen from any components containing liquid.
The paint was not perfect, but the minor defects were not visible when inspecting it before buying. The white paint with a summer sun reflecting from it was blinding. Over time, under clouds, in the shade, looking closely while washing/waxing, numerous minor defects in the finish were observed. To me, not severe enough to warranty taking back to the dealer, but enough to make me reconsider buying another GMC product. If they are that lax regarding paint and finish quality, what other areas has the builder been lax in???
I have owned the truck for 16 months with no breakdowns. It starts well even on the sub-zero cold mornings. The engine warms up quickly. I have babied the truck, hoping to make it last 20 years or more. Maintenance intervals are exceeded. Watching the cooling system carefully to hopefully avoid the problems some folks have with the Dex-Cool-type coolant.
Hopefully the intermittent tranny problem will be an easy fix, that is, if the dealer can find the problem. At least I will have the problem on record if it shows up after the 3 year/30,000 mile warranty ends. Why can't GM extend this warranty? Aren't they believers in their own claims of how reliable their vehicles are?
I gave very serious thought to buying a Toyota truck, but am hoping to find work in a very rural small town where a good-old-fashioned Chevy truck is likelier to be repairable and parts easily obtained by the local mechanics.
Time will tell if I made a good decision in buying my first American vehicle in 30 years.