My New Valentine
by Joe LaMuraglia
February 14, 2007 – Gaywheels.com just got delivery of a 2007 GMC Sierra 1500 4WD Extended Cab SLT. Say that 10 times fast! Having piloted GM’s new SUVs, I am expecting great things from their line of pickups and initial impressions indicate that I won’t be disappointed. Of course, the Sierra is loaded with leather, sunroof, navigation, upgraded stereo, luxury this, luxury that….not exactly what the boys from Brokeback would drive but PERFECT for a city boy like me that wants to play cowboy.
I haven’t spent much time in it yet but I’m making the trek to Nashville again today and will be schlepping some furniture up for my man. Hardly a test of the hauling capacity of the Sierra but a real-world experience nonetheless. In my run to the gym and grocery store last night, I was blown away by the ride, the idicated 15 MPG around town and the excellent visibility. I had trouble parking it (twice) which is a bit of an embarrassment for a car geek like me. I need to check the wheelbase figures and compare them to the Escalade I drove. It was much easier to park. May have something to do with my new steed being 4WD. More later!
February 15, 2007 – Made it to Nashville in 3:45. Not my record but still respectable considering the traffic getting out of Atlanta was brutal and I had to stop once to heed nature’s call. The Sierra peformed beautifully and the only reminder that I was piloting a pickup was the view out the rearview mirror where the top of the chair that I was hauling up could be seen. Speaking of which, I actually USED the $175 optional “cargo management system”. Ok, it was an upholstered chair latched into place by some bungee cords but the sliding eye-hooks allowed me to get the perfect tension and made me confident that the damn thing wasn’t going to go flying out of the back of the truck while I was cruising over the mountain. I can imagine how useful it would be if you carried variously-sized cargo back there.
MPG wasn’t amazing at 17 on the HWY but if you’ve read my other posts, this route isn’t exactly optimal for high MPG. There are quite a few steep grades you have to climb during the trek. And yes, I drive fast. This vehicle is equipped with GM’s Active Fuel Management – where in certain low-load situations, it will operate in 4-cylinder mode to save fuel. It is a seemless technology that works. It is also Flex-Fuel capable. One thing that is considered a competitive disadvantage is that the Sierra is equipped with a 4-speed automatic when its competitors have 5 or 6-speed transmissions. I can honestly say that it doesn’t make much difference in the way the vehicle drives but an extra gear or two would help with gas mileage. We are shopping for furniture this weekend (no, not antiquing) so we may get to test out the cargo bed again. Our gay female friends will come along for the ride so I should be able to report on real world rear seat comfort as well. Hope you all survived Valentine’s day!
February 20, 2007 — So much for daily updates! I spent five days in Nashville and to be honest, didn’t drive that much. It was cold, snowy and I was happy to stay at home. In the times I did go out, I used the hell out of GM’s remote start feature. It is SOOO nice to get into a toasty truck when it is 10 degrees out. If you live anywhere with extreme temperatures, I highly recommend this feature.
As my time with the truck came to an end, I realized how much I enjoyed driving it. Trust me, a few years ago those words would have never come out of my mouth. It was incredibly solid, peppy, comfortable and overall easy to live with. There were a few things that I’d change though. A vehicle this size needs a backup camera. Toyota’s Tundra will have one and I know the technology exists in GM’s parts bin. Also, the steering wheel in this truck and a few other GM trucks I’ve driven, is slightly angled — not 100% perpendicular to the driver. Keep in mind that I am slightly odd and most drivers wouldn’t notice this but it did bug me a bit. Also, I’d want a crew cab with 4 proper doors. The small rear doors on the extended cab don’t do much for me. The open well and the rear is nicely appointed but the space back there isn’t really usable and you’d have to tie me up to get me to sit back there. But that isn’t a GMC issue, it is pretty much the same in all extended cab trucks.
Verdict– The GMC Sierra is the sister truck to the award-winning Chevrolet Silverado and it shows. It shares its high quality materials, stout frame, excellent drive train and available technologies. While not perfect, it is pretty damn good and should be an integral part in GM’s turnaround. Toyota’s Tundra will be a challenge but I think GM has the tools in this rolling toolbox to keep them at bay.
GMC is a gay-friendly company.
Read other GMC reviews by GayWheels.com’s writers