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2007 GMC Sierra 1500 AWD Crew Cab SLT Review


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THE AUTO PAGE
by
JOHN HEILIG

SPECIFICATIONS

Model: GMC Sierra 1500 AWD Crew Cab SLT
Engine: 5.3-liter V8
Horsepower/Torque: 315 hp @ 5200 rpm/338 lb.-ft. @ 4400 rpm
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 143.5 in.
Length x Width x Height: 230.2 x 80.0 x 73.8 in.
Tires: P275/55R20
Maximum payload: 2039 lbs.
Economy: 16 mpg city/20 mpg highway/10.7 mpg test
Price: $42,400 (includes $4,060 in options and $900 destination charge)

The Bottom LineRedesigned for 2007, the Sierra is bigger and more powerful than the Sierra “Classic,” which is still being sold. Offers car-like comfort on the highway. Drawbacks are low fuel economy and difficulty in parking a vehicle that’s nearly 20 feet long.

While the GMC Sierra is a twin to the Chevrolet Silverado, there are a few differences, mostly in options and details. Essentially, if you want a General Motors pickup, I’d suggest you shop between dealers, because there’s not that much difference.

What is there, though, is a solid pickup that has few of the drawbacks of pickups of the past. For one, the Sierra doesn’t drive like a truck. By this I mean most pickups have harsh ride qualities and can do a job on your back if the road surfaces are less than ideal.

But with a 143.5-inch wheelbase and an overall length of more than 19 feet and a curb weight in excess of 5,000 pounds, you have all the requirements for a smooth ride. Drive a sedan with these dimensions (if you can still find one) and you’ll discover a silky smooth ride. Our tester was equipped with the Z85 handling/trailering suspension, which is designed for better handling and trailer towing. It uses monotube front and rear shocks and leaf springs.

We also had huge 20-inch wheels (a $1,295 option) and tires that helped absorb some of the road shock.

I’ll admit I was somewhat nervous, because in some GMC television commercials the bed of the truck seems to bounce at a different frequency than the body. I thought that this would be an indicator of a bad ride. But, as often happens, I was wrong.

We had the Crew Cab version, which meant we had a real back door, not an access panel or one that opened through the use of some pseudo door handle. The Sierra Crew Cab has four real door handles and four real doors.

With four doors, one might expect that rear-seat legroom is decent. It more than decent, rivaling the front seats in legroom. This means that you can carry three passengers back there for a reasonable period of time before they start complaining about their knees being stuffed up into their chins.

Under the hood was a 5.3-liter V8 rated at 315 horsepower, up from 295 last year. It is connected to a 4-speed automatic transmission. Ohmigod, only four speeds? Yes, but there’s no serious reduction in smoothness. I realize we’ve been spoiled by five-and six-speed automatics lately (Toyota has an 8-speed in the works), but four speeds are fine for normal driving.

A nice feature of the Sierra was the remote vehicle starting system. All I had to do was push a button on the key fob for a couple of seconds and the Sierra would start – and warm up – and keep running (with the doors locked) for about 10 minutes. On cold winter days, this meant we entered a truck that was warm. We also had heated seats, which my wife claims as a necessity in the winter.

For safety, and the safety of my garage doors, we had rear park assist that told us when we were getting too close to any objects behind us. RPA is designed to keep you from running over bikes and/or children, but it’s also great for other cars and, as I said, garage doors.

Our tester had the “short” box, with dimensions of 69 inches long and 62 inches wide, with 50 inches between the wheel wells. Some alleged “serious” trucks said they wouldn’t buy anything less than a full-size bed, when one this size will accommodate 90 percent of all your trucking needs. It’s like in the old days when a station wagon was rated by whether or not you could fit an 8x4 piece of plywood in the back – and nobody ever did.

While our Sierra had listed fuel economy estimates of 16 mpg city and 20 mpg highway, we only averaged 10.7 mpg during our test. Even with a big truck, I felt this was too low. Granted, we didn’t do a lot of highway driving, but in these days you should expect 13-15 mpg for an overall run.

© 2007 The Auto Page Syndicate