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New Car/Review


by Matt/Bob Hagin


     Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 14,852
     Price As Tested                                    $ 18,637
     Engine Type                             4.3 Liter V6 w/SFI*
     Engine Size                                 262 cid/4293 cc
     Horsepower                                   200 @ 4400 RPM
     Torque (lb-ft)                               255 @ 2800 RPM
     Wheelbase/Width/Length                  194.5"/77.1"/213.1"
     Transmission                           Four-speed automatic
     Curb Weight                                     4078 Pounds
     Fuel Capacity                                    34 gallons
     Tires  (F/R)                                     P235/75R15
     Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/drum (ABS)
     Drive Train                   Front-engine/rear-wheel-drive
     Vehicle Type                       Three-passenger/two-door
     Domestic Content                                        N/A
     Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                               N/A


     EPA Economy, miles per gallon
        city/highway/average                            17/22/19
     Payload                                            2037 lbs
     Towing capacity                                    5000 lbs
     * Sequential fuel injection

(Webster defines the word truck as an "... automotive vehicle for hauling." Bob Hagin states that the Chevy W/T 1500 he and son Matt test this week is the first real "truck" they've had in a long time. Matt says he put it to good use.)

MATT - Tom and I are really happy when one of the auto makers gives us a no-kidding pickup truck to evaluate for a week. Since "evaluate" in the case of a pickup means to check how well it carries stuff rather than how it rides or how fancy it looks, it gives us a chance to do chores we've been putting off. We take trash to the county dumps, pick up gardening supplies from the nursery and haul in lumber and boards to build fences and shelves with. This long bed, short cab Chevy W/T 1500 two-wheel driver was perfect for all those trips. Most of the factories that let us journalists "road test" pickups are aware of the fact that we use trucks as they're meant to be used, so they put in bed liners to keep us from scratching the paint.

BOB - Since I don't have much of that stuff to do on the old family homestead anymore, Matt, I had time to check out other things on the machine. For guys like you and your brother, a pickup like the W/T 1500 is the perfect second "car." The base price is relatively inexpensive and it can be optioned out with enough convenience items like an automatic transmission and an air conditioner to make it an easy drive to work. The long bed can carry home improvement supplies and can be upgraded with any one of the plethora of plain or fancy camper shells. The fuel mileage is reasonable, too, due to the fact that it carries a 262 cubic-inch, 200 horsepower V6 under the hood rather than a more fuel-thirsty V8. And while it's hard to hide the fact that it's a truck, the ride doesn't beat the driver, like some of the more "macho" high-rider versions. But this truck definitely rides better when it's carrying a full 2000-pound load in the bed.

MATT - Actually, I find that most of our journalistic colleagues don't try out the bare-bones examples of these trucks, Dad. They go for the flashier versions that have bumped the Chevy pickup line into the Number Two spot in sales in the United States. Those figures include passenger and sports cars as well as sports/utility vehicles and minivans, too. Americans love trucks, but in most cases, they like them with more amenities than the version we had. Almost all Chevy pickups sold go to males, and most of those guys are around 45 years old, according to Chevrolet. There's anti-skid braking on both ends and that comes in handy when the bed is empty or one of us is towing one of the ski boats. It has a towing capacity of 5000 pounds, so I don't think that our little skimmers would be much of a challenge, even on the hills.

BOB - The only drawback I can find with this truck is that being a short cab, there's no place in back of the driver for an infant seat so a little guy would have to be seated up front. But that's one of the sacrifices a buyer has to make in order to enjoy the extra bed capacity of this big job. Another drawback is that full carpeting isn't offered on the W/T version and the standard black rubber mat doesn't offer much in the way of sound deadening. By the way, Matt, W/T stands for Work Truck and if a buyer wants to go for fancier stuff, he or she is going to have to pony up with considerably more money.

MATT - But that's one of the attractions to buying a pickup, Dad. Buyers can almost tailor-make their new Chevy trucks with a raft of gasoline engines up to a 7.4 liter V8, as well a turbocharged 6.5 liter diesel unit. There's long and short beds, extended cabs and extra side doors, and a couple of different wheelbase lengths. On the street, it's hard to find two Chevy pickups "tricked-out" the same way.

BOB - What a business. When I was a kid, a guy just went into the dealership, said he wanted a pickup and the only option available was the paint color.

MATT - That's true, Dad, but the pickup world has come a long way since the days of wooden wheels, no side windows and cloth tops.