I am not a truck person, never have been ... but when in the deep of winter last February we had to make a decision about whether or not to take our Classic Buick Riveira off the road in order to save it from erosion thanks to salted roads, I quickly learned what I did and didn't like.
My husband had just completed the lease on a truck a few months before and although I didn't think he'd be able to do without a truck for the business, he seemed to think it would work out just fine. On a few occasions when going into the trunk of our newer car I found tell tale signs that he had been transporting business packages in it ...I realized that if we had to purchase another vehicle, we might as well consider something that would be beneficial for the business as well as a second vehicle for the family. Although we had fully intended to wait to purchase another vehicle and our next one was suppose to be a brand new Mitsubushi Eclipse, practicality had to take over in this instance.
I know next to nothing about the ins and outs of trucks but I do know what I like as far as looks go. After looking at more than a dozen different trucks, most which for some reason ended up being a Silver color, the sales person at our last stop suggested that we take a look at a 'sharp looking' extended cab Sierra 4x4. Tucked in the back of the lot covered with at least a few weeks worth of snow, sat the vehicle we eventually purchased -- and bonus one...it wasn't silver!
The first thing that I found great about this vehicle was how sturdy it maneuvered through snow...regardless of the depth. It is a solid all terrain vehicle that just loves to prove how sure footed it really is. Although I still don't like it's bulkiness specifically when it comes to parking it into a parking spot in close quarters, when it comes to winter storms and poor road conditions, I would probably not hesitate to take it anywhere. With the option to quickly go from 2 to 4 wheel drive with the flick of a button, winter road conditions proved to be no more difficult than dry conditions. I got use to that particular feature quickly and loved it. It handles like a car, the ride rivals even luxury cars and it's one comfortable little beast to sit in and drive.
The interior of this 2004 Sierra was pristine and the previous owner obviously took excellent care of it. The all interior leather is of high quality and there is no sign of wear on any of the seats either rear or forward. The Truck easily carries 5 passengers with ease and comfort offering plenty of leg room in both the front and rear equal to a full size car. With every imaginable option including full 6 way seating, heated seats - steering wheel and exterior mirrors, cruise, full digital computerized monitoring of all essential functions right down to telling us when the oil needs to be changed, mileage left to a tank of gas etc. as well as a Business odometer feature that allows my husband to easily keep tabs on both his business expense mileage as well as personal mileage, this little beauty which only had 74k on it when we purchased it, has more bells and whistles than we really need but so far they have all been nice to have. The OnStar feature is according to my husband our claim to fame...we have the biggest cell phone in the neighborhood! After using a GPS system last week that my sister in law thought was great but that continually wanted to take us miles out of our way... I decided that my OnStar was indeed my preferred GPS solution from now on. The truck is also equipped with full factory alarm and there is no mistaking it's loud honking among the others in the neighborhood.
I love the tilt exterior mirrors and the auto adjust seating which automatically adust to accomodate the driver based on which key they have inserted in the ignition as well as the ability to remember the settings for both drivers right down to how the seat was set, how the steering wheel was positioned and how the mirrors were set up. I really like the easy access seating option which causes the seat to slide back when exiting and then moves back into place when you re-enter and place the key in the ignition...I am always left to readjust the seating in my car and I love this particular feature. The exterior mirrors raise and lower to allow for easy backing up so that you can get a good view of curbs or other things that might be near you as you are reversing and which then return to the proper position once the vehicle is put into drive or park. The only bothersome issue I have is that the truck auto locks the doors when the gearshift is put into drive and you move a few feet ahead. It usually takes me a few seconds to figure out where the lock/unlock button is in relation to this vehicle which is opposite to that of the cars button locations, but other than that...this is a handy feature to have in place particularly if I am driving anywhere by myself at night or in areas that I am unfamiliar with. Knowing I'm locked away from anyone who might want to jump out at me...makes me feel better.
The 6 speaker Bose stereo system complete with a full 6 cd changer, a multitude of stereophonic effects and the ability to use the rear DVD player/CD player as part of the full front stereo system as well is a very handy feature. The DVD player comes complete with a full size remote control and two solid quality wireless headsets so that when the kids come with us, they are free to watch movies, listen to cd's etc., without it affecting others from listening to the trucks main stereo/radio or cd player functions.
Dual air and heat control allows my husband to set his side of the truck to his liking and I can be as cold or as hot as I wish to be on my side without it affecting him. The rear box comes equipped with a quality bed liner and hard body top which lies flat giving the truck a nicely finished and solid looking completeness to it. The cover locks into place and folds up into sections or can be completely removed to allow for transport of items that might be taller than the box sides themselves.
Our first oil change was just a few weeks ago so after purchasing the vehicle in February, we got 6 months out of the oil performance. The mileage for gas consumption isn't wonderful but with today's gas prices, we are still able to get 18 mpg average city driving on a tank of gas that costs approx. $95-$110 to fill up depending on just how high the gas prices are. During those times when gas prices have really climbed, the car has been the vehicle of choice to take out while the truck has remained at home. Usually however my husband can fill the truck up at the beginning of a week and travel back and forth from the office for several days without needing to refuel. He travels about 20 minutes to the office and has discovered how to extend his mileage simply by taking a less traffic light heavy route back and forth.
Last week during a very sombre event, looking for a lost dog, my husband was able to put the off roading capabilities of this truck to good use going through swamp, woods, bush, rocks and rough terrain where even a 4 wheeler had experienced difficulties. I even had the chance to do a little wheeling myself and despite the fact I was a little apprehensive that I'd rip the bottom of it off :) the truck handled exceptionally well and frankly I think my husband had been waiting for an opportunity to get the truck good and dirty just once.
Overrall, despite the fact that this vehicle isn't the best choice for today's economic consideration, there isn't any regret in having purchased it. It's far more truck than almost anyone would really need given the luxury options but overall but it has proven to be very dependable with absolutely no maintenance issues at all. The biggest worry with this truck so far has been whether or not the headphones, which cost over $80 to replace per unit, will get damaged. My husband is pleased with this purchase and is intending to hold onto the truck for at least a few more years.
Update On Feb 27, 2010: Except for an oxygen sensor replacement last summer (2009) this truck has been maintenance free and a purchase that was definitely worth it. We had a pretty good dumping of snow a few days ago and the truck with its 4x4 option was great to have. My husband runs synthetic oiil in the truck and car and although this product does cost more it has allowed him to run the truck a little further between oil changes and the truck has run perfectly. All features from the heated seats, mirrors, airconditioning and 6 way seat feature still work perfectly. The headphones that came with it for watching and listening to DVD/music cds in the player in back are still operating perfectly and are on the same batteries that were in them when we purchased the truck.
Despite an accident last summer that required the bumper and grill to be replaced the condition of the truck prompted the repair shop to order in all brand new factory parts direct from the manufacturer due to the fact the truck looks brand new and my husband would accept nothing less. This truck has been a faithful and very pleasurable vehicle to drive and still has many years of service in it..