Posted: 08/21/07 09:32 AM
I want to get my hands on one.. I haven't driven a HD truck yet. I've driven lots of SUVs, but a truck will feel different.
GMC Sierra Duramax HD is professional grade
August 16, 2007
BY JEFF TAYLOR Special to Pioneer Press
In the pickup wars, loyalty is fierce as Toyota is learning. Then durability/reliability, price and features follow very closely in the pecking order. Styling and comfort also figure into the equation, but a die-hard pickup buyer won’t admit to those right off.
I’ve tested Duramax equipped trucks in the past, but the new re-designed truck with this proven diesel engine is a potent package. Recently, I had the opportunity to test the full-line of Sierra pickups from the 1500 extended cab to the HD 2500 Duramax turbo diesel pickup, and of the group, I really liked the rugged tug boat power of the HD truck the best.
Well for starters over one million of the Duramax 6.6-liter V-8 engines have been produced since production started in 2001. This is a testament to the demand and reputation this engine enjoys. Buyers agree as GM’s HD market share hovers around 30 percent. The reworked version is rated at a tire smoking 365 horsepower and a whopping 660 pound-feet of torque. The Duramax diesel uses a variable-geometry turbocharger to optimize boost performance over a wide range of operating conditions. This setup eliminates the dreaded “turbo lag” providing immediate response, while simultaneously helping to reduce emissions.
The turbo, which spins up to 120,000 rpm, is high-speed-balanced for minimal noise and vibration, while contributing to the engine’s overall smoothness and refinement. Maximum boost is 20 psi. The Duramax engine has aluminum cylinder heads that conduct heat more efficiently than a typical cast iron V-8; this in turn helps to maintain a lower valve seat temperature. By keeping temperatures low you improve durability and lower the risk heat related problems. The use of aluminum also helps reduce nitrogen oxides, which form during high combustion temperatures.
New this year is a revised diesel particulate filter system that really cleans up the engine’s act with a 90-percent reduction in particulate matter and a 50-percent reduction in nitrogen-oxide, over current standards. This is why you don’t see big black clouds from diesel trucks. The change was required to meet a new federal government requirement.
Backing the Duramax is an Allison 1000 six-speed automatic transmission. During the review period it was passenger car smooth, quiet and helped the truck to deliver around 15 mpg in combined city/highway driving. It features a tow/haul selection function, which allows you to quickly select the desired gears to match driving conditions, such as towing a trailer on a steep grade.
Taking care of business
As I stated earlier the Sierra offers plenty of pricing and model options. Briefly, the Sierra line starts at around $24,000 for a basic 2WD WT model and up $39,000 for the Crew Cab models. The test vehicle came loaded with options to reach nearly $47,000, however if you compare with a similarly equipped SUV the Sierra is less. You do give up the third row seat and covered lockable storage.
So, if you’re looking for a big work/play vehicle with some guts to haul around people and some messy stuff, the Sierra is a very viable option.
Posted: 08/22/07 12:20 PM
I saw one of these right behind me in my rear view mirror yesterday. It was a giant red one line in the photo, no less! I thought it was the Fire Department. Seriously, I did. That is how huge this rig is.
While I did really like the macho styling on a visceral level, the front end treatment reminded me of something. The double decker headlight and turn signal lamps have only been used on one vehicle in the past, to the best of my knowledge. THE GREEN VISTA CRUISER WAGON from the classic Chevy Chase movie "Vacation." Let me know if anyone else sees the similarity.