Plain and simple - this is by far the nicest vehicle I have ever even been in, let alone driven. It's a long way to step up from an old '78 to a 2007 and things have changed! This thing feels nothing like a truck - it's smooth and whisper quiet, the steering is responsive, the brakes are excellent (gotta love hydroboost), and the interior is a work of art. Everything is where it should be and all the controls are easy to operate - with or without gloves on. I'm blown away - it's simply a gorgeous vehicle. The other thing I didn't plan on, but I'm lucky it worked out the way it did, is that I bought a 2007 Classic. That means the truck is a 2007 model year but in the "classic" body style - the same as the 2006. The "new" 2007 is a completely different truck and, though it's a great truck and is getting rave reviews, I much, much prefer the look of the "classic". I particularly love the headlights and front end on the "classic" - I've admired them since they came out. And, in my opinion, this is important. Don't kid yourself - no matter how great a truck's specs, or how popular or trendy it is - it has to look good to YOU. It's a very personal thing, taste, but I strongly believe that to be able to live with a truck and be happy for a long time, you have to be able to walk out to it every day and look at it and think - man, I love my truck. I'll admit, I didn't even consider the new Toyota Tundra full-size, even though I know it has impressive specs, simply because, to me, it is just butt ugly. You gotta love your truck.
Already I find myself looking for any reason to drive the truck. Not only that, but when I'm driving, I find myself actually setting the cruise at or below the speed limit (I know!) because I don't want to get there too fast, I don't want the drive to be over - I'm not kidding - that's how much I'm loving driving this truck.
One of the things most often asked about when you own a big truck is "what kind of mileage do you get?" I've seen all kinds of different numbers posted on the Internet - from mild to wild (and some wildly unbelievable)! Here I shall document my actual fuel mileage in both tabular and graphical form, and I'll update it frequently.
In the table you see four columns, which are as follows:
MPG - the actual MPG as calculated between fill-ups. My method for calculating is to fill the truck up (deliver fuel until the pump auto shuts off, then one more squeeze to be sure), drive, then fill-up again (using the same station and same pump as much as possible) and record the distance traveled between the two fill-ups. With that data I use a spreadsheet to calculate the MPG achieved between fills.
DIC MPG - this is the MPG as calculated by the vehicles computer and displayed in continuous real-time via the Drivers Information Centre (DIC), which is a digital readout on the instrument panel. It is calculated by using the odometer and the computer's calculation of fuel delivered to the engine. The system can be manually reset and calculates the value between resets - i.e. their is no averaging between resets or historical data used in the calculation. In other words, this value should be the same as the MPG value that I calculate manually.
Lifetime Avg MPG - the DIC also displays the total distance traveled and the total amount of fuel consumed over the lifetime of the truck. These figures cannot be reset. Lifetime Avg MPG is calculated from those numbers.
DIC Best - We all know driving-style/load/conditions can have a huge affect on mileage. Because the DIC displays the calculated mileage in real time as it's being calculated you can watch it change over time as driving conditions change. This figure is the best reading observed over a reasonable amount of time (driving for at least 30 mins). My best so far of 13.7 MPG was achieved while driving along the highway, completely unloaded (except me!), with the cruise set at 100km/h, for 40 minutes, having just filled up and reset the DIC MPG.
Lifetime Avg MPG
Life With My Truck - Opinions and Commenatry
This section is an on-going "blog" of viewpoints and opinions - an historical log of my experience owning and driving the truck. Almost by definition some of the viewpoints presented will change over time. As such, this section is presented chronologically, in sections divided by date, with the newest information at the top. To get the full story one really needs to read from the bottom-up as it's quite possible that something I originally disliked I grew to like and vice versa.
Entry #3, 13 Mar 2007, Time with truck - 7.5 weeks, Mileage - 2111 km
Damn it! I was driving the truck home last night from a resteraunt with the family aboard and I noticed the most annoying squeek. How could this be happening so soon? It was an awful noise.
I tried to concentrate on the road while Laurie searched for the source of the dreaded squeeking. Wait! What's that hon? Oh - he, he - silly me! Turns out the squeek was the two styrofoam containers on the centre hump, the kids leftovers, rubbing together. Phew!
On a more serious note - I've done some more testing with the GPS and the speedo continues to read a fairly consistant 1.5 - 2 km/h lower than the GPS, regardless of speed. The odometer also read 48.1 km while the GPS track showed 47.7 km - a diescrepancy of about 0.8%. That's actually probably within the margin of error for how accurate the test is. I need to go on a nice long trip of several hundred kilometers before drawing any conclusions.
And I should note - the rear-seat cup holders in the fold down armrest are excellent. nice and big and easy for little kid hands to use.
Entry #2, 04 Mar 2007, Time with truck - 6 weeks, Mileage - 1732 km
Testing Speedometer and Odometer Calibration:
This weekend I took my trusty old Garmin GPS-12 along for a short ride to check out how its speed and distance calculations compare with those of the truck. Over a fairly short course of about 50km mixed highway and city driving I found that:
- From 40 km/h all the way up to 120 km/h the speedometer consistently showed 1.5 to 2 km/h less than the GPS. I had excellent signal reception with eight satellites being received and believe the GPS is very accurate. The fact that the speedo reads low isn't very surprising though, as every vehicle I've ever owned has been this way and I've tested them all with either GPS or radar.
- On the other hand, over about 50km driven, the truck's odometer was within 0.1 km of the GPS track distance. This is fairly confidence inspiring - particularly with respect to accurate calculation of fuel mileage since I use the odometer for this.
When I have a chance I'm going to do some further testing over longer distance and see what the results are.
The issue of the speedometer error will raise its head again when I upgrade to a larger tire size. Unfortunatly moving to a larger tire diameter will make any speedometer read low, compounding any pre-existing innacuracy. As far as I know at this point, the dealer can adjust the PCM to compensate for different sized tires, but only up to a point. I have heard that that point is the largest tire size offered from GM as an option on your particular model truck. My local dealer said that the only way to tell for sure was to have the truck scanned by them. I plan to do this soon and will report the results.
In the meantime, I used the excellent tire size calculator / comparison at 1010tires.com to generate the following table to compare my stock tire size to the sizes I'm interested in upgrading to. Note that the 285's will make an accurate speedo read almost 8% low (or 92 km/h at 100 km/h) - combine that with stock error, and without a re-calibration of the PCM my speedo would likely read 90 km/h at 100 km/h.
Stock Tire - 245/75R16
Tire 1 - 265/75R16
Tire 2 - 285/75R16
Rim Width Range:
6.5 - 7.5 in
Rim Width Range:
7 - 8 in
Rim Width Range:
7.5 - 9 in
Revs per Mile:
Revs per Mile:
Revs per Mile:
Speedometer Difference: -
Speedometer Difference: 3.879% too slow
Speedometer Difference: 7.782% too slow
Diameter Difference: -
Diameter Difference: 3.73%
Diameter Difference: 7.22%
Entry #1, 24 Feb 2007, Time with truck - 5 weeks, Mileage - 1607 km
A list of the things I love or enjoy most about my truck:
- The ride and drive - compared to anything else I've ever driven it is superb. I hope it remains that way for many, many thousands of miles. - The quiet - for a big unaerodynamic truck bombing down the highway the quietness is nothing short of incredible. I love it and can't say I'm sorry to not have a diesel. I am really enjoying cruising in quiet comfort. - The room inside. Crew cabs rock! There is a ton of room for a family of four plus large dog. - DIC. The Drivers Information Centre took a little getting used to - but it does display and allow you to control all sorts of neat things - from dual trip-meters to mileage calculations to programming how long you want the lights to stay on after you shut off and get out. It's cool. - OLM. This was news to me. Last time I bought a vehicle we were all still slavishly changing oil and filter every 5000km, whether it was needed or not. No more. GM uses a system of sensors and the computer to monitor the life of the oil, displaying the remaining life as a percentage, and also displaying an appropriate warning to change the oil when required. So far the system does really seem to work well and research has shown that intervals can range from 3000km to 10,000 or more, depending on the trucks use and under what conditions. In my fuel mileage spreadsheet I also record the remaining oil life at each fill up and extrapolate from there to come up with an estimated point at which the oil will need to be changed. So far I'm on track to change at 6800km.
DIC displaying current fuel mileage
DIC displaying remaining engine oil life
- Grab handles. I love the big, beefy grab handles located for every outboard passenger - front and rear. There are even two for the front seat passenger. Not that I can see myself beating this truck off road - but they're still cool.
Beefy grab handles - pictured is the passenger rear.
- Leather wrapped steering wheel. For me, this is unheard-of luxury! - Steering wheel mounted audio controls. This is an option I never would have ordered, but you know how modern vehicles all come with pre-defined sets of options. Mine happened to come with audio controls on the steering wheel. In very short order I have grown to like them so much I will always look for this feature on future vehicles. The convenience and safety is very enjoyable.
Steering-wheel mounted audio controls. Note that the lower four buttons are for controlling the DIC. They come only with the steering wheel mounted audio controls option and it is my understanding that, without them, your use and control of the DIC is more limited than with them.
Things I've gotten used to. Features or characteristics I wasn't sure I liked at first, but that I've grown to understand or like:
- Auto-dimming rear-view mirror with compass and temperature readout. What with the power button, power-on light, chromatic sensor in the glass, compass direction readout and outside temperature readout this is one busy mirror. When you glance up there's a lot to see / pay attention to. At first, unused to this, I found it disconcerting. Now I've gotten used to it and can glance up to view the traffic without being distracted. The auto-dimming is a great feature too - I'm really enjoying that.
- Integrated turn signals. The flashing red arrows integrated into the outside rear view mirrors as turn signals took a couple of days to get used to - especially at night. Every time I glanced out the side window while the turn signal was on I saw the flashing red and immediately thought the cops were after me. Not good for the heart! Perhaps just the sign of a misspent youth, I'm now comfortably used to them!
Things I'm getting used to.This is a list of things I'm as yet undecided on. At first they concerned me but I'll allow that they might just take some getting used to. The jury's still out on:
- Washers on wipers. The truck has the design that places the washer spray nozzles on the wiper arms themselves, as opposed to on the hood facing the windshield. While this is good because it means snow and ice accumulated on the hood/ at the base of the windshield don't obscure the spray, it also means that each and every time you use the wash feature, the first wipe of the blades across the glass is dry as the fluid isn't projected ahead of the blade - not sure I like that.
- HUGE towing mirrors. Awesome for rear-view and for reducing blind spots, the optional "deluxe wide-load, vertical glass with lower convex spotter glass, heated with integrated turn signals, manual extending and folding" outside rear view mirrors are so large that they can actually obscure your vision forward. I find that, especially at a 4-way intersection, a small car, if positioned just-so on the road to your right, can actually be completely obscured by the large mirrors. Caution!
- Cruise. It seems, just a little, that the cruise control may be a bit surgey. I'm not 100%convinced as it could well be the poor road conditions I have locally as much as anything. I need to report back after some more miles on various different roads.
Things I'm not so crazy about. I guess nothing's perfect - stuff I really don't like:
- Tires too small. This is my tow rig and family hauler. I'm concerned with fuel mileage and ride quality. I may never really off-road with this truck. But, having said all that, 245/75R16 tires (30.5" tall) just look WAY too small on a truck this big and long. Even my wife commented on it and suggested I buy bigger tires when the time comes - and she's usually imploring me not to modify things!
- 4wd indicator. With the electronic-shift transfer case (which, I must admit I'm enjoying a lot, despite thinking of myself as a dyed-in-the-wool mechanical lever type guy) the only indication you have of being in 4WD is the tiny amber light next to the button. And the button's are partially obscured by the steering wheel to boot. It would be much better if we could have a nice red 4WD or 4X4 indicator light on the instrument panel itself.
These two pictures illustrate how the steering wheel blocks the drivers view of the 4WD engagement buttons, and thus also the tiny lights that indicate which gear the transfer case is in.
- Power windows passenger lockout feature. Hey, I have a 7 year-old and 4 year-old in the back, so the ability to lock-out their windows (so they can't be constantly playing with them) is great. Why, however, is the only option to have all windows powered, or ONLY the drivers? What about my poor wife in the passenger seat? With the kids in the back and the lockout feature engaged she has to ask me to let her operate her window - super not cool!
- Inadequate floor mats. The stock floor mats simply suck. Pathetic. This is a truck, it's going to get used in the winter and the dirt - why can't GM provide us with decent stock floor mats - something more along the lines of Husky or Weather-Tech rather than these postage stamps we get.
Stock passenger-side floor mat. Note the pathetic coverage.
Stock drivers-side floor mat. Again, very poor coverage.
Drivers foot well after removal of stock matt. Shown after 1600km of Canadian winter driving. Look closely at the area up by the accelerator pedal.
Bad enough is the amount of salt and crud that gets on the carpet because of the poor coverage of the matt.
Worse still is the moisture that gets under the matt. This comes primarily from the area up by the accelerator where, of course, your boots always are. Any snow or ice or mud or salt on your boots falls on the carpet, melts, and runs under the matt.
The area under the parking brake pedal is also a serious flaw in my opinion.