Statistically speaking, I made a very popular purchase choice with my new GMC Sierra 1500. General Motors pickups are the third best-selling vehicles in America, bested only by the RAM 1500 and Ford F-150. Buying my Sierra wasn’t an easy decision — but after weeks of tire kicking, the best choice for me was the GMC Sierra, for several reasons.
Before buying my new truck, I was a cheapskate with vehicles, usually buying heavily depreciated older cars. This no longer made sense after I accepted a new job which has me driving 50,000 miles a year. My previous daily driver was a 1994 Buick Roadmaster wagon, complete with faux exterior wood paneling and the legendary LT1 V8 engine. With my employer compensating for mileage, I made a very smart decision by switching to a 2010 Toyota Prius Hybrid, but I hated it.
Going from a luxurious pillow-topped upholstered full sized station wagon to a Prius felt like a major downgrade. I could never find a comfortable seating position, and missed the V8 power and solid road feel only heavy vehicles provide. Unfortunately, full-sized wagons went away with floppy discs 20 years ago — so if I wanted to go big again, it needed to be a SUV. The only problem? Unbelievably high prices!
Most well-equipped, full-size SUVs are over $50,000 — well above my budget. Curiously, despite identical powertrains and equipment, full-size trucks are way cheaper, with better incentives as well. This prompted me to start shopping for my own “Bro-Dozer.”
Like many truck buyers, family heritage played a factor with in my purchase decision. My father has always owned General Motors products, and had an unexplainable distaste for anything Ford. This must have rubbed off on me, because I dismissed the Ford F-150 for no good reason. I also skipped Nissan Titan, as the long overdue redesign was not in production yet. Given my five years in a Buick and family heritage, I favored GM offerings, but was also very interested in a few others.
I honestly believe the RAM is the most attractive truck of the bunch, and has the most comfortable ride. I also liked the huge infotainment screen, and it seemed like the most technologically advanced — but I forgot all of this when I sat inside a Toyota Tundra Platinum Edition. With its extremely spacious cab, diamond stitched leather and fully retractable power rear window, I was totally in love. The whole vehicle felt more solid as well, like it was built from the same material as Thor’s hammer. Without even looking at a GM truck, I was ready to make a deal.
The only issue I had with the Tundra was the price. Toyota usually doesn’t offer large factory discounts and incentives like its American competition. Given Toyota’s popularity, big financial incentives aren’t necessary. I was offered a very generous $4000 off their MSRP, but at $46,000, it still seemed like a pricey proposition. This gave me enough pause to check out what General Motors had to offer.
The styling of the GMC didn’t wow me like the Dodge, nor was the interior as spacious as the Toyota, but the Sierra felt very familiar, and comfortable. I found a white crew cab 4×4, with the higher trim SLT package, as well as the Z71 off-road suspension. Despite a 20 year difference, it had a similar layout, controls, and ergonomics to my old Buick wagon. I still favored the Toyota, but when the GMC dealer dropped $10,000 off the sticker price with very little dickering, I was sold.
For only $39,000, I brought home a very well-equipped luxury rig, with more serious off-road capability than I’ll never need, plenty of fancy gadgets I don’t know how to use, and a 9,200 pound towing capacity. I can’t help but marvel at the value. It’s no wonder Americans buy more trucks than anything else,
Despite its heft and 355 horsepower V8, I regularly see over 20 MPG on the highway. I opted to install a fiberglass bed cap to make my truck more like a station wagon, and the extra weight on the rear suspension helped the ride quality considerably. I feel like I can do just about anything with my Sierra, except park it. The turning circle is about the same as a cruise ship — though an occasional 50 point turn to squeeze into an undersized stall is a small sacrifice when considering all the benefits.
With high resale value and reliability as well, I feel like I made a solid investment. Parking aside, I have not regretted my purchase for a moment, and my Sierra has made constantly crisscrossing the Midwest an effortless task. Unless teleporters or an Ironman suit become reality, I can’t imagine a better way to get around.