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Office on Wheels

2015 GMC Sierra SLT

2015 GMC Sierra SLT

Climbing into the cab of this week’s test vehicle, a GMC Sierra 1500 Double Cab pickup, I had a question for Jim Murphy Sales Consultant Gary Notaro: “Just who buys these things?” The main reason I asked is... no, the TWO main reasons I asked are: their relatively high cost when compared to a car; and the fact that you rarely see an expensive pickup with any pickup-like stuff in the cargo bed.

His answer? “Many people use these as a mobile office,” he offered. “You’ve maybe got a client who’s going to be spending thousands of dollars with you, you want to treat them to a comfortable ride.” That makes sense. And of course, maybe occasionally throw something back there, I’ll add. Because it is after all a pickup truck, and you could just as easily impress a potential client with a $48,000 sedan. Oh, didn’t I mention that the list on the test truck was a cool $48,005? And this wasn’t even one of the expensive ones.

But I’ll say this, the Sierra, especially an optioned-up one like my test truck, is an impressive ride. Turns out that today’s pickup buyers want their truck to drive and ride like a car. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that it does, it’s close, but it’s a far cry from the pickup trucks of not that long ago in the comfort department. Quiet, smooth, roomy, comfortable…plus all of the amenities you’d expect for that kind of money. It’s not hard to figure out why these trucks are so popular.

Of course there are downfalls. Anyone who’s ever watched a newbie owner try to park one at the local mall knows one of the major ones. They also don’t fit in everyone’s garage as easily as a car, and the gas mileage, while heads above the older trucks, still has a way to go to be considered truly fuel efficient. The test truck was equipped with the a 5.3L V-8 hooked up to a six-speed automatic transmission. This combination in rear wheel-drive configuration is EPA-rated at 16/23 mpg city/highway (the standard powerplant for the 1500 is a 4.3L V-6, rated 18/24). The 5.3L probably won’t win you many stoplight races, but it’ll pull any load you offer it without breaking a sweat, and GMC claims that it gets the best mileage of any V-8 pickup.

The test truck was a double cab model with the standard length (about six-and-a-half feet) cargo bed. Double cab models have a full back seat, but the two back doors are narrower than those on the crew cab model. The front seat has an ingenious center console/work station area which can be folded up for a third passenger, while under that center seating area is a nice-sized hidden storage compartment.

The SLE comes standard with (among other things): an eight-inch color touch screen for the audio (AM/FM/SiriusXM/HD) and rear camera; halogen projector headlamps; cruise; tilt; remote keyless entry; leather-wrapped steering wheel w/audio controls; and a trailer package. In addition, options on the test truck included (again, among other things): 18 inch polished aluminum wheels; front and rear chrome bumpers; heated front seats; remote starter; power adjustable pedals; dual-zone a/c; and four wheel-drive.

Driving the Sierra, while a bit daunting at first, got easier as I went. At least until it comes time to park, you eventually forget how large it is and sit back, relax, and enjoy the high view out the 360-degrees worth of glass surrounding the driving position. The cab is roomy, but GMC designers still managed to keep everything you need well within reach.

Overall, I guess my biggest beef is the price. Forty-eight grand is a lot of dough; but even that didn’t seem so bad after I went to the web site and built my own 1500 Denali, which stickered-out at over 57 grand. Then I did a dealer inventory search, and found a new three-quarter ton truck at over 69 thou. Whoa. Better put that truck to work, and fast!

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Read more of Jim Corbran's You Auto Know every other week in Artvoice, and more frequently on Artvoice Daily.

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