Chevy Trucks Rule
This past fall, I purchased a new '04 Chevy truck. I'm surprised to find that no car, truck, or sport-vehicle magazine has done an article about it as yet - no test, no review, no comparison, no comment.
Chevy truck? Oh sure, I know - blah, boring, plain Jane. At least that's what I thought in June 2004 as I considered Nissan's Titan and Ford's F-150 new 1/2-ton choices. A Chevy? Old news, old styling - I wasn't even going to check the Web site or dealers. I checked at least 10 auto/car/truck magazines and they all said pretty much the same. How wrong I was! How wrong you have been in omitting this truck from your reviews and evaluations! Because of thoroughness on my part, I just happened to see a "Just Arrived" Limited Appearance unit at a dealership. So then I started studying and looking in-depth, seeking terminology that neither Chevy or any car/truck publication mentioned - new, hot, desirable.
It's the best-kept secret of the domestic truck and sport truck market for 2004/2005: the Chevy Silverado 1500-series Extended Cab truck first created in May and June 2004. I'm not talking about modified, altered, or custom. I'm talking, "buy it off the dealer lot."
You're quite familiar with the Chevy Silverado SS truck. At $45,000, it's great - except it's expensive. The attached picture (not shown) shows the Chevy Silverado 1500 LS model pickup truck 4x2:
1. with the stock Limited Appearance Package (first introduced in late May 2004)
2. with the stock High Performance Package (first offered in June 2004)
3. with the stock trailer tow package, auto climate control, foglights, XM Radio, and cloth seats
4. with stock rear-wheel drive with limited-slip differential
The same truck is available at multiple dealers - I'm not describing a custom
So what is the big deal? Why should your publication consider this truck for evaluation and publication? Here's why:
1. same LQ9 345hp high-output V-8 gas engine as the Chevy SS (no turbo; no supercharger; no Hemi)
2. same Z60 high-performance suspension as the Chevy SS - smooth, quiet, tight, great cornering (but 4x2 is 400 pounds lighter and not stiff like all-wheel drive)
3. same heavy-duty four-speed automatic transmission as the Chevy SS - superior to standard
4. 20-inch wheels and tires; like the Chevy SS (size) - but better wheels
5. axle ratio is 3.73 (instead of the Chevy SS's 4.10), giving it a better highway drive and better towing and torque curve
6. ride height - lower than the standard Chevy 1500, lower than the Ford F-150, lower than the Nissan, lower than the Dodge and Toyota, yet ground clearance is as good or better than all the others; plus, it's level from front to back
7. almost 400 pounds lighter than the Chevy SS
8. great for towing; a smoother quieter ride than any truck I testdrove (includes all '04 Toyota Tundras, Nissan Titans, Dodges, Ford F-150s, and Chevy SSs)
9. cost - $13,000 to $15,000 less than a Chevy SS, yet at or better speed and performance; MSRP of mine was $33,400
10. gas mileage - we're talking about gas mileage in a 1/2-ton fullsize high-performance truck, and I get 20.5 to 21.5 in highway driving
So let's summarize - comfort, quiet ride, smooth, super-high-performance power and acceleration, easy maintenance, good traction, better axle ratio, lightweight, exceptional handling, excellent ground clearance, great sport truck looks, decent gas mileage, and moderate purchase price, and no tinkering required. All available stock from the dealer. And what about future resale value?
Makes you wonder why your publication has yet to write about it and tell readers what they are missing.
By the way, my rear-wheel drive with limited-slip differential and dress wheels and tires has done well on ice and snow this Wisconsin winter so far: minus 15 degrees F temperatures - no sweat for starting or traction, but great heater and passenger comfort for an extended-cab truck. And even with 300 pounds of concrete patio blocks in the back for extra weight and traction, I've got great hauling capability and I'm still lighter than most fullsize trucks in weight, and heavier in the pocketbook, as my truck operates for less and costs the same or less to insure and buy.
I'm not bragging about my personal truck; I'm just wondering how this cool truck didn't warrant a review in Sport Truck magazine. After all, it's American-made, but with the quality, feel, fit, and ride of a foreign product. I guess I can't fault you guys totally, as Chevy has been equally weak in telling people about this product. The company's Web site and brochures don't mention it either. You could be the first.
Alex Hanifl, '04 Chevy truck owner with 3,500 miles on it
Great find, great comments, and now we, with your help, are the first to get the ord out.
We couldn't get a return call from Chevy's PR crew, but we found some back-channel sources that explained it to us. These 6.0L 1/2-ton pickups are only available in a few states. Our source only heard of Texas and he thought it might be available in a few others. Now we know you can get this hot-rod sport truck in Wisconsin. If any readers have the story on the availability of the 6.0L engine in a Chevy 1500, let us know and we'll pass it along.
We're only going to challenge you on one issue. You mentioned that the only modifications you've made to the truck are a folding hard tonneau cover you installed yourself and window rain deflectors. You can't stop there. You've got to tune it, install some cool electronics, paint it, something. And when you do, let us know.