By on February 14, 2017

Premier Badge on 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe, Image: © 2017 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Now after all these years, and no matter what damage it does to the B&B’s conception of me as a redneck reactionary from Bumpkin, Ohio, the story can finally be told: I was a full thirteen and a half years old when I first set foot in an honest-to-nine-pound-baby-Jesus pickup truck. Not the front seat of said all-American conveyance, mind you. The bed of a pickup truck.

The scenario was this: At the time, my high school was about 50-percent residents of a new tournament golf course and about 50-percent residents of the farms that didn’t get absorbed into said course. My pal Brent was dating a hillbilly girl from across the tracks. She had a stunning friend. I suggested a double date. The friend agreed, presumably driven by the kind of self-destructive farm-bound boredom that makes rural kids steal tractors, torture animals, and ingest crystal meth.

One of the girls’ fathers agreed to drive us to the local theater. He showed up at my friend’s house behind the wheel of a light-blue Dodge Ram 150 2WD Regular Cab, festooned in country fashion with a bubble-windowed cap in a fetching combination of gloss white and dull rust. There were silhouettes moving behind those bubble windows. I turned to run; I’d heard a plot summary of Deliverance from my father. But my friend grabbed my shoulder and dragged me to where the overalls-wearing father was dropping the tailgate to reveal not a pack of snarling hounds or a toothless rapist but our dates for the evening, prettily perched on a pair of carpeted boxes covering the wheelwells. “Get in,” Farmer Dad growled.

“I … don’t think I can,” I replied.

This was the quandary to end all quandaries. My dream girl was in that pickup bed, and I was desperate to make out with somebody besides the homely eighth-grader down the street. But I’d been told my whole life that riding in the back of a pickup was more than just a guarantee of a violent, lingering death in a country-road ditch; it also Simply Wasn’t Done By Decent People. This was my Hamlet moment, but it didn’t last; mistaking my diffidence for physical incompetence, the farmer picked me up by the belt loop on my 501s and tossed me forcibly into the bed of the Dodge before closing the tailgate and — horror of horrors! — locking the cap shut on us.

The rest of the evening taught me quite a bit about my own squeamishness and prissy class consciousness even as it failed to show me anything further about the mysteries of female anatomy. But perhaps I’ve revealed more than my own bourgeois roots in this story. I’ve also disclosed a lower limit to my age, because when was the last time you saw a cap on a pickup-truck bed? They were once as common as “styled steel wheels” on half-ton pickups from Key West to Anchorage. Today, they’re as common as … well, styled steel wheels.

Why did they disappear? Like the dinosaurs, they once ruled the earth; like the dinosaurs, pickup-truck caps are gone now. Or perhaps they merely evolved. The truth of the matter is that General Motors is more than happy to sell you a very nice factory-installed cap on their full-sized truck. It’s the best cap ever. Better than the aftermarket jobs, better than the removable cap on the F-Series-based Bronco.

The alert reader will have guessed that I’m referring to the steel roof and third-row seating that is provided to every purchaser of a new Chevrolet Suburban. That “cap” is what differentiates a Suburban from a Silverado Crew Cab. This is relevant, because I recently discovered that I am quite the fan of the Silverado Crew Cab. As part of my truck-ulent midlife crisis, and also as part of a 1,900-mile race-car towing odyssey to and from Road Atlanta by way of several lengthy detours, I recently managed to borrow a Silverado LTZ 4×4 Crew Cab with the 12,100-pound towing package and the absolutely spellbinding 6.2-liter V8. The loan was courtesy of another publication so you’ll have to go there next week to get the full details. Here’s the tl;dr version, though: for the first time in my adult life, I am pretty sure that I prefer the Chevy half-ton to its enemies both foreign and domestic.

The truck that I drove was just north of sixty-two grand. But if you skip a few of the more outrageous options, and you stick with the smaller 5.3-liter V8, you can get a very well-equipped LTZ Crew Cab 4×4 for a net sticker of $49,805. That truck will do everything from wireless phone charging to seat ventilation to actually steering itself. And it’s quite a bargain when you compare it to, say, a turbo-four-banger BMW 5 Series. I should just wait for the next Red Tag sale and buy one.

Or … I could get a new Suburban. It offers nearly as much cargo capacity and you don’t have to worry about somebody stealing your toolbox or your spare wheels out of the bed when you’re asleep at the hotel the night before race day. The only thing it can’t do as well as a Silverado is carry fuel jugs, which is a big part of club racing but maybe there’s something to be said for putting the jugs on the trailer anyway.

The net sticker of a new Suburban is $49,610, which sounds very close to the $49,805 of my dream truck. That’s where the similarities end, because that price gets you a fleet-spec base Suburban LS, which is considerably simpler fare than the LTZ Silverado I drove. So we should price a Silverado LTZ instead. There is no Suburban LTZ this year. Instead, we get a Suburban Premier, which is about the same thing with a different badge.

Equipped to match my Silverado configuration, the ‘Burb is $67,925. And for that money you still don’t get a sunroof. Eighteen grand for a folding bench and a cap to cover it. I’m not suggesting that Chevrolet needs to match the $400 total cost of the “seats” and cap in that Dodge Ram I encountered thirty-two years ago, but I’m also not sure that the markup should be greater than the average street price of a brand-new Sonic LT.

It gets worse, because the Silverado offers something that you can’t get in a Suburban at any price, and that’s the aforementioned 6.2-liter V8. Trust me, you want it. The big-hearted small-block would be a perfect fit for a towing-focused Suburban, but thanks to the dim-witted dinosaur-descendant vestiges of the Sloan Plan, you’ll have to drive across town to your combo GMC/Cadillac dealer in order to get it.

The final bit of information we need to consider is this: the incentives on a Silverado almost always outshine their Suburban equivalents, in large part because the Suburban really has no direct competition and won’t have any until Ford manages to field an “EL” version of a modern Expedition some time in the next year or two. In practice, the price gap is probably more than twenty thousand dollars, even after you pay nearly three stacks for the optional 6.2 in the crew cab.

Traditional TTAC practice demands that I tee off on the General and its dopey SUV buyer base here, but just this once I’m going to swallow my bile and look at the situation rationally. The markup on the Suburban is outrageous, true — but it’s still a much better deal, and a better long-term value, than almost any other large SUV on the market. The 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser costs $84,775 and I’d roll my eyes at anybody who suggested that it will last any longer or run any better than a modern Suburban. You can quibble about the way GM engineers and builds its passenger cars but the full-sized trucks have been very good for a very long time.

It’s better, and maybe even more accurate, to look at this as a $20,000 discount for taking an open bed in place of a third row. Plus you get the option of the brilliant 6.2-liter engine. Unless you really need the social camouflage of the station-wagon roofline, you’d be fool not to take the Silverado. A quick look at the sales charts suggests that most people aren’t fools.

Yet there’s still that voice in the back of my head telling me that the Silverado is for country mice. Since I’m not really a country mouse despite my best intentions in that direction, maybe I’d better spend the extra money to keep that voice quiet. What freedom it would be, to never suffer from these delusions of socioeconomic adequacy, this vestigial tail of my upbringing that still pins me with indecision the way it did when I quivered at the thought of climbing that tailgate all those years ago. Just six years after I tumbled out of that Dodge at the end of the evening, still virginal in all non-pickup-truck-related matters of substance, I met a professor who told me one of the truest things I’ve ever heard. “The poor,” he said, “are free. And the rich are free. Only the middle class knows what it means to suffer.” Thinking back to the way I quivered fearfully on that rough-hewn carpeted box, eliciting the contempt of my date even as I hated myself for doing so, I cannot bring myself to disagree.

[Image: © 2017 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars]

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99 Comments on “No Fixed Abode: The Cost of the Cap and the Price of Premier...”


  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    My father always buys a matching topper for his “nice pickup,” mostly for keeping things out of the elements in the winter. It comes off in early April and goes on before we go up to the cabin for Thanksgiving.

    Nowadays, I call the RCLB 4×2 half-ton with a topper the Old Man Special.

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    Great article Jack!

    I’m a Silverado CCSB owner and aspirational Suburban owner. Its hard to argue with a nicely equipped Silverado LTZ with 4×4, two tone brown/tan leather interior and a sunroof for less than a 2WD Suburban LS with dour black cloth. Hence I have a Silverado and not a Suburban.

    I really wanted the 6.2L. I just can’t personally support the outrageous $0.70 – $0.90 per gallon premium upcharge here. Just yesterday I bought E-85 @ 1.89 with 87 @ 2.28 and premium @ $3.19 all at the same station! I can afford it; I just won’t support that level of price gouging with my wallet. So a 5.3L is it.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Jack is looking for a tow vehicle for the C5? 2015 Suburban LTZ can be had for $40-50,000 and still have a few thousand of base warranty. My bro knlaw in Bexley had locked in on one of these to replace his old Toureg and growing kids. But since putting the purchase on hold jack will have none less shopper in CMH area.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        The C5 can get to the track by itself.

        There are now two unstreetable race cars in the fleet.

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          I’m a truck guy at heart, grew up driving them, love them, especially how nice the new ones are, but just can’t pull the trigger. At the end of the day I always come back to the SUV. Because I don’t need the open bed the body-style just makes more sense, with the connected cargo area. Sure, it’s not quite as good a value pound of vehicle per dollar, but for my long term ownership and usage it’s just better.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            The stuff I carry in my PU bed on those weekends I leave town to travel to WI with my 3 kids is one of the reasons I find a crew cab PU infinitely more useful than an SUV. Guess it just depends on you life style.

          • 0 avatar
            Mandalorian

            I don’t disagree with that, it’s all about the lifestyle. With the SUV there are certain situations a pickup would be better, but I can usually manage cramming things in. Have even put down a tarp to haul deer home from the woods. These days I can rent a utility trailer for $20-30 a day if I really need the open bed.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “I am pretty sure that I prefer the Chevy half-ton to its enemies both foreign and domestic.”

    I am slightly in shock. GM’s V8 needs to be in everything they build north of the Malibu.

    You should buy a 6.2L, but if you have to go for the 5.3L for financial reasons make sure you get the NHT package.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Jack, your youthful exuberance must have had less testosterone fuel than ours.

    Being afraid to ride in the back of a pick-up with a cap?

    You would not believe what I or my group of cronies would do as teenagers for even the slightest chance of getting lucky. Forget anything that we had been taught about safety or future opportunities.

    The results may not have always been what we hoped for, but I have a whole lot of stories/memories, some great friends, certainly shortened my life by a few years and definitely stunted my growth all in the pursuit of young women. And only some of my friends ended up in the hospital, injured, wrecking their vehicles or with criminal charges due to thinking with the wrong part of their anatomy.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Such agita over a truck / SUV purchase. Just get what you want – it’s your money!

  • avatar
    jack4x

    The 6.2 really is a brilliant engine. I just wish it was offered across the board. Suburban yes, but what about a RCSB sport truck, a modern day 454SS? As an option in 2500/3500 to compete with the 6.4 from Ram? Why can’t it be offered as an upgrade anywhere in the Silverado/Sierra line? It is literally impossible to purchase a 6.2/8 ft bed combo in any truck for any price. Why? I can’t be the only one disappointed that all the manufacturers let you spec any engine in base trim on the HD trucks, but save the top dogs for the $50k+ crew cab only luxury trims in the 1500s.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      You can get the F-150’s top engine in a regular cab or SuperCab with 8′ bed.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Ford isn’t as bad as GM about it, but when their 6.2L was available it was trim/cab restricted and right now the Raptor is the only way to get the high-output Ecoboost.

        I wouldn’t be shocked if the 450hp version of the 3.5T stays Lariat and above.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        @DrZ,

        Thanks for clarifying. I had Ford’s old 6.2 in my mind, and had just assumed that they kept the trim requirements up when they put the revised ecoboost as the top engine. Ram doesn’t have many restrictions in the 1500 either which really gives GM no excuse.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Doesn’t the Suburban at least get a coil setup in the rear, in place of the leafs?

      Before splurging for a tower, check out a Ram 2500 with the Cummins and a manual. Unless you’re straight up drag racing in your tow truck, with a trailer in tow, the big Diesel feels stronger than even the mighty 6.2 once you drag some load behind it. And the rear coils really do ride as nice as they sound like they should. Besides, manual!

    • 0 avatar
      mason

      The 6.2 is not offered in HD trucks due to its anatomy. All aluminum internals vs cast iron of the 6.0. It’s a performance engine, not a work engine.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Translation: “GM is too cheap to engineer the 6.2 cooling system such that it can work at maximum load all the time.”

        There’s nothing about aluminum blocks that is incompatible with work if they are kept cool. The only difference is that the consequences of overheating are worse.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          In GM’s defense the Ford and RAM gassers are also iron blocks. The Titan XD 5.6 is as close as you’ll get to an aluminum engine HD.

          I think it is less that “GM is too cheap” as “gas HD buyers are too cheap”.

          • 0 avatar
            jack4x

            Agreed it would be expensive to reengineer, which is why it should be an extra cost option, a la the Ram 6.4 or GMs own old 8.1. Let the fleet buyers have the 6.0 and at least offer me the option of something stronger without paying $9000 for the duramax and all the additional maintenance that entails. The 6.2 is rated to tow 12k in the 1500, that is more than diesel 3/4 tons of not that long ago. There is nothing wrong with the same engine doing both performance and work as long as the engineering is properly done.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            I do believe that Ford’s EE engine blocks are made from compacted graphite iron just like the Power Stroke.

        • 0 avatar
          mason

          “There’s nothing about aluminum blocks that is incompatible with work if they are kept cool”

          Virtually every single OEM tends to disagree with you. It is no coincidence the 6.0 truck engine is still cast iron while Performance versions are aluminum. Or that the DMax utilizes a cast iron block. Or after nearly 30 years Cummins still utilizes iron blocks and heads. Overheat aluminum one time under a severe load and you have yourself a boat anchor. Cast iron has a much better chance of living to see another day. The only thing as strong and resistant to overheating as cast iron is CGI, which many HD diesel manufacturers have gone to to due to the weight savings over cast iron.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        “The 6.2 is not offered in HD trucks due to its anatomy. All aluminum internals vs cast iron of the 6.0. It’s a performance engine, not a work engine.”

        Correct, the 6.0 is a true truck engine. After 13 years with one under the hood of my Sierra HD come this April I can tell you they are indestructable.

    • 0 avatar

      Speaking of the 6.4 Ram they are great at towing the loads Jacks talking about and the dealers seem aggressive on pricing them. Might be worth a look.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I still prefer an open bed in a much, MUCH smaller package at a much, MUCH lower price–like half the price of that Silverado LTZ.

    … New, not used.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      -Totally irrelevant comment IMO

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        “-Totally irrelevant comment IMO”

        But much in the same way the sun rises and sets everyday you just knew it was coming!…..LOL

      • 0 avatar
        John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

        No it’s not. Its another way of saying we should all drive the small SMALL SMALLEST!!!!! vehicle possible, even if it doesn’t have a prayer of dealing with what we require of it.

        I was briefly considering being a “hot shot” driver with my own truck. He honestly expected me to hook up a 40′ gooseneck trailer loaded with pipe and other cargo and set out for Texas in a Honda Ridgeline.

        The smallest vehicle I was considering (Nissan Titan XD Cummins single cab) would probably struggle with that kind of weight a bit, but no problem, I just need a FWD Pilot with an open bed. It’ll be fine. ;)

        Even if the pretend truck doesn’t explode under the pressure by some miracle, it will have warped the body enough that I probably couldn’t open the doors by the time I arrived to deliver the cargo.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          The Titan is limited by cargo capacity. A gooseneck or fifth wheel trailer will put a minimum of 20% of the trailer weight on a truck. That means a 10 k trailer will need 2k cargo rating. Get an F450 if you are going to be towing a loaded 40 ft gooseneck.

      • 0 avatar
        Corey Lewis

        And I’d prefer if they still made the GM 3800 engine.

        But that’s not relevant here so I don’t say it.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    GMs fullsizer SUVs have definitely gotten pricier with every generation, perhaps for the very reason you note: the utilitarian buyers get pushed into the more affordable crew-cab half ton pickups. I personally prefer the covered and more comfortable/configurable space of an SUV. On a long trip rear passengers can recline seats, kids in car seats can be kept separate from dogs, who themselves get the benefits of an air conditioned space in the summer and heat in the winter.

    I see a clean GMT800 Z71 Suburban as a distinct possibility in a few years, when I may want to do some camping with the whole family plus dogs. Newest GM SUVs gave up a lot of total cargo room in their pursuit of minimal-effort cabin transformation with power folding third rows, which necessitated raising the trunk floor a silly amount to accomplish.

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      As a GMT-900 owner I have to agree about the power folding 3rd row in the current Gen GM FS SUV’s. At least I can muscle mine out and put on the garage floor when I don’t need them. But they are heavy and somewhat awkward to handle. For towing I prefer the solid rear axle but I think it’s time for GM to finally bite the bullet and build the next gen with an IRS to address packaging issues and improve overall ride and handling of these beasts. Especially considering the price tag they command.

    • 0 avatar

      As a dad of 3 kids and a dog owner the GMT 8 or 900 would be my ultimate weekend warrior camping and home depot machine. Some day soon I hope to be able to pick one up. The resale is damn good on them thou. I also consider crew cabs with caps. But that approach has issues as well.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        GMT800s are for the most part pretty affordable IMO, yes the really clean low mileage ones fetch a pretty penny, but if you’re willing to set aside an emergency fund for almost inevitable transmission replacement, I wouldn’t be too scared of higher mileage units which are a dime a dozen.

        Heck if I was on a tighter budget, I’d gladly look at the GMT400 gen ‘burbs, hopefully find one with a floor shifted t-case and avoid the actuator headaches. You get to avoid the piston-slapping 5.3L issues entirely as well that way. Plus GMT400s are hands down the most handsome of the bunch! Make mine a two tone white over beige :)

        • 0 avatar

          Yeah here in New England Burbs seem to bring better prices then pickups. I hear that’s not the same elsewhere.This is somewhat backed up in Ebay searches. I’m trying for under 125k miles which drives price alot. Also mostly looking at 2500 versions to avoid 5.3 or ones equipped with the lower gear ratio and the 5.3. And yeah kinda looking for a cream puff. I had 2 GM400’s as company cars years ago. The 94 had an awful interior but had almost 200k miles on it when I had it. The 99 was much better build wise. That said the 800’s drive much nicer. I would consider any of the 3 for the right price/condition.

          On the actuator at least the GM has a cheap fix. I was looking at a 4th gen 4runner this weekend where the 4wd wouldn’t engage looked it up line the actuator is almost 1k dollar part with a fairly high failure rate.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “the actuator is almost 1k dollar part with a fairly high failure rate.”

            Never heard of that to be honest. I know there’s a seal near there that likes to leak and is a laborious thing to replace.

        • 0 avatar

          I was a bit surprised as well. I did find the part for $800 on line but they recommend you R And I the transfer case to prevent damaged seals when you do it. I gather if they aren’t cycled frequently the tiny motors lock up. This one was other wise mint shape 2006 v6 with the third row with 130k miles. Traded in at a local dealer they were planning on auctioning it.

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    Tucks with caps is very common on the DC area. Maybe because theft is so prevalent.

  • avatar
    Mr24

    My truck has a cap. I couldn’t be happier. Bought the PTM cap used and saved a fortune.

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      I’d say truck caps are still somewhat popular. The big difference now is that most are color matched fiberglass caps with tinted windows that actually enhance the look of the truck instead of detracting from it like the one in Jacks story.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Crew cab + 6 foot bed + lockable fiberglass tonneau cover = best darn full size sedans built to date.

    Personally when it comes to Suburbans I’d be perfectly happy with 2017 Suburban LT 4×4 with 5.3 V8 and 6 speed auto & Z71 package ($59,590).

    I know Jack has mentioned it before – but can we all agree that the PREMIER badge as rendered by GM has to be the worst looking and chintziest badge in current automotive use?

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      “I know Jack has mentioned it before – but can we all agree that the PREMIER badge as rendered by GM has to be the worst looking and chintziest badge in current automotive use?”

      I can agree to that as well as “Premier” being about as lame as you could possibly get for a name for your top level trim. What was wrong with “LTZ”?

    • 0 avatar
      slance66

      Agreed Dan. If I could fit a truck in my garage, that would be the way to go.

    • 0 avatar
      Truckducken

      Agreed – not since Rick Wagoner’s GM Mark of Excellence fiasco have I seen anything so ugly and at odds with the intended purpose. (Although if the purpose was to kill Saab and Saturn…)

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    I’d also like to note that equipment-wise the Silverado LTZ is closer to the Suburban LT not the Suburban LTZ/Premier.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    I have rented several 2015-2017 Silverado 4X4 LT’s in both short and long extended door versions with the 5.3 V8, 6 speed and 3.42 rear gears and it has plenty of power and great highway gas mileage. Trying to find a 6.2 is like trying to find a Malibu or Cruze in the stripper L trim. Virtually none seem to exist in any of the many Chevy dealers I have visited in the last 6 months.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Yea, unless you want a Sierra Denali you pretty much have to do an order to get a 6.2L. The NHT versions of the 5.3L seem quite light on the ground as well.

      • 0 avatar
        Frylock350

        IMO the NHT (as well as Ford and Rams max tow packages/configurations) are marketing fodder. Anyone looking to routinely tow that much is buying a 3/4 ton.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          It’s not that I’d need/want to tow that much, but the NHT is the only way I know of to get the 3.73 rear end, towing mirrors, and the enhanced radiator . I wouldn’t complain about a larger axle either.

          The normal trailering package with a brake controller added on is like $1,065. So it is roughly $1,080 to go for the NHT. That doesn’t seem too bad for the extra factory parts.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Deeply irritating that you can’t configure NHT and body-color bumpers on the same truck.

        Body-color bumpers only come with LTZ Z71 for the Chevies and Denali or SLT All-Terrain for the GMCs. NHT isn’t available on a Denali and isn’t compatible with the off-road packages.

  • avatar
    John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

    Go with the Silverado. Buy a matching color tonneau and call it a day. Its more versatile unless you plan to carry a lot of people often. You can drive it to a shop to buy a new engine and have them load it right in your bed, no need to worry about getting a trailer for that job (or similar).

    I should have added the mid 90s Suburban and C/K trucks as the “best generation” QOTD before. I love Suburban, 2 door Blazer/Tahoe/Yukon, and the classic Chevy/GMC Sierra Z-71 pick up from that era.

    Just wish we got the Vortec Inline Six here. Not a misprint, there was a Inline 6 Vortec based off the old Chevy 250 I-6 in South America.

    I’m certainly not talking about the pretty unreliable Atlas engine in the TrailBlazer/Envoy/etc.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “pretty unreliable Atlas engine”

      Was it bad? I had always thought of the GMT-360s as big piles of poo with a heart of gold in the middle.

      • 0 avatar
        John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

        Well, I’ve seen a fair amount of them needing engines or with recent engine replacement. I know their contemporary Ford 4.0L SOHC was known for issues, too, so its not like I’m just saying it to diss GM.

        I haven’t dug into it, but I’m quite sure it can’t hold a candle to GM’s near indestructible 250 c.i. I-6 last seen here in the pre-1988 trucks if I’m not mistaken. Their worst issue was fuel not making it evenly to all cylinders, so with MPFI, that was solved and its about as bullet proof as can be.

        Edit, bobistheoilguy posters mention some issues, I just found it after a quick Google search https://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=664500

        It starts out with praise. But, the folks start mentioning defects and seeing a lot in GM dealers with replacement long blocks, etc.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    BOF SUVs have become premium vehicles due to CAFE. GM would rather sell you a CUV that adds a few more MPG to their CAFE fleet average, but if you really need the towing/3 row capability of the Tahoe/Suburban they will sell you one for a much higher price which is pure profit since they are basically a Silverado with a topper (as Jack notes)..

  • avatar
    Driver8

    So, whose father was he? A farmer throws a young male in with the females and he knows what’s next.

    Is there a difference in insurance premiums between the pickup and SUV?

    • 0 avatar
      John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

      Given the difference in cost between the two, I’d bet so, but I have no idea.

      Highdesertcat would know, he has a Tundra and Sequoia, same year
      Maybe if we start talking about the Cadillac ATS, CTS, and CT6 being rebadged Opels, he will come in and share with us the info on insurance.

    • 0 avatar
      SP

      Paragraph 6 suggests that Farmer Dad had judged the situation more or less correctly. Or he just guessed lucky.

  • avatar
    Redshift

    They need to bring back the perfect middle ground of the Avalanche.
    My 08 is going to need a replacement one day, and, currently, my only option is tracking down a low mile ’13 and buying my self more time.

  • avatar
    Feds

    You got what? Somewhere between 1 and 1.5 kids in your life? Pickup, colour matched cap.

    I’d personally go for a Lariat F150 with the 5.0 and the no-cost front bench, but I’m a traditionalist.

    You’re exactly right on the reasons for the pickup: With a go-kart/dirtbike/car race lifestyle, there’s some dirty and/or smelly shit you need to move around. The truck gives you more freedom to do it.

    Plus, it’s a ready-made club house for your boy. Boys can’t help but climb in capped truck beds and play. I’ve even done some driveway camping with my kids. Great no-effort way to create some memories and help boys be boys.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Jack, I get where you’re coming from, but I think the Burban is actually the worse vehicle even if it had a similar price (unless you absolutely have to carry more than six people). The current generation is a packaging disaster with the combination of fold-flat third row and live axle. There’s really not a lot of space inside; some large CUVs have just as much room with a couple feet less length. And for carrying stuff, you’re far better off with the truck with a cap or tonneau cover.

    I’ve been spending more time than I should lately configuring GMC and Ford half-tons. I’m not quite sure why. If I bought a new truck it would have to live on the street; neither my garage nor my driveway is big enough to hold one. I rarely carry any bulky stuff, although there are lots of projects to do around my house if I wanted to start. I don’t have or want a trailer. But something about them is appealing to me right now.

    I find it easier to configure the Fords without running up an alarming tab because you can get the worthwhile engine options in more configurations, but the availability of MRC on the GMC trucks is really appealing. If I were actually going to be stupid enough to buy a truck I’d have to test drive mid-high-trim versions of both to make a decision.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    “I’ve also disclosed a lower limit to my age, because when was the last time you saw a cap on a pickup-truck bed?”

    Every time I look in my driveway.

    (I do historical re-creation; that involves transporting a half-ton of gear that takes up a lot of space… and that I don’t want getting soaked or stolen.

    Thus, canopy.)

  • avatar
    cdotson

    I’ve owned a quad cab/short bed pickup for 14+ years (yeah, the same one the whole time) and until recently loathed the idea of a cap. Have a roll-up soft tonneau and thought it great. Now that I’m camping in a travel trailer I can see the purpose of a rising-roof truck cap. Something to fill the void between cab and trailer and blend the airflow a bit, not to mention keeping bicycles/tools/wood/camp stove/beach chairs clean and dry.

    When I was about 12 was my first ride in a truck bed that I can recall, under the tall-topper on a new-ish Dakota (would have been about 91-92 so they were all new-ish) belonging to my buddy’s grandpa. We went to the local sport shop to shoot at their outdoor range and grandpa put us boys in the truck bed with the rifles and revolvers, wisely opting to keep the ammo in the cab.

    • 0 avatar
      wstarvingteacher

      Bought a Datsun King Cab when I retired from the Navy. Got an aluminum cap that had been storm damaged but fixed. It was very cheap. Used that cap on at least three different trucks over the next several years. Traveling, HVAC contracting, projects for teaching shop at school. Side doors made that the most functional vehicle ever. It would have made it to a fourth truck but the S10 had a different sized bed.

      The SUV I drive now is just an attempt at the same functionality. My 4runner lets me tote grandkids (inside) and I’m working on a roof rack. There is always a compromise but life’s roles change and this checks just about every box for me today.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Well, yeah! The truck in my avatar photo is the GMC counterpart to what you had: the 6.2 engine with the NHT max trailer towing package. Note that that combination is only available in the Chevy LTZ/GMC SLT trim. The luxo “High Country” and “Denali” trims get you the big engine, but not the max trailer tow package, which does make the truck ride a little more stiffly when empty (but not as stiff as an empty 3/4 ton, including the Ram with coil springs in the rear). In both “real world” and EPA tests, the 6.2 and 5.3 engines achieve the same MPG figures. Some real world testers have actually tested the 6.2 as better than the 5.3. Given the empty weight difference between a half ton and 3/4 ton (especially a 3/4 with a big diesel), there’s no way that any 3/4 ton is going to “feel faster” than the 6.2 half ton, empty or pulling a load.

    Bed toppers are looking much nicer these days, but they have two disadvantages: (1) they’re heavy enough to be a PITA to remove if you want to carry tall cargo and (2) the windows allow thieves to see if it’s worth breaking in to steal something. I have a cheap-ass rubber tonneau which keeps things out of sight and dry and that I can remove in 2 minutes. A pocket knife will allow entry, to be sure. The compromise choice is a much more expensive retracting tonneau that’s made of metal and therefore much more secure (which also keeps things out of view). It’s more difficult to remove entirely, but can be opened up to carry tall cargo.

    Both the 5.3 and 6.2 engines have a “soft” throttle, which makes sense in controlling engine torque when starting off. Problem is, the 5.3’s I test drove had a throttle so soft, that the engine felt less powerful than it was. The 6.2 was “just right.”

    A Suburban makes sense only if you need 3 rows of real seating. The real comparison is between a pickup and a Tahoe/Yukon SUV. You can get the 6.2 engine in the top trim of those, but not — I believe– the max trailer package. Having driven both the “High Country” and the “SLT” trims in the pickup trucks, the only difference I can remember is the all-electronic display in the “High Country” and “Denali” trims . . . which looks just like the physical/electronic display in the next lower trim levels.

  • avatar
    Chan

    I don’t know about where Jack lives, but LEER caps/tops sitting on pickup truck beds are still very common here in California.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Anything to further confuse the customer.

    Me? I’d still buy an extended cab, short bed pickup one half step above W/T (chrome grille surround) and either put a Leer cap on it or a bed cover.

    As long as my truck has A/C and auto, I’m happy.

  • avatar
    Acd

    Maybe I lived a little farther out in the country than Jack did but in seventh or eight grade about seven of us rode in the back of a truck on a 120 mile school field trip and no one (including our parents) thought anything of it.

    When I worked in car dealerships in the 1990’s and a truck with a cap came in trade the first thing I did was to take the cap off and add it to the stack behind the service department because it was almost impossible to sell a truck with a cap.

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      That’s called curb appeal and a cap makes a used truck look “used”. I don’t think there is a dealer anywhere in the US that doesn’t do the same thing when thy get a used truck in on trade.

  • avatar
    wally109

    My grandpa had a beat-up work truck, and a nice go to church truck. They were both the same age (84 Chevies, 350 V-8s, twin fuel tanks, 2tone paint.) I bought the work-truck for 500 bucks when I turned 16, and sold it when my parents bought a new car and gave me their old car. I couldn’t afford to fix the brakes and exhaust and everything else that was broke.

    My aunt borrowed the nice truck one evening to move a couch. My idiot female cousin stole the keys to sneak out at night, and wrecked it. She walked away alright, but everyone in the family hated her guts for a decafe or so, because we all liked that truck.

    Grandpa is on his second white suburban. He doesn’t need a work truck anymore, and he doesn’t loan out his vehicle anymore, either.

    When I was a kid, we’d go fishing. Dad would throw the cooler and gear in the back of his regular cab-work truck. Me and sis would tie ourselves down in plastic lawn chairs to the tiedown bar and wave at the people who were stuck behind us in traffic.

  • avatar
    Willyam

    My driving lessons (and a lot of fishing trips, scouting, camping, etc) happened in the back of a Datsun 720. The cap was aluminum with jumping bass pinstripes on the windows. My father, either in disregard of safety or in that OK/TX thing that everyone does, placed a carpet cut around the wheel wells on the floor, and that’s where we rode.

    My first sweaty-palm date-ish experience happened there. I was 14. We gave her a ride home. Most parents would have insisted on the tiny jump seats in the xtra-cab. My Dad was cool that way. Me and miss Lucky Star Junior Madonna rode all the way out to her rural country house in the back with the little crank vent windows open (they had like three little panes that opened on a tilt with a hand crank, I guess for this exact reason or for dogs or whatever). Good times. Did not score.

  • avatar
    derekson

    Is the 6.2L engine really necessary? I’d imagine most of the benefit comes from the superior 8 speed transmission unless you’re looking to tow ~10k pounds. The 5.3L truck accelerates 0-60 in like 6 seconds anyway, that seems plenty quick and 383 lb-ft of torque is enough for most people’s towing needs.

    I would think the 5.3L/8 speed combo is the sweet spot unless you just want to throw away money.

    • 0 avatar
      Frylock350

      I own a 5.3L and I test drove a 6.2L. The 6.2L is hardly necessary; the 5.3L has plenty of power and its a responsive smooth engine. But that 6.2L is FUN. Jack’s description of spellbinding is accurate. Were it not for the 6.2L’s thirst for premium fuel I’d own it.

  • avatar

    As a mopar guy my first choice would be a Ram but honestly the new Silverado’s are a very close 2nd. Starting with the GMT 800 on up Chevy just got so much right with their trucks.

  • avatar
    s_a_p

    Couple things. The lack of the 6.2L option in the suburban is proof that gm knows they’ve not differentiated the caddy enough from the suburban. That said my wife has a 2013 GMC Yukon Denali xl that she has put 108,000 largely trouble free miles on. At around 100k both engine mounts went kaput but aside from that I’ve just changed the oil when it said it was due and changed the spark plugs at 100k. Still runs like new. The interior has not been as solid. We had the dash replaced under warranty twice for developing huge cracks. It doesn’t stand up to Houston heat very well, and this third one is also cracked.

    Secondly maybe it’s because Texas has more trucks than cars on the road, but do you really consider a truck “country”? I don’t really see it that way.

  • avatar
    DirtRoads

    Grew up in Montana on a farm around pickups all my life and I really had o frigging idea what the hell you meant when you said “cap.” We called them shells, or camper toppers, or camper shells. They were never “caps” — that’s what you wear on your head when you lack a proper hat.

    I had a Silverado $x$ with the 5.3 and I thought it a bit anemic, although it towed a 20′ 5th wheel OK. I’d much rather have the big engine.


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