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  1. #1
    Platinum Member
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    Sep 2009
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    547
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    Upstate NY
    Tractor
    New Holland Powerstar T4.75

    Default Test drove a 2011 Sierra Duramax

    Last week the dealer closest to my home got in a GMC Sierra 2500 HD Crew Cab Z71 SLE with the new Duramax and Allison combo. It was equipped very similarly to how I would order the truck and pretty close to what my 2009 Chevy 1500 Crew Cab Z71 is like. I stopped in after work and was able to take the truck for a test drive. The salesperson was super helpful, very nice and welcomed me to take the truck for a spin. He also knew that if I was going to be upgrading my current truck, that it wouldn't be for a bit and that I would likely order exactly what I wanted. He still couldn't wait to hand me the keys.

    The interior and exterior of the truck are very similar to mine and largely unchanged. The hoods are slightly different I believe to accommodate some changes in the engine compartment, but things are overall very similar. Not really much to report on here. The truck drove slightly more comfortably than the 2010 Ford F350 Power Stroke that I test drove a few months ago, but not by a whole lot. I would say the ride quality was actually quite comparable to the Ram I test drove last month. I consider this a compliment to the Ram as I usually am very partial to the ride quality of the GM trucks. Make no mistake though, even with the independent front axle this truck still doesn't ride like a half ton, and if I'm ever going to upgrade the change in ride quality will be the hardest sell on my wife. I understand that it's pretty easy to change the front suspension settings to accommodate a snow plow (this was equipped with the snow plow prep package) and I'd like to make sure that the suspension was set as soft as possible if I take another one for a spin. Overall, the truck seemed nice, and very familiar to me. The steering took a little more effort than on my truck but I don't think that is a bad thing and it was no more effort to turn the wheel than on the Ford or Dodge trucks that I've tested. The sound insulation was excellent. I'd almost venture to say that inside, it was quieter than my truck and I think that my truck is very quiet. I'm thinking that this is the result of a little more sound insulation to further muffle the already quiet diesel noise.

    The truck was plenty powerful. It was actually pretty impressive going uphill on the highway as I was able to accelerate harder uphill in a higher gear than in my current truck despite moving a good amount more weight. The engine seemed very well mannered and I'm quite confident that it would pull double the weight of what I would ever intend on towing (even though it's not rated to pull double what I tow via bumper pull). The transmission shifted nicely and I was very impressed by the engine braking when I engaged tow/haul mode and drove down a very steep hill on one of the back roads (I was able to maintain 30 mph without touching the brakes).

    As I've said, the most important factor for me on any diesel truck that I would purchase is fuel economy and this truck was definitely more in line with my expectations than the 2010 Dodge CTD and 2010 Ford 6.4 PS that I test drove. I got something like 16.5 mpg mixed city and highway driving on an admittedly not very long (approx. 25 miles) test drive. The truck had I believe 43 miles on the odometer when I parked it so it was not even remotely close to being broken in yet. I also probably ran it at a little higher RPM than I normally would as I wanted to see what it would do. Normally when I drive my truck I try to pretend that there is an egg under the accelerator when I take off from a stop and get up to speed but I didn't drive that truck in this fashion. I'm thinking that when broken in 20 mpg highway unloaded would not be unreasonable, maybe even a little better with an improved exhaust and a tonneau cover. With a programmer I could see this truck getting better still.

    My overall impression was favorable. It is more in line with what I'd be wanting in a truck if I was to upgrade, but I still am not sold. I like the looks of this truck much more than the 2011 Ford, but not as much as the 2010 Dodge. The interior space was about the same as the Ford and maybe a pinch less than the Dodge but still more than adequate for my needs and I'd be comfortable in the back seat for a long ride, even with the front seat all the way back and I'm 6'2". Overall I still don't know that I want to lose the ride quality of my half ton truck when I don't need to tow heavy often. This is especially true since my truck will easily pull my equipment trailer to its max GVWR even though the max GVWR of the trailer is 500 pounds over the truck's tow limit. The diesel is still a pricey option too and the mileage increase over my truck is probably fairly small and probably not enough to justify the increased cost of diesel over gasoline. I don't factor maintenance in as it isn't a big expense on any vehicle for me because I only drive my personal truck about 5,000 to 6,500 miles per year. Also I like driving new trucks and like the new car smell so I trade my vehicles in usually as soon as they're paid off so I will likely always have a car payment. Therefore since diesel trucks tend to hold their value even better (especially around here) the upfront cost of the diesel option is largely recovered for me.

    I'm still thinking that if I do anything I'll probably just makes some very slight improvements on my current truck. I'm thinking about a very conservative exhaust that won't increase the noise but will flow better (like maybe a Banks) and get better fuel economy. I'm also thinking about a set of airbags and a replacement hitch that will be rated to tow 10,000 pounds without weight distribution. I guess I just wanted to share my experience from this test drive here on the forum, where I know there are at least a few people with similar situations to my own.

  2. #2
    Super Star Member Diamondpilot's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
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    14,599
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    Daleville, IN
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    Jinma 254/284 Ford 861 Powermaster at work

    Default Re: Test drove a 2011 Sierra Duramax

    Just curious if you have driven a earlier Dmax so that you could compare the two?

    Chris

  3. #3
    Platinum Member
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    Upstate NY
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    New Holland Powerstar T4.75

    Default Re: Test drove a 2011 Sierra Duramax

    Quote Originally Posted by Diamondpilot View Post
    Just curious if you have driven a earlier Dmax so that you could compare the two?

    Chris
    I can't remember driving one since 2002. I remember test driving a number of different trucks when I was in the truck market back then. I was out of college and was working my first real job and had money burning a hole in my pocket (boy was I stupid). I test drove Tahoes, extended cab gas and Dmax pickups and even a couple of Tundras. I wanted to replace my 1997 2 door Yukon because it was starting to have some transmission issues. Now there's no vehicle that I miss more than that truck. I should have just put a new tranny in if I needed to, but I was stupid.

    Anyhow, I've never been one that really saw trucks as hot rods (well maybe the old GMC Cyclone) so I never really tried to stand on the accelerator and see how fast it would take off. Also fuel was cheap back then so I didn't care about fuel economy. And I didn't have anything to tow then so I never really got to see what the diesel could do in its element. So unfortunately even though I drove a Dmax a while ago I don't really think that I could fairly compare it to the current Dmax. Most of my first hand experience has been with Cummins diesels and Ford Power Strokes both the 7.3 and 6.0 liters. I would rate the new Dmax as much more powerful than the 7.3 and more powerful than the 6.0 Power Strokes and stock CTD's. My uncle has a somewhat hopped up Cummins and I would say the new Dmax is close to his CTD but with MUCH better manners. I'll admit that I'm not the best person to evaluate these diesels based upon what they can really do, but I'm also not looking at a diesel because I need it to perform at a level anywhere even remotely close to what it's designed for.

  4. #4
    Elite Member timswi's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
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    4,994
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    Beaver County Pa
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    Kubota BX23 & RTV1100

    Default Re: Test drove a 2011 Sierra Duramax

    Cheg,

    Nice, honest and well done assessment...
    BX23TLB & RTV1100 with 72" Power Angle Plow

  5. #5
    Super Star Member Diamondpilot's Avatar
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    Daleville, IN
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    Jinma 254/284 Ford 861 Powermaster at work

    Default Re: Test drove a 2011 Sierra Duramax

    I was like you, young and dumb with a fist full of cash. Fresh out of college and the second new vehicle I bought was a 1998 F-150 Lightning. Man that thing was sweet, all black, and fast as ****. Loved it from March till December, then it snowed. I had a Jet Ski and a 5,000# boat so it was enough to tow them but could get interesting on the ramp if it was wet with the boat on the back. I traded it the following spring for a 4x4 F-150 after being stuck about 5 times that winter.

    Chris

  6. #6
    Bronze Member
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    May 2006
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    51
    Location
    Faribault MN
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    JD 2305

    Default Re: Test drove a 2011 Sierra Duramax

    Many here had posted that they will not buy GM again when Obamanamics took over.

  7. #7
    Super Star Member Diamondpilot's Avatar
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    Daleville, IN
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    Jinma 254/284 Ford 861 Powermaster at work

    Default Re: Test drove a 2011 Sierra Duramax

    Quote Originally Posted by circlelake View Post
    Many here had posted that they will not buy GM again when Obamanamics took over.
    Yep...

    Chris

  8. #8
    Silver Member Wooddust's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
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    166
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    Western Missouri
    Tractor
    JD3720

    Default Re: Test drove a 2011 Sierra Duramax

    Quote Originally Posted by circlelake View Post
    Many here had posted that they will not buy GM again when Obamanamics took over.

    My trailer and equipment dont care who owns GM. I have a duramax and love it. After 50,000 miles its a worker, comfortable, easy to drive an gets very good mileage.

  9. #9
    Super Member Highbeam's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
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    South Puget Sound, WA
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    Kioti CK30HST

    Default Re: Test drove a 2011 Sierra Duramax

    So what was the sticker price on that 2011? Was it one of the 60,000$+ trucks we see?
    Kioti CK30HST, FEL w/toothbar, 60" RC, 60" BB, PJ 10k trailer. Weekend warrior hauling 50 miles each way.

  10. #10
    Super Member Dargo's Avatar
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    Mar 2004
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    S. IN
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    Jinma, Foton, TYM, Belarus, Yanmar, Branson, Montana, Mahindra and maybe some green and orange too.

    Default Re: Test drove a 2011 Sierra Duramax

    Quote Originally Posted by circlelake View Post
    Many here had posted that they will not buy GM again when Obamanamics took over.
    Politics don't have anything to do with it for me really. GM left tens of thousands flat broke when they filed and sent their stock price to basically zero. I've read plenty of stories of people who never missed a day's work ever in 30 years working for GM, had nearly 4 million in their 401K one week and then less than 75k the next week. GM didn't even bother to say "sorry" about stealing all their money.

    Now they are coming out with a new stock IPO this fall and admit that they need to raise between 12 and 16 billion with it or they'll be in big trouble again. If they don't, they will sink their suppliers and go under again. Then there will be a MAJOR issue getting parts for vehicles if the manufacturer of the part you need is gone. GM admits that there is risk not only in buying their stock (duh, they took millions of people for billions of dollars last year) but also a risk that the company may not be there nor will parts for vehicles produced.

    They burned me pretty good this last go around. As far as I'm concerned, they can go completely under and Government Motors can cease to exist. I'll feel a little sorry for the people owning vehicles with the only option for parts being hastily made Chinese knock-off parts, but not too sorry. There's something to be said about burn me once, shame on you. Burn me twice...
    1982 18" Murray push mower (B&S industrial 8 hp engine!) custom deck, new blade - became unbalanced when one side old blade broke off!
    HF moving dolly - high torque! Dogbone multi-wrench too..wait, it split on first use.
    My trash man is the greatest. No matter how bad the economy gets and how bad stocks drop or how bad home values drop, his business is always picking up.

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