Drive Time: A pickup for every need | MyWindsorNow.com

Drive Time: A pickup for every need

Bud Wells
For The Tribune

A prominent grille is trademark for the Sierra Denali pickup. The bed of the pickup offers easy access.

When my friend Linda called one morning this week, I was about a mile from Eaton Grove, my destination for picking up a load of compost.

Linda, who with husband Rich shuttles from a mountain home in Evergreen to a farm home in Oberlin, Kan., was an associate of mine for 10 years or so at the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News.

She was frustrated. Something about not wanting to get her like-new 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited out in this wet weather and muddy roads, and something more about towing her horse trailer and horse.

She'd prefer a pickup for towing, but doesn't want a compact, and said the full-sizers are "too long, too wide and certainly too tall for a woman. And I don't want a diesel." The Jeep aside, her loyalty lines emanate from General Motors, where her grandfather and father held responsible positions years ago in Detroit, where Linda was reared.

"I'm not going to pay $60,000 for a new truck," she told me, and at this point I thought better of telling her I was that morning driving a new GMC Sierra Denali pickup, priced at $64,045. Why fan the flames?

She continued, "Why don't you talk to your Chevy dealer there in Greeley, ask him why GM has never built a truck for women, one that can tow in the 7,000-pound range?"

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So, inside Ghent Chevrolet Cadillac later this week, I asked the question about women and pickups of Bob Ghent and his son, Eric. "It's never been an issue," Bob said. "With step rails, running boards and grab handles, women buy the full-sized pickups and pull themselves up into the driver's seats."

Bob's family's history in the new-car business in northern Colorado dates back more than 75 years. Ever the quick-thinking dealer, Bob paid heed to Linda's dilemma and suggested a good choice would be a pickup of similar size to the Grand Cherokee. And that would be, he said, the Chevy Colorado Crew Cab, equipped much the same as the Jeep and with a new 3.6-liter, V-6 engine and 8-speed transmission rated at 7,000 pounds of tow. I've passed on his solution to Linda and Rich.

Regarding the GMC Sierra Denali 1500 I've been driving, it is a smooth, comfortable-riding four-wheel-drive pickup. Open one of its doors and its power running board drops into position for easy access into the cabin. Swing the door closed and the board tucks itself up under the edge of the cab.

An option on the Sierra review model was the 420-horsepower, 6.2-liter, V-8 engine tied to an 8-speed automatic transmission, which on highway cruising engages cylinder deactivation and runs on fuel-saving V-4 power. This helped us post an overall fuel-mileage average of 19.7 with the big GMC.

The Sierra rides on 22-inch wheels with Bridgestone P285/45R22 tires. Access to the pickup bed is eased with a built-in step at each end of the rear bumper.

With the push of a button inside the cabin, the large sideview mirrors swing in to the doors.

Adding the 6.2-liter engine over the standard 5.3, a power sunroof, automatic high beams, forward collision alert and trailer brake controller, the Sierra Denali's base price of $55,455 increased to $64,045.

Among other amenities are Bose audio, navigation, rearview camera, lane-keep assist, heated and ventilated front leather seats, power adjustable pedals and remote start.

Bud Wells, a native of Wray, is a former Page 1 editor of the Denver Post and has reviewed automobiles for the past 40 years. He can be contacted at budwellscars@comcast.net.

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