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Old 03-21-2013, 01:47 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Small GM Pickups

Got a few questions for you car guys out there.

Selling my Jeep XJ 4.0 after a year and a half long love/hate relationship. I loved the car for practicality, I can haul anything with it, but it's constantly needing more and more gas and it's not really what I want to be commuting back and forth to school this fall with.

I've decided to go back to a 4 cylinder for the fuel economy. I had a Grand Am SE and I never really felt like I needed more power, it was great around town, and it was dirt cheap to run. I've been looking at the Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon single cab pickups for a while and I've been intrigued by one at a local dealership here in town for a very reasonable price. It's an 06, has basic options. 5 speed transmission, manual locks and windows, A/C and heat, and cruise control. It also has upgraded wheels from the steel wheels, and a bed liner. The one I'm looking at has 78k miles.

The reasons I'm considering this pickup:
*Great MPG compared to my Jeep
*5 Speed Option(preferred)
*More Cab Room Compared to other compact pickups

The reasons that I'm a little leery:
*Lots of mixed reviews online
*I've heard about cylinder head issues and electrical issues
*I've been told that GM interior is sub-par


I'm looking for something that won't "turn to wax" during regular use, something that won't leave me on the side of the road due to defective parts, etc. I understand that CR aren't always accurate but I am uncertain due to very mixed user reviews. My grandfather owns a 2006 GMC Canyon pretty much identical to this truck and he has never had an issue with it, then again he baby's the crap out of it.

So, thanks for reading this novel. I'm just trying to gain some information on these pickups before I make a decision. I am taking one for a test drive soon.

Thanks,
Josh
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Old 03-21-2013, 01:58 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 03-21-2013, 01:58 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I think you are going to be pretty disappointed with it but it is basically the S-10 version 2.0. If I were going with a mid-size pickup, a Ford Ranger would be my choice. They are a much better platform and will run forever so long as you take care of it...much like any other vehicle.

The first thing I would do is just get some test drives in and regardless of how much you like something, try other vehicles to gain perspective on what you like and dislike.
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:51 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I have an '07 Colorado 4cyl, 5-speed. It's my daily driver and I run the crap out of it. 25-28mpg, a little light on the power, but it's been very dependable.

It's a bit noisy, the interior is mostly plastic, and you can't put much weight in the bed but for the price I think it's reasonable. I picked up mine used for ~$10k with 19k miles on it 2 years ago. I'm at 50k miles now and the only thing of done to it is change the oil, tires, and fill it up with gas. That being said I did test drive one with an automatic and I ran away from it. It was just horrid to drive. Maybe there are lemons in the bunch and maybe the auto is just crap but my stick has been great.
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:55 AM   #5 (permalink)
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While they will not get the mileage I have found around here that you can get full size GM half tons with the 4.3 in them for noticeably less than a simlarly equipped S10 or Colorado. Very few people are interested in the very stripped down 1500s. Lots of people interested in the small trucks.
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Old 03-21-2013, 08:06 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I have a 4l Ranger 2wd super cab. I like it but it isn't that good on gas compared to a full size that has the turn off half the cyclinders technology. Other than only decent fuel economy my only gripe is the back seat is to small for anyone over 150lbs and 6'. If I could buy it again I would get a 4 banger tocoma access cab. The boxes on the colorado's look to short to fit anything.
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:01 AM   #7 (permalink)
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NOOOOO!!!!

Let me give you my experience with GM pickups.
I inherited a 2001 Sonoma 4-cyl automatic from my grandfather when he died in 2010. At that point, it had roughly 40k miles on it.
Before I finally got rid of it for good at 80k miles:
- Radiator blew and had to be replaced (it's made out of plastic)
- Alternator had to be replaced
- Air conditioning died. Was never replaced 'cause I couldn't afford it, but it sure made FL summers miserable
- Could only go about 65 on the interstate, 'cause anything over 2,500 rpm resulted in my mileage dropping from 22ish to about 15. Made the 500 mile trips from Tampa to P'cola brutal.
- Driver's side door started sagging so much that it took multiple HARD slams to get it to close ever time I got in.
- Fuel pump died and had to be replaced.
- PLASTIC fuel tank (with no sort of guard whatsoever) was ruptured by a piece of debris on the interstate. The correct fuel tank is unavailable for purchase anywhere, so I had to get one that could be ghetto-rigged into place, which resulted in having to install extra long fuel lines in order to be able to connect the fuel pump.

There is absolutely no excuse for all that to happen in the first 80k miles of any vehicle's life. If it hadn't had the sentimental value associated with being all I had left of my grandfather, you couldn't have paid me to drive it. Stay away from small GM pickups. ESPECIALLY their 4-cyl engines. Back when they used Isuzu engines, they were practically bulletproof. But GM just cannot make a 4-cyl truck engine to save their lives. As for fuel economy, mine got about 18 city and 20ish highway (as long as I stayed under 65). There are plenty of 6-cyls out there that beat that.

The question you really have to ask yourself (and what I finally had to come to grips with), is do you really need a pickup truck"? Especially a single cab? It limits you to being able to carry 3 people at most (so when you have a family you'll outgrow it quick), and 99% of the time a vast majority of truck owners drive around with absolutely nothing in the bed. When I did have something back there, it was my paintball foot locker or a suitcase, which easily fits in the trunk of my car...and they stay dry when it rains on me (as it always does in FL). Unless you're constantly hauling big stuff in the bed, a suitable car (or even a small to medium SUV) will be much more practical and get you the same or better mileage.

If you MUST have a truck, get a Tacoma.

I'm a redneck at heart, so it was hard for me to turn lose of my trucks. Cars just weren't "manly" enough. But I finally had to admit that, at this stage in my life, a car served my needs better. And, if you get the right car, it can still be plenty manly while still being "responsible". In my case, that's a 2006 Monte Carlo I found last month with 20k miles on it in showroom condition. A big, sporty, fast coupe gives me all the practicality I need, while still being an appropriate platform to roll down the windows and blast country music.

BTW, which dealer is it?

*ETA*
My first vehicle in high school was a '91 Ranger. I ran the absolute crap out of that truck, sold it in 2002 with over 250k on the odometer, and I STILL see it running around my hometown from time to time today. It was an amazing truck. However, don't by a late '90's-mid '00's one...they went downhill fast. The newer ones seem to be a step up to about where they used to be, though. The only thing that ticked me off about my Ranger was when I went to overhaul it when I first bought it; it's a real pain in the *** to change the spark plugs when there are EIGHT of them on a FOUR CYLINDER engine.
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Last edited by Murf425; 03-21-2013 at 09:10 AM.
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:13 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Murf425 View Post
NOOOOO!!!!

Let me give you my experience with GM pickups.
I inherited a 2001 Sonoma 4-cyl automatic from my grandfather when he died in 2010. At that point, it had roughly 40k miles on it.
Before I finally got rid of it for good at 80k miles:
- Radiator blew and had to be replaced (it's made out of plastic)
- Alternator had to be replaced
- Air conditioning died. Was never replaced 'cause I couldn't afford it, but it sure made FL summers miserable
- Could only go about 65 on the interstate, 'cause anything over 2,500 rpm resulted in my mileage dropping from 22ish to about 15. Made the 500 mile trips from Tampa to P'cola brutal.
- Driver's side door started sagging so much that it took multiple HARD slams to get it to close ever time I got in.
- Fuel pump died and had to be replaced.
- PLASTIC fuel tank (with no sort of guard whatsoever) was ruptured by a piece of debris on the interstate. The correct fuel tank is unavailable for purchase anywhere, so I had to get one that could be ghetto-rigged into place, which resulted in having to install extra long fuel lines in order to be able to connect the fuel pump.

There is absolutely no excuse for all that to happen in the first 80k miles of any vehicle's life. If it hadn't had the sentimental value associated with being all I had left of my grandfather, you couldn't have paid me to drive it. Stay away from small GM pickups. ESPECIALLY their 4-cyl engines. Back when they used Isuzu engines, they were practically bulletproof. But GM just cannot make a 4-cyl truck engine to save their lives. As for fuel economy, mine got about 18 city and 20ish highway (as long as I stayed under 65). There are plenty of 6-cyls out there that beat that.

The question you really have to ask yourself (and what I finally had to come to grips with), is do you really need a pickup truck"? Especially a single cab? It limits you to being able to carry 3 people at most (so when you have a family you'll outgrow it quick), and 99% of the time a vast majority of truck owners drive around with absolutely nothing in the bed. When I did have something back there, it was my paintball foot locker or a suitcase, which easily fits in the trunk of my car...and they stay dry when it rains on me (as it always does in FL). Unless you're constantly hauling big stuff in the bed, a suitable car (or even a small to medium SUV) will be much more practical and get you the same or better mileage.

If you MUST have a truck, get a Tacoma.

I'm a redneck at heart, so it was hard for me to turn lose of my trucks. Cars just weren't "manly" enough. But I finally had to admit that, at this stage in my life, a car served my needs better. And, if you get the right car, it can still be plenty manly while still being "responsible". In my case, that's a 2006 Monte Carlo I found last month with 20k miles on it in showroom condition. A big, sporty, fast coupe gives me all the practicality I need, while still being an appropriate platform to roll down the windows and blast country music.

BTW, which dealer is it?

*ETA*
My first vehicle in high school was a '91 Ranger. I ran the absolute crap out of that truck, sold it in 2002 with over 250k on the odometer, and I STILL see it running around my hometown from time to time today. It was an amazing truck. However, don't by a late '90's-mid '00's one...they went downhill fast. The newer ones seem to be a step up to about where they used to be, though. The only thing that ticked me off about my Ranger was when I went to overhaul it when I first bought it; it's a real pain in the *** to change the spark plugs when there are EIGHT of them on a FOUR CYLINDER engine.
Cool deal. I'll be looking elsewhere then. The dealer was a small mom and pop business in Pace. Scotty English Auto Sales or what not.

I found an 03 accord w/ a stick that I'm really diggin'. Honda's have a better reputation and I'm pretty confident this'd get way better MPGs.
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:21 AM   #9 (permalink)
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If you really want a small 4 cyl pickup, what about a Subaru Baja?
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:21 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I've had two Accords (a '99 and a '10) that were both phenomenal. My '99 had over 200k miles on it when I sold it to get the '10.
My dad has an '04 Civic with 204k on it that has never had a single dime spent on repair. He's just followed the scheduled maintenance, and it looks and runs like the day it left the factory. Hondas are just great.

That said, ever car, no matter how good their pedigree, has its off years. For Accords, '03 is their second highest number of complaints on 2003 Honda Accord Complaints, Problems & Defects Information | CarComplaints.com . Granted, I don't put a real huge amount of stock in the raw, overall number, since there are THOUSANDS of Accords sold every year. Anytime you have a huge-selling model, it just stands to reason that there'd by a relatively high number of issues. And then when you take into account that 820 of the complaints relate to the transmission, a vast majority of those being the automatic version, your manual tranny that you found would probably be fine.

I'd recommend that you go take a drive through the lot at McKenzie Motors on 90 in Milton. My family has bought several vehicles from them over the years, and they are good people. They tend to have lots of quality used cars and trucks for decent prices.
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