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All letters become the property of Four Wheeler, and we reserve the right to edit them for length, accuracy, and clarity. The editorial department also can be reached through the Web site at www.fourwheeler.com. Due to the volume of mail, electronic and otherwise, we cannot respond to every reader, but we do read everything.
Reader: Are you kidding me? Three trucks. That's it? ("2007 Pickup Truck of the Year," Mar. '07.) I think you could have evaluated a lot more trucks than three, but I guess it's whoever pays the bills. I used to love your mag since I started reading it five years ago, but I must say I think I will have to look somewhere for the kind of mag you used to be. It's been nice reading your input on things, but now you have just lost your minds. I have to move on, so I will not be renewing my subscription. Good luck with your outlook on things.
Reader: Hey, just wanted to tell you guys that I love the magazine. I have subscribed for a year and last year's PTOTY test was way better than this year's-the reason being that you had more trucks to test, not just ones by the General. Why didn't you test the Ford F-150 or the Dodge Ram 1500? (P.S.: I am 14 years old and interested in lifting a truck when I get one.)
Reader: Your experience at PTOTY with the GMC Sierra and its airbag deploying suddenly reminded us of our experience with my '07 Tahoe.
We had just gotten our new 4x2 Tahoe, when on March 16, 2006 we were driving on a road with a gradual turn when both side airbags deployed. OnStar came on, asking if we were OK and if we'd had an accident, and all we could tell them was that the airbags had gone off while we were driving. Apparently, we'd hit a curb with a rear tire, and were able to drive with the airbags and OnStar to the next side street to get off the main road. After dealing with GM, their Customer Service Department, their Product Liability, their Business Resource Center, District Manager, and an independent engineering inspector, we were told, according to the black box from the vehicle, that since the vehicle was going at a high rate of speed (44 mph), with a sudden change of direction (vertical movement/latitude was zero) and forward movement/longitude shifting by 0.6 mph, the sensor felt we were in a rollover situation and thus the airbags deployed. So did that mean that we needed to watch out for every pothole on the road if we were driving over 45 mph?
After 65 days in the shop (to replace the headliner, airbags, and one tire) and $5,800, we got the Tahoe back. We initially got the parts to keep, but GM then contacted us and said they wanted the sensors for testing. After repeated phone calls to find out what they learned from their testing, we found that they had been placed in "storage" and weren't being tested at all. Just thought we would share our story.
Bobbie and Tim Welpott
Editor: Thanks much for doing so. Obviously, we cannot vouch for the accuracy of this letter, though it certainly sounds on the surface that we're not alone in wondering about the reliability of the safety systems in the new GMT900 trucks based on personal experience. (For those of you who missed it, GM posted a detailed response to our concerns in the April '07 issue.)
About the test vehicles: We mention it every year, but we'll say it again-our "Of the Year" tests are limited to only those vehicles that (a) are all new or substantially revised from the previous model year, and (b) will be available for sale to the public by January of said model year. Toyota couldn't meet our production deadline for the Tundra-even though we postponed our test dates by two months-and Ford declined our invitation to the Explorer Sport Trac. We'll admit, this year's PTOTY field was not what we would have ideally liked, but some things we simply can't control.
There's good news in the offing, though: Next year's PTOTY test should be a real barnburner, with the V-8 Tundra competing against the new Big Three diesels, the long-wheelbase Titan, and the new Dakota. And those are only the pickups we know about right now-there may be more to come. Thanks to all for writing in about our tests.
Reader: Hey, I just want to know why General Motors doesn't build a real truck with a solid-axle frontend. I know some people want the great ride, but the rest of us would like a strong frontend that won't break. They could build both pretty easily because the 4500-series 4x4 trucks are that way. I think the 3/4-ton and 1-ton models should have that option. I have a 1-ton dualie Duramax 4x4. The only thing that would make it better is a Dana 60 up front.
Editor: We just returned from our first testdrive of the new GM heavy-duty trucks, and you can read our impressions on page 34.
What were you smoking when you chose the Avalanche as a pickup truck? Where's the cab? Where's the frame? (OK, OK, it has one.) Where's the bed? Y'all be messin' with American idols. Ya gonna get creamed with letters like mine, but way nastier. They're gonna accuse you of sleeping with the General. I won't go that far, but I would say that instead of compromising your PTOTY selection because there were only two GM pickups in there, I would have cancelled the 2007 selection.
Repeat after me: An Avalanche is a Suburban with its rear carved into a part-time semi-pickup-like device. An Avalanche is a Suburban with its rear carved into a part-time semi-pickup-like device. Say it out loud. An Avalanche is a Suburban with its rear carved into a part-time semi-pickup-like device. It used to be butt-ugly, but now it's not.
Are you guys journalists? Or slaves to Primedia? This is the first time I've ever agreed with Holman. The childish Holman-versus-Brubaker crap very nearly made me cancel my sub. Muzzle that boy, but listen to him when he describes a pickup truck.
Editor: Normally, we'd dash off another smart-ass reply for a letter like this, but anyone who advises a muzzle for our editors obviously has his priorities straight. Hope you enjoy the box of Four Wheeler swag that's on its way to your door.