Cars – 2017 GMC Sierra 1500

That’s how I remember this truck. Man it was great. Every single option box checked.

You’ll recall how the first new vehicle I ever wanted to buy was a Chevy S10 back in 1998. That truck was also fully loaded and $20k. Things have come a long way in 22 years. That same truck would probably run near $40k today. The price of trucks is ridiculous, isn’t it? These things are where the major automakers rake in the most profit after all. Trucks fund R&D. Trucks allow them to approach other market segments at tighter margins. Trucks allow them to build the efficient cars that lower their average fuel efficiency ratings and build bigger trucks. They market trucks as the American dream.

I’ve always liked trucks, I’ve always wanted a truck, and when I needed a break from the raw performance and horrendous transmission of my Golf R, there was only one route to take. What to pick though? I had absolutely zero brand loyalty. My only restriction? No Dodges. Ram’s looked great, but after my experiences with Dodge vehicles, and seeing enough of them rotting away out from under their owners… I took a hard pass on Dodge.

So I figured I would check Chevy and Ford first. I visited Leo Kaytes in Warwick (Yes, same dealer my Dad sued) and walked the lot for a good 45 minutes. I looked at every truck in my price range, noting the ones that met my requirements – 4×4, heated seats, premium stereo. After 45 minutes of going from truck to truck and not a single salesperson walked out to greet me – I left.

Next stop? Healey Chevrolet. After Country was forced to close (YAY!) it was my only local option. I’d always been partial to Chevy, so I was already leaning in that direction. Again – a solid 45 minutes in the lot. Spotted trucks with the colors and options I wanted, decided which I’d like to try out… Not a single salesperson could be bothered to come outside. Were they all busy making sales? Who knows.

By this point, I had nearly given up but there was one more American option – GMC. I took a ride down to Royal GMC in Sussex, NJ and walked the lot. Within 15 minutes, a salesman came out to offer his help. I test drove a Silverado (same model I have today), test drove a Sierra (not the one I bought), and while it wasn’t a color I was super kean on, I decided to head into the dealership to crunch numbers. I wanted the truck, but I didn’t WANT the truck yet.

We head inside, run some numbers, everything looks good. I head back out with the salesman to check something on it, then on my way back in I see this…

Now the truck I first looked at checked every box. Up until then, I was following my own advice. That truck even had a solid $10k in discounts applied to it. Then I saw this one. Silver. Oof. Dopamine and Serotonin flooded my brain. Halfway through our conversation on the black Sierra, “What about that silver one we just walked past?” Well, no discounts. Extra accessories. Price was $10k higher than the other one.

Sitting down? Monthly payment with my trade-in was $780. Folks, if you aren’t comfortable with the payment you have 2 options. Pay more down, or walk away. Unless you are brand faithful and want a new ride every 2-3 years, don’t lease it. I wanted the truck, I didn’t like the payment, so I leased it. 12k miles a year for a 36 month lease. Payment was now $580, a tick higher than the Golf R. Dopamine. I paid for GAP insurance. Serotonin. I agreed to pay $450 if I didn’t buy the truck or lease a new GMC at the end.

All in all, I could afford it, and planned on buying it at the end of the lease, but this is my 3rd vehicle in 3 years. My current commute involved a 10 minute drive to and from the park and ride, so mileage wasn’t an issue. The parking sensors made it a breeze to park anywhere. Gas mileage was about 23mpg on average. I could control it from my phone. It was great. Honestly, I have absolutely zero complaints about this truck. Had my commute not changed, I’d likely still have it. That’s what happened though. I got a new job, and my two main options were a public parking lot 45 minutes away, or a parking garage the same distance where it was a royal pain to park such a large vehicle.

I decided to get a commuter (that’ll be the next post) and just drive the truck on the weekends. But wait, there’s more. Instead of staying on the lease and getting a commuter, I terminated the lease, and bought the truck (because my mileage was increasing faster than my allotment). When I terminated the lease on my first VW, I called VW, they refinanced the car over the phone and I was good. When I did the same with the GMC, I got a crappy interest rate, paid for gap insurance AGAIN, and oh yeah – had to pay tax on it again. I should have just kept the lease and returned the truck.

Instead, I was now making double payments on the GMC, and driving a new Honda most of the time. I found myself paying upwards of $1500/m on the truck and only adding 300 miles to the odometer per month. Finally one day I had a moment of God given clarity and decided to sell it. Within a week it was gone to a new home, and I was only left with paying for my 2018 Civic Si.

Now while I made decisions I regretted in purchasing the truck, and leasing the truck, and breaking the lease on the truck – that thing was great. Comfortable, great mpg for a truck, plenty of power, plenty of utility – it wouldn’t be my last truck that’s for sure. I simply couldn’t justify spending what I was spending on something I didn’t use enough. I’m glad I made the mistakes I did though, because after 22 years of driving I finally saw the light.

I finally took my own advice… and I bought my first Honda (that didn’t have a cutting deck).

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