San Francisco: Innovation is nothing new for
automakers. Its how they get people to buy more of their product and it grants the
innovator bragging rights for at least a few years. Enter what GM is calling Quadrasteer:
just like it sounds, its four-wheel steering for a pickup truck
In the light truck category, those that are smaller
than a semi and work just as hard, innovation has been slow for the last few years because
theres only so much you can do with a pickup, until the competition bring their
version to market.
Other manufacturers have tried this type of thing before,
most notably the Nissan 300ZX with HICAS (High Capacity Actively Controlled Suspension)
rear steering. But where Nissan failed to attract buyers to a high performance sports car
that could corner better, this new iteration from The General is actually useful to a
larger percentage of the truck populace.
We tested Quadrasteer on a 2003 GMC Sierra Heavy Duty crew
cab with four full-sized doors and a standard bed. It was pretty long and sat really
what a great truck should be.
For the price of a decent used car ($5,525) you get the
four-wheel steering package: Quadrasteer, roof marker lamps (like a semi), heavy duty
trailering equipment, manually selected ride control, a limited slip differential and a
145-amp alternator. All of this must be accompanied by the heavy-duty package as well.
Hopefully it wont be long before this option will be available on regular trucks so
that more of the population can take advantage of this class-leading feature.
The funny thing is
Quadrasteer is well worth the money.
We found that we were able to run circles around some family sedans and we even made a few
u-turns that no other truck could conceivably accomplish without two or three tries doing
the old three-point maneuver.
This new system is supposed to be great for towing (the rear
wheels turn with the fronts on the road so the trailer will follow more easily).
Unfortunately for us we didnt get a chance to test the Sierras towing ability
but were sure that with the ride control, big engine and Quadrasteer we could have
towed anything including a fifth-wheel trailer with ease (mostly because the truck sits
Inside the Sierra HD is just like any other GM truck, which
isnt as bad as you might think. On the contrary, its a very livable, useable
place. Our tester was equipped with many neat options that would make travel a delight.
For the kids, there was a DVD entertainment system with connections for gaming systems.
For the adults, there was an upgraded radio with CD, Bose speakers and XM satellite radio.
The real distinguishing factor to tell the Quadrasteer
vehicle from more plebian Sierras is the rear fender bulges and semi-like lights adorning
the top of the cab and bulged fenders. One thing we really missed with this truck was
running boards. Its a fairly tall vehicle and we ended up having to practically jump
into it every time. While not an issue to keep us from buying, this was getting old by the
end of our visit with the Sierra.
One startling thing we found with our tester was the bouncy
ride this truck affords. We had to keep telling ourselves that this is a work truck and
not something designed for daily commuting, unless your commute takes you onto a
construction site or you haul a trailer as part of your occupation. With that in mind we
found it a bit easier to swallow the as-tested price of $45,095, which included a $745
Options on our tester, which ended up bumping the test
vehicles price by 12-large, included the $1600 SLT décor group (front leather seats, air
and dual-zone climate controls, cruise control, CD radio, power windows and locks,
transfer case and steering wheel controls for almost everything); the aforementioned
Quadrasteer package; rear-seat DVD entertainment system ($1295); front reclining buckets
with power driver seat ($1135); $595 for the totally awesome Bose CD stereo; $325 for an
equally awesome XM satellite receiver; polished aluminum wheels ($150); LT245/75R16 tires
($55); and a 4.10 rear axle ($50).
Funny thing is, without all the frilly stuff and Quadrasteer,
a heavy-duty GMC bases at $33,620.00. For the price you get basic necessities like
6.0-liter V8, four-wheel ABS, rear heat ducts and a 60/40 split rear seat, full gauges
with tachometer, trailer wire harness and tilt wheel.
Our bottom line comes down to this: even if this Sierra came
without Quadrasteer and the XM Radio package it would still be a great vehicle, albeit a
much less expensive one. By James E. Bryson © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
GMC Home Page
Byline: Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo ©
Column Name: A Big Truck with Maneuvers to Spare
Topic: 2003 GMC Sierra HD Crew Cab with Quadrasteer
Word Count: 860
Photo Caption: 2003 GMC Sierra HD Crew Cab
Photo Credits: GMC Internet Media
Series #: 2003 - 15
Download the Microsoft Word version here: 2003 GMC Sierra HD Crew Cab
Download the original image file here: 2003 GMC Sierra HD Crew Cab 33k