Some months ago, I received a challenge from a GM engineer that went something like this: "If you could be an engineering god for one day, what would you change about this vehicle?" He was talking about the new HD that we write about elsewhere in this issue, and he threw down the gauntlet during a preview of that vehicle. Granted, I only had a few hours to drive the truck, so I didn't feel qualified enough to tell him to take so-and-so part back to the CNC machine. But, I did suggest we put our loaner Silverado 1500 to the test, in an expectant tone of voice, implying that whatever I do with it might result in, uh, "unintended alterations" to the vehicle, due to the forcefulness of the testing program. I got tacit approval, if nothing else, because they may not have understood what I was really talking about, which was fine by me. So, I left the conversation with visions of stump-pulling dancing around in my head, wondering what kind of Rube Goldberg method I could use to pull that off.
But it never happened. Why? For one thing, everyone on staff wanted to drive the dang truck for this roadtrip or to tow that. Next, I had to leave the 1500 parked while I tried out the HDs for our shootout of those vehicles, afterwards I had to fly out of state for business trips. Then, I was experimenting with a form of two-wheeled transportation. In the end, I didn't do much more than ride around town with the thing and jam to the XM Satellite Radio. The truck did get plenty of manly man usage ... from everyone else. There were those three wheels and tires that were stored in the bed for a month, or maybe two months; various auto parts were shuttled from the office to installation shops, a couple of photo shoots in Central and Northern California, and there was even the opportunity to comfortably ensconce three or four people in the Crew Cab from time to time. In other words, we used the truck just like most other people would, for routine people and cargo moving. And it worked great for that. Maybe I can convince the next driver to yank stumps, if I can get people to stop towing, hauling, and otherwise using the Silverado as a truck.
Funny, there was one technology on the Silverado I had never even paid attention to before: the backup sensor system. Most backup sensors simply beep at an increasing frequency as you creep in reverse toward that concrete pillar in the parking garage- my daily parking experience at home, in fact. GM's system beeps once to remind you to pay attention, then there are three lights near the top of the passenger-side C-pillar that glow one yellow dot, then two yellow dots, and finally two yellow dots and a red dot when you approach the "whoa!" zone. You can only see the warning lights when you are backing up like you are supposed to, by turning your head to look over your right shoulder. If you get lazy and simply use the rearview mirror while backing out, then that fancy backup sensor won't help you at all.
I encountered two problems with this vehicle during the time I had it. One, the rear window, which opens and closes electrically, jammed up and had to be repaired; although it was under the warranty. Two, the plastic bedliner is bubbling up from the floor, although I couldn't tell you why. Other than that, the truck worked fine.
This is the third installment of our long-term coverage of the '07 Silverado. Miles driven during this period were 5,014. The overall MPG for this period is 16.2.