- The Washington Times - Friday, December 1, 2000

A grime-free, four-vehicle garage neatly stocked with high-end tools is the type of setting in which you'd expect to find a 2001 GMC Sierra C3 half-ton pickup.
Fitting for a manufacturer on a mission to craft premium trucks, GMC creates the extended-cab, AWD C3 as a best-of-everything pickup. Eliminating the need for amenity-hungry buyers to spend time grazing an option list, GMC garnishes its upscale truck with a list of pluses exceeding that of many luxury sedans.
Labeling C3 a luxury pickup doesn't stray from the truth, but a GMC spokeswoman said the term "professional grade" is preferred.
Whether buying a top-line electric drill or air-conditioning unit, power is a must for demanding consumers. C3 muscle is flexed in the form of a monster 6-liter V-8 that drives all four wheels. This engine is a key element in a balanced powertrain and chassis package GMC tags "Performance Biased Driveline."
C3's V-6 gets the 5,013-pounder haulin' with 325 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 370 foot-pounds of torque at 4,000 rpm. Importantly, GMC reports 90 percent of the torque is available between 1,600 and 5,200 rpm.
Corralling this torque and efficiently unleashing it is a heavy-duty, four-speed automatic transmission. Its strong first gear teams with high torque to produce formidable off-the-line grunt. GMC reports this combo powers the C3 to a 0-60 mph time of 8.3 seconds.
This confident debut also has a special meaning for those towing a trailer or hauling a load in its 6.5-foot-long cargo box. A heavy-duty Z82 trailering package with receiver hitch integrated into the step bumper is standard. Towing capacity is rated at 8,700 pounds. There's no transfer-case lever to wrestle into gear or even a button to push. The system is activated at all times.
C3's sophisticated AWD system is akin to those used on high-line German cars. Using viscous-coupling technology, torque automatically is transferred from slipping wheels to those with the most traction. The process is seamless, continuously at work without detection by the driver.
Outfitting a pickup touting superior performance and traction requires quality tires. C3s are fitted with Michelin LTX P265/70-R-17 all-season touring tires. Elegantly filling the centers are 17-by-7.5-inch cast-aluminum wheels. These six-spoke wheels glisten with a silver-sparkle paint finish. Bringing these big wheels to a halt is a high-capacity four-wheel-disc, anti-lock brake system and dynamic rear proportioning system. DRP balances front-to-rear brake pressure offering predictable brake response, even when hauling a trailer. Along with enhanced stopping performance, this balanced braking can help reduce brake wear.
While C3 is "all truck," it doesn't ride like one. C3's Increased Capacity/Firm Ride suspension reacts to load and driving input to offer optimum ride quality. Suspension calibrations vary, automatically increasing firmness under load or aggressive driving.
Of course the seats, covered with tone-on-tone leather, are contributors to ride comfort. Front buckets feature six-way power adjustability with fold-down inside armrests, lumbar supports, and heated cushions and back rests.
The instrument panel and center console blend traditional luxury with a crisper appliance-finish look. This is achieved by mixing tasteful touches of black cherry wood grain with a distinctive silver paint. Aptly called "Silvertec," the paint creates a more techno, metal-like appearance.
Heavy-grade carpeting teams with floor mats and extra sound-deadening material to keep the cab quiet. C3's interior also is a great environment for listening to the six-speaker AM/FM stereo system with six-CD changer. Passengers seated on the three-place rear bench benefit from separate audio controls and headphone jacks.
Another premium component found at the center console is a driver information center that provides critical data in a choice of four languages. Drivers can tap into more trip information than most need to know: trip mileage, trip info from the previous 15 days and total annual mileage.
Just as C3's interior sends the message of "premium" with an uncluttered interior, exterior styling similarly conveys the theme. There are no graphics, overdone badging or outrageous body cladding. A clean, machined look was the goal, and the pewter-colored test truck definitely makes that impression.
Separating C3's front end from the ordinary Sierra is a body-colored fascia with round fog lamps and a more refined grille. The grille's chrome trim frames black machined-texture that provides 300 minute inlets for engine-cooling airflow.
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