The automaker has already made the unusual move of eliminate two fuel-saving features from some of the vehicles – engine start/stop and cylinder deactivation – and will now remove wireless mobile device charging pads from a few SUV trims, GM Authority first reported.
Let's talk about that -- start/stop and cylinder deactivation.
Both are sold as "economical."
Further, there are zero successful implementations -- defined as "does not screw the vehicle's engine or result in expensive repairs down the road."
Not even the Japanese have gotten it right -- Mazda has had problems with engines using it. So has GM. So has everyone else.
Because cylinder deactivation is akin to an intentional misfire and thus produces asymmetric internal loading within the engine. It is done to try to shave a fraction of a mpg in the EPA drive cycle and thus get a bit better rating.
This may not bother you if you don't intend to keep the vehicle for more than 5 years or beyond when the warranty runs out (and you get to pay for the nice, expensive repairs) but if you do intend to keep it, well, that's a problem.
Never mind the nice 10 speed automatic transmissions that run about $10,000 to replace when they blow up. And folks: All automatics eventually blow up. They blow up because the fluid is in the friction material of the clutches and thus inevitably some of that gets into the fluid and no matter how good of a filter you have (which isn't real good, by the way) you get wear and the wear causes failure. You can make it fail faster by not maintaining it, of course. Contrast this with a stick that may require a clutch but the gearbox itself, if you know how to drive a manual, will go a million miles with nothing more than gear oil changes every 50,000 or thereabouts.
Now let's contrast. My 2002 Suburban has a 5.3L engine in it -- the same displacement as the current model. It has a 4L60E transmission; a 4-speed overdrive automatic with lockup torque converter.
I can buy a remanufactured gearbox for $2,000 and for about $1,000 in labor have it installed. That's a third of the price of the modern model. For another $500 I can have upgraded internal parts put in said gearbox which will improve its expected life even more. The engine, in a crate, is less-expensive as well if and when I blow it up, but it's much less likely to blow up because it doesn't have that cylinder deactivation crap on it and the fuel injectors and required high pressure fuel pump aren't $1,000 each either.
Here's the thing -- if all that "stuff" resulted in a 3-4mpg advantage and did not increase maintenance and repair costs it might be worth it. After all, going from 18mpg to 21mpg, well, over enough miles that's a fair bit of money, especially with gas in the $3/gal+ range. Over 100,000 miles or so that would be good for about $2,300 in fuel which is not chump change.
But that's not the truth. The EPA window sticker on the new truck -- current year model, mind you, according to GM -- is 15/19. So in the real world all this crap saves you nothing and makes the truck wildly more-expensive to maintain.
Mine gets 14/18 in the real world all day long, statistically identical and, if I recall correctly, was rated right around there. Fuelly, which I use to track it, confirms this. Further, stick a trailer behind either one of them and at 70mph they'll both get 9mpg. The reason for both is that aerodynamically both are approximately equivalent to a flat brick wall and there's nothing you can do about the laws of physics in that regard. It simply requires "X" horsepower to move said brick wall through the air at Y mph.
Maybe I should send mine out to be repainted and then have Katzkin re-do the leather seating..... Hell, I could re-engine and re-transmission the truck at the same time and spend less than 20% of the cost of a "new" one -- and it would be, for all intents and purposes at that point, both cosmetically and mechanically new.
And be more reliable.