I DON'T KNOW why Chevy called the truck "Cheyenne." It wasn't madeby descendants of the Algonquin tribe of the Great Plains, who arecalled Cheyenne. It wasn't even made in Minnesota, from where theCheyenne began their 17th-century migration. Nor was it made in Montanaor Oklahoma, where the tribe wound up on reservations. Instead,the big rear-wheel-drive truck, with a crew cab designed to seat sixpeople, was made in Fort Wayne, Ind.So I checked with some Chevy dealers and General Motors Corp.marketers to find out why they chose to call the truck Cheyenne. No onehad much of an answer.Some GM officials suggested that the name is meant to signifyboldness, toughness, ruggedness, adventure. The Cheyenne pickup istough, in both its rear-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive versions. Itcan haul or roll over practically anything.That being the case, GM could've called the truck the Chevy Rock orChevy Titan. But I'm glad the marketers didn't go that route. Cheyenne-- it has a zing to it.Background: The Cheyenne is one of Chevrolet's C/K 1500 pickups.The "C" stands for two-wheel/rear-wheel-drive. The "K" denotesfour-wheel-drive, and "1500" means the truck has a half-ton payloadweight.Payload? That's the maximum allowable cargo weight a truck cancarry. Payload is not to be confused with trailer capacity, which is themaximum allowable weight a truck can pull.The test vehicle was a 1995 Chevy Cheyenne C 1500 equipped to pulla trailer weighing 7,500 pounds. It came with a 5.7-liter V-8 enginerated 200 horsepower at 4,000 rpm, with max torque set at 310 pound-feetat 2,400 rpm -- the standard engine for the Cheyenne crew cab.Standard brakes included front discs/rear drums with a four-wheel,anti-lock system. A four-speed automatic transmission is standard, as isa driver's-side air bag.Chevy's C/K 1500 pickups can be ordered in myriad ways -- regularcab, crew cab and extended cab; two-wheel or four-wheel-drive; Sportsidewith bulging rear fenders, or Fleetside with conventional rear truckfenders; with a cargo box measuring 6.5-feet-long, or one eight feet.For 1996, Chevy C/K 1500 pickups with crew cabs will come with anoptional side-access panel, a narrow door that opens up for easieraccess to the rear seats.Complaints: All trucks ought to come with power sideview mirrors.This one didn't. That meant getting out of the truck to manually adjustthe mirror on the passenger side.Praise: Just a fine, big ol', kick-butt truck. It's a workhorse ofa hauler.Head-turning quotient: Intimidating, even when you're just tryingto be nice. Everything about the Cheyenne says: "Get outta my way!"Ride, acceleration and handling: Very decent ride for frontpassengers. Rear passengers were less pleased. They complained aboutlimited leg room. Good truck acceleration, judged by the Cheyenne'sability to quickly and safely change lanes in highway traffic. Greathandling on straightaways. Bu t watch those curves! That's especiallytrue if the cargo box has no cargo. Braking was very good.Mileage: About 14 miles per gallon (34-gallon tank, estimated450-mile range on usable volume of regular unleaded), running mostlyhighway with one to four occupants and light cargo.Sound system: Four-speaker AM/FM stereo radio and cassette by DelcoElectronics. Very good.Price: Base price on the tested 1995 C 1500 Fleetside crew cab witheight-foot box is $17,850. Dealer invoice on that base model is $15,619.Price as tested is $22,467, including $4,007 for the Cheyenne decorpackage and other options, and a $610 transportation charge.Purse-strings note: An excellent truck with lots of competitors,including the Dodge Dakota, Dodge Ram 1500, Ford F-150, GMC Sierra C/K1500, and -- deservedly last in the full-size pickup category -- theToyota T100.
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