I have owned Big Blue, my 2016 Outdoorsman ecodiesel for just over 6 months, and driven just over 30,000 km. I have made one significant trip – driving from Hamilton to Orlando and back for a disney vacation, made my daily 65 km commute, and towed Marshmallow (an 11 year old Percheron Mare) 3 or 4 times in her gooseneck trailer. My daughter is a frequent rider in the back of the Quad cab, as well as a couple who sometimes ride-share with me on the work-commute.
Throw in sundry trips to the hardware store (4 x 8 ply, 12′ cedar planks etc), grocery shopping, taking the dogs to the park and you get the life of Big Blue.
She is the Outdoorsman rig, with 4×4, skid plates, tow hooks, trailer mirrors, trailer tow brakes, limited slip diff, Quad cab (like extended in other brands), 6’4″ bed, in dark blue (Blue Pearl) with black lower panels and grill. I took the Comfort package (I hate the cold wheel in the winter), and the deluxe package (which had the multimedia options I consider necessary these days), and the electric sliding rear window. The only option I am not convinced of is the rear window. I did not take the backup camera (and it might have saved me a replacement taillight – cost 175). One serious gripe I have is with the ordering process. Both the online customer facing build tool, and the salesman’s ordering tool, showed that the outdoorsman package would come with the low ratio rear axle (for greater towing capacity). However, the higher ratio was delivered, and we were never able to resolve why, or make some satisfactory arrangement to compensate for what I felt was a mistake on their part.
I have not babied the truck – I haven’t really washed or waxed her since owning her, and I have made small “bondo” patches to the rear after scraping it a couple of times (and busting a taillight) due to my underestimating her size.
My average MPG is 25.56 Miles per US gallon (30.7 miles UK gallon), or 9.2 l/100 km overall. This includes all the driving types I mentioned, over a total of 30,302 km. My mileage has been tracked on Fuelly.com, a handy web site that enables you to track mileage fill-up by fill up.
So far, I have had 2 oil changes – every 12000 km. These have been quite expensive – the first at $175, second was around 350 as they did some other maintenance work – tire rotation, brake, exhaust and suspension inspection. I am left not terribly happy about the second service – I will double check the invoice for the work done. That said, the truck has performed perfectly, with 0 problems. I had a gooseneck hitch fitted (by Hitch City) a couple months ago for trailering our horse, which cost around $1000. The next thing I really need to do is to get the truck lined. I plan to buy a bucket of the liner stuff and paint it myself (being a cheap Yorkshireman as my wife says). I have found a source for oil and filters online which would cost me about 150 per oil change – not much saving, but I sometimes like to do it myself anyway. Before our disney trip, I purchased a soft tonneau cover online for about 275.
So now for the driving. The truck rides really well – smooth and well behaved, not jittery and “truck like”, thanks to the all round coil springs. Under load, or towing she rides even better – towing the gooseneck with Marshmallow aboard with great aplomb – all in a days work, and averaging under 15 l/100 km while towing her. The bed lights are great for fishing stuff in and out of the back at night. There is sufficient room in the back even for occasional adults, and I am happy that I chose the Quad rather than the Crew cab – the bed length is good. If the truck was any longer, parking would be next to impossible on my street. As it is, I have to park within an inch to avoid sticking out fore or aft over my neighbour’s driveways.
Acceleration is somewhat modest from start (I was driving a Fiat 500 before this truck), but passing at speed seems fine, and towing power feels good. Turbo lag is somewhat pronounced (compare to my wife’s VW diesel), but not a problem when you get used to it. The brakes are great. The tires are pretty grippy in poor conditions – she felt really sure footed in the tail of of Winter in March earlier this year. The driving position is great, with a commanding view of the road, and reasonable over the shoulder visibility. The mirrors are really good, almost eliminating the blind spot. The seats – firm fabric – are comfortable and very adjustable including lumbar support – good for my back considering how much time I spend in this truck – about 3 hours daily.
The Disney trip was a good test at 2 months and about 7,000 km in. I got my best fuel tank on that trip, making 8.3 l/100km (28.3 mpg US or 34 mpg UK) on a stretch coming back up the coast through South Carolina and Virginia. She pulled up and down the Apalachians like a champ, the 8-speed gearbox switching away handily, but never making me feel unnecessarily. The ride was comfortable (as a 10 hour a day drive can be). On my daily commute, I still average about 9 l/100 km, on an average speed of about 80 km/h (mostly 100 but some start-stop in traffic).
As a cost-benefit analysis of the diesel, I look at Fuelly.com for my consumption. I have paid $2,359 in fuel over 30,302 km. If I had purchased the 5.7 Hemi (the pentastar would not have met my towing needs), with an average consumption of 14.7 l/100km, I would have spent about $4,000. So I saved about $1600 in 6 months. Factor in the extra cost of the diesel – $5,700 – 1400 for the hemi = 3300. It will take me less than 3 years to pay off the initial investment. However, since I financed the truck anyway, my monthly fuel savings are way more than the extra monthly billing for the diesel option. In other words, I actually have about $200 extra in my pocket every month when adding both the monthly payments and the fuel costs together. Mind you – I don’t have a hemi – but I consider that a small price to pay next to the savings I am enjoying.