It was quite square.
Full Disclosure: GM wanted me to drive one of their box trucks so badly they let Penske purchase a truck from them then dispersed it to the general public who can drive it with no experience driving a vehicle larger than a Manhatten apartment.
To start with, I didn’t test drive this truck, I rented it to move into a house. Here is what I experienced in my 80 mile travel between my place, the house and the rental place.
The overall rental experience was pleasant, the truck was brand new with merely 5000 miles on the odometer and still in the square shape that it originally started out as.
Exterior - 2
It is big, yellow, and not a school bus.
Interior - 1
If you were driving across the state and hoping for a pleasant ambiance, I have bad news for you. It echoes, its echoes echo, all culminating is a symphony of the “wumba wumba” sounds that shaking sheet metal makes. The interior of this truck is pure 2008 GM, it even has the same radio. The seats are adjustable in that they have about 3mm of forward and back movement. However, as I bounce in the seat with my knees in my face, I know deep down inside that there are far worse places.
Acceleration - 1
Acceleration is woeful, but I was too busy laughing as the engine made lots of screaming noises giving the allusion of acceleration.
Braking - 1
No wonder it takes freight trains over a mile to stop, it felt like it was going to take at least a hundred feat to stop at 30 mph. The brakes at least suggest the truck to stop and it does, eventually...
Ride - 1
Empty: Boing, Boing, Boing. The really stiff rear suspension makes this thing incredibly bouncy on the highway. I wanted to try to reach the governor (limit to 75), but any time the truck went above 70 it would shake violently. It is like driving with permanent wheel hop. (Note: I conducted this test with it unloaded because I wasn’t doing silly stuff with my whole livelihood in the back.)
Loaded: Take a tree turn it on its side and put wheels on it. It is heavy, stiff, and unwieldy, but at least it didn’t bounce as much.
Handling - 1
The truck had 5000 miles on it and there was already plenty of play in the misaligned wheel. I felt like I had to turn the wheel an excessive amount just to get it to turn a normal intersection corner. I imagine it is similar to the steering of a Mark IV Continental.
Gearbox - 2
Did you know that these trucks have a manual mode?! Sure it is a column shifter and the manual shift is suppose to be for towing, but hell, let’s do an acceleration run for grins and giggles. Foot to the floor and rowing through the gears (though I am just pressing a silly button on the shifter) was very comical. Other than that, the transmission is geared for torque and it does that job adequately well.
Audio/Toys - 2
It has the best radio 2008 can provide. It is not the best thing in the world, but it did drown out the noise of everything falling in the back of the truck.
Sound (Engine) - 2
If you are looking for a loud, rumbling V8, look no further than a box truck. The metal on metal action of the cab and the box amplifies the humming noise of the engine to glorious thunder. The shaking of the sides as you hurdle down the highway empty sings to the breeze. Pack some Tylenol or earplugs, you’ll need it.
Dash/Infotainment - 0
The speedometer should be rewritten by adding “-ish” to every number. It is somewhat close to what it should be a bit, but not quite. I may be indicating 30, but it is somewhere between 27 and 33, eh, close enough.
Visibility - 0
I can’t see shit. I am driving a damn house.
To be fair, the mirrors were more than adequate on the left side of the truck. However, power mirrors are a necessity. The right mirror was a pain in the ass to adjust. Yes, let me reach 20ft across the truck and adjust the mirror only to wander back and see that it is not even close to where I need it.
Lane changes went as follows.
Mirror, Shoulder check, “Shit can’t see,” Panic, Remember tiny mirror, breathe, mirror check, signal, gently urge over hoping not to run over any Aveo’s.
Utility Value - 4
It’s a big box that I can fit a house in. Can’t do that with your E63 AMG Wagon eh Doug...
Value - 3
Renting the box truck was a easy and painless experience. Pricing was very good and the truck performed the exact task it was suppose to do. Compared to the full service moving companies, this was a no brainer. For some of the price they were charging, I could go out into rural Nebraska and buy a box truck.
Total: 20/52 - 38%
I finally got to check driving a box truck off my bucket list. It is a truly terrifying experience and shares almost no correlation to Euro Truck Simulator. That said, I am now an expert at driving box trucks and have no fear once I have to do it again. Once you get use to the mirrors, always driver forward, and stay on the widest roads possible it really isn’t all that bad. The truck itself can be described as big, slow, uncomfortable, and slightly barbaric in terms of creature comforts, but it got the job done and that is all it is suppose to do.