Page:  
Thanks to the fact that it delivers better handling while towing, at highway speeds, and in various parking lot tangos, GM's four-wheel-steering system is the most useful technological advance in the pickup market in decades.
Despite that reality, pickup buyers haven't really taken to the Delphi-designed system, which is called Quadrasteer.
That probably had more to do with what Quadrasteer cost, however, than what consumers thought of it; on top of the price of the truck itself, the system added about $5,600 to the sticker price.
GM insiders won't discuss the sales record of Quadrasteer to date, but the company's decision to more than halve the retail price of the technology on 2004 models of its pickups and SUVs suggests things have not gone as well as they'd hoped.
This is all good news for people looking at the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra models, since Quadrasteer moves the full-size pickup experience to a whole other level of utility and ease.
Before we get to that, however, a look at those new prices and some packaging changes that make it less expensive.
For the 2004 model year, GM has indeed reduced the price of Quadrasteer -- from $4,495 to $1,995.
On top of that, Silverado and Sierra buyer no longer have to add the 5.7-litre V8 and the heavy-duty trailer package to get Quadrasteer, which saves another $1,100. They must, however, add the Autotrac Active Transfer Case, for $375.
Two-wheel drive Quadrasteer equipped trucks can be ordered with an optional traction assist system for $225.
All told, it now costs about $3,225 less to get Quadrasteer in a Chevrolet or GMC pickup, which means it now costs $2,370 to add to a new pickup.
the roof marker lamps, limited slip diff, ride control suspension and
a 145 amp alternator -- which had been bundled with Quadrasteer at additional
cost -- are now included in the package at no extra cost.
Leaving price aside, Quadrasteer still works essentially the same way -- for now, and more on that in a moment.
At high speeds, Quadrasteer allows the rear wheels to turn slightly in the same direction as the front wheels, which greatly improves tracking with or without a trailer. That was the primary goal of the engineers at GM when they started working on four-wheel-steer (at the time, Delphi was a part of GM), and it was reached.
But it's at low speeds that any four-wheel-steering system has its most dramatic affect, since it enables the rear wheels to turn 12 degrees in the opposite direction of the front wheels. That lets the vehicle make tighter turns, such as when cornering or getting into a tight parking space. The turning diameter of 2500 models with Quadrasteer is reduced 21 percent, from 49.6 feet to 37.4 feet, which is in the same range as a small car like the Saturn coupe.
Page: