There are plenty of other big-rig goodies, too. An air horn helps. We did get the inevitable arm-pumping from kids in a school bus, so you have to be prepared to respond when you drive something like the Kodiak. There's a switch on the dash that flashes the taillights to thank drivers when they flash headlights to let you know your trailer has cleared them and you can move right to complete a pass. Satellite radio, a 15-inch flat-panel video system, and vertical exhaust stacks also are available.

The climb up into the Kodiak's pilot seat is a long one, even in this lowered version of the truck. Better grab handles would help, because in their absence, the driver will use the steering wheel to pull up, which isn't good for the steering column.

Once behind the wheel, the Kodiak delivers a real king-of-the-road view like no dualie pickup can. Aiding the view are the enormous right and left side mirrors. Think your towing mirrors are big? Your wife could use one of these things as a full-length closet door mirror.

The cabin does fall short of the opulence we've come to expect from pleasure dens like the Ford Super Duty King Ranch. It's the consequence of the Kodiak's commercial truck origins, observes Ross Hendrix, director of medium-duty trucks for GM. Now that the trucks are serving more personal use, the company is turning its attention to the sea of hard shiny plastics and shoddy-looking switches and controls that meet the eye in the Kodiak's cabin. Monroe dresses up the Kodiak with fake carbon fiber and woodgrain, but that's really just a temporary fix until the truck gets a proper new interior from GM.

The front bucket seats are comfortable over the long haul. The rear seat offers a sea of legroom and the seat folds flat to serve as a reasonably spacious bed. In its fully upright position, the rear seatback is uncomfortably vertical, but using the power unfolding switch slides the seat bottom forward and the rear starts to slip back in preparation for lying down. This lets the occupants trade the extra legroom for recline angle on the seatback.