As others have said, this too was my first car. Being a typical high school kid this car took a beating, now I am older it is still reliable and I have had few problems with it. One thing I will say is that GM does not build very good drive trains, but the rest of the car makes up for this. It handles great on the road, and unlike most SUV's has very minimal body roll, it can also tow plenty and remain stable. The Z71 editions are great for offroad, decent ground clearnace and skid-plates help, I have taken mine to Moab many times and it works great. Bottom line is these things keep going and going, as long as they are maintained. I have 150K on mine!
Interior space, horse power, and handling.
More durable transmissions, electrical system could be more heavy duty. Also if you buy one of these invest in an aftermarket air intake it will really help your milage, and power.