I'm at this crossroads at this very moment. A2 vs A3. Initial cost isn't the issue, just what is better of a truck in the long run (very loose term I know but time to stir the pot). I want to hear more from A3 owners too.
I love the A2's multi for simplicity, sound, and its slightly improved MPG by what I've compared to fellow MVer's A3s. I have a semi-steady flow of WMO/WVO should I choose to use it. Also parts are cheaper (dont know for how long though as supplies dry up) and the enjoyment derived from a manual transmission is unparalleled when driving. It's also fun to tell people it has a hyper-cycle engine in it not to mention the obvious benefit of burning just about anything for fuel. Overdrive is nice and a slightly higher stock top speed is nice too.
But then again..the A3 has the "creature comforts" as wreckerman posted in another thread. Electric wipers, better "butt bucket", power steering, and was rebuilt more recently. CTIS has been a crap shoot; I've seen the GL pics for many years and read many threads on capping them, but it seems often there is a good truck without leaks or problems. The duel circuit brakes are a nice standard option. Hydro winch is a big plus! Allison auto tranny makes for easier in town driving.
What bothers me the most is the word on the street on reliability for the CAT 3116 and Allison. 3116 designated a disposable engine? Then why is it used in a variety of other non-military roles? Allison not engaging? Why wont she marry the poor sap? *joke* I personally believe its just due to those A3 owners who have issues visit the forums to solve the problem so we hear about them most. Please chime in either way. I just know that if something does break like all things eventually do they will be costly.
The one thing I'd also like to know is realistic cruising speeds of an A3 with larger tires: 395/85 R20? I read the beads for the 395/85 R20 don't match up and would require re-centered HEMTT rims, true/false? A2's can hit up to 65-67 with 395's.
On a last note I believe the A3 is ugly due to being dropped on its face as a child but hey..it does kinda of grow on you like that of mold in the back of the fridge.