Seeking input -- upcoming vehicle purchase

caesAR15

New member
I'm looking for input/recommendations. I've been lurking here on ExPo for a while, became a member recently and this is my first post, soooo yeah... go easy :)

This initial post feels a little longish, but I want to provide an accurate picture of my scenario in hopes of getting some solid suggestions. Here's my situation:

My bone stock 2006 6 cylinder 2WD Dodge Dakota is beginning to nickel and dime me. It's served me well since I bought it in '08, but I've pretty routinely asked it to do more than it was capable of and I know I want (need) more capability in my next truck.

General usage overview:
I do a fair amount of house repair/remodel work and landscaping. I also hunt as much as possible. Nothing to tow, and no intentions of buying a boat or anything tow-able in the foreseeable future. We've got two kids and a low mileage minivan that does 90-95% of the family driving, but the ability for the four of us to pile into my vehicle in a pinch is a must. I'm no mechanic, but I'm capable of some general vehicle maintenance work -- oil changes, brake pads, shocks are the level of work I've done. I feel comfortable with this level of work, and feel like I could take on somewhat more complex jobs with enough time and studying.

Overall budget:
My wife and I have been pretty disciplined about preparing for this scenario over the years and have managed to sock away about 25k in our "new (used) vehicle fund." We also have a goal to never have a car payment again -- we've been 10 years loan free and have zero intentions of going back, so consider that number fixed. :)

With that in mind, I'm kicking around two general options. I feel like I could make a strong case for either, so please feel free to persuade me and help me game this out. I'm not brand loyal and am 100% open to suggestions as far as make/model/years/etc. All realistic input welcomed! :D

Thanks in advance everyone!

Option A: Midsize Truck
--Less than 10 years old
--Less than 50k miles
--4WD
--Crew cab
--Limited maintenance (fingers crossed)
--Uses up essentially my entire budget


Option B: Daily Driver Car//Full Size Truck combo
Daily Driver Car:
--4 cyl daily driver car
--4 door
--Less than 5 years old
--Less than 30k miles
--Reliability/long term usage is a priority
--Budget for car: 10k-ish

Full Size Truck:
--8 cyl
--4WD
--Long bed (ideally)
--2 seater is fine
--Willing to purchase an old --20+ years-- if it's reliable and not rusted out
--Doesn't need many creature comforts/features, as long as it's got heat and a radio I'd be content
--Ease of maintenance and DIY-able work is a big plus
--Budget for truck: 10k-ish, with the remaining budget available for maintenance/updates/upgrades
 

Tex68w

Beach Bum
I'd go for the newer mid-size truck since you don't need to tow and even if you did they can pull anywhere from 3500-6000lbs which is more than enough for a smaller boat, utility trailer or SxS. It'll get better fuel economy than any 20-25 year old HD truck making it more acceptable for a do-all vehicle and one vehicle to insure/maintain/fuel/store is easier than two.

You could find a higher mile late model Corrola, Civic or similar in that split budget but I fear the older HD truck will cost more to build up and maintain than is necessary and it seems a little excessive if you don't have any real tow needs. That said, the ability to tow heavy could open doors to those toys down the road that a mid-size might not be capable of tugging. Best of luck with your decision and good luck with the search.
 

caesAR15

New member
I'd go for the newer mid-size truck since you don't need to tow and even if you did they can pull anywhere from 3500-6000lbs which is more than enough for a smaller boat, utility trailer or SxS. It'll get better fuel economy than any 20-25 year old HD truck making it more acceptable for a do-all vehicle and one vehicle to insure/maintain/fuel/store is easier than two.

You could find a higher mile late model Corrola, Civic or similar in that split budget but I fear the older HD truck will cost more to build up and maintain than is necessary and it seems a little excessive if you don't have any real tow needs. That said, the ability to tow heavy could open doors to those toys down the road that a mid-size might not be capable of tugging. Best of luck with your decision and good luck with the search.

I'm inclined to agree. The midsize route would certainly be the most straight forward. But then again, I like to tinker with things... thus the allure of Option B.

Thanks for the input @Tex68w
 

twodollars

Active member
I recently went through this type of scenario, and ended up selling two old trucks and a commuter car for one newer truck. About same budget as you, too. Only real difference is I needed to tow a out 7 to 10k. Ended up with a 15 f250, but bought it last summer before prices went crazy. If you can wait till prices fall might be wise, used stuff seems real high now. Anyhow, I like having a newer truck that I can just get in and use. Still needed some work though, like tune up, fluids, exhaust manifold ( it's a ford v8 after all). But nice to have less than 50k and less than a decade on the vehicle. Ac still works great, no rust. And only one registration and one vehicle to insure. I miss the old stuff, but sure appreciate the newer that for the most part just works.
 

caesAR15

New member
I recently went through this type of scenario, and ended up selling two old trucks and a commuter car for one newer truck. About same budget as you, too. Only real difference is I needed to tow a out 7 to 10k. Ended up with a 15 f250, but bought it last summer before prices went crazy. If you can wait till prices fall might be wise, used stuff seems real high now. Anyhow, I like having a newer truck that I can just get in and use. Still needed some work though, like tune up, fluids, exhaust manifold ( it's a ford v8 after all). But nice to have less than 50k and less than a decade on the vehicle. Ac still works great, no rust. And only one registration and one vehicle to insure. I miss the old stuff, but sure appreciate the newer that for the most part just works.
The plan is to nurse the current Dakota along as long as possible and hope the used market cools sooner rather than later. Though I've put a semi-firm $500 threshold on the Dakota -- any repairs requiring more than $500 and it's going up for sale/trade-in.

Right now I've got a bit of breathing room, I don't need to do anything, but it's becoming more and more obvious that day will be here before too long. Which is why I'm trying to pick a direction.
 

caesAR15

New member
A single full sized truck isn't an option?

A midsize truck isn't going to get significantly better mileage than a half ton.

One vehicle to maintain/insure/register.
That's a legit question @displacedtexan, 1/2 ton is on the table I suppose. I'm just so used to the Dakota that I guess I'm kind of pre-disposed to the mid-size class. It's not even a gas mileage thing, it's more of a "fits my lifestyle"/does everything I need and nothing I don't sort of thing. I need something that can haul drywall, lumber, etc., the occasional dead animal, and be offroad capable.

Beyond that, it's just a budget issue. The midsize class is more inline with what I can pay, but if the right half-ton presented itself I wouldn't shy away.
 

phsycle

Adventurer
My only advice is let your Dakota nickel and dime you for another year. Truck prices, new and used, are stupid high right now. It is absolutely the worst time to buy.
Inventory will be replenished later this year or beginning next year, and oil price is expected to continue its rise. All of this meaning better pricing on trucks/SUV’s.

If you must buy now, you’ll get better bang for buck with an SUV (ie Suburban).
 

jaxyaks

Adventurer
Plug your criteria into Auto Trader for domestic full size and see what you come up with, I plugged it in and found 1 F150 that met your criteria. If you go midsize at that range and mileage I would skip Toyota and look at Nissan etc
 
That's a legit question @displacedtexan, 1/2 ton is on the table I suppose. I'm just so used to the Dakota that I guess I'm kind of pre-disposed to the mid-size class. It's not even a gas mileage thing, it's more of a "fits my lifestyle"/does everything I need and nothing I don't sort of thing. I need something that can haul drywall, lumber, etc., the occasional dead animal, and be offroad capable.

Beyond that, it's just a budget issue. The midsize class is more inline with what I can pay, but if the right half-ton presented itself I wouldn't shy away.
My personal uses are such that I need a 3/4 ton sometimes...

I looked a bit at a midsize daily and a 3/4 ton... Turns out that a midsize was almost as much as a half ton, but made some compromises.

But if you could wait a bit and get one of the new Rangers... I've been impressed with them.
 
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