My 2000 Mitsubishi Montero Sport has entered its golden years. It's been a fine SUV indeed, but I'm sick and tired of having to rent a truck every time I do any sort of home improvement project, I don't want a bloody carcass sitting inside the cabin during deer season, I make excuses not to drive the SUV in the winter because the Miata is a far better winter vehicle (this also means that I have used winter as an excuse to not go deer hunting, which is a conflict of interest, as it was never the cold that bothered me, always the vehicle situation), and I just really want a truck again (My first vehicle was a hand-me-down C/K 1500.)
I didn't see any pickup truck threads on the forum - which is somewhat confusing given the membership of the forum.
Here's what I am looking for:
Seating - 4 doors, full size crew cab - when I use this, I want the maximum utility possible. That means "seats 4+ full grown adults"...."Comfortably". This is something I'm not willing to give up when I ditch the SUV. Also, there will probably be kiddie seats in the next 2 years.
Drivetrain - 4x4. Do I need 4x4? Probably not, but traction is the second of two primary complaints that I have with the SUV. Even with snow tires, it's "one wheel drive" trying to get out of the subdivision. This doesn't leave much in the way of confidence. My wife is finishing up her first winter in an AWD car, and it handles like a dream. There is also a house upgrade planned in the next 5 years, with lots of land to run around and play on.
Fuel Efficiency: I don't give a **** about fuel efficiency. **** earth. (That's right, I didn't even capitalize it.) This is not a daily driver. This is a second vehicle for utility. For when I want to go to the **** ski slopes here in Ohio, or haul trailers, or for air cooling deer carcasses.
Bed: I would like something longer than 5.5', though an 8' bed is retarded long behind a crew cab. Does anyone have experience with lumber? How well does a 5.5' bed handle a 4x8 sheet of plywood? Are you afraid it's going to fall out? I am also open to bed extenders - you know, the little gates that rotate when you drop your tailgate so you can use your tailgate as a bed extension. Any experience with these fancy things?
Luxury: Since buying the 5-series with the wife, I'm a spoiled little bitch. I want heated leather seats and heated mirrors and a back up camera and all that ****. None of these things are deal killers. I'll live with crying myself to sleep at night knowing I don't have things like a heated steering wheel and built in nav.
Towing / Power : It's gotta be able to pull my tiny *** 8'x12' enclosed motorcycle trailer at 70mph without braking a sweat. While the Montero Sport is certainly capable of towing that trailer, loaded up, at 70mph, it absolutely cannot tow that trailer at 76mph (at least not on flat ground). I generally cruise the freeways at a brisk 55 when towing with the Montero. It might take longer to get there, but at least I'm never early! Anticipated trailering speed with a truck is still only 65, but I'd better be able to pass a semi while going up a low grade hill. Beyond that, It seems that crew cab models are generally fitted with larger engines - so there's probably no reason to be picky about this.
Mileage: My guts and prior car experience tell me that I should expect a truck to last to 200,000 miles. I sold the 1990 C/K 1500 at 206k, I blew up a 1991 conversion van at 201k, the Montero has 186k on it and probably has about 15k of service left before it starts throwing out crap, the Miata has 178k on it and the body is about to rust off of it. I see many trucks online in the target price range with well over 200k on them - am I wrong to expect to only get 200k on the odometer? Currently I'm favoring trucks with about 130k on the odometer (that should give me about 70k pain free miles i suppose?) If anyone says that these newer trucks get 300k easy, then maybe I don't need to worry so much?
Age: I'm looking for something in the 7-11 year old range. How well should I expect the body/mechanicals to age?
Extras: I don't want a jacked up truck. I don't want giant rock-crushing bumpers. I don't want all-terrain tires. I want a nice truck, easy to load/unload, don't need to climb a ladder to get in the thing, all-season road tires. I do like the look of the hidden winches though...
Price range: I want to spend ~$12k, but willing to go to ~$15k for the right stuff.
The competition (as I see them):
Front runner is the 04-08 Ford F150 Lariat Supercrew:
I've seen private party examples of these listed in the 11-12k range for under 150k miles.
Second place is the 06+ Chevy Silverado LTZ (I see only 1 of these for sale within 200 miles for under $15k with 162k miles on it) or an 05- Silverado LT? To be honest, I can't make any sense of the trim packages - LT used to be the top dog before 06, and then it became the middle dog? Should I even be looking at anything older than 06? I can't help but think that it looks like a losermobile:
At approximately 3rd is the 07+ Toyota Tundra Limited Crew Cab - I don't think these are available for under $15k though.
Somewhere around fourth is the 04-06 Nissan Titan LE Crew. Not as plentiful as the others, and not sure how I feel about the look, but maybe it's a badass?
Finally I heard that Dodge has an offering. 02-08 Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie Quad Cab. Found private party sellers willing to let the earlier ones go for a good bit under $15k. Nobody knows what they look like from the side though. Every single goddamn picture on the internet is a front 3/4 view with one of the bug-eye headlights dead center. Every picture except for this one, that is:
I'm definitely leaning toward the F150 - and it looks like there were something like 7 billion F150s sold between 2004-2008, so they'll be well supported for some time - at the same time though, I'm still at the very sway-able stage of the game. Truck guys, what are your recommendations?