stroker SuperDork
Jan. 11, 2017 7:32 p.m.

I'm noodling candidates to replace my Sidekick as I'm due for an inheritance in a few months. I don't want to spend a lot of money (say, $5 to $7K) but I'm conflicted as to which direction to go. I only drive about 6 to 7K miles/year. I plan to ride motorcycle for commuting in nice weather so I won't be putting on many miles. My friends are suggesting a van over a pickup, but I really like the seating in a pickup over a van. I've got two kids so I'd prefer a crew cab as they're young. I'd like 4wd but it's not really necessary here in mid-MO. Seems kinda pointless to drag all that extra drivetrain around for only one or two days a year. I'd like something that has serious towing capacity (tow a car, for example, if I ever get to the Challenge) but again, it's not something I'd be using every day and it effectively eliminates mini-vans. I've got a pile of motorcycles so I expect to be hauling those around, especially if I ever get thin enough to get back into my leathers for a track day. I think my over-riding criteria is reliability. I'm tired of sinking $100 to $150 a month on average into the Zook in repairs and I just don't have the resources for something constantly requiring attention. What I like about the Zook is that it's so easy to get into and out of. So between the options, I get something like:

  1. Passenger van: Good: Lots of covered cargo space, maybe towing capacity and room for the kids plus maybe "camping". Easy to load. Bad: Lousy leg room for me, no 4wd without an expensive conversion.

  2. Pickup truck: Good: Crew cab safety for the girls, towing capacity, good driver seating position and legroom, possible 4wd. Bad: Uncovered cargo and a pain to load motorcycles into compared to a van. No "camping" capability.

  3. Suburban/Excursion: Good: Good driver seating position and leg room, safe seating for the kids, maybe towing capacity, possible 4wd. Some "camping" capability. Bad: Not enough room for motorcycles in the back, requiring a trailer.

From a purely financial perspective, I should probably just get a rental for those times when I need to cargo/tow but there's something to be said for the convenience of having the ability on hand. I think I'd ultimately like some sort of sedan (P71?) as a partner to the truck, so consider that.

General observations?

JohnRW1621 MegaDork
Jan. 11, 2017 7:36 p.m.

Grand Caravan.
Solves the driver legroom issues.
Can tow 3500# so that will allow for a tow dolly/car

Rusnak_322 Dork
Jan. 11, 2017 7:40 p.m.

Pick up.

I drove a full size truck for 20 years and there are times I really miss having the utility.

A crew car, or extended cab is as practical as a sedan as long as you don't have to park in the city all the time. Doesn't sound like you need the enclosed cargo room of a van or SUV, but if you did, a camper topper would give you that and still give you the option of hauling a bike in the back.

Jan. 11, 2017 7:47 p.m.

With a pickup if the bed is long enough for sleeping accommodations you could get a used topper for pretty cheap and have covered/semi-lockable storage and camping. 2 people can lift it off or you could use pulleys to build a system to lift it off by yourself.

KyAllroad UberDork
Jan. 12, 2017 7:38 a.m.

Suburban. For $6,000 you could get a really nice 2005ish unit, comfy seating, room for kids and their stuff, can tow 6,000 lbs, unbeatable for big road trips, somehow able to rack up crazy numbers of miles.

A buddy of mine just retired his with 320,000 miles on it. And bought another (his 4th)

STM317 HalfDork
Jan. 12, 2017 8:05 a.m.

In reply to KyAllroad:

How easy is it going to be to load/unload motorcycles into a 'Burb?

trigun7469 Dork
Jan. 12, 2017 8:14 a.m.

Trucks always have many uses. I would choose a V6 Wagon over a van, for cool and better handling reasons.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ SuperDork
Jan. 12, 2017 8:16 a.m.

What's the biggest bike you see yourself hauling? How many bikes at a time? If it's typically going to be just one relatively light bike I've had good luck with my hitch-mounted motorcycle carrier, not quite as easy to load as a trailer or a really low truck but it's small and lets me use an SUV as my tow rig.

gearheadmb Dork
Jan. 12, 2017 8:21 a.m.
KyAllroad wrote: Suburban. For $6,000 you could get a really nice 2005ish unit, comfy seating, room for kids and their stuff, can tow 6,000 lbs, unbeatable for big road trips, somehow able to rack up crazy numbers of miles. A buddy of mine just retired his with 320,000 miles on it. And bought another (his 4th)

I agree with this. The biggest drawback to these is fuel economy, but no more than you drive it that should be a non-issue. I would do suburban or tahoe plus however much trailer you think you need.

ebonyandivory UltraDork
Jan. 12, 2017 8:38 a.m.

In reply to gearheadmb and KyAllroad:

$6,000 will buy a REALLY nice Suburban. I bought a 2005 Yukon XL Denali with 190kmi for $3,500. Not cosmetically perfect but the 335hp 6.0 is nice. And a non-AWD will do better than my 13.5mpg average.

KyAllroad UberDork
Jan. 12, 2017 9:05 a.m.

In reply to ebonyandivory: I still wanna know where you found THAT deal. You done good on that one man.

ebonyandivory UltraDork
Jan. 12, 2017 9:12 a.m.

In reply to KyAllroad:

Southeast Ma, Everetts Auto Salvage. They normally have ~40 used cars and trucks for sale on a lot in front of the place.

I think most of their cars are trades from dealer auctions. Usually 1-5 of every maker in the US. Lots of Subarus and GM and Ford SUV's.

There was a Suburban next to mine for a bit less but needed tires and a muffler but had aftermarket 22" wheels and I didn't like the look.

stroker SuperDork
Jan. 12, 2017 10:58 a.m.

In reply to ¯_(ツ)_/¯:

GS1000--about 500lb each.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ SuperDork
Jan. 12, 2017 11:13 a.m.

In reply to stroker:

In that case I'd skip the SUV unless you want a trailer, I know there are hitch carriers rated that high but they're pricy.

What about an AWD Express van?

You'll need to log in to post.

Also on Grassroots Motorsports

Join the Grassroots Motorsports Dyno Day

1 day ago in News

Join us for a dyno day in Sterling, Virginia.

From the GRM Vault: The Art of Understatement

2 days ago in Articles

The Harvey brothers dominated autocross in an obsolete Datsun a couple decades ago.

2017 Volkswagen Golf TSI SE

2 days ago in New Car Reviews

The quintessential European hatchback continues to pour out of Volkswagen's plants. Our test car featured four doors, a turbocharged 4-cylinder ...

We're Giving Away a $500 Race Ramps Certificate

3 days ago in News

Joining the drawing is totally free.

25 Project Path

3 days ago in Articles

A walk through 25 of our favorite project cars from the past.

Our Turbo Miata Goes Boom

4 days ago in Project Cars

Engine swap and suspension revamp before our race in two weeks? Challenge accepted.

The Ultimate Weekend Getaway for Your Car Club

5 days ago in News

Save a corral space just for your club at the Mitty.

Reader's Ride of the Week: V8 Jag

5 days ago in News

It’s a long-wheelbase 1974 Jaguar XJ6 fitted with a 350-cubic-inch Chevy V8.

Honing Cylinders

5 days ago in Project Cars

We hone our LS1's cylinders

Break Maiden

1 week ago in Articles

Creating a turbocharged road racing champion from a vintage Ford Mustang.

Meet Us at Sebring

1 week ago in News

We'll be at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Will you?

2017 Honda Accord Coupe Touring

1 week ago in New Car Reviews

Honda has been pumping out Accords for over 40 years now. Obviously they have a recipe that just plain works. ...

OUR SPONSORS

Grassroots Motorsports Magazine

Subscribe Today

Also get your instant access to the digital edition of Grassroots Motorsports Magazine!

Learn More
jnbfjAxzhCLmqlARR3DzkIZvvrgfaJCR