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?

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