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NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
3/16/21 10:10 a.m.

As it stands, the household fleet consist of a 2012 Nissan Versa, a 2013 FRS a Volvo P1800 hot rod and a 1967 MGB GT.

Since I retired end of Jan, the FRS has not been driven far enough to use half a tank of fuel. Wife and I both seem to prefer the Versa for the multiple short drives to pick up parts or groceries and even that combined use does not eat up more than a tank every two or three weeks.

The broad plan is to reduce to two cars, the Volvo hot rod ( IF if can insure it with regular insurance) and a reliable utility vehicle of some sort. The utility vehicle must have two rows of seats.  So the question is what is a better choice for a general purpose do-all vehicle: Pickup or Minivan and what models would be best suited. I probably have less than 500 miles combined in  driving a pickup and/or a minivan and have until now never considered them as something that I wanted. Where to start? 

 

Pete

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
3/16/21 10:26 a.m.

I'm focusing in on your statement of "retired".  I'm not calling you old, I'm just stating the facts.  Now, with that in mind go look at the load height of any minivan compared to the load height of a new truck.  And thats for loading material/gear/cargo.  

Lets also not forget the loading of the people.  Now compare the egress of actually getting yourself seated in the vehicle.  

New trucks are crazy high.  Too high to load.  Too high to easily enter.  

 

An article on similar

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/16/21 10:30 a.m.

I've got both. Will you ever need to pull a trailer larger than 3k lbs?

If never, then I suggest a minivan, since I assume you will carry groceries more often than leaky engine blocks. Sliding side doors are awesome too. 

However, if you ever would pull a car on a trailer, the 4 door short bed trucks are really hard to beat as a do-it-all vehicle. They are priced accordingly. If you go this route, get a broomstick, screw a garage hook into the end, and leave it in the bed. Get a bed cover. Invariably stuff slides to the back of the cab, and trucks are too tall now to reach stuff, especially without leaning on the vehicle and getting dirty. The broomstick allows you to retrieve anything from the bed with ease. (you can thank my FIL for that idea). 

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) PowerDork
3/16/21 10:33 a.m.

Pete, I bought myself a new GMC Canyon crew cab almost two years ago. I occasionally need a vehicle to tow with, which means a couple of times a year. The Canyon is the "small" truck and is everything John said. If you don't tow a trailer of any size get the minivan. I brought 10 foot lengths of steel home inside my old Chevy Astro, the Canyon has a 6 foot box and that's the longer option. For 99% of my needs a minivan would be better.

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
3/16/21 10:34 a.m.

Had not considered the entry height to the truck. Wife complains about how low the FRS is to get in and out...might be similar but different with a truck.

Peabody
Peabody UltimaDork
3/16/21 10:37 a.m.
NOHOME said:

 Where to start?

At the dealer.

Drive a few and see what you like best. Go from there

maschinenbau (I live here)
maschinenbau (I live here) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
3/16/21 10:39 a.m.

I loved having a cheap minivan in the fleet. You could spend $2k every 3 years or so on disposable early 2000's Chrysler minivans. Once the trans dies, throw it away and get another. Then you won't worry about hauling dirty loads and ruining the interior. 

But if this is the practical, comfortable alternative to your hot rod, you might want nicer than a beater. Even then, modern minivans still pack an incredible value. 

m4ff3w
m4ff3w GRM+ Memberand UberDork
3/16/21 10:39 a.m.

Minivan or Pickup?

You can get both in a Ridgeline :P

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
3/16/21 10:40 a.m.

This combo will be much easier than a F-150 from a daily experience:

If you don't want to buy the trailer and don't want to deal with storing and maintaining it....Uhaul is about $20 per day on the occasion you do need a trailer (open or closed trailer.)

 

On my wife's 2019 Grand Caravan, I think Dodge says 3,500 lb towing capacity but the hitch manufacturer says 4,000 lb capacity.  Uhaul will rent me a tow dolly for the van but will not rent me a full car trailer, which weigh 2,000 lbs empty, just for the trailer. The tow dollys weigh 750 lbs empty. 

 

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise UltraDork
3/16/21 10:43 a.m.

 

love my 2021 tacoma king bed. Got it in January. It replaced a 01 4 door tacoma and a 2018 access cab together. 
 

does everything I need 

 

after living with a low quality 2012 mazda5 for 9 years that we bought new for kids,  way happier with our needs in a DD truck than a van with the kids and acitivities we do . 

FMB42
FMB42 Reader
3/16/21 10:50 a.m.

My wife and I also had a cheap ($1K) 1985 4cyl 5 sp manual Caravan for a number of years (this was our 3rd Chrysler mini). We used the daylights out it and it did everything we asked of it. I've been pickup owner since the late '70s, and I didn't think I'd like any mini van. But minis can grow on you, or me anyway. One the best things about them is the sliding door or doors, which is a huge bonus if your garage is tight or too full of stuff/junk (like mine). I'll also note that I managed to load my wife's '79 HD Sportster into her '94 mini van.

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
3/16/21 10:54 a.m.

My plan for stuff hauling and what not is a small trailer (thinking 5 ft x 9 ft platform) pulled by my Suzuki SX4 when I need to get stuff that's greasy or heavy or big.  Low load floor, easy clean-up, doesn't get poor gas mileage when I don't need the extra space, etc.  I think a trailer + a hitch and a few tweaks should run me $1000.  Maybe that works for you as well?

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
3/16/21 11:01 a.m.
Robbie (Forum Supporter) said:

I've got both.

I'm firmly in this camp, but I've never been one to compromise.  They both have their virtues.  If you have to choose between them (a difficult task, to be sure!), list the duties you will expect this vehicle to fulfill.  Minivans are great for hauling people and groceries and the occasional large object .  Trucks are great for moving big stuff, towing, hauling mulch, stone, trash, etc. One or the other will stand out as the obvious choice.   Based on what I've read, and if you've never felt the need for a truck, I'd suggest minivan.

New, used, budget?

I'd suggest renting one of each for a weekend and seeing how they work for you. Spend a couple of days beating around town, going to the grocery store and hardware store. 

If I had to pick one, it would probably be an SUV of the Suburban type instead of a truck or a van. My wife went from a minivan to a Suburban and likes the Suburban better. 

 

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) PowerDork
3/16/21 11:09 a.m.

Another thing to consider is how frequently are you going to change vehicles? I tend to keep mine a decade or more, especially since my annual mileage has dropped in retirement. I'll be 69 in a few weeks and I expect I'll still have that truck when I turn 80, if I can still get in and out of it. I bought running boards for it the day I took delivery so my wife can climb in now, and she's 65. I don't drive the truck as a daily because it's much easier to run errands in my MINI, the wheelbase (140.5") on the truck is almost  the same as the overall length of the car. If I wasn't living in an urban area that might not be as big a deal.

Edit: Do any of your friends have a truck? You've managed all your automotive hobby without one for this long, maybe borrowing one occasionally is feasible.

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
3/16/21 11:19 a.m.

Part of the plan is to not spend a fortune on this game. Traditionally, we have bought new  and drove our cars into the ground every ten year with under 100k miles on them at the end.  If I trade or sell the FRS at this point it might still have enough value to move me partly into a 3-5 year old minivan of some sort. 

The next question is what minivan to shop for? The only one that I am really conscious of are the Chrysler products.   As someone whose entire car ownership life has avoided back seats, this is going to feel weird.   

Shavarsh
Shavarsh Reader
3/16/21 11:20 a.m.

I'll put in my vote for the 1st gen scion xb. Tons of room, good mileage, does a great job transporting a small block in the back or 5 people and camping gear, and you can get it with a 5 speed! I got one as a joke and now I love it. 

 

Edit:

To include a real suggestion I have always been impressed with the utility of the 2000's honda odyssey 

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) PowerDork
3/16/21 11:24 a.m.

In reply to NOHOME :

My son and his wife bought a new Chrysler Pacifica and like it for hauling two little kids and their stuff. The seating in the Chrysler all flips down into the floor to leave a nice flat load area. Myself, I like the looks and value of the Kia Sedona, although its second row seats don't disappear like the Chryler's do. Canadian pricing may be different than here, too. I have no opinion on the vans from Nissan, Toyota, or Honda. If you're considering a used minivan the Chrysler is likely the most common there. I'd look for any van and focus on condition, age and maintenance records.

Snrub
Snrub Dork
3/16/21 11:28 a.m.

Frequency of use and expected use cases?

A versa is kind of like a mini-minivan. How is it working for you and when is it not?

I have no hesitationI hauling a couple of 10' 6x6s in my fiesta, but I'd rent/borrow something if I wanted to haul 10 of them. That happens maybe every other year. I might buy a trailer if I wanted to do it on a regular basis. If I wanted to haul a boat, or camper, or moonlighted as a 1-3 big item mover I might look at a minivan, or truck.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
3/16/21 11:35 a.m.

Here are my thoughts on Minivan seating.  The Dodge has comfortable front seats but uncomfortable 2nd and 3rd row seats.  This uncomfortable is due to compromises of making the seats disappear, fold into the floor.  My 2nd row passengers are most likely to be kids seated in car seats so no matter what van they are riding in, they will be in the same seat and not notice the features which make the Dodge seats uncomfortable.  The Chrysler Pacifica rear seats are a little better for comfort but sill lesser than the other manufacturers.  

 

So, Dodge best at cargo (stow n go seats) but lesser for people with inferior seats in 2nd and 3rd row.

Kia, Honda, Toyota: lesser at cargo with no disappearing seats but better for people in 2nd and 3rd row.  

 

Ford doesn't make a minivan but they have the Ford Flex (and Lincoln MKT.)  I almost bought one.  Best seating for 1st and 2nd row, worst 3rd row.  Best driving vehicle and best for features.  
Much less cargo area as it is really not as tall as a van should be but rather more wagon like.  
Biggest engine available with the 3.5L ecoBoost turbo!  Standard is non turbo.  Towing capacity of 4,500 if equiped with tow package.
Easiest egress of any of the choices.  
AWD is available.
Probably the most expensive to maintain due to complexity of AWD and turbo along with silly- huge, expensive tires.  

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/16/21 12:07 p.m.
1988RedT2 said:
Robbie (Forum Supporter) said:

I've got both.

I'm firmly in this camp, but I've never been one to compromise.  They both have their virtues.  If you have to choose between them (a difficult task, to be sure!), list the duties you will expect this vehicle to fulfill.  Minivans are great for hauling people and groceries and the occasional large object .  Trucks are great for moving big stuff, towing, hauling mulch, stone, trash, etc. One or the other will stand out as the obvious choice.   Based on what I've read, and if you've never felt the need for a truck, I'd suggest minivan.

New, used, budget?

I think you guys are missing part of the requirements/constraints.  He wants to reduce the car count, not expand it.  As I see it- it's a question of which one will be most used and enjoyed?  

For years, we leased a truck to tow with- towing with it many times a year, but rarely ever using it otherwise.  My wife had her own car to drive to work.  A little over a decade ago, we re-calculated that, and instead of leasing a truck, we leased a CUV that could tow for her to drive to work.  

And since retirement is very much on the horizon, doing the same is our plan- one towable SUV/CUV, my Miata (which has been paid off since 2004), and a '73 GTV.  That's it.  

Our Escape can't take in even decent sheets from the hardware store- so if you don't want to break out the trailer to get a 4x4 sheet of anything, make sure the van can take it in.  We prefer having an Escape over a mini-van- but I really don't have a minivan that can even be bought....

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/16/21 12:11 p.m.

In reply to John Welsh :

Unless you are talking used, Ford does not make the Flex anymore.  And the MKT is now somewhere around an Aviator and Corsair.  And I'm not sure if they did carry on the same design- as one of those two is the same platform as the current Explorer (which isn't an FWD/AWD Flex anymore).

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
3/16/21 12:26 p.m.
In reply to alfadriver (Forum Supporter) :
NOHOME said:

If I trade or sell the FRS at this point it might still have enough value to move me partly into a 3-5 year old minivan of some sort. 

I think he's shopping used.  

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) PowerDork
3/16/21 1:46 p.m.

Ford does offer the Transit Connect as an option. Less refined that a family style minivan maybe, but good utility I would think.

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
3/16/21 2:00 p.m.

From what I've read I would go with a mini van; I would go drive a few and see which one you like. My only experience with them as been our old Caravan. It did a lot of stuff well.

 

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