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Pickup Trucks for Women (Experiences/Opinions)

revkarevka Posts: 1,750
edited March 21 in Chevrolet
If any of you are driving a pickup truck and would like to share your pickup truck experience, please participate in this discussion.

I thought this topic of discussion might be a good idea for a number of different reasons. For one, I'm sure I'm not the only one that would be interested in hearing what kind of pickup trucks the women at Town Hall are choosing to drive... as well as their reasons why.

Secondly, I thought it would be interesting to create a discussion where women pickup truck owners can say hello to other women that own pickups. In addition, if you're a women and are in the market for a truck, this might be a good place to post your questions.

Also, I'd like to say that anyone (male or female) is welcome to participate here. Guys, perhaps you have a sister, mother, or female friend that drives a pickup truck... that you'd like to tell us about.

Thanks for your participation. ;-)

Revka
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Comments

  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    I used to own a pickup truck myself, and there's also kind of an interesting story behind it. Back in 1994, I had just attended my very first Auto Show. This was Central Florida Auto show... and the exact same truck I ended up purchasing happened to be on display there. Little did I know I'd end up purchasing it a couple weeks later!

    It was a gorgeous truck, imo... and also drew quite a bit of attention from the crowds at the auto show. A 94 Nissan 6 cly SE King Cab, white with maroon interior, and loaded with just about every conceivable option you could find on a pickup back then... including a moon roof, really sharp alloy wheels, and very racy graphics along the sides.

    It just happened to be a coincidence that this same truck was sitting at the Nissan dealership where I went shopping a couple weeks later. Also, I have to admit that I was not exactly in the market for a pickup truck back then.

    I was looking for something that I'd be able to transport a lot of equipment in, and I was actually looking at some used minivans when this truck caught my attention. I immediately recognized it as being the same truck at the auto show.

    Also, the dealer confirmed that was the same truck and they'd just gotten it back. And after taking it for a test drive... I was totally convinced that a pickup truck would be a good choice for me. I drove this pickup for almost 5 years, put over 105k miles on it with very few minor problems.

    I truly enjoyed driving/owning this pickup. And have to admit I had a lot difficulty parting with when I eventually traded it. Btw, this is not to push the Nissan trucks over other make/models, but just wanted to share my experience. There are lots of great truck out there of all different makes/models.

    Although, I'm not currently driving a pickup truck now, I could easily see myself driving one again at some time in the future. As a matter a fact when my lease is up in 7 months, a pickup truck (four door crew cab) will definitely be on the list of considerations. I'm also open to any suggestions. Thanks.

    Also, if anyone else have an experience they'd like to share, we look forward to hearing from you. Happy Motoring! ;-)

    Revka
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  • leomortleomort Posts: 451
    Re: your four door pick-up, are you looking at the compacts or full-size?

    There's a role reversal in my house. The wife likes the trucks (and SUVs). She's definitely tired of my subcompact Toyota Paseo because it can't haul such domesticated stuff such as lamps, stereo and such. I think she's just jealous because the car is from the "pre-wife" days ;)

    Leo
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    I love pickups and have owned both full sized and compact trucks. They are so useful for just about anything. What else can you get that you can put a camper on and sleep in it for one night, then pull the camper off and haul a bed and a chest of drawers in it the next day?

    They can do just about anything...
  • cyranno99cyranno99 Posts: 419
    she had a small Toyota pickup truck. She loved it because it had manual tranmission. It was an old truck so she could drive it and get into a few fender benders :) Yeah, I think that is what pick-ups are good for... carry lots of stuff in the bed and run into things :)
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    To leomort- compacts or full-size?

    Well since fuel economy is a concern and I don't really have anything really "heavy duty" to haul around, I most likely will be focusing on compact pickups. That is unless you have any other suggestions.

    Btw, I kind of chuckle when I think of this subject, because I've seen some arguments from certain folks that feel that compact vs full-size pickups is what "separates the men from the boys" so to speak.

    Not sure we'll be seeing this kind of a debate in this discussion, but of course if there any women passing through here that feel that compacts vs full-size pickups is what separates the women from the girls, please feel free to express your express your thoughts. ;-)

    To mtngal & cyranno99 - Good points.... Thanks for your notes. Talk to everyone later.

    Revka
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  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    I guess I look at things differently than some of the guys. It really depends on what your needs are as to what size truck you have.

    My first truck was the Chevy half ton with a camper (bought during my carefree single days). Since the camper was the main thing, I never considered a compact pickup. Besides, I put a frame on the front to haul my Honda Enduro motorcycle around. I had a great time driving across country by myself with that rig!

    Later I got married to someone who didn't like camping or trucks (he owned an ancient, well maintained Mercedes when I met him). I finally talked him into looking at a GMC S15 when they first came out. He decided it was better than the mustang we had at the time. It fit our needs totally - we weren't towing anything, it had an extended cab and we put a shell on it for extra security. We only used it to haul luggage, groceries, and dogs around. It was a wonderful truck and converted my husband (partly) to trucks.

    When we moved to Texas, I bought a horse, and quickly discovered that horses seem to multiply somehow. I bought an old 3/4 ton Chevy which hauled a 4 horse goose neck trailer easily. It had 70,000 miles when I bought it and used it almost exclusively to haul the trailer. I sold it several years later with 140,000 miles on it, still going strong (it was definitely one of the best trucks I had owned). The only reason I sold it was because we had sold the horses and moved to California. I no longer had a reason for the full sized pickup, and it can be a problem to park around LA.

    The next 2 trucks have been compacts - the Nissan was an auto and only got sold because seemed to be asking too much of it. We had moved up to our mountain home and the auto tranny with the 4 cylinder didn't seem to handle it. It didn't bother me when the first one went out a week after we moved up here (OK, the truck had 250,000 miles on it), but when the second went out a year (and 40,000 miles) later.

    The next one (my hated Taco) is a 5 speed, 4 cylinder. This is the first vehicle I've owned that I found really uncomfortable. It does exactly what I want it to, but the seats are terrible.

    So I think it all depends on what you are going to use it for. Horse trailers? Get a full sized. Dogs? Look at a compact. City? Compact is easier. Rural? Either. Snow? 4x4 and a couple of bales of hay.

    I'm trying to decide what to replace the Taco with. I've thought about 3/4 ton diesels because of our high mileage commute, or replacing the Taco with another, more comfortable compact. I'd like to get an SUV which I think of as an enclosed pickup, but have found reasons for rejecting just about everything. I know that I'll have to compromise somewhere, just haven't decided where yet.
  • leomortleomort Posts: 451
    mntgal,

    You sound very similar to my wife. She wants the truck (or SUV). The two compact pick-ups that we both like are the Toyota Tacoma Extend Cab SR5 4x4 V6 or the Dodge Daka extend cab 4x4 4.7L V8. Toyota has the advantage in reliability and probably gas mileage. The Dodge the advantage is style/appearance and interior room. Now that I'm looking back, I think the Tundra Extend Cab V8 would be a better comparison to the Dakota. Both are bigger than the compact rivals but not quite full size either. Heard the Tundra had more comfortable seat vs Tacoma.

    My wife and I are thinking about starting a family, so I don't quite see the practicality of pick up if that happens. So I think we would need a 2nd car, preferabl a 4-door sedan.

    The wife comes up with mid-size SUVs. The two we both like: Durango or 4Runner. Even at 3yrs old they're going to run $20K+. Not a viable option for us.

    So my solution is the mini-Suvs, which I like the Forester. So it will probably boil down to the Forester vs the pick-ups mentioned above. I'm pretty sure, we'll be considering used. If a baby comes along, then definitely used.

    Leo
  • leomortleomort Posts: 451
    A four door compact pick up. Perhaps either the Dakota or Tacoma? When they first came out, I sat in both. The Dakota seem more roomy, but both were nice. Actually, I think the Tundra would compare more favorably againt the Dakota. Neither the Tundra or Dakota are quite full size, but larger than rival compacts. I don't follow the trends in pick ups so you might what to investigate to see if a four door Tundra is in the works. If this happens, then that might be a nice all around compromise for you.

    Leo
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    I did look at one when they first came out, and I sat in one the day we ended up buying the Taco. I've never test driven one, so maybe I would change my mind, but my first impression wasn't positive from a visibility point of view. It seemed like the back window and doors were positioned pretty high for me, and I felt claustrophobic because I didn't have good visibility. I vaguely remember thinking that I couldn't see the back of the tailgate, so couldn't judge where the back of the truck was. That was well over a year ago, so I'm not sure, but I do remember the feeling that I was sitting too low down in the vehicle (I'm just over 5' tall).

    I do know someone (who owned horses) who did very nicely with a full sized extended cab and a baby. For her it was very practical, though occasionally a bit awkward with the baby seat. Before I bought the Taco I had looked at the Ranger, and really liked the small doors they have on their extended cab. That would take care of the problem of getting to the back of the cab. So just because you are starting a family, don't think that a second car is manditory (unless you just need a second vehicle period).

    The forester is very nice and practical, but I just can't get excited about it. There is nothing at all wrong with it, and I still have it in the back of my mind for myself, but...

    I think it's because I'm a girl, and it's a girl thing. You see, my husband saw the Taco and wanted to get it (he was in a buying mood that day, and the Taco was in our price range and appeared to have what we needed). I had doubts, because I hadn't done any research on it (we had actually gone to look at Tundras). But the reason why I agreed to get it? It was the only vehicle we had looked at that didn't have either a grey or brown interior. Our Taco is a pretty blue inside. I know, that is the DUMBEST reason to buy a car (I even knew it at the time), but I actually did it that way (and also, my husband seemed to really want it, but then he's not a natural shopper and he was getting tired of looking at cars). I now really regret buying it, but I still think it has the best interior of anything at the moment...
  • leomortleomort Posts: 451
    LOL... well according to some stats I just seen regarding the Forester, it would seem the Forester is a "chick" car. But look a me, a guy, who likes the Forester while my wife doesn't. She likes the Taco. And she's only 4'10". My current car, Toyota Paseo, rides like a truck and I don't like that. Thus my hesitation purchasing a truck.

    Thanks for the insight on the Tundra. They weren't out when we were looking. I was judging by the comments on the Tundra board, that they are one nice riding truck with comfy seats. I'll have to check them out. They are nice looking.

    Leo
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    Definitely check out the Tundra - it might fit you much better than it did me. You might also look at some of the half ton full sized trucks also, since I don't think there is that much price difference between them. I'm not sure of that because I haven't looked at half tons in quite a while, but I'm definitely going to consider them now.

    There is something to remember about pickups - they have light rear ends. I have a shell on the Taco which adds some weight, but I hadn't thought about the lightness of it until a few months ago. One of my favorite hiking areas is off of a fairly steep dirt road. I have been up there numerous times in the Wrangler and never needed to use 4 wheel drive. Once we took the Taco (2 wheel drive only), and I was white knuckled most of the way because the back wheels kept slipping on the loose dirt. Then I remembered I used to carry several bales of hay in the back of my 3/4 ton truck on the occasionally snowy and slick roads in Texas.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    (note the last three letters of my screen name)

    ...I find women are warming up to pickups more and more. SUVs still have a stigma of "suburbia" along with minivans, while pickups are still exuding the aura of "truck".

    One of my closest friends is a single mom with a 10 year old daughter, living in metro Salt Lake City. She drives a 2001 Dodge Ram 2500 Quad Cab 4x4 diesel, 5 speed manual. She is an off-road events correspondent, and actually uses her truck more than most. In addition to getting to events, she loves to go camping and off-roading, and the extended cab allowed her to carry a lot more gear than her previous regular cab Ram.

    More locally to me, north New Jersey, I see a lot more pickups with shells, both full and compact trucks, in the mall parking lots. The new 4-door trucks make rear seat access much easier, as well as providing more lockable space. And with our "warehouse" culture of places like Sam's Club and Home Depot, sometimes a truck is going to be the only way to get all that stuff home.

    DaimlerChryusler noted this week that the new 2002 Ram 1500 has won an interesting award: The Reader's Choice Award/Pickup Truck from WomanMotorist.com. I am going to guess that the new-for-2002 power adjustable pedals were a key point for those women of shorter stature.

    kcram
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  • Nissan has a very nice crew cab pickup with the long bed (bed is 6 foot, 2+ inches) I have had very good luck with my Nissan pick-ups and my niece drives one with over 180,000 miles on the original engine (other then timing chain) and manual tranny. Price for the 2 wd runs about $20,000 or higher depending on options.
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    kcram - I envy your friend with the 2500 Ram 4x4 with the diesel, though last summer when I tested all 3 diesels (Chevy, Ford and Dodge), I found the Cummins the loudest. That said, my brother in law put 250,000 miles on one of those engines up in northern B.C.

    There was only one full sized pickup that I had trouble with - I tried to test drive a Ford half ton back in the 1980s. I couldn't reach the pedals. It shocked me since I had owned two Chevys without problems.

    I didn't have any problems with any of the diesels I tested last summer - just wish I could have afforded to buy one. One of them had a crew cab and a long bed, and I did have problems figuring out how to park it. I've gotten too used to the Wrangler which turns on a dime and gives you change (yeah, I used to own quarter horses).

    One more word on pressure adjust pedals - I never had any problems with my first Chevy, a 3 speed manual (3-on-the-tree) and a real truck clutch. But then, it didn't bother me at all to learn how to drive manual in a '69 Opel Kadet without power steering...

    As far as the Nissans go - last summer I thought the new Frontier styling was horrible, about the ugliest truck I had ever seen (until I saw an Avalanche). That's why I ended up with the Taco. A couple of weeks ago we went to the LA Auto Show. I looked at the Frontier there and decided that it didn't look all that bad. I guess it is growing on me.
  • leomortleomort Posts: 451
    How tall are you? Wondering if my wife is going to have a hard time reaching the pedals at her height of 4'10". Any trouble with reach the pedals in the Taco? I'm a little concern about her safety due to her having to move the seat all the way forward to reach the pedals with the air bag.

    Leo

    Leo
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    I'm just over 5' and have short legs. I do have the Taco's seat all the way forward (and also on all the Chevy full sized I had owned) so I can use the clutch properly (to the floor). If I had an automatic I would probably leave the seat back a little further (I assume you are only looking at autos?). On the Wrangler I don't need to put the seat all the way to the front. If I forget and put it all the way forward, my shins touch the lower part of the dash. The best thing would be to get her sitting behind the wheel of various trucks and see - everyone is a bit different and what is comfortable for one person might not be for someone else...

    As far as the air bags go, I'm not that concerned. From what I've heard, they have adjusted them so that they are safer for little people like me. I don't worry about those types of things, really. I drive very defensively, and I understand that I can't control everything (the accident we were in with the Wrangler was a case in point - the other guy did something dumb). I understand that I drive vehicles that aren't the safest in the world, and have handling limitations. I am willing to take responsibility for that and to drive each of them accordingly. For instance, the Taco got out of the driveway this morning, so I'll drive around 10 miles per hour faster home tonight than yesterday, because I drive the Wrangler around 65 (what I consider a safe speed for it). On the other hand, we've been driving the Wrangler all week because we couldn't get the Taco out of the driveway!
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    (I hope this message does not drag on too long, but I want to respond to a number of the new posts here.)

    Leomort- Thanks for the suggestions on the Dakota & Tacoma. My sister also drive a Taco (double cab) and likes it a lot. Of course like mtngal, I'm also going to be concerned about seat comfort, so I'll have to go on a lengthy test drive to see if how those seats feel.

    I realize though that seat comfort can also be an individual matter. I remember hearing someone criticize a certain make/model's seats once, and was surprised because I'd thought that particular model had the most comfortable seats....

    mtngal- I have to say I'm very impressed with all the real world knowledge you have about trucks and their practical applications.... Thanks for all your interesting messages. You're a real asset to this discussion.

    kcram- Hey buddy, thanks for stopping through here. I also recall seeing that same bit of news about 2001 Dodge Ram getting the Reader's Choice Award at womenmotorist.com. Good point about the power peddle extenders. Perhaps we'll be seeing more women driving Dodge Rams in the near future.

    To yurian44- I hear ya on that new Nissan long bed crew cab. Looks pretty interesting. Boy, they do seem rather long though. I was actually wondering if one would even fit in my garage. Although have to admit, the only one I've actually seen close up also had this huge grill guard wrapped around the front adding to the length.... also making it look more macho. Just curious, have you had chance to drive one?

    Btw, I'm also curious to know what people here think about the Chevy S10 Crew cab? Looks kind of interesting (lot of standard features) on paper. I just met someone that just purchased one recently, and he had nothing but good stuff to say.... of course he was also exhibiting a lot of NVH (new vehicle high). Gotta wait till that wears off a little before you can offer a more objective report, imo. ;-)

    I don't really plan on doing any serious looking for a few months; don't want to get too tempted to pull out of my lease too early. But in the meantime, it is interesting to hear all the different feedback. And of course with all this discussion, I'll probably be inspired now to put on my tire kicking shoes and go check out a pickup truck or two.... ;-)

    Revka
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  • (I'm having tech problems, so if this posts more than once I'm very sorry.)

    Hey all you pickup chicks. Here's my truck story.

    Way back in 1992 when my (no laughing please) chevy chevette was on it's last legs I new I needed a new vehicle. At the time I was looking to get something pretty cheap and all of the cars that were in my price range did not exite me. Toyota tecel type stuff and I don't even remember what else. Any way, I started seeing adds in the paper for compact pickups for like around 7,000 bucks and started thinking that would be a good buy. and I also thought that the little trucks would be alot tougher and last longer than one of the el cheapo cars. So when I saw my little red Isuzu on the lot that day it was the beginning of a love affair. I had driven a nissan also but the interior was alot more basic looking and they were charging extra for stuff like the back bumper and sliding rear window. The Isuzu had that stuff included and for less. My baby was still pretty basic: regular cab, 5 speed, AC, AM/fm cassette and that's about it. She served me well for almost 10 years and I am just now going to sell her this weekend (sniff sniff).

    Well, after that experiance I couldn't see myself driving anything else except a pickup. Maybe an SUV but most of the ones I would be interested in are a little pricey for me. Even the Nissan crew cab (which I was very interested in) was kind of up there by the time you add options. Yes, at this point in my life I was ready for the automatic transmission, the power windows and mirrors, the cruise control, CD player, etc.

    Well, I am now the proud owner of a Black 2001 Mazda B4000 Dual Sport. Got a great deal on the year end clearance with rebates, etc. I love this truck! Very sporting looking with the raised suspension and cool alloy wheels. I think it rides very nice and smooth, with plenty of power. This best part though are the rear doors on extended cab. I carry my bowling ball back there and I couldn't imagine living without that in an extended cab. Next best thing to the crew cab and you still have the big bed. It also came with a reciever hitch which I plan to use for a canoe/kayak carrier attachement. I just got a Jason fiberglass tonneau cover for the bed and I can't wait to fill it with camping gear and hit the road. (Hope I don't regret not getting a camper shell - oh well).
    Well ladies, keep on truckin'.
    Peace.
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,667
    I'd get her an automatic if you're concerned about air bag safety. Another reason my wife won't drive a stick (the main reason is she HATES driving stick, even after owning one for 1.5 years) is she's 5'2", and the seat in a manual must be moved to close to reach the clutch. For example, 9.5" away from steering wheel vs. 11.5" without clutch. Safe distance is supposed to be at least 10", but the further back the better.
    The best thing to do is go to the dealer and measure while she's sitting in it.
  • This woman that I knew loved to off-roading in her Jeep, but the thing is not very reliable. She bought a Toyota Tundra to haul the Jeep around. Well, that was her excuse for buying a Tundra. Besides, I think that she is way too wide to fit in a car comfortably....
  • leomortleomort Posts: 451
    now, by fair. Your Taco is a 4x2 while your Wrangler is a 4x4. ;)

    Leo
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    Annafofana - thanks for bringing up the Mazda pickup. It sounds very much like something I would like. I have never looked at one, and since I now know of someone who loves theirs, I'll will.

    I like the camper shells mainly because I haul a large dog in the back. Shells do limit what you can haul, since while it is technically possible to take them off, it is a royal pain. I had much less hassle with the camper and camper jacks. If I didn't have the dog I would look seriously at the tonneau covers.

    Leomort - LOL! Actually you made my point - drive each vehicle to its capability. That 4x2 Taco is much less capable of getting out of my driveway in the winter!
  • I just happened to be at the Nissan dealer to get the regular service performed and didn't get a chance to test drive it. I've just always had good luck with reliability in the Nissans.
    The Mazda B-4000 has the SOHC 6 cylinder engine in it, a great engine that gets good gas mileage and delivers over 200 HP. A great engine Annafofana.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    mtngal, my Ram is also a diesel. It's a 1996 3500 Club Cab 4x4 dually and I have about 73,000 miles on it. My 5'3" sister loves driving it (when I let her LOL). I helped convince my friend in SLC that shee needed the grunt of an oil-burner instead of the gasoline-slurping 360 V8 in her 1995 Ram.

    I find it interesting how many people love the Mazda B-truck but claim they wouldn't get a Ranger, even though they are the same truck on the same chassis from the same assembly plant. There is a perception that the Mazda is "buiilt better", and lasts longer.

    I also have issues with the Frontier's styling. Trucks that attempt to fake accessories, is what I call the look; in this case, the Nissan attempts to resemble a grille/brush guard with the front styling. A truck should look good without any add-ons, it should look equally good with them, but it should not look as though is has to have them in order to look good.

    Let's face it, all trucks are a cab and a box. It's up to the individual manufacturers to do something different to make customers buy their truck over the others. For me, it was the "heavy duty" image created by the big-rig styling and Cummins diesel of the Dodge Ram. I also have long arms and legs for my height (6'0", 34" inseam, 35" sleeves) so I tend to feel cramped in cars and compact trucks. Even if I have to pay commercial registration rates, I'll stick with my full size rigs.

    kcram
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  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    Do you realize how much I wanted a truck just like yours when I owned horses? I still drool over them!

    Have you looked at the 2 newer diesel engines (Ford and Chevy)? If so, what did you think of them? I still think that a diesel would be practical for me, but don't know about the sticker shock. I'm thinking of waiting for about 5 years and then looking at them again. By then I'll be thinking about working towards a 5th wheel trailer and retirement (oops, maybe I shouldn't have mentioned that).

    I didn't know that the Ranger and Mazda were the same truck (did know about the Escape/Tribute sameness). That means I'll probably like the Mazda - I liked the Ranger when I looked at it last year (especially the small back doors on the extended cab).

    What I objected to on the Frontier was the wheel flare styling - I thought it looked stupid and pointless and tacked on. I didn't even get as far as the front grille! I always loved the look of the old Nissan Hardbody pickups - simple, utilitarian and comfortable, and was so disappointed with the Frontier.

    I agree with you about the looks of the Ram. It isn't as old fashioned boxy as the Chevy (which actually I like) but not as extreme as the Flareside Ford (which I don't like at all - think of the bed space you give up!). Just nice lines. By the way, does your Ram have a bench or bucket seats? If bench, have you ridden in it with your sister? One of the complaints my 6' 0" husband had about my old Chevy was that it had a bench seat. While it was perfectly comfortable for him when he was driving, when I drove his knees were just about in the dash! We would have to get bucket seats if that is still the case.
  • Most of the bench seats today are 60/40 split so your hubby should be ok when he is being punished ;-)
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    Thanks for letting me know. Now I'm starting to get enthusiastic about pickups again, and it is comforting that I don't have to rule out something just because of the lack of bucket seats.

    On the other hand,having a center console with good cup holders would be nice, since we have such a long commute. It's amazing how important something so little can become! The Taco has inconvenient cup holders for coffee cups, and ones that are OK for 1 liter bottles (which we do get once in a great while) but are too big and shallow for normal soda and coffee cups.
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    I just read the review here on Edmunds of the quad cab compact pickups. I'm not interested in a quad cab, but am interested in most of the makes reviewed (except Sport Track). I am definitely going to have to give the Dakota another chance. I saw one of the freeway yesterday as I was creeping along in the carpool lane, going only slightly faster than the traffic in the other lanes (a good chance to catch a quick look at all sorts of vehicles, since the slow and go is always bad on Fridays). It looks a whole lot better as a normal pickup, instead of that lowered thing the dealer had on his lot last year.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    mtngal, all Rams and Dakotas use a 3-section front seat, called the 40/20/40. The center 20 section does not move fore/aft, and the backrest folds down as a console. For the new 2002 Ram 1500, there is now a second console under the seat cushion as well. The two 40 sections are completely independent of each other. Dodge cupholders are reasonably sized, and hold most cups, cans, and bottles without too much thrills. The high mounted cupholders on my 96 Ram have a tendency to dump drinks on the floor on quick turns because of the center of gravity (cup at top of dash, drink cups usually wider at top than at bottom).

    A lot of people wondered why Ford opted to create the Explorer Sport Trac instead of simply making a Ranger crew cab, and the answer is marketing. Explorers outsell Rangers by a large margin, and the name recognition was deemed to be more valuable. This is why, unfortunately, there will be no crew cab Mazda B-series.

    Personally, I'm not a fan of flareside beds or extended cabs that cut into the bed to the point where the rear axle is all the way at the front of the bed. Trucks should be trucks first, and that means cargo capacity. I've carried couches, queen-size beds, a dozen computers and monitors in boxes, L-shaped office desks, and a lot of other stuff in my trucks with the tailgate closed. There's an old adage about buying pickup trucks: "Figure out the size, strength, and capacity of the truck that will meet your needs... then buy the next size bigger." Most of the time, it holds true.

    My recommendations for you, mtngal:
    - Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab shortbed
    - Dodge Dakota Quad Cab
    - Ford Ranger/Mazda B4000 4-door
    - Chevy S10/GMC Sonoma Crew Cab
    I am going to say no to the Tundra because the interior is misleadingly small. It's still Dakota size instead of full-size, despite what Toyota claims. Not a fan of the Nissan, although the Crew Cab Long Bed at least gives you cargo room. If you think you're going to tow with this truck, get the largest V6 or a V8. When you hit the hills in California, you won't regret it.

    Getting back to me and my diesel, the Ford and GM diesels both have an issue that the Dodge can avoid. The Ford/Navistar diesel uses sleeved cylinders that can erode without regular use ofd a coolant additive. Also, it's a 7.3 liter V8 that is just making the same output as the much smaller 5.9 liter Cummins 6 cylinder. As for the new GM/Isuzu Duramax, it uses aluminum heads, which are a no-no for a heavy duty diesel. Diesels, of course, run on heat compression instead of spark ignition, so the ability of iron to retain that heat is very important on engines that see a lot of work, Aluminum dissipates heat much faster, and may work against the combustion cycle.

    I'm keeping my 96 for another 2 years. After January 2004, the new diesel emissions regulations will be established, and the new heavy duty Ram (which is scheduled to be introduced next week at the Choicago Auto Show) will have a heavily revised Cummins that is currently estimated at 305 horsepower and a house-yanking 555 pound-feet of torque.

    By the way, my truck weighs about 7000 pounds or so with me and my usual junk in it. On the highway, I can get a solid 21 miles per gallon, and my best tank is an astonishing (even for me) 24.3 mpg. Back in October of 1999, I drove from north NJ to Dallas for vacation. The trip was 1550 miles each way, and even with some local driving around Dallas mixed in, the total trip for almost 3300 miles was still 20 mpg. Two things will get me out of a diesel - if they're outlawed, and... hmmmm... ok, maybe just one thing. Keep in mind, in the near future, Dodge and Ford are planning V6 diesels for the compact and half-ton full size trucks. Navistar will build the Ford V6, and the new Detroit Diesel DELTA V6 has already been tersted under the hood of a Dodge Durango, so they know it does fit. Both of these small diesels would have the power of the small V8s, with the economy of the base 4-cylinder engines. A Dodge Dakota with the Detroit V6 diesel is estimated at matching the 4.7L gas V8's performance, while getting an honest 30 mpg highway unloaded.

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  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    Diesel can be hard to find around here, but there are a couple of stations up here on the hill that carry it, so for me it is a real option. I would love to have a vehicle with an engine that wouldn't blink at 250,000 miles and would get 20 mpg or more. Ideally it would have to get me out of my driveway most days (I don't expect it to get me out when we have 3 feet of snow in one night. Even if it could, there would be no place to go - everyone else was stuck when that happened last year, and Caltrans had to use snow cats to get the people out of the over 100 cars stuck on the freeway).

    One of the reasons I'm getting more interested in pickups is that they seem to come with bigger engines and manual trannys. While I would like an auto for all that slow and go stuff I have to drive through when I first leave work, I still have the problem of the climb up Interstate 5, and the steep mountain road into our place. I didn't look at another auto after I burned up 2 of them in the Nissan in a year, but have thought if I got an auto V6 or larger truck with a tranny cooler, I could probably get by. I don't mind a manual so much, especially when I'm driving the Wrangler. It is geared low, so I just leave it in second and allow enough room to absorb the variation in speeds of the vehicle in front of me. On the other hand, would getting a bigger engine take care of the "hunting" that the tranny did on my Nissan, so the tranny question would become just a matter of preference?

    I'd love something like the Dakota with a diesel - wonder if it will be legal in California when they do come out with something like that? I don't know if I want to put up with the Taco for long enough to find out.

    If I buy a truck in the next year or two (the current plan) I would not use it to haul anything. The 5th wheel trailer is a dream of mine for when I retire, and I'm long enough away from that so it is still just that - a dream. What I buy in the near future would probably be the trade in for the RV or 5th wheel or whatever will be on the market then...
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