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Extended cabs OK for "real" people

michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
edited February 2014 in General
I'm thinking of getting a new vehicle in the next
few months. Have kicked around a number of ideas -
sedan, small SUV (RAV4, CR-V). The wife thinks
that maybe a small extended cab pickup would work.
Our other car is a 97 Escort, and we have two
kids, ages 9 and 11. Would they actually fit in a
Ranger SuperCab?

What opinions do you have about putting people,
not things, behind the driver and passenger? Or is
this a pipe dream?


  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Anything larger than a medium-sized dog will be uncomfortable in an extended cab minitruck. In three years, you'll have 2 kids making a major growth spurt, and a Ranger will be extremely tight, especially with the side-facing seats. You sound like a candidate for a full-size extended cab shortbed, if a pickup is what you really want. The other downside is, what to do if you're out with other adults? They DEFINITELY won't fit back there in a Ranger.

    I have 4 godchildren, and for the ones that are in car seats, the full-size extended cab trucks I drive were certainly adequate in terms of back seat space - the oldest is now 7 and he has more than enough room to be comfortable in back.

    You sound like you might be happier with a mid-sized wagon (Taurus/Volvo V70/Subaru Legacy). That will give you good backseat space, the cargo room when you need it, and much better ride and economy than the trucks will. Compared to the other types of vehicles on your shopping list, a pickup doesn't seem to fit your needs. I won't recommend pickups to anyone who won't actually use the cargo/towing capabilities regularly.
  • MotormouthMotormouth Posts: 99
    My recommendation would be an SUV if it fits into the budget. Even a low-mileage one that was just returned from a short term lease would be reasonably priced... and much more appropriate for two growing kids.

    I would NOT recommend a compact pickup with 2 children, period.
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    OK, I understand what you're both saying. I suppose I should clarify a bit. This would be my car (truck), which, during the week, would travel about 1 mile to/from park 'n' ride so I can take mass transit to work. We already have a car (97 Escort) which works well with the kids. The thinking was that we are wanting to start camping more, so with sleeping bags, tents, stoves, lanterns and other equipment, perhaps a truck would work.

    The other issue is price. I'm looking to stay under $20K, which I think leaves me out of the full size arena, unless I go with a stripped V-6, manual tranny Dodge, Ford, Chevrolet. Even if I add A/C and stereo, it's probably going to run in the low to mid 20's. Is this doable? What about the Dakota? Still not big enough for even short hauls with kids?

    Any advice, opinions, etc.?
  • lwflwf Posts: 223
    I lived in South Dakota for about a year once upon a time. I don't remember it as being an especially expensive place, but maybe things have changed. I just paid about $20,000 in NJ for a Ford F150 XLT extended cab with what I thought had a lot of extras; that is, it has A/C, auto transmission, power windows & door locks, radio & cassette, etc. I certainly wouldn't classify it as a stripped-down model. It's only a V6, but it has 205 HP, and that's enough for me. It sounds to me like this is about what you want and what you want to spend. I could have gotten a Ranger with the same equipment for about $1,500 less, but I thought getting the F150 was well worth the difference.

    And I've admitted this before, that I expect a lot of others reading this have gotten what I got for less, because I didn't really go bargain hunting. Certainly not to the extent that others who have posted their shopping experiences have.
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    That sounds like a good price -- $20K for all those options. Is the truck 2WD? I'd have to guess that it is. What do you use the extended cab for? Stuff, pets, or people?

    Is the V6 you bought the SOHC 4.0L that is also found in the Explorer? The 205HP sounds about right.....
  • RoclesRocles Posts: 985
    SUV's are a big waste of money and really serve no purpose to 90% of it's owners. Cars provide superior riding and handling as a person carrier. Wagons and vans provide enough space and economy. Trucks offer utility and practicality. What does a SUV offer to anyone that doesn't live in the mountains?
    SUV's are horrible with fuel mileage and really don't have much more room than cars. Vans offer more utility for families even still.
    I have grown tired of people buying these over-priced ego machines. An average Explorer starts at 28k! For that money, one can get an XL ext. cab F-150 with two grand to spare with all of benefits of owning a truck. Insurance is also higher on these SUV's.
    This is only my opinion. I hope I didn't come off as mean. My two pennies.
  • RoclesRocles Posts: 985

    Every time I visit Florida, all I see are these SUV's. WHY? The terrain is flat. Snow? no. The roads are in perfect condition and trust me, hardly anyone ever really goes off-roading in those things.
    Dealers have to be laughing every time someone buys one.
  • fredwoodfredwood Posts: 79
    The advantage of the SUV is that it has four doors, easy to park and can still tow a fair amount of weight. When I was a kid the family car could tow more than just 2000lbs. I would not even think of towing more than a 1000lbs with our camry. If truck manufactures would make a real four door mini truck (Im not talking about an extra cab with suicide doors), then the world would most likely see the end of SUVS.
  • BrutusBrutus Posts: 1,113

    I agree on a practical point, but I think most people buy cars with other objectives in mind. Functionality isn't the only one. Why do people buy Corvettes, when they could pay alot less for a Honda Civic? The Civic will get better gas mileage, it will be able to carry more people, and it will be able to carry a lot more stuff. And, of course, it's a lot cheaper. The Civic can operate fine at highway speeds and cannot accelerate up to those speeds in a reasonable amount of time. Unless you will be taking your Corvette out to the track on a regular basis, it's way more car than you need for everyday driving. Still, they have quite a following.

    Why do people buy Mercedes, BMWs, Lexus and Cadillacs when they could get a less expensive mid or large size sedan that will easily provide them with all of their needs on a functional level? I would venture a guess that very few people are matched with the car that best meets their functionality needs. A lot of car buying is a matter of preference and what you feel comfortable in. If you like SUVs and are willing to pay the extra bucks for them, more power to you. It's not likely to make sense to us pickup owners, but to each their own.
  • BrutusBrutus Posts: 1,113
    I meant to say that the Civic CAN accelerate up to highway speeds at a reasonable rate.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Those crew cab mini trucks are at the expense of the bed - the cab is just in front of the rear axle, much like a Suburban. The SUV is a sad replacement for a full-size station wagon. One of the big selling points of the old full-size was holdng a 4x8 sheet of plywood with the back seat down, and a full-rail chassis that could tow. Even a V8-powered wagon gets better mileage than all of the SUVs except for the tiniest 4 cylider models.
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    Wow! Guess I've really sparked some debate here. But, let's bring the conversation back to the original point.

    No, I don't want a full size SUV, for the above mentioned reasons. Too expensive to buy, to insure and to keep filled with gas. I'm thinking about either a small SUV (Forester, CRV, RAV4), which, if memory serves, all get mid-20's in highway mileage, OR a mid-sized sedan (Accord, Contour, Altima). The wife won't be caught dead driving a minivan, so that idea is out. My original post was to get feedback on whether a small extended cab pickup might work as well. As I've found out, it won't -- the suggestions being, that if I want a truck, buy a full-sized one (F150, Ram, C1500).

    We have two kids (9 and 11) - occasionally a third, who is 8. We don't go on a lot of long trips - mostly around town errands and such. The vehicle I'm looking to purchase would probably be driven 8-10,000 miles annually. Plus, I have around a $20K spending limit.

    Here in CO, every other vehicle is an SUV or minivan, and I'd like to think of myself as a contrarian....

    Whaddaya think?
  • BrutusBrutus Posts: 1,113
    Go all out and get a station wagon. I have a friend in California who was shopping for a SUV, about the Durango/Explorer size. He does a lot of camping and outdoors stuff. He was getting pretty set on the Subaru Outback, but took a timeout for about a month to reevaluate his needs for the new car. He bought a station wagon. I'm not sure what brand, but I'm sure it's fairly sporty looking. He's in his early 30s and his wife is in her mid-20s. They have no kids and don't plan to have any in the near future. The station wagon just met their needs better than an SUV when they factored in cargo space, gas mileage, cost, etc. It might be worth consideration.
  • fredwoodfredwood Posts: 79
    What I meant by a real crew cab, is four regular doors with a regular 6 to 7 foot bed. And yes that would mean a longer chassis.

    The station wagon still cant tow. That might suit someones needs but not for me.

    If you buy the rav4,crv or forester you just maybe caught dead in it. In so cal you can get a near fully loaded chevy truck easily for 20k. In fact for the last few weeks a dealer in Corona Ca has had chevy silverado's extra cabs with auto, 5.0v8,pw,pl,alum wheels, etc for $18,500. I wanted one but it did not have the third door.
  • BrutusBrutus Posts: 1,113

    My post was in response to Michaell who I don't think will be towing. He mentioned the possibility of a Sedan in his first post. It sounds like he needed something to haul his family and some camping gear. The station wagon sounded like a better choice than the sedan (cargo space) or mini-truck (age of his kids).

    I have nothing against SUVs. I have another friend out in CA who drives a Ford Explorer and his wife drives a mini-Blazer. Their only kid is off to college and they don't do any outdoors stuff. They just like the vehicles. People should drive what they feel the most comfortable driving, regardless of whether they use the vehicle to it's maximum capacity.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516

    I think your best overall compromise will be a Subaru of some type, either a Forester or maybe an Outback wagon. I would suspect you want to keep your camping gear under wraps, and Lord knows I've watched stuff sail out of the back of a pickup. The all wheel drive of the Subarus will be a big help in the winter for you, and the lower center of gravity will help in the white stuff as well. The sedans you mention have no versatility off-pavement, and the taller miniSUVs won't ride as comfortably.

    And kudos to your bride for hatimg minivans...
  • RoclesRocles Posts: 985
    My point is there isn't a good reason why there are SO MANY of these SUV's driving around. I do understand why someone would buy a Vette--because they have the money to afford another vehicle! One also doesn't see 500,000 Vettes on the streets either. SUV's simply are not a good choice when a family car is needed.
    kcram was right-on when talking about a wagon. I don't like wagons or vans but those are better choices versus SUVs for most people. I own three motorcycles because they are recreational, like a Vette. If people thought about SUVs a little more, and stop listening to ads, a whole lot of them would sit at the dealers lots like they did 20 years ago.
    my two pennies.
  • bogiemanbogieman Posts: 12
    And here go my 2 cents...... I just bought a Full size Ford-F-150 XLT supercab w/ 4.6L v-8, auto 4 spd trans, A/C, cruise/ tilt wheel, and a few other goodies inc captains chairs for about $22,000.... listed for $26300. Unless your kids stop growing, you will hate yourself if you try to save a bit and buy the mini truck...... stay with the XL if you want to save $$$.
    lotsa luck!
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    Great responses all! I think, after reading through the opinions posted, that I'm leaning towards a Subaru - Outback or Forester. No, I have no plans (yet) for towing anything, just wanted some extra room for hauling.

    On a side note, it's amazing what you can fit into a car when you have to alternatives. As stated earlier, my wife drives a 97 Escort, while I'm in a 93 Honda Accord. We had to move a mattress recently, and with the back seats folded down in the Escort, we managed to force a twin size mattress through the trunk. No, the lid wouldn't close, but we were only going about 15 blocks. We keep thinking that a truck would be nice for hauling, but we'd probably only *really* need in 6 or 7 times a year.

    As for the weather, if it gets too bad we simply stay home. A couple of times this year my wife didn't go to work because of the road conditions. Not worth it to her to wreck the car.

    Having owned a pickup in the past (87 Isuzu P'up), I know that when you own a truck, everyone wants to borrow it or have you haul something for them.
  • RoclesRocles Posts: 985
    Wise decision! I applaud people who think before buying a SUV.

    That is a great deal. I have a few questions:
    Was it a left-over? If not,what state do you reside in and how much do you think the XL would go for there?
    We just bought one for our firm two weeks ago and I'm curious.
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    Here in CO, it seems that every 2nd or 3rd car isn't - that is, it's an SUV. Why these 15MPG behemoths infest our roads occupied by families with an infant is beyond me.

    Before anyone goes off on me, I have to tell you that I once owned an SUV - a 1988 Trooper LS. Now, at the time, I only had one child, and yes, the thing did get only 15MPG (with a 4 banger, no less!). But, I used it off road quite frequently. My cousins owned a Ranger 4x4 and a Jeep Cherokee, respectively, and we would go into the mountains of SoCal and get 'em dirty. Most SUV owners these days barely takes their vehicles onto dirt roads.

    Forgive the rant -- Monday morning blahs.
  • bogiemanbogieman Posts: 12
    Hi Rocles! I would think that you could do well at Winner Ford in Newark? I saw where you lived in Del..... I moved from Newark area 5 yrs ago. I live in Fla. Ran a good deal here as i traded a 95 windstar in for F-150 equipped as I wanted it. They found it in Tampa, new, no leftover, and brought it up here for me at $500 less than I could buy similar there! Lots more available here too!
  • RoclesRocles Posts: 985
    Where in Florida? Winner,eh? Actually I do like those guys but for Fords, I deal with Bayshore. Trust me, I envy where you reside!
  • djholmdjholm Posts: 5
    Will Ford have a 4 door F-150 this fall?
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    EVERYBODY except GM will have four doors standard on their full-size pickups. Both the Ford light duty (150/250) and SuperDuty (250/350) and the Dodge Ram will be standard four-door exnteded cabs (the Ram Club Cab is dropped for MY1999).

    Only the new-body 1999 GMC Sierra will have four doors from the General. The new Silverado will be 3 doors only, and the remaining old body models will remain as they were.
  • barbellbarbell Posts: 15
    I am guessing you are from K.C. and you drive a Ram. Where do you get the info about the 1999 Dodge line? I am shopping and have talked to dealers in Colo and Ariz and none of them have any info, that they will share, that is. Maybe they will tell what they know once their lots are empty.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    KC's my name, not my city :) and yep, I have a 96 3500 Club 4x4.

    I'm a member of a national Dodge Ram "e-club" and we have quite a few dealers as members. All of them have mentioned the Club Cab is history, whatever stock will be built until it runs out, then the Ram extended cab will be Quad Cab only.

    Any dealer who won't give you info doesn't deserve your business, now or in the future.
  • richflynnrichflynn Posts: 147
    A few years back, a friend of mine had a '94 F-250 super cab. His girls were 13 & 15 at the time. The girls were very well behaved. He had a camper on the F-250 and would tow a small fishing boat. After one camping trip he traded the truck for a non super cab model. The problem was the girls being normal teenagers and the chatter just six inches behind his head. He just couldn't take it! So where are you going to be in a few years. How long will you be able to put up with the chatter, literally in your left ear?
  • donhdonh Posts: 7

    Is that an open list? I'd be real interested, especially as my 2500 is working great and I'd like to keep it that way.

  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516

    very open list!

    send an e-mail to

    with the subject


    and you're in. Be sure to read the rules and regs that will come in the subscribe reply letter, and be sure to check out the archives in

    as your questions may have already been answered
This discussion has been closed.