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Help Me Choose My Pickup!

So I'm looking to buy a truck for work. I want a full sized (not small pick-up), used but obviously reliable truck. What are your experiences, what make, model, year. I'm looking to spend 9-11k.

I know people have their fav. makes, but please be impartial and give me your input.

Thanks in Advance,


  • I am a college student so money is a big issue. I have 5k available to put down on a car and in 5 months I will have 5k extra from a student loan that I am willing to use towards a down payment.

    I will have 10k to put down on the car and with my dad's credit (he qualifies for the best) he will co-sign.

    My grandfather retired from Ford so I qualify for the Z plan, where I can get a car at 2% under dealer cost and incentives/rebates can be used along with this deal.

    I want a small basic level truck that is automatic (dunno how to drive a stick) so with the Z plan I could get a Ranger. I have read some negative things about Rangers. My only experience with them is with an older one that is a friends. It is a 95 and pretty much a POS.

    If I had my choice I would take a Tacoma. I have driven an 06 and loved it. However, if the price difference is going to be 4k+ then I would almost be an idiot to turn down the Z plan.

    What do some of you experts or people with experience think? I would like to get my monthly payments after 10k down below $100 a month. I can get a 5.0% loan through a credit union if Ford/Toyota doesn't offer a better one.

    Thanks guys, btw I love this site.
  • Well, I would buy a F150/Silverado W/T. Right now with GM and Ford's deep discounts you can get a Silverado for the same price as a Colorado/Ranger, and an F-150 for a couple thousand more. And the resale value will be so much better on a fullsize. And if you are wondering about fuel economy, there is only 2 MPG difference. May I ask whether you are looking at two wheel drives or 4X4's?
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    I agree with this post. As stated on the TV ads, with the Keep it Simple pricing program, you can get a 2WD reg cab F-150 for under $16 grand. The F-150 (over the Silverado) will give you 4 wheel ventilated anti-lock disc brakes vs rear drum brakes on the Silverado. Also, the F-150 uses thicker rear springs than the Silverado and utilizes a thicker frame construction with full front end structure--something else the Silverado does not have. Good luck to you!
  • I wont be able to put 10k down for at least 5 months. I am waiting for a student loan dispercement.

    I am looking at 2WD and a 4 cylinder. Money is the biggest factor so that is why I am looking at a 4 cylinder. 2WD is all I need, I won't be doing any off-roading.

    If the rebates/incentives are better for the 150's/Silverado in 6 months then I will put serious thought in those. I just don't expect them to be in 6 months.
  • Well, the incentives probably will be better on full size trucks in 6 months, at least on the Chevy's, because the redesigned 07's will be rolling off the line and they will be wanting to get rid of the old models. But if you think you want a midsizer, get a Tacoma. About the same price, and much better quality.
  • How much would you think a F-150 or Silverado will be with incentives in 6 months? I want to know how low we are really talking.

    Like I mentioned earlier, it will have to be an automatic.

    BTW, thanks a lot for the input, I love this site!
  • Hmmm...hard to say, but right now the basic '05 Silverado's are selling for around $15k with 4,500 rebates because they are trying to clear out the last of the '05s. Wait till about November next year when there is the added pressure of fresh 07, redesigned trucks coming in, and I wouldn't be suprised to see them selling for $14k, which is cheaper than the midsize trucks on the market. And I can assure you they won't get any more expensive than they are now, which is still the same price as a midsize. By the way, this is just my opinion, based on observations of the current market, what has been happening the last couple years, etc. So I might be wrong, but probably not. ;)
  • The research process is starting, but I would really appreciate help navigating through all the many options. You see, I am in middle years of life and never owned or purchased a truck. So I am counting on you proud truck owners to make recommendations based on my need requirements below: - setting this as a topic category for other first time truck buyers as well.

    1) Tacoma (or close compact competitor)
    2)Wife and only 2 children(8, 11) but I will be driving this vehicle alone 85% time.
    3) Recently used(2005) vs new
    4) hauling - prob. never
    5) city/local hwy driving 90%
    6) just need a utilitarian inexpensive vehicle that allows me to bring(dirt, powerwasher, etc. items for home repairs) in the bed occassionally.
  • jnealjneal Posts: 247
    First of all, will this be your only vehicle (Makes a big difference in what you pick)?? If this is to be your only vehicle, given the ages of your sons, I would only consider a Quad Cab. The extra room in the back seat is more than worth the difference in price in my opinion. Having said this, I would say go for the Dodge Dakota (Look at the specs for rear seating and compare to the others) Ok, I admit it, I am a diehard Dodge man :blush:

    I would shop around before buying used 05 at this time. For just a bit more and sometimes even less, you can buy new 05 w/warranty.

    For your useage, if you aren't allergic to all the shifting involved in city driving and want best mileage you would be better off w/manual transmission. Personally I wouldn't have anything but automatic...too much work involved for me! Not gonna be that much difference in mileage between the two, especially if you are a conservative driver.

    Likewise for the hauling capacity...the shorter beds on the Quad Cabs will be just fine for you.

    All this is just my opinion will have to go with whatever pushes your buttons!!! :D
  • ogre01ogre01 Posts: 15
    If you do decide to go with the Dodge, you may want to take a peep on Mitsubishi's lot. The Raider is essentially a Dodge Dakota and I think Mitsu is offering a much better warranty.

    As for the manual vs automatic, check the trucks themselves. It differs from truck to truck. The Tacoma for example seems to have better MPG in auto then manual if you look at the EPA estimates.

    I myself have a Tacoma Double Cab and agree with the previous poster that the extra room was well worth the money. Also if you don't plan on offroading, you may want to take a look at the Honda Ridgeline. Already comes with a built in lockable trunk so you won't have to get a bed topper to protect your equipment. Provided it fits in the trunk of course.
  • Follow-up to my original post with additional info:

    1) having had a small manual mitsubishi for last 14 years (which my wife can't drive) I will be targeting Auto transmission as a requirement.

    2) We have a mercury station wagon for our long distance commutes and vacations as our second vehicle.

    3) 85% of time, it will only be me in the vehicle, or my wife using it solo, kids would be in back for just short time/distances.

    thx keep the input coming!

    Would like to hear also from Toyota owners and Frontier owners, but all truck owner input is appreciated.
  • msibillemsibille Posts: 275
    I had an '04 Taco DoubleCab, and other than a prblm with the bottoms of the doors not being painted, I loved it. (2002 thru 2004 are essentially identical) If you look at those, make sure you check the door bottoms for rust, incomplete paint, or improper paint repair. Not all had it, but it was very common.

    I now have the 2005 Taco DC. Love it. I had the 04 w/ the 4cyl (for economy and the timing chain vs. belt). The V6 thru 2004 had 2 timing belts -which I'm NOT a fan of. However, the 2005 and on V6 is again a chain, plus, the fuel efficiency w/ my 05 V6 is BETTER than my 04 I4.
    I have autotrans because my wife forbade me to get another manual (I frequently have issues w/ injuries to extremities like legs and arms. -Not that I'm a spaz, I'm just very active. Well, maybe a little spaz.) As noted, not much difference in the Taco efficiencies -at least in double cab. Single cab may show larger differences. The EPA values don't vary much, but that's probably because of the overall gearing in the auto is better set to hiway spds than the manual is.

    Double Cab is a big step in price, but that's a tradeoff. You say 85% by yourself, but that means 15% of time w/ others. Statistics don't work well in small samples. (e.g. if a certain aircraft has only 1 death per 10 million passengers -and I'm the one, then it's 100% for ME.) Anyway, the point is that 15% of your time needing 3 or more passenger seats can be a lot of annoyance.

    If you really want utilitarian, buy a used truck. Use all the normal common sense in checking it out, maybe have a mechanic you trust look it over first. A used truck gives you the flexibility of living w/ it for awhile, without having to live w/ it forever. If you sell in a couple of years, you don't lose much. (However, be forewarned that the 2002-2004 Tacos are very sought after. Mine was worth more after 12 months and 8000 miles than what I bought it for.)

    For that matter, buy a Dodge, Nissan, Honda, or Ford. That way, when you eventually switch to a "good truck", you'll really appreciate it. ;)
  • jnealjneal Posts: 247
    "For that matter, buy a Dodge, Nissan, Honda, or Ford. That way, when you eventually switch to a "good truck", you'll really appreciate it."

    Once he buys a Dodge why on earth would he ever want to switch?? :P
  • msibillemsibille Posts: 275
    Nice one.
    But, probably would really enjoy not having tranny or differential problems...
  • jnealjneal Posts: 247
    msibille, I'm sure he would enjoy not having that hassle as all of us would. From reading the various forums I don't think Dodge has anymore problems in that respect than any other make. I have been driving Dodges since 1976 and have never had a major problem with any of them other than routine wear items such as brakes etc. There are plenty of other makes there that do just as well though. It all really boils down to personal preference and past experiences.

    BTW, a one-liner for you a old friend used to use....."When you see a man driving a Dodge, don't mess with him since he is already pi***d off,!!!" :D
  • From what you specified, just about anything will do. I had an 04 Ranger Extended Cab (which was wrecked last week in a near head on offset collision, the other car was sideways when it hit me), I also have a 88 Regular Cab Ranger. I would recommend a Ranger for you from previous experience in durability (the 88 was purchased at a year old and now has 250,000 miles with little problems). My kids are 9 and 10 and fit in the back fine for short trips, if your trips are very short with just the kids you may be able to get by with a regular cab truck.
    My best advice to you, since you will not be hauling anything big or on a regular basis, is to look at the prices of the trucks out there and get you a good deal and test drive them to find one that feels right to you. Most of the smaller trucks out there drive a little more like a car than a truck, except the Ford Rangers. The Rangers seem to have a little more beefy suspension under them and ride a little rougher. The Toyotas used to ride kind of rough, but I can't speak to anything newer than a late 90's model in them.
    Another thing to consider is the length of the bed. If you will haul anything that is 8' in length, you may want to shy away from some of the 4-door double cab trucks. I know that the bed length that usually comes standard on the GMC Canyon (the Dodge Dakota seems a little short as well) would leave a lot of lumber hanging out the back (I think the bed length is 5' or less, while the other makes are 6'. 1' doesn't sound like a lot until you see it sticking out the back of your truck with a red flag waving on it.). Also, the smaller box limits how much you can get in it (a power washer, bucket, a couple bags of topsoil and some gardening implements would pretty much pack up the smaller bed length).
    I work for a surveying firm and we have a extra cab Dakota and Canyon, which I have driven. We have alot of equipment we travel with and it really fills up the back of these two trucks and they seem a little under powered at take off, but travel well once they get up to speed on the interstate.
  • msibillemsibille Posts: 275
    Good one!
    I should have used an emoticon to show that my comments were intended to be taken as tongue in cheek.

    I like the one liner. I may use it w/ a different brand name though.
  • Tacoma 4x4 (dbl cab) vs suburu baja. Plan on taking on cross country road trip but also for my uses after. Looking for utility, some off road capability, ride, economic(gas mileage/price etc). I see pros and cons to both. Any thoughts?
  • ogre01ogre01 Posts: 15
    I agree with msibille, look at a decent used truck to fill you needs for now. Seems like it's mostly a work truck and inexpensive acquisition price is your major criteria. Any new truck and especially the crew cab types are not going to be too light on the wallet.

    Besides, one wouldn't be too sad about beating up a used truck vs a brand spanking new one. Get one of those extended cabs. This way at least the kids have belts in the back and gives you a little space for stuff too.
  • Getting pricing on a Silverado LT1 and a Tacoma dblcab w/ long box. Both 4x4's. Silverado at $27,925 and the Tacoma at $27,335. Add tax, title, plate to both vehicles.

    What say you Mr. 4x4, throw the tools in the back and hit the road man?

    One or two liners preferred over long explanations if you don't mind.
  • Hello to all-
    I'm also a first time buyer and would like a little information from those who have purchased trucks on what I would really "need" (options, etc) and suggested brands.
    First, a little about myself.
    I'm a college student in North Carolina, graduting in Decemeber 2006, as a Construction Management major. I'll be going into residential contracting as a supervisor...not a grunt. I'm planning to purchase in the beginning of the summer, probably may or june.
    I'm looking to purchase a truck for myself, it will be a dualpurpose only mode of transportation and as a vehicle to drive around a worksite from house to house. I currently have a volvo wagon, with standard transmission, and shifting a couple times to only go 50 feet gets old real quick. So automatic is a must. Since its my only vehicle, its gotta have a nice ride, I'm not one who likes to feel every single bump in the road.
    One decision that is holding me up is 4x2 vs 4x4...I live in the south and dont plan to move north, we rarely get snow and when we do I like just staying in bed (haha). I'm not one for offroading, so I'm leaning towards just a 4x2. Anybody have any particular reason why I should consider 4x4?.
    NExt big decision is extended cab vs. double cab. I gradute in december, and wont be getting married anytime girlfriend still has a couple years of college (and I'm a ways off from marriage kids although I'd like a couple in the future, are at least 4 or 5 years away.
    Big decision #3 is diesel vs gasoline. I dont have a boat, and I dont really plan on doing a whole lot of trailering, and the research I've done mostly states that diesel really pulls through with the torque and power end of things, to really help getting those big loads moving...correct?
    I've been looking at the chevy silverado 1500, toyota tundra, dodge ram 1500 and an f150 (all 2006s...I'm 99% sure thats what I'll get). I testdrove several last week, and we very unimpressed with ford...took me 3 salespeople to find one that would even ackknowledge me, and even then that last guy really didnt care to have anything to do with me. I'm a big guy on getting quality service, so if ppl at a dealership treat me poorly, 95% chance I wont even consider you. The Ram was nice, kinda pricy, and I really didnt care for the ride...seemed stiffer, I felt more of the road than I would have cared to. Toyota and chevys were very nice, smooth ride, good acceleration. I've kinda had my eye on chevy since I was a kid, so I knww there is a little bit of a bias there.

    So basically I'd like ya'lls opinions on the following:
    4x2 vs 4x4
    extended cab vs double cab
    diesel vs. gas

    Hope thats enough info, if not, I'll be happy to add more.

    Thanks alot everybody!
  • I've only owned 52 vehicles, and 8 Toyota pickups (and several Amurican trucks as well), so what do I know?

    But I'd first have to ask if you're comfortable in a midsized pickup. If you are, then I wouldn't even consider a full size pickup. The full size pickups they sell that are cheap won't be worth squat in 2 years (or 5 years), because no one wants used 6 cylinder standard cab full size pickups (which is why they have to discount them so drastically to begin with).

    On the other hand, a Toyota Tacoma 4 cylinder 5 speed standard cab will probably only depreciate $1000 a year, if you buy it right to begin with. I certainly don't need to discuss the reliability of it versus the competition... lol Also comes with a longer warranty than the others.

    As for buying it right, the last Tacoma I bought through the fleet office of my local Toyota dealer AT INVOICE. I'm betting you can do the same if you shop a little. Don't go through a salesman on the floor!!!!!! I either call the fleet office, or send them an email. My 2001 Tacoma Prerunner is still worth within $5000 of what I paid for it brand new.

    Oh, and I sold cars for 4 years somewhere along the way as well ;)
  • Sounds like you've already decided it will be a full size pickup... so

    Not much use for a 4X4 unless you go offroad A LOT or live in snow country (a limited slip differential will get you most places you'll ever go).

    Not much use for the double cab unless you got kids, and have a 25 foot garage and like to take 3 swings to park it.

    Not much use for diesel unless you tow something BIG... OFTEN. They cost $5000 more and only get 25% better mileage. If you're gonna drive it 500K miles, then maybe you can calculate further.

    As for brands, I'm kinda partial to Toyota, since I'm on #8 (I've had several GM pickups as well, but leave the Fords and Dodges to my friends to fix). No one beats Toyota's resale value, reliability, or warranty. Actually I was involved in a hands-on survey of the 2007 Tundra last week, and compared it to its competition. I just got finished writing an email to Toyota to tell them that I was disappointed... Nissan got it right the FIRST TIME. So, my current vote goes to the Titan.
  • akjbmwakjbmw Posts: 231
    I would suggest that "management" means going out to where the "grunt" work is being done to check on things like what is going to be done, how it's being done, and if it was done. The third part is likely to be easy on new access roads. The first two, however, could be a significant challenge if the site is flat flood plain that gets "slicker than snot" when wet.
    It's the "when wet" part that focuses my suggestion for including 4x4 or at least some sort of vehicle that has AllWheelDrive and doesn't have a problem with a little sticky mud.
    You still have to decide whether you want to "smell" what you are hauling (SUV) or be separated from it (open truck).
    Good luck and keep the dirty side out.
  • Ok, well, I did it. Hit the dealerships again on Mar 31 and played hardball. Managed to walk away "out the door" price on new 2006 tacoma access cab 2wd with 4cyl for total of 19,860 and that includes tax, title, license. So I am not complaining.

    The vehicle has the sr5 package but lacks the front splash guards and also feel like it needs the vinyl fender flares.
    Anyone know a good site that sells tacoma accessories at good prices. The fenders have holes above wheel well so it looks like they are snap on or screw right into the holes. thx
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Stop by the Toyota Tacoma 2005+ discussion... the owners there will have plenty of advice for you.

    kcram - Pickups Host
  • I did a search and didn't find much, and sorry in advance for the long post.

    My neighbor is selling his 1991 Toyota Pickup. I've always wanted a truck, but picked up a station wagon on my last purchase for economical reasons. I've came to my senses and am seriously considering this purchase, however....

    He is very upfront with possible repair costs. The truck has 120k miles on it and is in fabulous condition. Starts up no problem, drives well, etc. In the past three months he has sank about 3,000 into it between a new clutch, new lines, and a couple other minor problems. It seemed the truck hit the 100k barrier where most problems occur.

    The only other defect needed to be fixed is a head gasket. He was up-front in telling me it would be in the 1200 range. The selling price for the truck is 1300, which I consider very good considering the condition and amount of new parts in the vehicle.

    My only hesitance is the fact that I know next to nothing about cars, and more so trucks. I'm off to college next year, and the last thing I want to to is spend 2500 on a truck that will need another 3000 worth of repairs. My question is, is a gasket problem indicitave of more serious repairs to come? My mechanic gave me a worst-case scenario in saying it's possible that there could be some warped heads and the costs could be "thousands and thousands" of dollars. This was over the phone, so obviously he can't give an accurate description of repairs, but I've taken all my work to him and he does a bang-up job. The owner had no hesitance for me to take the truck to him to check it out for other problems, so I assume there aren't many major mechanical problems in the works.

    Long story short, is this a good buy? I assume I'll get another 70-80k out of it. It's a beauty truck, I just don't want to get too far in over my head.

This discussion has been closed.