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How to Choose a Truck

setzersetzer Posts: 127
edited March 2014 in Toyota
I'm planning on moving this summer. And I usually do a lot of renovations and yard work when I first move in, and then ever once and a while I buy a new tree or something else for my yard or house. I have a few trucks in mind. They are the Toyota Tacoma, Ford F-150 Heritage, and the Toyota Tundra. Does anyone have better ideas? And I want to keep it under 25,000.


  • ryanbabryanbab Posts: 7,240
    are you looking for reg cab, ext cab, crew cab, 2wd or 4wd? What kind of stuff are you going to be hauling? 2 of the 3 you listed are fullsize and 1 is a compact.
  • Setzer you might want to broaden the number of trucks you might consider. Almost every major magazine that has tested them picked the new full size Nissan as the truck to buy. It will out-run and out pull all of the others with its standard engine. I am sure that they are proud of them right now but if you wait a bit I am sure that you can negotiate a better price. On the other hand Toyota products have typically had the best frequency of repair in the industry. Beware though, Tundra mileage is sometimes terrible and if you get the Tacoma you will be limited by size. Oddly, I see that you are apparently only considering the F150 Heritage instead of the newer designed truck. Without question the heritage is cheaper but the new F150 is obviously vastly superior in nearly every category. Again, according to the various publications, the new F150 is nearly always neck and neck (yet slightly behind) the Nissan when the magazine writers make their final choices.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,962
    To make this topic a place where people can post general questions about choosing a truck, I'm going to rename it How to Choose a Truck? and we'll let it run from there to see what happens!

    Carry on!

    Be prepared for a lot of widespread opinions setzer!!

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  • setzersetzer Posts: 127
    I chose the F-150 Heritage not only because of the price, but I like the styling much better than the new one. There is just something about the new one I don't like. One of my Uncles have a F-150 from a few years ago and the other has a Tacoma. I know the Tacoma is smaller, but I still could use it for what I'm doing. I don't really need passenger space, I just need a big enough bed to haul around dirt, to haul around furniture, etc. I'm looking for a truck that will be reliable, so Toyotas and Nissans would be good choices. I just want to keep my options open and go look at what's available. Maybe I won't end up buying a new truck. I just need feedback from you guys so I can make the best decision if I do end up buying.
  • mullins87mullins87 Posts: 959
    I used to have a Toyota SR5. It was probably the most fun little truck I have ever owned. It was a beater when I bought it and quickly found out that if I pulled the mirrors in I could go down most any 4-wheeler trail. I never had any trouble with it and would still have it today if I could justify having two trucks. However I do lots of things with my truck that would overload that Toyota in a heartbeat. I have had 1/2 tons before as well and still found myself hitting their limits. Currently I have an F-350 dually diesel. I know what its limits are and haven't needed to approach them just yet. Of course the SR5 was easier to drive in town.

    All trucks have their strong and weak points. Most common are size vs. capacity. When you talk about weekend Home Depot runs or hauling dirt/mulch/gravel are you talking about 5 or 6 bags of Quikcrete and a small scoop of mulch (approximately 500 lbs.) or are you talking about 10 bags of Quikcrete and a large scoop of mulch? If the former, then the Taco should do just fine. If it's the latter, then you should stick with the 1/2 tons.

    Just my $.02 worth. :)
  • lennxlennx Posts: 73
    Will you commuter 80 miles a day? Do you take long highway trips? If so MPG and ride quality come into play. A liitle truck like the Tacoma should get better MPG. The F-150 has a much nicer highway ride.

    Also if you are planning on a bed full of mulch or dirt on a regular basis, a full size truck would be a better choice.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    But don't be fooled by the small light utility vehicles some people erroneously call pickups.
         These light utility vehicles come with many names: Ranger, Colorado, Dakota, Canyon, Mazda B-Series, Nissan Frontier, and Toyota Tacoma.
         REAL pickups have F-150, F-250, F-350, Silverado 1500 (2500 HD, 3500), Ram 1500, Ram Heavy Duty, GMC Sierra 1500 (HD 2500,3500), Titan, or Tundra prominently displayed.
         For any serious towing or hauling, the half-tons just can't successfully perform the task whether they be from Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge, Nissan, or Toyota.
         I have owned little "toys" (1975 Nissan/ Datsun pickup, 1991 Toyota pickup, and 1985 Ford Ranger.
         I now have a 1993 Ford F-150 Extd Cab LWB 4X4 which is a REAL truck.
         Those little toys can haul a small load of manure, light weight bulky items from Home Depot, etc. Titan and Tundra ads try to deceive people into thinking they can do serious towing.
         DON'T BELIEVE that crap. A close friend towed a 35' Jayco 5th wheeler with his Chevy Silverado 1500 for a year before he realized he needed a more substantial truck. He then got a Ford F-250 Extd Cab with 460 CID V8 and said he did not hold up traffic on hills any more.
         True, the Ford F-250 burns much more gas while just driving around town than did the Chevy 350 V8 but got the same towing the 5th wheeler. The Ford F-250 got the same mileage empty it did while towing a heavy load.
         Titan and Tundra are NOT satisfactory for heavy loads. Nissan and Toyota build fine passenger vehicles but have not yet built a viable truck for work. If 95 % of the usage is just hauling people, go with the Titan or Tundra if you want the Japanese label but if the truck will be used for jobs where work is involved, forget them.
  • If you define heavy as 2500, this is one argument. Only 3/4 and 1 ton trucks will do the job. There are few exceptions, like a T100 1ton model (very rare) If heavy is around 1600 lbs, a Tundra will be find.
  • dm13dm13 Posts: 1
    I researching the Tacoma's ability to tow a 20' boat. I have heard the 4cyl is fine for light towing but I'm not certian what is considered light. I have owned full size truck's,(2500,3500) and have towed some RV's that way in in the 11k range so I know what heavy is.
    My need now is for a small pickup that is easy on fuel and fun to drive around town. But on a clear day it's time to pull the pontoon to the lake. I am guessing the total package is not more than 3200 lbs. not including the truck doing the pull. I live in east central Florida so it's really flat towing except when we get to the boat launch. My big concern is extricating the loaded trailer from relitively steep wet ramps.
    Will the 4cyl pull the load or should I locate a 6cyl. for the overall job I've defined. I have already decided on 4wd just to avoid rear tire spin on those wet areas.
  • Forget the 4 banger. Granted, with the 4x4, you could use 4-low to get up the ramp, but I really don't think it would have the power to pull it down the road at highway speeds. I think the 6 cylinder would probably have the power to do the job. However, there's more to the towing equation than just the engine's power. You should also be considering items such as the brakes, suspension and wheelbase.

    I am assuming the boat trailer doesn't have brakes on it. I seriously doubt the Taco's brakes have a sufficient heat sink to prevent them from overheating during a "slight" panic stop, much less a full blown panic stop. If you have, or put, brakes on the boat trailer, then you might be ok here. The next thing to consider is the trucks suspension. Is the Taco's suspension heavy enough to handle that boat? The truck needs to be able to control that load under all circumstances. If the truck is too light, then the trailer will push it all over the road and will even cause it to jack-knife in a moderate avoidance manuever, causing a wreck. The next is the wheelbase. If your looking at a regular cab short bed, then I'd say no. The wheelbase is too short for that big of a trailer. If your looking at the model with the longest wheelbase - I don't know what combination Toyota offers, whether it is a crew cab long bed or just an extended cab - it may be long enough. The reason I mention wheelbase is based partly on personal experience, but mainly on the experiences of several people in my area of the country back in the late 70's and early 80's. I have towed an approximate 5,000lb trailer with a regular cab short bed truck and the same trailer with a regular cab long bed truck, both GMC 1/2 tons. The drive was more comfortable in the longer wheelbase truck. The trailer wanted to push the shorter wheelbase truck around when I would try to slow down. Back in the 70's and 80's, people were taking Jeep CJ's and putting V-8's in them. Then something would come up and they would hook a, for instance, 16' flatbed trailer to them to carry wood or whatever they needed. Well, you know how it is if you have towed very much, someone would pull out in front of them. When they hit the brakes, the Jeep would jack-knife and several were killed. I didn't know any of them personally, but my brother-in-law did.

    So I have rambled on for so long, but it just kills me to see someone struggling down the road with too large of a trailer coupled to too small of a tow vehicle. You are really wanting the best of both worlds, good fuel mileage with decent towing capabilities. I doubt you'll find it. I don't know your particular situation, but if it were me, I'd buy that 4 banger Taco for use as my daily driver and an older 1/2 ton to pull the boat. It might cost just a little extra in insurance, but you'll get that back in the fuel mileage of the Taco.
  • I have seen old Toyota 4X4's with 116 (22RE) hp pull boats out of the water. However, going down the road you are limited to 3500lbs of towing. For this application, the V6 is the way to go. The new Tacomas are supposed to be bigger and the wheelbase has increased (so I hear).

    I do agree with mullins87 and a bigger full-size (even with a six) would be much safer. Another alternative would be a used T100 4X4.

    I tow a 5200 (wet) camping trailer with my Tundra.
  • My husband and I are ready to buy a truck. Our major "need" is a Quad cab b/c we have 2 kids in carseats. We will not be towing (except a move this week and maybe in a couple of years), it will not be used for commuting, and it won't be used for much work. We have 2 in mind...... a 2002 F150 crew cab w/ 30,000 miles and a 2001 Chevy Silverado 2500HD w/ 8.1 liter engine and 59,000 miles. Two COMPLETELY different trucks!

    Both trucks look great, drive great, and are at comparable prices. Which would tend to last? Any suggestions would be very appreciated! We like both trucks but worry that the 2500 is way too big for our needs.
  • lennxlennx Posts: 73
    This kind of question can incite a riot.

    I have the 2003 F150 Super Crew. It is a great all around truck while also being able to cary 6 people (which I do about once a week). Gas milage with the 5.4 is 18 on the highway, 15 around town. With winter my combined average has dropped to about 15 mpg.

    It sounds like the Chevy is more truck than you need. The HD with an 8.1 is set up for serous hauling.

    As for which will last? All I can say is I had Camry that had a number of problems. My F-150 had a couple of minor things that the dealer fixed on the first service. 2nd service in the next month will be just oil and tire rotation.
  • I like the handling and performance of the Titan and except for a few problems I've heard they've been having with the brakes it seems like a fine and driver picked it best in a 5 truck shootout, but the F-150 is quieter and better looking but perfprmance is disappointing....I can get a $30,000 F-150 on the a-plan with the rebate for about $23,000 so I suppose it's up to Nissan to see how close they can get(do prefer the buckets w/console in the Titan).
  • If you are not using a truck for towing, commuting, or hauling. Why do you need a truck? Buy a family sedan or a minivan.
  • abileneabilene Posts: 4
    I'm really wanting to buy my first full-size truck (I have 2 minivans right now), but I'm limited in my budget, so I was hoping for all of your thoughts on my best choice. Here's what I'm wanting:

    Extended Cab (I have 2 kids & another on the way)
    Prefer Automatic transmission
    Price range $3000-7000, ideally

    I'm thinking of a Chevy, GMC, or Ford at this point. I won't tow much (an occasional tow of a boat or light trailer load), and I expect to have to buy one with over 100k on it. I want something that will last me and that wears well. What are your suggestions? Pros and cons to different models?

    Thanks for helping a new guy!
  • tundradudetundradude Posts: 588
    In this price range, you will have to take the older extended cab models which are not as big as they are today and the rear doors don't open (on most). Chevrolet had the biggest extended cabs in the old style. This is assuming you want to put three kids back there. If you get a bench in the front, one could ride there if you get a Chevy without airbags.

    What do you plan to use the truck for? Do you plan to have your whole family in it? I have a family member with three kids. They take two vehicles.
  • abileneabilene Posts: 4
    I'll be using the truck to "commute" (I live less than a mile from my office), run errands, haul firewood, occasionally pull a trailer or boat.

    I'd like to have the option to put the whole family in if we are going camping or somewhere that I'd rather take a truck than the minivan.

    As I continue to look around, I'm leaning to the 1997-1999 era of Chevy/GMC trucks with a 3rd door, but I'll be looking at over 100k still to get in my budget. I'd still like to hear everyones thoughts. Thanks for your help!
  • touctouc Posts: 28
    Been there, done that. Tried the "suicide doors" with my 9 and 7 year old boys in the back seat. I thought when I bought the 03 Tundra access cab that "they're just boys, they can deal with it back there". No dice. What a headache! If you want a family truck,try to get a crew cab if you can swing it $$$.
  • gtahobegtahobe Posts: 42
    Long story short, my 1993 Plymouth Grand Voyager (with 165,000 miles, no working AC for two years) slid into the ditch and gently rolled over a few days ago. I don't have all the details yet on the repairability of the Voyager, but I think it's time to look for a truck.

    For family driving, we have a 2003 Camry LE. So the proposed truck would be used mostly for commuting to work, 18 miles one way, trips to Home Depot (I love home improvement projects, room for a 4x8 sheet is paramount), and any solo errands. Typically it would be just me in the truck, or maybe our oldest child who is three.

    Looking at the trucks, the standard S-10's, Tacoma, etc just visually look too small and low to be safe, and none have Good ratings at IIHS.ORG. The F-150's and Tundras, etc seem large, but some do have Good ratings at IIHS.ORG.

    Another question is cab size. I'd probably either do the base size, or something extended a bit to toss junk in the back, but definitely not the four-door types.

    My biggest question though, is going from FWD to either RWD or AWD. I have driven RWD a bit in the past and seem to recall that I always had a hard time accelerating in the snow. I live in NE Ohio by the way. There are plenty of trucks in NE Ohio that are only RWD, so I'm sure that with some brain retraining, I can learn what I can and cannot do with a truck. I guess my question is would buying a AWD truck help the truck feel more like the FWD vehicles that I'm used to?

    Please feel free to try to read between the lines and to answer the questions that I haven't asked yet.
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    All 2WD light pickups look small and sit low. If you want a taller truck, you can go for Tacoma Prerunner, Ranger Edge, etc. These are 2WD trucks with 4WD height.
    You ought to try to go for an extended cab 2door. It's just too uncomfortable in a reg cab: can't move the seat back, can't toss stuff there.
    I don't know who makes an AWD truck. If you forsee problems with 2WD driving, get yourself a 4WD and you'll be all good to go. My 4WD Taco (stock at the time) did extremely well in snowstorms of CO.
    You'll get used to RWD, don't worry.
  • steven2steven2 Posts: 37
    TV advertising may be deceptive, but you can learn a lot from what they do and do not show. Chevy advertises their engine power. Duramax Diesel, Allison trans., etc. They don't advertise their interior, however, because it is TERRIBLE. The fit and finish looks just like a 5-year old Chevy Astro's. Compare that to the Tundra, Titan, F-150, and even the Ram, and it is not good. It fits people, but not comfortably, and reliability is horrible.

    My pickup rankings:

    1)F150- cannot be beaten; Ford will last the longest of the domestics
    2)Titan- is just as good as it is said to be
    3)Ram- Big Hemi power and revived interior, with space
    4)Tundra- the interior is very refined, but not like the Ford
    5) Silverado- Why spend 40,000 on a Sierra denali for an average interior?

    I know these facts firsthand, because I bought a new f150 last sunday, and testdrove each model, plus the colorado (which was better than the full-size silverado) 2-3 times, with different variations.
  • steven2steven2 Posts: 37
    "1)F150- cannot be beaten; Ford will last the longest of the domestics"

    I am predicting that without major improvements, GMC and Chrysler sales will SIGNIFICANTLY diminish, below many german and japanese models. Mercedes might also go down with chrysler.
  • gtahobegtahobe Posts: 42
    Thanks for the info. I did not realize that Toyota/Ford (and maybe others?) offered a RWD that sits higher. I'll look for that for sure.

    I've gotten informations from the "FWD vs. RWD vs. AWD" board that basically tells me that 4WD/AWD is nice, but don't expect it to make the truck handle more like a FWD.

    So with this information, I won't spend the extra money on 4WD/AWD, but I'll look for a taller RWD with an extended cab. Years ago, just out of college, I bought a used S-10 and kept it for less than a year. The stick was ok, but I couldn't stand the lack of AC, sliding around on the bench seat, little room for junk to float around, and crashing my right elbow into the rear window whenever I started driving in reverse. I'll make sure I don't have these issues again!

    Still don't have details on repairing the PGV, but I wouldn't be surprised if it cost more than the Private Party value average condition of $742. :(
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    You can buy a nice '03 (if you can still find them) or '04 Taco Prerunner for less than 20K, I imagine. I bought my 4x4 TRD for 21.4, so since you probably don't need TRD package, you can just buy regular prerunner. Only downside is that it'll be auto, not manual, but it seems you can live with that.
    Ford offers Edge model, I believe, but I get lost in their model numbers.
    As far as Chevy.....I wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole. I'm sure they offer something like a prerunner, but you'd have to find it on your own.

    If you are going for a Toyota, you could wait until the summer. Current line of Tacomas is being updated with all-new look and engine, '05 Tacos will be bigger, with a 240hp engine, so you could buy '04 even cheaper than now.
  • mullins87mullins87 Posts: 959
    2wd drive pickups can be a real bear to drive in the snow, I know. However, 500lbs in the bed will do wonders to keep those rear tires planted. It still won't go as easily as a FWD nor go as deeply as a 4WD, but it'll go with some right foot modulation.
  • gtahobegtahobe Posts: 42
    A buddy of mine went out of town for two weeks and left me the keys to his Toyota Tacoma, Extended cab, 4WD. Just like we were talking about a few posts back.

    On fixing the van, I skip all the horrid details, but the shop took over a week to get me a "good" estimate on the repairs and asked $$ for some suspension work. I never felt comfortable with their answers to my questions, so I had the vehicle towed to my house unrepaired (yes, I paid their stupid diagnostic/storage fee). The suspension looks fine to me, but it will need to be aligned. What surprised me when I looked under the van to see what the grumbling noises were, is that the exhaust pipe was chinked and pushed off it's center line by 10", and that something had pierced the muffler. I'm glad those professional took the time to give me a "good" estimate. Those #$@ never even looked at the van.

    Long story short, looks like the van will be repairable and I should get it done before my buddy reclaims the keys to his Tacoma.

    Thanks to everyone for the advice given. Had the van had a bit more damage, that Tacoma looks very nice. Not sure if I'd buy 2WD or 4WD, but I'll come back here and ask again if the situation arises.
  • Hey all---a newbie here. Gonna buy a Tundra but wanted to ask if a 2WD would pull a 26 ft Pontoon? Or do I need 4WD? THANKS IN ADVANCE!
  • wpalkowskiwpalkowski Posts: 493
    Boat ramps can be kinda slippery. Have had a lot of entertainment over the years of watching folks getting stuck on the ramps. A 2WD can do the job provided it has a limited slip rear end, but 4x4 makes things much more manageable.
      How much does this pontoon boat and trailer weigh?
  • albivalbiv Posts: 35
    I used to pull a 21 foot Boston Whaler with an extended cab V6 Tacoma 4x4 with a 5 speed. Most of the time it would pull it out of a moderately steep ramp using only 2wd. If the ramp was very slick or during low tide I would engage the 4WD. I would always lock my front hubs whether I was in 2wd or 4wd in case I had difficulty while pulling the boat up the ramp this way I did not have to get out and lock the hubs. In my opinion, and again it depends on the condition of the ramp, I would spend the money on the 4WD, you never know when you'll need it.
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