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  1. #1
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    Truck Recommendations

    So I've been whippin' in my parents 2005 Mazda minivan for a while now and she's really on her last legs. After a cross-country road trip and several more adventures, combined with existential rust, 3 brake jobs in 25k miles, and now bald tires - it's time.

    I built her up with a platform in the back that I've slept in more than 30 days at this point, and I'd like to keep that trend going in the future. But I figured it might be time for a new platform. Outside of the Toyota Sienna, I can't get an AWD minivan and given how much use it gets, I think a midsize truck might be more robust and versatile while getting similar gas mileage.

    I've never owned a truck before (and neither has anyone in my family) and there's a plethora of information on the internet that is frankly overwhelming as a newbie. So I'm hoping you guys might be able to offer some recommendations on what I should do?

    I'm not dead-set on a midsize truck, but it seems like the best combination of MPG, performance, and versatility. I'd definitely need a long bed. I am open to other ideas that give me the option to sleep in it though!

    There are sort of two routes I am considering going here:

    1. Lease a truck. This would give me the ability to see how I like it, and then either buy it afterword or not. Obviously this is the more expensive route, but it requires very little overhead and research into maintenance, model year gotcha's, and general PITA.

    2. Buy a used truck. Unless I can be convinced of doing this, it's sort of a secondary option. Given that I'd need to spend like 10k to get something decent, I'm somewhat afraid of making such a huge car purchasing decision only to get something I don't like. I'd also have to figure out financing since I don't have the cash to outlay immediately. This would be my first vehicle purchase.

    Currently, it seems like a 4x4 DCLB Tacoma could be in my future, but I'm curious to hear what other people may suggest? Leasing is pretty favorable on these because of the high resale value. I haven't test driven anything yet.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Hell Track
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    Aside from sleeping in it, what are you looking to use the truck for?

    Lots of rough dirt roads? Towing anything heavy? Putting anything heavy in the bed (like a camper)? Need a big back seat for kids / dogs / random shit?

    I am generally of the opinion that mid sized trucks are only useful for a relatively small percentage of people. They're not big enough to tow or carry any real load, but they're big enough to get shitty mileage and be annoying to park. I think a lot of people that have them would probably actually be better off with an suv of some sort.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    If you're looking at the Tacoma, I'd give the tundra a look too. Similar MPG, but much bigger, not that much more $ and way more comfortable.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    Western MT
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    Midsize is nice in the mountains, although my F-150 smooths out washboards better than my Rangers ever did. But yeah, mpg isn't much different and if you are towing or hauling a full size is nice. If you aren't going to tow or haul much and don't have kids a midsize could be the right option, but you mention sleeping in it. Full size will open up options there.

    I can sleep in the bed of my F150 (6.5 ft) with the tonneau cover down which is a nice quick bedding option for rain (I leave the tailgate down). That would be colder than bejeezus in the winter though.

    I had all kinds of electrical and drivetrain issues with my 08 Tundra so went back to Ford and am happy. The Tundra was really good in snow though and I really think we just got a lemon that wasn't indicative of the model. All the nanny driving assistance crap is great for the highways but sucks in the mountains and you can only partly disable it on the Ford and Tundra (not sure about other brands). I would recommend an e-locker on the rear differential if you are going to be on primitive roads.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    716
    Quote Originally Posted by toast2266 View Post
    Aside from sleeping in it, what are you looking to use the truck for?

    Lots of rough dirt roads? Towing anything heavy? Putting anything heavy in the bed (like a camper)? Need a big back seat for kids / dogs / random shit?

    I am generally of the opinion that mid sized trucks are only useful for a relatively small percentage of people. They're not big enough to tow or carry any real load, but they're big enough to get shitty mileage and be annoying to park. I think a lot of people that have them would probably actually be better off with an suv of some sort.
    X2...I have a Tacoma and hate it. Next rig is going to be a Tahoe and if I ever have a need for a truck bed I have a trailer I can use.


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Aspen
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    709
    Sounds like you should just get a decent Sienna AWD, add a lift kit if you want and call it good. 8ft of cargo space, good performance, MPG and reliability. Since you're used to driving a minivan, you seem to be over that vibe.

    If you want something more low-profile, Transit Connect EXT. Just no AWD.

    And if you/re back to a truck, Tacomas are great, but don't overlook the cheaper and equally capable Frontier.

  7. #7
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    Jan 2010
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    Truck Recommendations

    Iíll join this thread since Iím in the same place as you. Looking hard at the Tacoma or Tundra, but also looking at SUVs like the 4Runner, Grand Cherokee or Subaru Outback. Not totally sure I want to drive a truck all the time in a city and have bad gas mileage but I want something that can get up 4x4 roads to trailheads and carry bikes.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    tahoe de chingao
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    OP you listed 0 reasons you need a truck.

    If you care about value, by the most subaru you can find for like $5k and do the gaskets and resurface heads when you buy it

    Aside from that, it's a matter of style and how much depreciation you will tolerate as to what price point. Putting my cheapassness aside (no one got rich buying cars), 4runner and new outbacks are the way to go.

    The price premium on a dclb taco here on the west coast is very close to outweighing maintenance and depreciation differences between a taco and the f-150. Used a 2019 f-150 for a work trip into the desert last month and they are much more comfortable than my buddies' brand new tacos or any tacos I've owned

  9. #9
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    Jan 2004
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    lakeside
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    I went from a Suburban to Dodge Ram to Silverdado to Tundra. Been driving trucks for the last 23 years. Mid-size trucks are great for fitting in parking lot spaces and off roading on narrow ass jeep trails but are terrible for all other things trucks are supposed to do (towing/hauling/space in general). The tacos are great if you are under 5'10, don't really need a functioning back seat or a truck bed that you could actually sleep in. Honestly if you want a cost effective roomy sleep machine, the awd minivan is the way to go, where else can you get the 8ft bed while still fitting in the parking lot. Like others have said and outback or some sort of SUV may be a better way to go.

  10. #10
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    Truck Recommendations

    I donít need to tow anything, and donít ďneedĒ to sleep in the bed. I would like this setup for bikes and go with the double cab which is surprisingly roomy for a kid.
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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    225
    Unless you really need the truck bed for something specific, I'd look at a mid-size SUV like a 4Runner. I agonized between the Tacoma and 4runner when I got mine 6 years ago, and I still think I might like a truck, but every time I think about it or test drive one, I realize that the SUV has more useable space (again unless you really need the truck bed), and generally rides better on and off road (better rear suspension).

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    PNW
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    Preface: I recently went through a new vehicle search and ended up with a Tacoma, but my needs/reasoning were a bit different than yours.

    I'll somewhat disagree with some of the consensus here and say that for building a sleeping space, a truck offers more versatility than other vehicles because you can do whatever you want with the bed and still have seating for 5 in the cab without having to fold/unfold seats, etc. With that said, there's going to be additional cost involved to set the bed up for sleeping (~$2k for a good shell and then either material costs to build a platform or cost to buy a pre-made option). If you plan on sleeping in it in winter, you might also have additional costs to insulate it or add a heating system. It can become a major money wormhole to go down, but you can end up with a pretty awesome setup if you're willing to spend the time/money on it.

    On Tacoma's specifically, I've been very happy with mine so far. There are some known shortcomings with the current gen (somewhat sluggish powertrain, auto transmission hunts for gears a lot, etc.), but if you're not concerned with get-up-and-go then they are a pretty solid truck. I've got a DCLB in the TRD Off-Road trim and it's been a great adventure vehicle for my wife and I. I got the long bed imagining that I'd eventually build a sleeping platform in the bed, but since I've bought it I've found I need easy open access to the bed so I've scrapped those plans. Having the extra bed space has been handy though as our usual pack out for a weekend of car camping/hiking/etc. takes up most of the bed space. The other nice aspect is the aftermarket for Tacoma's is huge and you can find just about any part/accessory/mod you could think of for these trucks. That has been handy a few times already for me. You will also hear a lot about pricepoint, and based on sticker they are pricey new. With that said, I negotiated just about $6k off sticker price on mine so as long as you're willing to haggle you can offset this a bit.

    Best of luck on the search.
    "If I could have any K2 skis this year I'd go with the Volkl Gotamas." - Monique

  13. #13
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    Truck Recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Falcon3 View Post
    Unless you really need the truck bed for something specific, I'd look at a mid-size SUV like a 4Runner. I agonized between the Tacoma and 4runner when I got mine 6 years ago, and I still think I might like a truck, but every time I think about it or test drive one, I realize that the SUV has more useable space (again unless you really need the truck bed), and generally rides better on and off road (better rear suspension).
    Iíve read a lot of negative reviews of the 4Runner and itís bumpy ride, outdated transmission and mediocre handling.

    I like them but am hesitant. But theyíre everywhere in CO like the Subie Outbacks and Tacomas do they must be good though.

    I like the older 4Runners a lot more..like the 2000 era ones.

    The Tacoma is about 20Ē longer than the 4Runner. Thatís pretty significant.

  14. #14
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    Nov 2005
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    Down In A Hole, Up in the Sky
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    I think what you seek is in here.

    https://www.tetongravity.com/forums/...ghlight=Trucks
    StokePimpin' ain't easy

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by alpinevibes View Post

    And if you/re back to a truck, Tacomas are great, but don't overlook the cheaper and equally capable Frontier.
    I didnít like my Frontier. Always felt like it was about to rattle apart

  16. #16
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    May 2011
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    My rig is an '02 F150 access cab. I played the patience game on Craigslist until one popped up with a topper, low ish mileage, and a decent price. I put a platform, mattress, and drawers in the 6' bed. It's zero set up for sleeping 2 people. Plenty of room for gear and no need to rearrange before bed. The main reason for a truck was so I could fit 6 in the cab with paragliders in the back and drive up to launch in 4-low on a rough road. Plus the ability to camp up 4wd roads in the mountains and desert.

    If there's no need for the clearance, you'd probably be better suited with a van getting better mpg (my truck gets 18mpg on a good day and 16 if I'm doing truck stuff). Van would also likely be more comfortable and warmer to sleep in.

  17. #17
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    Mar 2014
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    N ID
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    Quote Originally Posted by The SnowShow View Post
    I’ve read a lot of negative reviews of the 4Runner and it’s bumpy ride, outdated transmission and mediocre handling.

    I like them but am hesitant. But they’re everywhere in CO like the Subie Outbacks and Tacomas do they must be good though.

    I like the older 4Runners a lot more..like the 2000 era ones.

    The Tacoma is about 20” longer than the 4Runner. That’s pretty significant.
    4Runner reviews can be misleading, it depends on the comparison, a body on frame will always review out to having a rougher ride on road when up against unibody suv’s. I switched from a 2016 tacoma to a 2016 4runner and could not be happier, the driving experience is infinitely better. The new taco engine/transmission tune is terrible. If OP is leaning taco I suggest 2015 or older but awd minivan might be the way as others have suggested. If I recall correctly most major manufacturers have been making awd ones for awhile.
    Quote Originally Posted by TahoeJ View Post
    Training carts are for jongs. I remember back when this forum had legit bull-fighters and not a bunch of posers.

  18. #18
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    Mar 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by The SnowShow View Post
    Iíve read a lot of negative reviews of the 4Runner and itís bumpy ride, outdated transmission and mediocre handling.

    I like them but am hesitant. But theyíre everywhere in CO like the Subie Outbacks and Tacomas do they must be good though.

    I like the older 4Runners a lot more..like the 2000 era ones.

    The Tacoma is about 20Ē longer than the 4Runner. Thatís pretty significant.
    Yeah what the longer WB of an ex cab PU means when the ex-cab truck starts fishtailing things will happen slower/more controlable than a 4-runer whichj has a high CG and short wheel base

    I had my 4 runer in at a large shop in narthern BC where the owner told me one winter he had 18 of the older toyota 4-runners in for body work at the same time
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  19. #19
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    You say you need a long bed. Why? Or do you just mean you can't use a 5'bed?

    I owned a 4 door frontier "long bed", and didn't love it. Gas hog, worst turning radius in vehicle history. Yes, with a topper it was a decent sleeping setup. But my Sequoia with the seats folded forward is great for sleeping, is more comfy and versatile, more nimble (which is ridiculous that a full size SUV handles better), and gets the same shitty gas mileage
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
    "She was tossing her bean salad with the vigor of a Drunken Pop princess so I walked out of the corner and said.... "need a hand?"" - Odin

  20. #20
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    May 2007
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    Truck Recommendations

    Get a truck. With some weight in the bed they handle way better in the snow than any suv or car and are 100x more useful. My old tundra double cab with the 6.5 bed was one of the best vehicles Iíve ever owned. Only got rid of it after putting 320k on it to get a full size super duty to carry a camper for the family.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
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    581
    I have a '17 Tacoma DCLB. I wouldn't trade it for another vehicle, but I'm also about the ideal use case.

    I currently have on-street parking, which is a pain in the ass in a full-sized truck.

    I don't need to tow anything.

    I'm commonly throwing skis or surfboards or stuff for a 4-person family for the weekend in the bed.

    I walk or bike my commute, so I'm usually just using the truck on the weekends.

    On the weekends I'm driving to ski or car (truck) camp in the mountains up 4wd roads with my kid. We sleep in a bed platform, which works great. It also works for me in the winter if I'm camping at a trailhead (though just for a night or so; condensation makes multi-day winter camping in it a pain). I have it setup with a topper with sliding, screened windows, which works pretty well for what I need it for.

    Here's the big bit: my wife and I are both pretty short. I'm 5'9", she's a fair bit shorter. So we can fit kids and carseats in the back and still have enough room in the front. It also means I can easily sleep in the back. If you're 6' or taller, none of that is going to work for you. It's also easy to imagine plenty of use cases where the things that are good for me don't matter to you.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    371
    '16 Tacoma dbcb/lb. If I could do it again I'd... I'd probably get it again, but that doesn't mean you should.

    -Do you want to tow? Taco has a 6k lb max, not all that much
    -Carry camper? Payload limit a little north of 1200. Again, weak.
    -Carry people? Stuffing people in the backseat is admittedly pretty unkind
    -Sleep in it? You've slept in a minivan, sleeping in the truck bed is like that but colder and more uncomfortable, and that's WITH a platform and air mattress.

    So, it's basically a compromise on all fronts, can do lots but none of it well. Really, I got a truck because I do a modest amount of all of the above, but I got the taco because I plan on driving it until the wheels fall off, and frankly I don't trust a big-3 truck to last without issue.

  23. #23
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    Mar 2017
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    47
    I have an '08 Ram 2500 short bed with a Cummins diesel. With MXT tires it handles nasty fs roads and snow as well as my previous 4runner did (although a bit bumpier), gets way better mileage, can do actual work, has a more comfortable cab, can tow twice as much, scares small children, and will last far longer with proper maintenance. Plus my dog loves it

    They're expensive used, but still a better investment to me than leasing or buying anything new. I got mine with 135k miles and expect it to go to at least 300k, if not further

  24. #24
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    Jan 2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by toast2266 View Post
    Aside from sleeping in it, what are you looking to use the truck for?


    Lots of rough dirt roads? Towing anything heavy? Putting anything heavy in the bed (like a camper)? Need a big back seat for kids / dogs / random shit?


    I am generally of the opinion that mid sized trucks are only useful for a relatively small percentage of people. They're not big enough to tow or carry any real load, but they're big enough to get shitty mileage and be annoying to park. I think a lot of people that have them would probably actually be better off with an suv of some sort.

    Not towing anything heavy, but a camper could be in my future depending on how I end up actually using the vehicle. I I think having a backseat would be helpful just from the perspective of having storage space. I’d like to keep the truck bed setup with the sleeping platform ideally and use it for weekend warrior-ing and the occasional longer trip.


    I’m going to be moving to the PNW soon, so tbh I’m jumping the gun on this since I don’t really know my use case yet, but my minivan literally died tonight so it’s time to make a decision.


    Quote Originally Posted by Supermoon View Post
    If you're looking at the Tacoma, I'd give the tundra a look too. Similar MPG, but much bigger, not that much more $ and way more comfortable.

    This is something I’ll definitely look at, but the price gap is pretty big for a lease, though maybe not for a purchase.


    Quote Originally Posted by alpinevibes View Post
    Sounds like you should just get a decent Sienna AWD, add a lift kit if you want and call it good. 8ft of cargo space, good performance, MPG and reliability. Since you're used to driving a minivan, you seem to be over that vibe.


    If you want something more low-profile, Transit Connect EXT. Just no AWD.


    And if you/re back to a truck, Tacomas are great, but don't overlook the cheaper and equally capable Frontier.

    Quote Originally Posted by sruffian View Post
    OP you listed 0 reasons you need a truck.


    If you care about value, by the most subaru you can find for like $5k and do the gaskets and resurface heads when you buy it


    Aside from that, it's a matter of style and how much depreciation you will tolerate as to what price point. Putting my cheapassness aside (no one got rich buying cars), 4runner and new outbacks are the way to go.


    The price premium on a dclb taco here on the west coast is very close to outweighing maintenance and depreciation differences between a taco and the f-150. Used a 2019 f-150 for a work trip into the desert last month and they are much more comfortable than my buddies' brand new tacos or any tacos I've owned

    Yeah, I’ve really thought about the minivan or an SUV, but I hate the fact that whenever someone needs to ride in the back they can’t. I’d like to have the sleeper setup in there full time.


    Quote Originally Posted by kellen View Post
    I'll somewhat disagree with some of the consensus here and say that for building a sleeping space, a truck offers more versatility than other vehicles because you can do whatever you want with the bed and still have seating for 5 in the cab without having to fold/unfold seats, etc. With that said, there's going to be additional cost involved to set the bed up for sleeping (~$2k for a good shell and then either material costs to build a platform or cost to buy a pre-made option). If you plan on sleeping in it in winter, you might also have additional costs to insulate it or add a heating system. It can become a major money wormhole to go down, but you can end up with a pretty awesome setup if you're willing to spend the time/money on it.


    I've got a DCLB in the TRD Off-Road trim and it's been a great adventure vehicle for my wife and I. I got the long bed imagining that I'd eventually build a sleeping platform in the bed, but since I've bought it I've found I need easy open access to the bed so I've scrapped those plans. Having the extra bed space has been handy though as our usual pack out for a weekend of car camping/hiking/etc. takes up most of the bed space. The other nice aspect is the aftermarket for Tacoma's is huge and you can find just about any part/accessory/mod you could think of for these trucks. That has been handy a few times already for me. You will also hear a lot about pricepoint, and based on sticker they are pricey new. With that said, I negotiated just about $6k off sticker price on mine so as long as you're willing to haggle you can offset this a bit.


    Best of luck on the search.

    Thanks! This is a lot of my thinking, but I am concerned it will be too cold in the back for winter time - which is why I like the idea I could put a lightweight camper in there for the winter. Though admittedly, I know nothing about campers atm.


    Quote Originally Posted by Cravenmorhead View Post
    I have a '17 Tacoma DCLB. I wouldn't trade it for another vehicle, but I'm also about the ideal use case.


    On the weekends I'm driving to ski or car (truck) camp in the mountains up 4wd roads with my kid. We sleep in a bed platform, which works great. It also works for me in the winter if I'm camping at a trailhead (though just for a night or so; condensation makes multi-day winter camping in it a pain). I have it setup with a topper with sliding, screened windows, which works pretty well for what I need it for.


    Here's the big bit: my wife and I are both pretty short. I'm 5'9", she's a fair bit shorter. So we can fit kids and carseats in the back and still have enough room in the front. It also means I can easily sleep in the back. If you're 6' or taller, none of that is going to work for you. It's also easy to imagine plenty of use cases where the things that are good for me don't matter to you.

    I’m also just 5’10” and on the smaller side so that kind of eliminates the concerns larger people seem to have with the Tacos.


    Quote Originally Posted by Huskydoc View Post
    '16 Tacoma dbcb/lb. If I could do it again I'd... I'd probably get it again, but that doesn't mean you should.


    -Do you want to tow? Taco has a 6k lb max, not all that much
    -Carry camper? Payload limit a little north of 1200. Again, weak.
    -Carry people? Stuffing people in the backseat is admittedly pretty unkind
    -Sleep in it? You've slept in a minivan, sleeping in the truck bed is like that but colder and more uncomfortable, and that's WITH a platform and air mattress.


    So, it's basically a compromise on all fronts, can do lots but none of it well. Really, I got a truck because I do a modest amount of all of the above, but I got the taco because I plan on driving it until the wheels fall off, and frankly I don't trust a big-3 truck to last without issue.

    These are all great points I’ve sort of addressed above. I mean fundamentally, I get that the minivan will be more comfy (esp in the winter) than the Taco, but a truck just seems so much more versatile the rest of the year. But this is why I’m thinking about a lease. It will allow me to experiment a bit before biting the bullet on something longer term. And who knows, if I have some more money in the future, I just may end up with a sprinter van or something instead.

  25. #25
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    Jan 2017
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    Austin, TX
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    Also, in terms of off-roading, I know that in the front range at least there's at least a handful (or more) spots that you can't go get to the spring skimo TH easily without a 4x4 which is kind of what makes me inclined to get one. I'm not sure if it's similar in the PNW? If I'm going to go and get an SUV, I'm sort of limited to the truck-style ones which I don't see as being any better than a DCLB Taco? They probably drive similar, get about the same MPG, but overall less versatile. And if I'm going the non 4x4 route, I might as well get a that AWD Toyota Sienna and put a lift kit on it.

    Again though, I'm probably jumping the gun because I really don't know my use case, but since I need a vehicle now I just thought I'd start thinking about it. Looking at prices though, what I may end up doing is just getting a used CR-V or similar for the time being and then picking up a used Taco when I have the time to spend to research it and subsequently build out the truck bed. Seems like a much more economical solution than leasing.

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