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Old 06-05-2008, 07:57 PM   #41
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Some of us do use the capabilities of a big truck.
True. However, I've gotten a tremendous amount of use out my small, cheap utility trailer.
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4' x 8' of pure, totally unobstructed cargo area which is nice and low to the ground with no sides to get in the way unless I want them. 1270 lbs cargo capacity. I can pull it just fine (even up hills) fully loaded with our smallish minivan. Plus, it folds in half and stores upright in the garage. Best of all, I don't care if it gets scratched up and I can pull it around the yard by hand with lighter loads (mulch, branches, etc) and not leave ruts. It's the best $300 I've ever spent.
For my particular purposes, it gives me more utility than I'd get with a pickup, though it certainly can't carry 3/4 tons over rough terrain as well. I don't see many pickups carrying those loads, either, though.

On another subject: I wonder why no one sells these "bongo" trucks in the US. You see them everywhere in Asia and the middle east. They are about the same overall size as a typical US full-size pickup, but they typically have a much smaller engine (1.8 - 2.0 liter gas or diesel---lots of range in the gearbox, but don't expect 75 MPH up a steep hill fully loaded). The sides and tailgate fold down to allow unimpeded access to the cargo area. They are a lot more practical and fuel efficient than a US-style pickup. Maybe when fuel prices get high enough and we figure out that moving cargo is what is most important (rather than "my, ah, em, 'toolbox' is bigger than your 'toolbox'") these will start to proliferate.

The crush zone in the front is not very big--maybe the safety issues are what keep them off our roads.

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Old 06-05-2008, 08:10 PM   #42
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Samclem, those trucks have been growing in popularity in the US, but aren't street legal for the safety reasons you mentioned. Here's an example of where you can purchase one for your ranch. Mini Trucks
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Old 06-05-2008, 08:14 PM   #43
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Both of the pickups I've owned I bought for the main purpose of "hauling" large radio control airplanes. A big one might weigh 20 pounds but they're big and bulky to transport and store. And of course the truck has a cap over the bed. Very few of them would fit in any size car even unassembled.

The other functionalities of a pickup I discovered along the way. One could say that a mini-van with the seats removed would serve the airplane purpose but the other capabilities we've found make it worthwhile to us. DW is the one who especially likes having the truck although she's only driven it twice.

But as others have noticed with fuel at $4/gallon and climbing we will reassess how much we really like it when this one wears out. By then I'll (hopefully) be north of 70 and I'm not sure how much heavy hauling I'm going to be doing then. In the meantime the convenience of that cavernous cargo area that does not have to be spotlessly clean is very attractive.
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Old 06-05-2008, 08:14 PM   #44
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Good point re the bongo trucks. "Coming soon to a dealership near you?" Hope so! The safety concerns wouldn't matter if all vehicles were of lighter construction and had smaller engines (= slower speeds).

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Old 06-05-2008, 08:38 PM   #45
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How come it is rare for the average car owner to admit that the "cool" factor was a part of their decision process when trying to justify their choices? I'm sure that the extremist out there "need" a particular vehicle, but the majority of the population does not fit in that category.
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Old 06-05-2008, 08:42 PM   #46
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How come it is rare for the average car owner to admit that the "cool" factor was a part of their decision process when trying to justify their choices? I'm sure that the extremist out there "need" a particular vehicle, but the majority of the population does not fit in that category.
Ya when buying my 2002 Hyundia Elantra. It was all about the cool choices Really when I bought my car it was cheap to buy. They hold up well and are good city cars with decent mpg at the time.
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Old 06-05-2008, 09:03 PM   #47
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Ya when buying my 2002 Hyundia Elantra. It was all about the cool choices Really when I bought my car it was cheap to buy. They hold up well and are good city cars with decent mpg at the time.

How is their reliability? I've always thought of them as "cool" little cars that were cheap .
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Old 06-05-2008, 09:03 PM   #48
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I must be the only person in 'Murrica that is reconsidering the (positive) merits of an SUV. I drive a 4 cylinder on my long commute, while DW tools around in the minivan. Since she maybe puts 6000 miles a year on the van, we probably wouldn't be bothered by gas prices unless they were north of $10/gal, even at low 20s MPG in the van. But since we bought a travel trailer, I can see the point of at least a crossover SUV as far as towing is concerned. The van does fine, but is clearly close to its limits when we are loaded and towing.
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Old 06-05-2008, 09:10 PM   #49
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You know, they call them "sport utility vehicles" for a reason, they generally make crappy utility vehicles. If you need to haul stuff, nothing beats a pickup or if need be covered, a van. Remember working at a Sears store's branch of a major tax prep company. Our kiosk was near the customer delivery area. Almost daily, I would see someone trying to load something into an SUV and it didn't fit when I knew it would have been a no-brainer in a minivan.

It's a shame minivan's have such a negative connotation with so many folks. I think it's because they are of the generation where the minivan was Mom's car and now would not wish to be seen in one. Know lots of families in our area where that's the case. Of course, when it comes to hauling a several scouts and their gear, the so called utility vehicle is sadly wanting. Takes a Suburban to out-cargo/out-passenger my minivan and it will never get 24 mpg. Jeeps, Explorers, and the like are poor compromises unless hauling a trailer or absolutely need 4WD. (I live in the snow belt of the Great Lakes and have only been stuck once this past winter with FWD)

But a minivan can't do everything. The trick to wise vehicle selection is to get one that does the job efficiently 90% of the time. Or be willing to pay a hefty premium for the last few %. But that is what many folks choose to spend their money on and will be spending even more in the future.

In the last month I've had to haul newspapers to the recycling center for the Scouts, a yard of topsoil, two yards of mulch, and 1500 pounds of sand. The messy stuff is when my 5X8 utility trailer comes in play.

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Old 06-05-2008, 09:30 PM   #50
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A very earth-minded friend recently sold her 33 MPG car to get a diesel jeep, planning to make her own biodiesel. But now she's finding that she can't get any vegetable oil (says all the restaurants have "contracted out" their used oil) for under $5 per gallon. The jeep gets 17 MPG.
I was speaking with my brother about this today. He has a small business and a number of diesel trucks on the road all day. He looked into it earlier, but was afraid of the possibility of long term damage to his expensive trucks.

Today, he said that one of the trucks is older, he would risk it to save some $, and then he found out that the veggie oil is very hard to come by and expensive - it is getting bought up.

Hw knows someone that runs the straight veggie oil - you need heaters and a separate tank to start/stop the engine on regular diesel. But if you can't get the oil....

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Old 06-05-2008, 09:38 PM   #51
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How is their reliability? I've always thought of them as "cool" little cars that were cheap .
Pretty good since they back them up with the best or one of the best warranty's in the industry.

My parents had over 150k on theirs before they got another one. So far so good with ours no problems.
However, you wont confuse one with any kind of pizazz or sportiness.
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Old 06-05-2008, 10:14 PM   #52
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How come it is rare for the average car owner to admit that the "cool" factor was a part of their decision process when trying to justify their choices?
For some, the cool factor is huge.

"I'm Tim. I drive an Aries . . ." "
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Old 06-05-2008, 10:27 PM   #53
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How is their reliability? I've always thought of them as "cool" little cars that were cheap .
I will tell you that I was very impressed with this car... a friend of mine asked me to test drive cars with her and this was one.... I did not drive it as the salesman came along with us.... but it looks very nice, felt like it was a 'bigger' car than it was.... and accelerated decent... I think it is in the 27 to 30 mpg combined range.... it is on my radar when I need to replace one of mine... but also will look at the Sonata with more room etc...
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Old 06-06-2008, 11:33 AM   #54
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How come it is rare for the average car owner to admit that the "cool" factor was a part of their decision process when trying to justify their choices?
Maybe because it isn't? The "cool factor" was a Big Deal to me in my teens, but I couldn't afford a car then anyway!

Before I bought my Solara, I e-mailed both of my big brothers and asked them what car for under $20K would meet the criteria of reliability, low mpg, and safety, in that order. One brother e-mailed "first choice: Camry, runner up: Accord". The other brother e-mailed (simultaneously) "first choice: Accord, runner up: Camry". So, I set out to buy one or the other.

I tried to drive to the Honda dealer, couldn't find it, and my transmission started to give up on the way home. The next day I limped the car to the Toyota dealer and went for a test drive in a Camry, but the seat was very uncomfortable. Since a Solara is essentially the two-door Camry, and the cheapest one in the lot had a more comfortable (aftermarket) driver's seat, I bought it.

Cool? Well, if comfort is cool, then I am guilty!
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Old 06-06-2008, 01:19 PM   #55
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For some, the cool factor is huge.

"I'm Tim. I drive an Aries . . ." "
Maybe there was something about trading in a 100K Dodge Minivan, with a ride that would damage your kidneys and let in so much road noise that you couldn't carry on a conversation, for the superquiet supersmooth ride of an MDX that got better mileage. Several 3,000 mile road trips later, still real happy with it (apologies to anyone who doesn't understand the colloquial use of "real" here ).
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Old 06-06-2008, 11:22 PM   #56
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Mazda 5

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There has to be mid ground somewhere between the hauling capacity and comfort of an SUV (and the good ones are like magic carpets on the Interstates) and the fuel efficiency of a car. I can think of the old Highlander, some smaller minivans, and a bunch of station wagons such as the Mazda6 wagon when it was still available.
We have a Mazda 5 (they don't even advertise it). This is a "tall wagon/tiny minivan". It's in the low $20's equipped with auto climate control, nav, and leather. It has sliding doors so that it doesn't ding the car next to you when the kids get out. It handles like a sporty car. It has decent but not outstanding power, and gets 30 mpg on the highway and 23-25 around town. It seats 4 in two rows, and if you give up storage you can get two more small people or adults in the back row of two seats. It's totally practical if you need some reasonable room but don't want a big vehicle.
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Old 06-07-2008, 03:16 AM   #57
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For a while, the SUV and Mini Van seemsed to replace the wagon... The wagon ( wagonlike) vehicle seems to be making a bit of a comeback.

However you choose to describe it, a hatch back vehicle can have some advantages.

Our next vehicle purchase will be something with highway mpg >30 and city => 25.
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Old 06-07-2008, 07:25 AM   #58
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...If you wish to revel in your illiteracy, that's your privilege.

Id sincerely appreciate the efforts of anyone who would edit and correct the spelling and grammar of my posts for free.
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