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  #1  
Old 03-08-2020, 10:44 AM
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new truck shopping

My '09 Ranger is showing the ravages of New England winters...doesn't look too bad on top, but the frame and core support are pretty crispy. I don't think it'll take an inspection sticker next winter and I don't think it's worth trying to patch it together- not saying I couldn't, just don't think it's worth the effort.

So, I'm starting to shop- not planning on buying for a few more months yet, but probably sometime over the summer.

Still definitely want a manual transmission, as my top, #1 requirement. Also need 4x4 and some ground clearance. A pickup is nice, but I don't need one all that often and I have a good little trailer (5x9 ramp gate) so an SUV that can pull it would be on the table too.

Which leaves me to the following list of options:
  • I could buy a new truck/SUV. On that shopping list would be:
    • Tacoma
    • Frontier
    • Jeep Gladiator
    • Wrangler 4-door
    • forthcoming Bronco??
  • I could look for something off the above list gently-used. (Which is really just a numbers game and all about what's out there and whether the price makes sense, case-by-case.)
  • I could look for a clean (really clean) older Ranger down south or out west, and put some money into making it nice. (Or non-Ranger...but I don't need a fullsize truck and so I'm not sure what else I'd want. I like my current Ranger, the only reason for replacing it is that it's rotting out.)

Also in the garage is a 2016 Mazda3 hatchback that I'm sort of neutral on keeping...it could get traded or sold, or kept.

Couple other factors:
  • I can afford to not be entirely rational. I work hard and make enough money to drive what I like, and I'm going to, even if it doesn't entirely make sense.
  • I would kind of like a ragtop. If I buy any of the non-Jeep options, there's a chance the Mazda could get sold and replaced with something used and cheap to scratch that itch.
  • The manual trans really and truly is non-negotiable.

TBH, the Gladiator is high on the list right now...too much tech crap built into it, costs too much, and the Jeep reliability is a concern...but the logistics of buying an old truck halfway across the country are a factor, and I just haven't liked the Tacomas I've been in. (Why is the seat right on the floor?)
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1997 Ranger XLT 4x2, 2.3L 4-cyl 5-speed -- 2009 Ranger XLT 4x4, 4.0L V-6 5-speed -- 1986 BMW R80

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Old 03-08-2020, 12:26 PM
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I'm surprised the Ranger isn't on the new short list. But it looks like a manual transmission isn't even on the special order options.
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Old 03-08-2020, 03:35 PM
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Yep- that's the only reason it's not on the list, and probably at the top. Same for the Colorado- I'd rather drive a Chevy than a Toyota, but...

*I will also say I haven't been overwhelmed by the newest Ford we have at work, either. I like the '17 3/4 ton, and the '16 (?) F-550 bucket trucks, but the '19 F-150 is enormous in all the wrong ways, not that comfortable, and generally just not my favorite.
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1997 Ranger XLT 4x2, 2.3L 4-cyl 5-speed -- 2009 Ranger XLT 4x4, 4.0L V-6 5-speed -- 1986 BMW R80

The advantages of modern engineering are in many ways over balanced by the disadvantages of modern civilization.
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Old 03-08-2020, 06:21 PM
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Oh how time flies... I remember when the '09 was brand new.

Manual transmission limits your choices massively but you know that. I'd suggest maybe the Frontier... they're a solid truck and way behind everyone else technology and styling wise which probably appeals to you
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Old 03-12-2020, 03:14 AM
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This may rock the boat a bit, but a friend of mine recently purchased a Jeep 4 door, (wagoneer?) with the diesel. I know very little about it, except it gets 33 mpg, and pulls his tandem axle enclosed car trailer with a car in it, with no trouble. It even self levels when you hook the trailer. ( Air Ride). It even drug the car and trailer up his gravel driveway, which is probably a 10% grade. I was impressed.

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Old 03-12-2020, 05:53 PM
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No manual behind the diesel...

A friend and I took his '14 Grand Cherokee (Hemi) halfway across the country to pickup a car one weekend a couple years ago...I did at least half the driving coming home with the trailer. I'm not sure how much was the air-ride suspension, but that thing was way more stable than I expected given how small it was relative to the trailer. (I've pulled UHaul car haulers behind several rigs, so I'm generally familiar with the dynamics.) Really nice tow rig.

I had a few extra minutes at lunchtime today just down the road from a Jeep dealer so I stopped in...just looked and sat as I didn't have much time. I wanted to like the Gladiator but it's a tough size to warm up to. Bigger than my Ranger by quite a bit- enough you'd notice it in tight spaces- but the bed is too short to hold a motorcycle and the only interior space is the seating compartments- not ideal for a toolbox, and the awkward crap I haul around far more often than multiple passengers. The four-door Wrangler was far more appealing when you park them side by side, especially since I think I'd end up needing a trailer for my "truck stuff" with either. (Not always- the Gladiator would be better for routine dump runs and such...but that's a pretty minor thing.)

Still waiting to hear the story on the 2020 Bronco, and I need to look at Frontiers and Tacomas...but I've got time. The Ranger still runs fine and it's inspected and registered through the end of the year.
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1997 Ranger XLT 4x2, 2.3L 4-cyl 5-speed -- 2009 Ranger XLT 4x4, 4.0L V-6 5-speed -- 1986 BMW R80

The advantages of modern engineering are in many ways over balanced by the disadvantages of modern civilization.
--Col. W.A. Roebling
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