I need to get a replacement for the vehicle I drive to work but cant figure out what to purchase.
Since you all have opinions I thought I would ask your advice.
The vehicle has to meet the following requirements with the most important things first.
1. It has to be inexpensive to purchase, maintain, and run.
I would like something that gets 30-40 MPG.
(I travel about 100 miles a day and the cost of gas etc. is killing me.)
2. I also would t needs to be able to easily go 70-80 mph, be comfortable for a guy that weighs a tad over 250 pounds, have working AC, cruise, radio, power windows, etc. and work well in the snow.
(Much of the travel is on an interstate and I will get run over if the car is a slowpoke.
I also live in New England where it occasionally snows.)
3. I would like it to be able to pull a trailer with my T on it. ( gotta make this T related)
History I had a few Audi quartos that were great.
They had somewhat OK gas mileage (25 mpg), were a pleasure to drive, and used ones could sometimes be purchased for a decent price.
But they were expensive to maintain (even when I did my own work) and repair.
They also were not good for trailer pulling.
My last vehicle was a 1999 Mercury Sable LS wagon with a 24 valve V6 that I got for $2K with 48 K miles.
It needed tires and brake lines but everything else worked. It looked good but at 120K it failed to pass inspection because the inner rocker panels rusted out.
I looked at having it repaired but the cost was too high even at a couple backyard body places.
Not so good recommendations from colleagues
Move closer to work Not acceptable
Get an old Cadillac hearse with a 4-6-8 motor not ready for a hearse yet
Be realistic and get a little car Not in my makeup to be realistic
Drive the T or A to work I am not that unrealistic
Stop being a tightwad and get a $40,000 vehicle That is what I do not want to do
Buy an older diesel pickup from a non-rust area and put an aftermarket programming chip in the engine.
One friend has an 02 Dodge diesel that get 20-23 mpg and another friend has an 01 Ford Excursion Diesel that he put a chip into and in milage mode he gets 28 MPG on the freeway.
May not be the milage you want but you can tow ANYTHING!!
Lose weight. Eating and drinking are overrated.
Saturns should be cheap now.
Look for a 2004-2005 VW Jetta Turbo Diesel. I got 45+ miles in town and 50+ on the road. A pleasure to drive, almost no maint. Nope, wont pull a T. I regret selling mine.
Fred, biggest problem is going to be reconciling your desire for 30-40 MPG but also wanting to be able to trailer the T. If it's well suited to trailering your T, it'll suck at gas mileage. What you should shoot for is something with good gas mileage that does an acceptable job trailering.
What are you driving right now?
My vote: VW Golf TDI (diesel) you'll get fan-flipping-tastic gas mileage, always over 30 mpg and up to 42 mpg. Plus, the diesel has a TON of low-end torque and should do a decent job trailering the T. Especially if you use a lighter, open trailer. The Golf TDI is well within your price range - even with all the extras you might can add on you won't break $30K. It'll be plenty sporty and quick and it'll be wicked easy to park. Plenty of room inside as well. That's my suggestion anyway. I think if you get something other than a diesel you'll have a hard time getting a vehicle with good gas mileage that will even stand a chance of pulling a trailer.
The towing requirement makes it tough. I'm on my second Toyota Prius, 45 mph on interstate at 75 mph. Easy to drive and maintain. When I traded my first one a few years ago they listed it (used, 135,000 miles) at $5500.
Maybe a car for driving an old pickup or big car for towing would work?
LOL Thanks a lot Ralf -- I don't think I needed that!
Seth - I am currently using my wife's old Dodge Grand Caravan. It is a 2006 with over 230K miles. It took me 6 months to talk her into a 2014 Chrysler Town and Country and I had to promise to keep the Dodge incase she didn't like the new vehicle.
I really can't complain about the Caravan - it has had minimal problems and still has the original spark plugs and wires.
Fred; Open or closed trailer? Is time a great concern? My vote '62 - '65 Galaxy with a 289 or 302 with 2 bbl rebuild the motor & trans add a trailer hitch maybe upholstery, I think that would be best bang for the buck will do good job towing a light "T" on an open trailer.
A minivan is easier for me to get in and out of than any other style vehicle. You are spoiled now.
The reason I suggested Saturn: Aren't they rustproof? A Corvette won't rust, and will put a smile on your face. Anything above 30mpg is trivial in cost per mile.
I'm with G.R.! A '65 Ford Galaxie is on my list of cars to own. Those over/under head lights are gorgeous. Although my one day Galaxie will have a monstrous block in it and the exhaust alone will shake the ground.
Corvette in the snow?
Tried that once.
We took my friends 66 427 to N Conway NH to go skiing in the winter of 67 and spent most of our time trying to get it to move after a little 6 inch snow storm.
I am thinking about an open trailer.
A big 60's vehicle makes sense for towing.
I like Steve Jelf's Suburban, but it would empty my wallet if I tried to use it for the daily drive to work.
It might be time to think about two vehicles.
I hadn't thought of a Saturn or high end older VW.
Sorry Rob.. driving a Prius in New England would pose serious questions about my manhood!
All I would need are Birkenstocks and a "Save the Whales" bumper sticker to go over to the Dark side.
The only thing worse would to be to have a Prius, live in Vermont, and have a bumper sticker that says " I love my Great Dane"!
Fred - I think you're on the right track thinking about two vehicles. At 100 miles a day, you're racking up a lot of miles fast. Just a cheap, basic, reliable, high-mpg whatever to get back and forth to work, and a cheap, basic, reliable whatever to tow the T on a trailer. Can likely be done for less $ overall than getting one vehicle to suit all needs. The money you'll save in gas getting to work and back will eventually pay for the tow vehicle. JMHO.
I'm with Dave B. on the two vehicle idea. If fuel is really cheap or if you don't drive very much, then you can afford to have an all-purpose vehicle as your daily driver. But if fuel is expensive (which it is) and you drive a lot (which you do), then the cost of two, more specialized, vehicles becomes a better choice.
My numbers look like this:
If you use a tow capable vehicle for you daily driver, say giving 18mpg, then you are spending around $5500 per year on gas.
If you drive a more economical (non tow capable) vehicle for your daily driver, say giving 40mpg, then you are spending $2500 per year on gas. Better yet, since this daily driver is specialized for just getting you to and from work, you can emphasize mileage over other utility considerations. Maybe even get higher mileage.
So, will the $3000 in fuel savings pay for a tow capable vehicle that you drive very little ? That's a judgement that only you can make based on your parking space, etc. I sold my '68 GMC pickup with 396 about 15 years ago. Sold it because I has hardly ever driving it. But I think about that truck every time I tow a trailer or move a bunch of stuff in the back of my El Camino. Only got $1500 for the GMC.
I'm a Ford man through and through. I recently bought a 2014 Ford Focus to drive to work. I looked at used ones, but after rebates and such, they got the new one down to the asking price of the used ones and much lower interest rate. I commute roughly 140 miles roundtrip 5 days a week. I get 37 miles/gallon and am pretty happy with it. I don't know about pulling a trailer though. I wouldn't try that, but I have an F-150 for that.
JMHO I have a 1996 Cadillac Deville for running up to Columbia to the VA hospital. It has 136,000+ miles on it. It delivers 30 mpg on the road, I paid $1500 for it 5 years ago. Aside from wearables (tires, wipers, battery, oil changes, etc.) this car has been to and from eastern TN, Chicago and OK many times. It is front wheel drive, has the northstar engine and all the amenities of a caddy. These cars are cheap and plentiful right now. As an older fella I do have a little trouble getting in and out of it, because it sits kind of low, but what a smooth ride.
As for a towing vehicle, I use 79 to 91 Ford vans, they too are cheap and plentiful. It will not take the place of a pickup for farm use, but for me they work well. All of their parts are US standard, meaning almost everything can be bought at Napa or any local parts house. They use all American standard fastners, so no metric crap. They lend themselves parts wise to almost any older Ford product. I have bought a complete van cheaper than I could fix a fender on one. People ignore them in the walmart parking lot while the locals are losing their chainsaws out of the back of their pickups. I almost never see people looking into an old van, but I have seen people looking and talking about what is in the back of a pickup. I have used my vans for Chickasha many times and they are excellent sleeping quarters for one or two nights. The standard vans are 10 feet long inside from the back of the front seats to the inside of the back doors, they have two 4'x4' openings to get to things, one in the side and one in the back. Like any truck you need to decide what you will be using it for, 1/2 ton equals small brakes and lighter loads, 3/4 ton good all around coverage, but more expensive to repair, bigger brakes, tires bearings, etc. I also have a one ton extended van, what a moose, big everything under it, bring your checkbook when it's time to pay to fix something. I will probably die with one, because nobody wants it, unless it is free. Ford has stopped making the full size vans I think in 2010. There are much better and a lot more expensive trucks out there, but for me I will continue to stock pile these old vans, they have little to no computer control over their operations, there fore I can fix them myself. I have taken these vans all over the country without stress, if something breaks, fix it, if it pukes an engine or trans, I carry bus fare. I look at these problems as an adventure. These are just the ways I figured it out for me.
Seth I sent you a PM let me know if you got it
Depo hack mabey 2500# ? Twin axel trailer 1500#? Winston used to say/It's whats up front that counts! The Ford exc with the 7.3 diesel sound's good if the millage could be proven????????????????????????????????Bud.
Hey G.R. I double checked my inbox and junk mail and no PM. Will send you one with my email address.
Rent a truck for the towing trips. That opens up a ton of used Consumers Reports Recommended cars to fit your price range.
As a farmer, and with a crop insurance business that meant I dealt with other farmers, I was reluctant to drive anything other than a diesel pickup, both on the farm and on the road to clients farms. However, when my business grew to include customers in 17 states, I swallowed my pride and bought a car that would get great mileage.
After the first few trips, I found my farming peers/clients were quite interested in my hybrid experiment, and have never looked back.
Hope you find a vehicle (or two) that work well for you,
Live it up: buy a Tesla.
Do you fellows have Subaru vehicles? Stan Howe swears by his Subaru Outback. 2.5l flat four, all wheel drive, high/low range, quite capable of towing a T on an open trailer. Best of all would be a diesel version, but are they available to you? Being relatively new, they may be a little spendy as yet.
Allan from down under.
Old Subi's can be great, However the early 21 century ones had headgasket issues that you should be aware of.(My current sideline seems to be buying Subaru's with blown headgaskets and fixing and flipping em) The outbacks won't give you the fuel economy though.
Buy a Prius and put a pro-gun sticker on the rear bumper and you should do fine.
As Allan said, I have a new Outback, a 2014. In Montana, every place is far away. I drive a lot, have 16,000 on this one since January and have half a dozen pickups I put some miles on in addition plus a couple motorcycles.
So far the Outback is getting about 25 overall, 30 at a steady 70, 37 running steady 85 on the Interstate, 23 pulling a small trailer, 20 pulling a larger one but that was a short hop and just reading the mileage on the dash thing, not true measurement.
I hate the driver's seat. So bad I am probably going to get rid of it this fall when it starts to snow and go back to a Ford of some kind.
Other than that, great car. Adequate power, decent handling, heater that will cook hotdogs, A/C that will freeze your hands.
Sunroof is small and noisy. Seats are terrible.
All that said, if I were looking for a used car to make mileage as Fred is doing, I would look for a used Pontiac Vibe. Great car. I put 235,000 miles on mine, it was never in the shop even once. Sold it to a girl who is running pilot car service from Houston to Canada. Still trouble free.
Used pickups are cheap if you buy the right one. Best pickup for the money??? Pre 1995 Dodge 3/4 ton with the Cummins. Cheap, dependable, easy to fix. Too plain Jane for lots of people.
I often wonder how the weight should be between the hauler and load?? 60/40 or what do You think?Bud.
Bud: My father was a State Trooper in Fl on that subject he said that there is no regulation on how big the tow vehicle must be, if there were the politicians in their infinite (sic) wisdom would make the tractor as long as the trailer in Semi rigs. His advice was make sure your tow vehicle can stop your trailer in a reasonable distance if the brakes on your trailer fail! He gave this advice to a motorist he stopped for an equipment violation (no lights on boat trailer) who was trying to haul a 18ft boat with a Samurai! When he got back in the cruiser he said He only lives 5 miles up the road I think I will follow him so I don't have to be called back.
I would agree with Stan on the Dodge with the cummings those trucks get some great mileage better then the newer ones. I do not like to many electric parts with living in salt air no mater how hard you try there will be a hard to find issue. Two of my Toyotas get 35-40 mpg and trouble free. The extra insurance is covered with fuel savings and its nice to have an extra high mileage car. Two rigs work well but my Ford van has two many electric issues.
GR,I was just looking for sugestion's as most here do not seem to have a clue? I know most 18 wheeler's are 16,000 tractor front axel,32,000 on the tractor tandum for 48,000,and 32,000 on the trailer tandum axel.Our old F-250 diesel crew cab 4x4 is a little over 8,000 with no extra fuel [100 gal] and just the fat driver.If this po some i don't think much of single axel trailer rigg's either!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bud.
Spend $5000 on a '2002 Ford F150 for towing. Get one with less than 400,000 miles, they start to need maintenance about then. You should be able to find one with 150,000 miles for this amount of money, it will run another 300,000 or so trouble free miles then abandon it.
Buy a $15,000 Ford econo box to drive to work and back.
Isn't it interesting that two of the more interesting and realistic recommendations, Prius and VW Diesel, come from companies in countries that tried to kill as many of us as possible some 70 years ago.
A friend has a RAV 4 with a Diesel and my daughter has a Forester with a Diesel, both capable of some relatively serious towing, and they yield great fuel mileage, but our great government in their infinite wisdom have ruled against us having access to those vehicles.
I think you can get a new Ram 1500 with a small (3 liter) Diesel now, and also the Grand Cherokee, but the Jeep is probably not in the price range you want.
Roar, we spend our treasure defending those enemies to this day. . Our govt is spending $2.5 Trillion on the F-22 and F-35. If we spent a tiny fraction of that for civilian transport research instead, we'd be exporting cars.
My company truck for years was a 99 V6 Dodge Dakota Sport with the extended cab. 300,000 miles later the company sold it to a local delivery service that uses it every day all day long. The truck now has over half a million miles on it.
When I drove it, I got in the high 20s for mileage. With all the weight I hauled in it, I'm fairly certain it would haul your T anywhere it wanted to go.
I might add that it was a very comfortable ride and I am about your size, Fred.
"I think you can get a new Ram 1500 with a small (3 liter) Diesel now,"
Sure can, at about 4 grand extra for the Fiat diesel option.
At the price of diesel compared to gas one would sure have to put on a LOT of miles to cover that extra, before saving any $$.
Two of you requirements are non compatible. To my knowledge there is no vehicle currently available that will tow a ton and still get 30-40 mpg.
Either compromise on a small diesel pickup (which should get close to 28 mpg or so) or rent a tow vehicle and get something like a prius or a fit for commuting.
If you find the perfect answer to your - let us know !
update - After a lot of time searching on the internet, talking with friends, and reading your inputs I decided to look at early 2000's Cadillacs with around 100k on them It seemed to be the price break point in New England
After looking at a few Caddies I realized that it was not a good decision due to the mileage.
My wife finally spoke up and said - you liked the mercury sable so why not look for another one - Dah - and then get something to tow with.
The search for a high end Sable/Taurus begins
Lots of 2 or 2.2 litre diesel sedans and wagons here in the UK:
Jaguar X Type 2.2 diesel
Jaguar XF 2.2 diesel
My X Type gives 45mpg when not towing, but only 31mpg with my '26 T Coupe on the trailer - its lights are level with the Jaguar roof!
But diesel fuel here is £1.36 per litre. I think that's $8.80 per US gallon
Look for one that has always been in the Southwest, and it'll last a lot longer. I have or have had 3 Windstars and a Monterey with that same drivetrain. The engines go forever with just a little care. The trannies, not so much. I just had a Ford tranny recall done on the 2004 Monty.
With 2003 and newer, you can get Advance Trac, which applies the brake to a spinning wheel, a la pos-a-traction. Its gyros do other things when you lose control.
When I see all the flooded cars in the East, I wonder how many of them are sold to unsuspecting buyers?
The search is over --
I found a Sable at a used car dealer near my home that was listed at a fair price.
I drove it yesterday and it was good.
As I was talking with the sales guy I mentioned that I once owned a Hyundai Sonata that went to over 250K and ran like a scalded rabbit
Even thought I was just about ready to buy the Sable the sales guy suggested I look at a Hyundai XG 350.
There was no comparison - The ride, comfort, and handling of the 350 was superior and the prices were close, so I now have a 350.
He also has solutions for the tow vehicle with numerous pickups, and SUVs for under $5,000 -
Did you get the 100K warranty?
If you find a car that gets 40 MPH and can pull a trailer with a T, let me know, and I'll buy one myself.
I meant MPG not mph G and H are close together
I agree that mileage and towing don't mix. My Suburban never goes anywhere except when I have to haul or tow something. My daily driver is a '94 Camry which is approaching a quarter million miles. I've had to replace a few parts, but it's been a good car so far. How often do you tow? You may find that you're money ahead to have two separate vehicles, especially if you don't buy either one of them new.
The price of towing should also include safety!! I would question some of the high millage towing clames but that's their story.If to save mpg or kpg you go too lite and crash have you saved any money??Bud.
I won't buy from a dealer, as they destroy the car's history.
Logic and experience prevails.
All it takes is a little reality re-activated by my friends here.
High gas mileage, comfort, and towing don't fit into the same sentence.
You might get two but not all three.
In my former life we pulled a stock car and trailer with a 1949 Ford sedan.
It took miles to get it to a reasonable speed, longer to stop, used a ton of cheep gas, and was uncomfortable for 6 full sized guys.
I can remember sailing past the entrance to Norwood Mass race track with the brakes smoking because of the downgrade before the driveway.
Now that I think of it -
we may have done better if the crew had been put on a diet, but in those days we had to have our juicy hamburgers, fries and beer.
McDonalds was for wimps unless we were short of cash and returning from the drag races in Connecticut.
Then is was OK because the East Providence RI McDonalds had 15 cent burgers and we were too hungry to care what people thought.