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Author Topic: The age old connundrum of what vehicle to buy.  (Read 2010 times)

Jack Arnott

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The age old connundrum of what vehicle to buy.
« on: June 12, 2017, 01:14:40 pm »

Hello All, I am (as noted in the subject) in need of a new vehicle.

I am not a usual user, so let me lay out my situation. I am getting smaller, not larger, over the last decade. I no longer own a truck, and rent when I need one. Most of my shows, and transportation, is done with a very small trailer, that I built specifically to pull behind a sedan. For four years, I used a 1991 Saab turbo, 5 speed standard. It aged out, at 300K, and too many problems to fix. I then bought a 2004 Saab 9.5 turbo, five speed automatic. I REALLY liked driving a sedan, after decades of trucks and vans. But this car is no longer up to the task. One thing that has always been problematic is the clearance. Not so much from a towing standpoint, but just a driving standpoint. It bottoms out in front on parking blocks put up in parking lots to keep you from hitting the edges of the lot. The transmission has also been not great. I know that in general automatic is now better for towing that standard, but even though this car is rated at 3500 lbs towing, and pulls it find from the engine standpoint, the transmission always has to be massaged manually. Now there are lots of little things going wrong, and it is no longer economically reasonable to keep the car.

So what I need is something to tow 3500 lbs comfortably. Most of my towing is in the 1700 lb range, but I do occasionally have a heavier load. The trailers have brakes, and I have always had brake controllers installed in the tow vehicles. I want something that is comfortable to drive. It is also used for everything else. This is one reason I have loved the sedan. I get over 30 MGP freeway at over 75 MPH, and over 20 MPG towing. I use the vehicle a lot for trips to the dog park, all town driving for dates and eating out. Traveling, both business and personal.

If it is a pickup, I need crew cab, one seat won't cut it.

I want to spend in the low teens. I can pay cash, and don't like having payments.

Tell me your experiences on vehicles that you think might fit my needs.

I of course have unwittingly left out valuable information, and will update as answers point out my negligence.

Regards, Jack
« Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 02:07:58 pm by Jack Arnott »
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: The age old connundrum of what vehicle to buy.
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2017, 01:19:49 pm »

Now should be a buyers market for cars as detroit appears to have passed peak auto sales. There should be bargains coming off lease too. At some point detroit will shut down production and the supply may tighten up, but now seems good for buyers.

JR
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Steve Litscher

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Re: The age old connundrum of what vehicle to buy.
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2017, 01:39:54 pm »

Ford Flex with Ecoboost with the factory towing package (this is critical - towing package includes anti-sway control, integrated hitch, wiring harness, and improved cooling system).

I just bought a 2014 Flex AWD w/towing pkg, certified-pre-owned with 19K miles for $24k. I didn't get the Ecoboost, and wish I would've. That said, it still tows our 6x12 single axle trailer quite well. A little more torque would be awesome, hence the Ecoboost suggestion.

It has tons of room inside; fold the seats flat and we're able to fit most anything in it. I did a small hotel show (2 mains, 5 wedges, lights, mixer rack, stands, cables, etc) and fit everything in the Flex.

There was a change to the 3.5L non-EcoBoost motor in 2014, I believe. Otherwise they're more-or-less the same. Should be able to find a 2012 or 2013 Flex in the low teens, in good condition.

FWIW, I've had 15-18 vehicles in my lifetime, and the Flex is my favorite so far. Super versatile, very functional, and it rides/tows extremely well.

Steve Crump

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Re: The age old connundrum of what vehicle to buy.
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2017, 02:18:02 pm »

Hello All, I am (as noted in the subject) in need of a new vehicle.

I am not a usual user, so let me lay out my situation. I am getting smaller, not larger, over the last decade. I no longer own a truck, and rent when I need one. Most of my shows, and transportation, is done with a very small trailer, that I built specifically to pull behind a sedan. For four years, I used a 1991 Saab turbo, 5 speed standard. It aged out, at 300K, and too many problems to fix. I then bought a 2004 Saab 9.5 turbo, five speed automatic. I REALLY liked driving a sedan, after decades of trucks and vans. But this car is no longer up to the task. One thing that has always been problematic is the clearance. Not so much from a towing standpoint, but just a driving standpoint. It bottoms out in front on parking blocks put up in parking lots to keep you from hitting the edges of the lot. The transmission has also been not great. I know that in general automatic is now better for towing that standard, but even though this car is rated at 3500 lbs towing, and pulls it find from the engine standpoint, the transmission always has to be massaged manually. Now there are lots of little things going wrong, and it is no longer economically reasonable to keep the car.

So what I need is something to tow 3500 lbs comfortably. Most of my towing is in the 1700 lb range, but I do occasionally have a heavier load. The trailers have brakes, and I have always had brake controllers installed in the tow vehicles. I want something that is comfortable to drive. It is also used for everything else. This is one reason I have loved the sedan. I get over 30 MGP freeway at over 75 MPH, and over 20 MPG towing. I use the vehicle a lot for trips to the dog park, all town driving for dates and eating out. Traveling, both business and personal.

If it is a pickup, I need crew cab, one seat won't cut it.

I want to spend in the low teens. I can pay cash, and don't like having payments.

Tell me your experiences on vehicles that you think might fit my needs.

I of course have unwittingly left out valuable information, and will update as answers point out my negligence.

Regards, Jackf


I have to say before I start, that I used to give my friends grief about driving minivans. But, not to long ago I watched a touring band load their gear in a VW minivan (the Chrysler version) and was really impressed at how much stuff they could fit in it.

That put me on a hunt and I ended up buying a Nissan Quest used (read some really good customer reviews). I have had it about a year. It is a 2013, I paid $22,000.00, but it was loaded and only had 30K miles. Finding a Chrysler, Honda, Nissan, VW etc in your price range should be doable. I purchased it to haul around a gigging band's gear and could fit 4 people, drums, bass amp, guitar amp, and acoustic guitar, electric guitar and bass guitar.

Then I discovered when I wasn't hauling band stuff, it is cool how much sound gear will fit. Of course, it won't haul enough sound gear for a full scale setup, that it is where the trailer would come in.
I have never towed with it and can't give an opinion on that use. I will say I did install a hitch and the van sets low, so if I were getting serious about towing I would want to install air shocks or what ever is available to lift the rear.
I don't have the manual in hand at the moment, but I am sure it is rated at 3500 lbs towing.
Mileage is about 20 for me, other owner's may have better results.
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: The age old connundrum of what vehicle to buy.
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2017, 02:21:05 pm »

Hello All, I am (as noted in the subject) in need of a new vehicle.

I am not a usual user, so let me lay out my situation. I am getting smaller, not larger, over the last decade. I no longer own a truck, and rent when I need one. Most of my shows, and transportation, is done with a very small trailer, that I built specifically to pull behind a sedan. For four years, I used a 1991 Saab turbo, 5 speed standard. It aged out, at 300K, and too many problems to fix. I then bought a 2004 Saab 9.5 turbo, five speed automatic. I REALLY liked driving a sedan, after decades of trucks and vans. But this car is no longer up to the task. One thing that has always been problematic is the clearance. Not so much from a towing standpoint, but just a driving standpoint. It bottoms out in front on parking blocks put up in parking lots to keep you from hitting the edges of the lot. The transmission has also been not great. I know that in general automatic is now better for towing that standard, but even though this car is rated at 3500 lbs towing, and pulls it find from the engine standpoint, the transmission always has to be massaged manually. Now there are lots of little things going wrong, and it is no longer economically reasonable to keep the car.

So what I need is something to tow 3500 lbs comfortably. Most of my towing is in the 1700 lb range, but I do occasionally have a heavier load. The trailers have brakes, and I have always had brake controllers installed in the tow vehicles. I want something that is comfortable to drive. It is also used for everything else. This is one reason I have loved the sedan. I get over 30 MGP freeway at over 75 MPH, and over 20 MPG towing. I use the vehicle a lot for trips to the dog park, all town driving for dates and eating out. Traveling, both business and personal.

If it is a pickup, I need crew cab, one seat won't cut it.

I want to spend in the low teens. I can pay cash, and don't like having payments.

Tell me your experiences on vehicles that you think might fit my needs.

I of course have unwittingly left out valuable information, and will update as answers point out my negligence.

Regards, Jack

What country are you going to be using the vehicle in?

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Tim Weaver

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Re: The age old connundrum of what vehicle to buy.
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2017, 02:24:56 pm »

Since no one has suggested a sedan yet, I'm going to jump out there and say the Ford Panther platform cars. This would be the full sized Crown Vic, CVPI, And Grand Marquis. They have a near bulletproof drivetrain thanks to the police car use. They are body-on-frame cars just like a real truck. They are able to tow pretty much anything an F150 would tow. And the civilian versions are pretty nice inside and comfy to drive.
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dick rees

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Re: The age old connundrum of what vehicle to buy.
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2017, 02:40:01 pm »

Hi, Jack...

Two words: turbo diesel.
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Chrysander 'C.R.' Young

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Re: The age old connundrum of what vehicle to buy.
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2017, 02:54:13 pm »

My Nissan Xterra has enough room for gear for smaller gigs and enough power to tow a pretty substantial trailer.  Might suit your needs, OP.
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lindsay Dean

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Re: The age old connundrum of what vehicle to buy.
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2017, 03:21:14 pm »

Throwing my hat in,
Toyota 4runner or tacoma rear wheel drive v6 automatic transmission
solid  quality, built to last. any year from 1998 up no tail drop
« Last Edit: June 13, 2017, 03:52:55 pm by lindsay Dean »
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Jack Arnott

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Re: The age old connundrum of what vehicle to buy.
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2017, 04:53:06 pm »

What country are you going to be using the vehicle in?

Hello Scott,
I live, and gig, in Utah. I use the vehicle 90% in the western US, with some travel in the east.

Regards, Jack
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