The Wagoneer’s gone, which means my backup commuting vehicle is either my bike or my wife’s patience. Secondarily, we’re down to the miniscule towing capacity of the Mazda5. It’s time to start shopping for a new truck or SUV to do Truck Stuff. The plan was never to reduce the number of cars in the fleet, but fill the Wagoneer’s slot with a vehicle better suited to our real needs. Ok, wants. But like, really well rationalized wants.
- Ability to tow a LeMons car (or two?) in an enclosed trailer with tools and spare parts on board
- Ability to take the family camping at the end of a rutted dirt road 1000 miles away in summer or winter (thus: 4×4 and AC-equipped)
- Ability to work and haul dirty stuff around without causing too much stress about “ruining it”
- Ability to do all of the above with reasonable durability and ease of maintenance
- Cost less than $8k, but preferably more like $5k
With those in mind, here’s what’s on the shopping list…