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Pickup: cheap, 4wd, easy to repair in the driveway, reliable, decent gas milage, large knowledge base online for DIY repairs, longevity!

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta

Member6411

This might be a tall order, but I am looking for a pickup that will go for a very long time. I live in the mountains so 4wd is important. I drive about 80 miles a day so decent gas milage is a plus. I want a vehicle that I will be able to repair most issues with in my backyard. The vehicle should have a large online knowledge base so that researching correct fixes is available. I really like the nissan frontier crew cabs but I am not sure how long they last.

Priorities: Reliability & durability / Price or payments / Materials & workmanship / Off-road capability / Fuel economy

Preferred Bodystyle(s): Pickup

Car Needs: Daily commuter

Need minimum of 2 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum age: 17 years

Maximum price: US $ 7000

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Response from willied

9:43 am April 25, 2015

Looks like you might be able to get a 1998-2001 Toyota Tacoma for around that price. Do you have a mileage limit? They're going to have a lot of miles at that price. You could get a Ranger that's a little newer with less miles at that price, though it may be less reliable. I'd think it would be easy to work on, though, and there's plenty of info out there on fixing them.

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Toyota Tacoma
Ford Ranger

Response from mkaresh

11:37 am April 26, 2015

The Toyota probably can't be beat for reliability, but quite a few members have reported that they much preferred how the Nissan drives. We don't have much reliability data on the Nissan, but what we do have suggests that they're reliable.

I do know that the 2005 Pathfinder and Xterra with the same V6 had a common problem with the radiator failing, and in the process sending coolant into the transmission, killing it. If you consider Frontiers about that age, I'd look into whether they also have had this problem. If they do, the failure can be avoided by pre-emptively replacing the radiator (if this hasn't already been done).

The only compact pickup I've heard some horror stories about (but for which we have even less data than for the others) is the previous generation Chevrolet Colorado / GMC Canyon.

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Nissan Frontier

Response from trevans

10:01 am January 28, 2016

2013 Frontier owner here. I've got the 2WD so I can't comment on the 4WD performance, but I can tell you I bought mine from the Toyota dealer. We have a Corolla, which we love, so I went there to look at Tacomas.

I was wholly underwhelmed by the Tacoma. It handled like a hay wagon - loose steering, bouncy suspension, and the seats felt too short/close to the floor (I'm 6'2"). The interior felt cheap and dated. It was not a $30,000 truck, especially in comparison to similarly-priced full sized offerings from the big 3. It was clear that Toyota hadn't done any redesign on it for years, and were just counting on its reputation to sell it. I drove four different Tacomas between model years 2007 and 2013 and felt the same about them all.

And then I saw they had a Frontier on the lot they picked up at auction. How funny, I thought. And after I drove it, I told the salesman that, were I them, I wouldn't have this on the lot. It's embarassing how much better the Frontier drove, felt, and looked than the Tacomas, and for many thousands less.

There's no denying the Tacoma has a (well deserved) reputation for mechanical reliability. However the Nissan VQ series engines have been around a long time. I figured, even if I had to replace anything major, the price difference between the two trucks would more than make up for it.

So far I'm very happy with my choice at about 35,000 miles after purchase. Reliably gets 22mpg, which is my only disappointment. Full-sized V8 trucks get similar (or sometimes better!) fuel economy.

Were I to do it all over again, honestly, I'd probably look again for an Ecoboost F150 or a GM 5.3L. But the Frontier was the obvious choice over the Tacoma.

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Nissan Frontier
Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Response from willied

11:47 am January 30, 2016

Myfriend has a Tacoma and I get the same sort of feeling from it as well. The suspension is really floaty and it's just a coarse truck overall. And the seats are too low - Toyota seems to do that in a lot of their trucks/SUVs (or at least used to) and I don't know why.

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