You have reached the blog of Keith Elder. Thank you for visiting! Feel free to click the twitter icon to the right and follow me on twitter.

Need To Buy A New Truck But Can’t Make Up My Mind

Posted by Keith Elder | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 23-05-2007

Normally when making a decision I can work through the details of it pretty quickly and come to a conclusion.  The past week though I’ve been struggling with the joy of searching for a new vehicle.  If you’ve bought something recently please share your experiences.  I’m torn and don’t see a conclusion on the horizon.

For those that don’t know I currently drive a Jeep Liberty 2002 Limited 4WD.  I bought it new in 2001 in June.  The Jeep has served its purpose very well and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a smaller SUV that is tough and rugged.  The Jeep took me to and from work from Ann Arbor to Livonia during white out blizzards when I lived in Michigan.  It pulled my boat to local fishing holes and pulled many a stuck driver from a ditch or snow bank during the ice storm a few years ago.  It also pulled a 5,000 lb payload all the way from Michigan to Mississippi several times and never batted an eye.  After I got to Mississippi a few days after Katrina it pulled up tree stumps, remove hurricane debris from the roads and hauled food and other supplies to residents in need.  All in all I have been very happy with the Jeep Liberty.  It has been one tough rugged truck that has been extremely versatile.  It also has lots of nice travel options when you want to take a long trip as we frequently did (leather, heated seats, etc).

It is time to trade though and I’m torn about what to purchase.   Should I think about rising gas prices and get a small car like a Subaru WRX STI?  Then the question is how will I tow my boat, haul my lawn mower, camper etc?  Of course I could just keep my Jeep and get a small car.  Yes, that is another road.  But then do I want to have to pay two insurances and up keep up two cars, I mean three counting the wife’s? 

I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I need a larger SUV than my Liberty.  The reason being that when we travel with our dogs and our luggage there is only room for about 2 people in the Liberty.  We will probably be having kids soon and honestly there would be no room for them along with all the baby goo that goes along with them (diapers, bottles, etc) if I stay with the same size truck as the Liberty.

I could trade my Liberty in for a larger mid-size SUV like a Jeep Commander or a Chrysler Aspen.  I test drove these yesterday and I really liked the Aspen.  Very sharp looking, lots of features, very classy on the inside and lots of room with the third row seating.  The Commander was nice on the inside as well but the third row is relatively useless unless you have 3-7 year olds who can sit back there.  It really isn’t much bigger than my Liberty.  With my trade in value and the incentives right now on these trucks ($4500 on the commander for example) I could get away with a REALLY nice truck loaded with a fairly small payment.  The problem is gas with these though. They only get about 20 miles to the gallon.  As I think about it though that is all my current truck gets and since I don’t drive that much it hasn’t been a problem just for the record. I don’t even look at gas prices honestly.  I pull up where it is convenient and I pump.  It is what it is.

The other option is I could get a nice over the road SUV (Mirano, Mazda CX-9) but honestly I think I’d kill the thing.  These are really cars and aren’t made to get off the pavement and aren’t powerful enough to pull heavy loads.  Not that I’m rough on a vehicle but they just aren’t made to do what all I need to do as I outlined above. 

I guess these are my options.  1.  Keep the Liberty and get a car that I could zoom around town in and use the Liberty to tow my boat, camper etc.  2.  Trade the Liberty in on a larger SUV.  3.  Buy some cross over hybrid SUV and hope it holds up.  If you have time, throw your $.02 in the ring.   I’m torn.

Comments (8)

Whatever it is it depends on your taste.. You only choose more than comfortable rather than others..

If i had to select then i would have gone for Aspen, it is more stylish, comfortable and very well suited for rugged roads. check out

For the record I will cut off my foot before I buy a Minivan for my main vehicle of choice. I definitely need the off road factor and you can’t get 4×4 on a Minivan.

Yesterday the wife and I went and test drove three vehicles. The Chrysler Aspen, Jeep Commander and the Toyota 4Runner. Surprisingly she liked the Aspen the best and really liked the room and the power of the 5.7 liter Hemi. The 4Runner wasn’t bad though. The one we drove was really loaded (voice navigation etc).

This doesn’t mean the decision is over yet. I’m still torn. One of my other buddies suggested the Trail Blazer SS which has decent room and is very sporty but can also tow 5000 LBs. It is an option but for some reason the thought of walking into aGM / Chevrolet dealer makes me feel dirty. Why I don’t know. I must have had a wreck as a child in one and suppressed the memory.

Definitely at least consider the minivan. as pointed out, they may not be good for off-road, but they can tow, and they can haul many types of cargo – dogs, kids, etc. you can get a comfortable ride out of them too. I traded my ’97 F-150 in for a new Freestar Limited (has the same 4.2 V6) – i have 3 kids. Leather/heated seats, towing package. i can take out the captains chairs and fold down the rear seat. it does cover almost any situation you can come up with…especially with kids possibly on the way. Good Luck…and thanks for stopping in AA this month for the DND mtg.

Coming from experience, I have owned a Jeep Grand Cherokee and LOVED it. I am originally from Northern Ontario and it is awesome in snow and off-road. The Jeep Grand Cherokee can hold a family with 2 kids with no problems at all, and probably could handle 3 easy if the kids are spaced in age. The ONLY reason I traded in the Jeep was due to the fact that I ended up having 3 kids, all in car seats, and the way they make the car seats now, there is no way you can put 3 car seats in the back 🙁 … So yes, I had to bite the bullet and get a minivan, only been down a “country” road (which means pretty much off-roading) with that one once, it made it, but for subsequent trips to that particular destination, I leave it in the field closer to the highway and foot it.

Lisa loves her Cherokee. She’s got the V6 and it gets about 25MPG.

Those weren’t the words i typed! i meant “wait until they are definitely on the way or delivery is imminent”.

Option 4, hold off a while until you have the need for the new truck. You mentioned possible kids on the way. wait until they are or delivery is predominant! You will be in a position to better evaluate your needs and you may have better auto choices too!

Write a comment