Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I'm normally quite decisive

But it seems that picking out a new vehicle is one of those things that always takes forever. In general, I think this is because they cost so much more than I want to spend, and then they promptly lose their value. I know, I know, I should buy used. But I've never had particularly good luck with used cars, even in cases where I know that the car was impeccably maintained because I bought it from, say, my parents.

I'm also a very clever person. Not just clever in a "CherkyB brings new life to weather reporting" kind of way. Clever in a "that boy is too clever for his own good" kind of way. You see, a while back I had this grand plan to trick The Mrs. into letting me buy a new truck. It went like this:
Me, CherkyB: "I put the back up higher on HannahC's booster seat."

The Mrs.: "Good. She's been complaining that it was too low."

Me, CherkyB: "Yeah. It's all the way up now."

The Mrs.: "Well, when she grows some more, we can take the back off and just use the seat part, right?"

Me, CherkyB: "Yes. [sigh] But there's a small problem with that."

The Mrs.: "What's that?"

Me, CherkyB: "Well, it'll work fine in the van. My my truck is so old that it doesn't have headrests in the back seat. So when we take the back off the booster seat, her head will be right in front of the back window. If we get in a crash, her head will go through the back window, and it'll shoot glass into her brain stem and kill her."

[Note: this is actually a pretty common way to die in a pickup truck. It's not something I made up. Though, more often, you just get a horrible concussion from smashing the back of your head into glass instead of a headrest.]

The Mrs.: "Oh. You should probably get a new truck."

Me, CherkyB: "Well, if you think so."
So now it's almost bonus time at The Company, and this was not too bad year for us, as we're not as dependent upon the US economy as a lot of companies are. Most of the rest of the world is exiting the recession reasonably rapidly, whereas we are at best holding steady and more likely heading deeper because of the reckless and amateurish economic policy of Mr. Hopenchange.

I have about four weeks until all the bonuses roll in (and I find out the size of them this week, in theory), so I'll need to be striking while the iron is hot. Problem is, I still haven't figured out what to get.

I've narrowed it down to two choices: Ford F-150, and Ram 1500. You may note that it is no longer "Dodge Ram 1500", as Fiat decided to spin off the truck division from Dodge under the Ram label. So you can now buy something called a "Ram Dakota", which would be very similar to my current ride - a Dodge Dakota - except it'd be newer and better in nearly every way. And it'd also be one of the worst-selling pickups on the market, outselling only the badge-engineered Chevy Colorado sold as a GMC Canyon and the same vehicle rebadged and slightly modified sold as a Hummer H3T (and possibly the Ford Ranger rebadged as a Mazda and the Toyota Tacoma rebadged as a Suzuki - trucks I didn't bother to look up the sales figures for).

I guess the good news is that I've eliminated Chevy/GMC, Toyota, and Nissan from the running, each for different reasons. Not coincidentally, I get an affiliates discount from both Ford and Chrysler through The Company which gives them a price advantage over the competition, though this is not a deciding factor (especially since, right now, it looks like the Ram "preferred pricing" is a whopping $250 discount - but they have thousands of dollars of incentives and rebates available to all that makes them largely comparable to the Ford with the affiliate discount).

I would summarize the pro's/con's of the two this way:
  • Everything I actually do with my pickup, the Ram is better at than the Ford. But Ram is owned by Fiat.
  • All those things I wish I did but never actually do, the Ford is better.
For instance, if I were towing a 7000lbs. trailer, the Ford would be better (though, honestly, one should be looking at 3/4 ton class trucks for that kind of weight). I don't actually own any trailer. The only things I might consider buying that I would tow would be a fishing boat, which would have a towing weight of somewhere around 2000lbs., or a pop-up camper, which would be even less.

The ride with a 1000lbs. payload is much better in the Ford than in the Ram, though the opposite is true when unloaded. This is my daily driver vehicle. Guess how often I have 1000lbs. in the bed. Six times a year. 3 loads of shredded redwood bark for the mulch beds, and three loads of compost for the garden. Sure, I move some furniture around on occasion, and our trips to Sam's Clubs are legendary in their volume, if not their weight. But, gosh, it feels like I should optimize for unloaded, no-trailer.

There is really no question that for me, the Ram is the better truck. My Dakota has been quite reliable (as good as our Honda minivan - and quite possibly better), and after 6 years and 60k miles, with half of those miles sitting idle in traffic in San Schmose, there's nothing at all wrong with it that a new set of shocks wouldn't fix (except for a lack of headrests in the back seat). But, gosh, Ram is owned by Fiat. What are the chances it'll exist 6 years from now?

I dunno.


Wife said...

Should we go test drive this weekend?

paula said...

ahhhh MR CHERKYB.... a Dodge????? have you lost your mind??????

Anonymous said...


Rhonda said...

I think you're on the right track...
not that you care what I think but that's what I thinks...