Reader Question: To Rivian or Not?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Swag writes: Hey Eric! Long time reader just started posting. I first heard you on Tom Woods raving about the Honda Ridgeline. I own a 2009 Ridgeline RTL that I bought new that just became my daily driver again after I ditched my 2015 BMW X5 (good riddance). 150k miles on Honda and never had an issue. I like the interior better than the new RL but 0-60 is like… 11 or 12 seconds? Pretty sad really. I have three sons under the age of 4, my wife has a Yukon XL. I’ve been debating adding a third vehicle before the end of the year (section 179!) and your last post about mileage and the disappearance of trucks makes me think I should buy an F250 diesel and plan on keeping it, like, forever. Or seriously I’ve considered the Rivian R1T because in commiefornia I can get the tax credits state and federal. RL would be a little redundant but day to day I prefer a midisize truck (I’m a commercial real estate broker and need to look good picking up fancy clients From the airport). Any advice? I hate the forced EV nonsense but I conceded to solar recently because credits are going away soon! Thanks!

My reply: My first piece of advice is to stay far, far away from Rivian. And not just because it’s obscenely overpriced and obscenely gimped. It is also built by a company with no track record for building vehicles and the likely consequence of that will be horrendous initial build quality and bugs abounding.

My next piece of advice is to stay away from any new diesel anything. Diesels are now hardly more economical to drive than gas-powered equivalents and much more expensive to buy. They are also much more complex and not as long-lived for that reason. They have electronic injection now (not simple mechanical injection) as well as particulate traps and DEF. It’s fine if you need a vehicle with tremendous towing capability or like the low-end grunt. But for long-lived/economical service… it’s a bad idea.

You mention mid-sized trucks. I strongly recommend the Toyota Tacoma. It is one of the few still available with a manual transmission and its V6 is among the best there is. The truck itself is known to be bulletproof and will probably go 15-20 years before anything major needs to be done to it.

I would not consider the new Ford Ranger, which only comes with a turbo four and too much tech. The Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon are better – but I still strongly advise the Tacoma over these two.

. . .

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  1. I concur with Eric! The Toyota is virtually the only truck out there that has any reasonable prospect of actually lasting, if you intend to keep it long-term, without needing thousands of dollars worth of repairs after the warranty period is over.

    Virtually all of the “big trucks” are now nightmarish Rube Goldberg-esque contraptions-on-wheels, full of plastic (F250’s now have PLASTIC oil pans!!!) and complicated electronics and delicate mechanical systems which, when they break (and break they do!( cost thousands and thousands of dollars to repair. They are noit long-term vehicles designed to last and give trouble-free operation; They are ticking time-bombs which very often require MAJOR repairs under warranty…and God help you when the warranty runs out! Gas or diesel…doesn’t matter…just the diesels cost a lot more to buy, maintain, and repair- The very purpose for diesel’s existence: Power, with efficiency and durability, is long gone.

    Friend O’mine bought a new ’19 Ram 2500(or 3500- I forget which) late last year…had nothing but trouble with it literally within days of buying it. Ended up trading it for another one- a ’20….which, while not as bad, has already had it’s share of problems, and he realizes that he essentially wasted $80K, ’cause he is already seeing that just keeping the thing going while still under warranty is a hassle…and once that truck is out of warranty…it’s gonna be toast. Not gonna last him 20 years like his old F350- which is still going strong, despite having towed heavy loads (20K+ lbs.) all over the country, and being thrashed around and abused- The damned Ram is brand new, and not as reliable as the old F250.

    Rivian=Toy for the neuveau rich who like to watch their money evaporate. The ultra-fast depreciation will dwarf any tax savings and subsidies.


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