Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Matt asks: I am going out of California, sold my Prius; they may not have let me into Idaho with that. For the Boise area I am considering a Toyota Tacoma dual cab, a Toyota Highlander, or a Ford F-150 dual cab. All 4WD of course. Not sure the ins and outs of these. I don’t generally like the newer iterations of autos lately. Is there an advantage to buying used this way? I have not seen recent reviews of any of the above on your site. I am especially interested in the Toyota dual cab truck vs. F-150 dual cab, and if used ones, say 2017, may have some advantages due to stupid gov’t regulations implemented the newer autos. All help is appreciated! thank you for what you do.
My reply: Well, first let’s separate out the Highlander from the other two as it is a crossover SUV built on a front-drive layout with all-wheel-drive available. The Tacoma and F-150 are trucks, built on heavy-duty rear-drive layouts – with four-wheel-drive (and a two-speed transfer case with Low range gearing) available. The Highlander is not meant for serious off-roading or towing. But the Highlander might be okay for you if you expect to drive mostly on-road and just need a vehicle that can handle snow – which it can. Especially with a set of good snow tires.
The next point of difference is size. The Tacoma is a mid-sized truck; the F-150 is a full-size (1500, half-ton) truck. For this reason the F-truck will have a roomier interior and a larger bed, but that may not matter to you.
I would avoid the 2015 (and newer) F-150 because of its aluminum body and turbo V6 engines (a V8 is available but they are hard to find). If you need a full-size truck, I recommend a Toyota Tundra or a Ram 1500, leaning toward the Tundra – which is an outstanding specimen, well-built and known reliable.
For the same reason, I also endorse the Tacoma – which is a superb mid-sized truck. Just be careful to make sure the one you buy isn’t rusty – a general caution with all used trucks! Other than that, these things are very safe bets and I think you’ll be very happy.
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