By on April 2, 2012


JD writes:

Dear TTAC,

I realize opinions are like…elbows. But right now I am looking for a hit to the ribs.

I am moving to Northern California, and intend to live up in the hills around Skyline Blvd. / Highway 280.

I am debt free on a 2006 Mitsubishi Montero Limited. It is such a fantastic sleeper of an SUV; as rugged as I need for weekend camping, rock climbing and/or surfing excursions, and also cleans up well for mid-week business meetings (I work from home, so only need to drive to the office or customer site a couple days per week).

The Monty is in great condition, with 75K miles on the odometer, and still worth approx. $15-20K. It is safe for my wife, infant, and possibly future brood. The Monty is a gorgeous ”carbon grey metallic” color, without the cheesy spoiler option. It’s a stellar SUV in the classic sense.

That stated, I have the itch to sell the Monty and use that cash to buy a slightly ”lesser” vehicle (in terms of value), as well as an enduro-type motorcycle; perhaps a used BMW F 800 GS.

What do you think about pairing the motorcycle with a clean-yet-older SUV such as a 2004 Land Rover Discovery, 1987 Landcruiser, etc. What is the short list of vehicles I could pull off as reputable and upwardly mobile at the office or customer site, yet fully functional in the mountains? I suppose reliability and mpg’s are the major concerns.

Some sporty AWD wagon could single-handedly check all the right boxes in terms of business, mountains, and twisties. However I have always wanted an enduro bike. Plus it seems any decent AWD sportwagon blows my existing $15-20K budget. Too bad.

It just seems that older (classic) SUV’s are so affordable now. Are they really that big of a stigma? Are gas prices truly going to spike? Buying a $6K Trooper or Landcruiser seems to make more environmental and fiscal sense than a $55K Land Rover LR4, etc.

Maybe I am crazy, and should simply keep the Montero. That rig is brilliant.

Our other vehicle (my wife’s car) is a manual, 2002 VW Jetta wagon. Thanks in advance. I am a big fan of your site!


Steve Answers:

You’re welcome JD. This is my heartfelt advice.

Don’t spend money. Don’t buy anything.

You already have a vehicle that is well loved and well kept. What’s to say that a 25 year old Toyota or an 8 year old Range Rover would represent a better long-term deal?

An older Landcruiser is usually better off with a hardcore enthusiast, while the Land Rover is probably better suited as a potted plant sculpture. Seriously, these cars are to the expense account what a pissed off ex-spouse is to polite light-hearted conversation.

You can opt for a lot of other vehicles. But none of them in this day of lean supplies and high prices will offer you a better long-term return than keeping a ‘keeper’ that you like. The Monty already suits your purpose, and you already have a Jetta for the gas sipping and stick shifting side of things. So why bother?

I would buy nothing. Take a vacation if you like. Heck, go to Greece and take good notes. Life is short and your clients probably care more about your breath than they do your daily driver.

Sajeev answers:

I know automotive wanderlust hits people at nearly any time and place, but you gotta be kidding me. You might be one of the most passionate lovers of Monteros I know, and you have a neat little Jetta for scooting around with a little more pace.

I’d be more concerned about replacing the Jetta, depending on which motor, overall condition, maintenance records, etc.

When wanderlust strikes again, find a replacement for the Jetta. I recommend a Mercury Marauder, but that’s just me typing out loud.

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7 Comments on “New or Used: When Automotive Wanderlust Strikes…...”

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Yeah you’re in the sweet spot now Amigo. Debt free vehicle that you like that you drive very little. No reason to do anything about it except enjoy it.

  • avatar

    I agree with all that’s been said. To cure your wanderlust, get a $1500 KLR instead of the high-buck BMW. To cure your BMW lust, you can replace the Jetta with an E46 wagon. That would take care of your twisty-carving desires, while retaining an excellent daily driver for your wife.

  • avatar

    That’s an amazing area for motorcycling. Any ride that involves Alice’s Restaurant at 84 and 35 in Woodside, CA is worthwhile.

  • avatar

    Does your wife need the car every day? If not, sell the VW, buy the bike, and borrow the Montero from your wife on the days you need it.

  • avatar

    You on a m’cycle are not going to be safe for your infant or your wife. Transplant surgeons refer to motorcycles as “donorcycles,” because that’s where they often get their best transplant organs.

  • avatar

    As someone else suggested, keep the Monty (those are really great trucks) and buy a good used KLR (another great Japanese vehicle). Much less time, money and hassle and you still basically end up with what you want (other than a bmw).

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