By on August 28, 2015

2015 Subaru Outback

When you talk to car enthusiasts, it’s clear that they spend a lot of energy trying to figure out the best car for every possible situation.

It’s only in a group of car enthusiasts, for instance, that you’ll hear the term “daily driver.” For normal people, they just have a “car,” and maybe a “second car” for their “wife.” But car enthusiasts separate their daily driver from their other car, or maybe their other cars, because each vehicle in a car enthusiast’s garage has a different purpose.

There’s a track car — a car only owned by enthusiasts dedicated solely to track use. And there might be a truck and a trailer to pull this track car. So now you have the daily driver, the track car, the truck, and the trailer.

Or maybe you have a winter beater. A car you use during the winter to keep the bad weather, road salt, potholes, and debris away from your pride and joy. This winter beater is usually an old Subaru, or a truck, or something you wouldn’t be caught dead driving in normal circumstances. But alas, it’s another car that fills another purpose.

Some car enthusiasts have a commuter car; a car that sucks miles, that keeps their fun car away from the daily grind; a car that they can use for fuel economy and hauling kids while keeping their “fun car” safe for weekend use. I know a guy who once had an E60 BMW M5 in the garage and a Toyota Prius as a commuter car.

And it goes, on and on and on. Some people have an off-roader. A truck for hauling. A classic they keep in the garage. A drag racer. Car enthusiasts like cars, so they have a lot of them. It only makes sense.

But what if you could only have one?

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I’m asking the question: what’s the best all-around car if you had to have only one single car? What if you couldn’t have the track car, and the winter beater, and the commuter cars, and the off-roader? What if you had to stop and choose only one specific vehicle that does it all?

bmw-x5-m-2014-la-auto-show-04

For me, this question is impossibly hard to answer. Your mind immediately goes to high-performance SUVs like the BMW X5 M or the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT-8, because they combine sports car performance with SUV practicality. But in doing so, they kind of lose the best aspects of both: the X5 M and Grand Cherokee SRT8 have such thin performance tires that they’re hardly capable off-roaders. And they’re so bulky and heavy that they don’t really go around corners. They’re good all-rounders, but not great ones; better in theory than in reality.

So then you start thinking of practical sports cars, like the Porsche 911 or the BMW 6 Series. But these things aren’t really family cars: both have back seats that could barely be comfortable for a notecard. And by offering back seats at all, they kind of compromise the true “sports car” nature of the sports car that’s honed so effectively by cars like the Mazda MX-5 Miata and the Honda S2000.

So what’s the answer?

Volvo V60 Polestar, model year 2016

I nominate the Volvo V60 T6, which seems to combine good things about every possible type of vehicle. Under the hood, there’s a 3.0-liter turbocharged 6-cylinder engine that makes 325 horsepower. Performance, check. It’s also a wagon, or at least a long hatchback, so there’s some room in back for both people and luggage. Interior space, check. And there’s standard all-wheel drive in the T6 model, along with an insane amount of typical Volvo safety features. All-weather capability, check. Safety, check.

But of course, there are many fine answers to this question, and I’m sure that not all of them will be the Ford Crown Victoria. So I say to you, what exactly do you think is the best all-around car?

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

264 Comments on “QOTD: What’s the Best All-Around Car?...”


  • avatar
    RangerM

    A 1996 Toyota Camry.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    The Matrix

  • avatar
    Zackman

    My current ride, 2012 Impala. It’s a tall car; easy in, easy out. It’s comfortable for my long commute, lots of power, but could have better mileage. Excellent reliability is a plus, too.

    In other words, whatever your current ride is and if you are happy with it.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      I concur with your answer. My 2013 LT is a great all around car.

    • 0 avatar
      Ianw33

      i would half concur with your statement. i think it is a great value proposition since you can pick on up pretty cheaply (as i did). Lots of room, 300hp, decent HWY MPG.

      However, mine is a 2013, and it still has the same issues my wife had with her 06 cobalt, and i had with my 07 cobalt. Rattles all over the place, and brakes that shake when slowing down from HWY speeds.

      My wife’s cobalt randomly had the airbag light go off and on, the impala is starting to do that now as well. On top of that, the passenger seat sensor now randomly informs me that my passenger is not wearing their seatbelt……when i am the only one in the car…

      i love the concept of a cheap, room, powerful sedan. but with so many little issues cropping up on a 2 year old car, it does not give me much yearning to keep it long term

    • 0 avatar
      gmrn

      I too am representin dubs here

      Rollin in the one-fo Impala… a 2014 LT (Limited, natch)
      Black in color. This is probably why I’m given such a wide berth on the highway for my daily commute. My wife uses it too and adores the acceleration, but thinks the interior is plain and steering too heavy versus her ’15 Odyssey. I picked it up 4 months ago with 26k on the clock, for $14k with the balance of the 100k factory warranty. At our current average, we will be adding 24k miles a year to it.
      For us, it is the correct 300hp tool for the job at hand.

  • avatar
    dwight

    Chrysler 300 AWD. Room. Performance. Power. Affordable.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    A 4Runner, of course.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      Hard to argue with that. The 4Runner is too slow to be any fun but other than that it does just about everything well.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Yup, put me in the 4Runner camp. At the end of the day, if I only have one car, the 4Runner does it all. I love having my FR-S as my commuter/fun car, but I’d say half the time I come across a brilliant road, I’m stuck behind a row of 4 sedans/SUVs with no passing zones. I was tempted to answer CUV; we own one because my wife thought my 4Runner was too big for her to haul the kiddo around in when I got my FR-S. Then I remembered that this question is about *my* car. I had no such issues.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      an innocent man – – –

      I agree with that specific choice, but would like to expand it to the general case:
      Any 4WD, 4-door, 5-passenger intermediate-sized Pickup Truck, Crew Cab, with either short of long bed.

      Can’t think of anything else that would handle almost any situation you could throw at it, except maybe it’s a little weak on MPG for the pure long-distance commuting guy (my 2010 gets 24); and it may be a little weak when treated severely like a sports car: but who does that routinely with any vehicle**?

      ———-
      ** For those who absolutely must use their pickup truck as a sports-cars as well: get one with and manual; add a 2-inch lowering kit; and put on Michelin Pilot Sport tires. Works wonders! If you need more power, add a Pro-Comp or Magnuson supercharger, or get a crate small block LS-1 Chevy for $3,500, but now we are talking major mods.
      ———-

      ==============

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        NOTE:

        I am continuing this discussion almost at the end of the “Comments” section, way down below, at
        August 29th, 2015 at 9:32 pm.

        ==========================

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Doug, the V60 has a piddling, vestigial trunk that makes it hard to call it a wagon. even with the seats down I think there’s barely more than 45 cu ft of cargo space, my bottom-most suggestion below has that space behind the rear seats alone.

    Outback 2.5i is certainly a logical contender, I recently found myself looking at them, went as far as a test drive. It really is an amazing vehicle in its’ latest 2015+ generation. But dammit Subaru, learn to make some half-decent seats, will you?! It used to be too-short seat cushions, and now it’s this ridiculous lumbar support that digs into my back, even when fully adjusted out of the way. People on the forums have taken to taking the entire plastic piece out to remove the lumbar panel altogether. But aside from that, in terms of economy, capability, and interior space the Outback is just about the pinnacle IMO. Their resale is pretty staggering as well, reliability is… well, better than average I suppose assuming they’ve exorcised the headgasket demons from the FB25 motor. It’s more so when they get to be 7-8 years old that there’s a number of things that seem to always crop up (CV boots, wheel bearings, and head gaskets in the past).

    Rav4 or CRV are also strong candidates, with the latest generations fuel economy is reaching mid-size sedan MPGs of just a years ago, even the basic 4 cylinder powertrains are plenty enough power wise, and either of the compact CUVs I just mentioned will give a Grand Cherokee a run for its money in terms of people and cargo space. CRV and Rav4 are down to about 6.7 inches of ground clearance in their current iterations, a far cry from the 8.5-8.7 they had in their 1990s iterations. But for most people that’s just fine, and the Rav4 can even lock its viscous coupling at lower speeds into a 50/50 split, a not-insignificant feature IMO.

    However, I will make the case for the drumroll…. Toyota 4Runner, in SR5 (or Trail) guise. A real world $33-34k ish gets you a stupendously overbuilt truck on a tried and true platform with a tried and true drivetrain that will make it to 250k-300k miles even when neglected. Interior and cargo room meets and exceeds most midsize crossovers like Toyota’s own Highlander, and real world fuel economy is pretty darn close to those same FWD-based crossovers. It will retain value like all get out. Capability off the beaten path is second only to the Wrangler, and it can tow a very decent amount as well. This is of course a highly biased opinion, as I am a current 4Runner owner who keeps trying to justify the cost of a new one to myself. My ’96 has not just not depreciated since I bought it 2 years ago, I could actually sell it for a decent amount more than what I bought it for. For anyone seeking sporty dynamics, this is obviously not an option, but in today’s world of cheap gas prices, I could see the typical midsize crossover shopper being swayed potentially back to a BOF truck.

    • 0 avatar
      an innocent man

      Exatly. Trail trim FoRu.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Except for the awesome resale, why would your average buyer want a 4Runner over a Highlander? The 4Runner has a tigher interior, worse fuel economy, and a truckier ride, and it’s not like the Highlander’s unreliable.

      I mean, I’d rather have the 4Runner, but it’s not the right pick for your average buyer.

      • 0 avatar
        an innocent man

        The question wasn’t about the average buyer. It asked what car ‘I’ would own if i could only own one. And I would want the FoRu.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        In terms of cargo room with seats up and down, 4Runner beats the highlander. Passenger space, the 4Runner’s rear seat seemed every bit as roomy, and actually higher off the ground than the 2014 Highlander. 3rd row is no contest, the optional one in the 4Runner is pretty useless. In terms of ride, yes the highlander pitches around less and is smoother, coming from my ’96 the 2014 SR5 I had as a rental may as well have been a Cadillac, so it’s a matter of perception I suppose.

        As vain as it sounds, but a lot of buyers still like the butch SUV look so that alone might push them into a 4Runner. For me personally, the very real difference in off road capability is a big factor. In July I went camping in a place where if I had a Highlander I would have left most of the fascia on the trail. My 4Runner got off with a few new scrapes and dings in the front skid plate.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          “In terms of ride, yes the highlander pitches around less and is smoother”

          May just be a matter of struts.

          Recently replaced the four struts in our 2008 Highlander Limited 4X4 with four Rancho gas struts and that tightened up the ride enormously. Borders on harsh, now.

          Our 18-yo grand daughter uses this vehicle to go off-road East of El Paso, TX, for her fossil research and that Highlander goes places that stock Wranglers and 4Runners avoid.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Well the 4Runner has a totally different suspension layout (double wishbone front, sold rear axle rear) with a lot of travel, designed to fly down a rutted road without bottoming out, or traverse uneven terrain without running out of wheel articulation. Given those design requirements, yes it sacrifices some on-road manners, and that’s acceptable to me. Like I said, compared to my ’96 on a plenty fresh suspension, the 2014 I drove was a dream. Softer and yet more controlled.

            Let’s not get carried away here, the Highlander would get its guts torn out on any sort of serious off-road escapade. That people in your local are afraid of taking their 4wds offroad is a different story. I can just as easily think of some crazy offroading stories in vehicles nominally way less capable than even that Highlander. I’ve driven across boulder-strewn Siberian steppe near Mongolia in a Lada, with water crossings at bumper height. Most recently I went on a fishing trip over there that involved driving through some scary looking mud puddles and whoops in a 1993 Toyota Corona, with 6 people in the car, while listening to Russian techno. Beat that :)

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Beating a Highlander isn’t necessarily a sign of a spacious cabin. I’m not sure why, but the Highlander trails the best entries in its class by 15-20 cu ft of interior room. See my abuse of Master Baiter’s X5 elsewhere in this thread…

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Interesting observation, considering it looks to be comparable in exterior dimensions to other midsize crossovers and Toyotas in general do a good job of packaging efficiency. Like you mentioned below, the Explorer is a pretty bad offender in this as well. Heavy, not that efficient (I got 21 mpg in all highway driving at 70-72 mph), and not that roomy. I drove a rental 4Runner over the same exact route, and got that very same 21 mpg. So the Explorer gives up a lot of offroad prowess and durability for… a smoother ride? Admittedly the Explorer has a semi-usable third row, something the 4Runner is missing.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            The Highlander isn’t very big inside by virtue of not being very big.

            The Pilot is 3″ wider, 2″ higher. The Explorer is both of those and 6″ longer besides. The Traverse is stretched another 6″ on top of that.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I’m certain each of us has what we consider the best all-around car. It’s obviously subjective. The best for someone who lives in Downtown isn’t the same for the person who lives on the other side of a stream that they have to ford.

    For me, I want something that handles well, is quick, has room for a couple people if I need it, and has the ability to bring home a large object without getting rained on. Reliability would be nice too.
    And so far so good. My Subaru Legacy GT wagon is perfect for me and my fleet sort of revolves around it.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      I agree with what you said, it all depends. Since we’ve become empty nesters, we’ve considered moving to a downtown condo, and that would change our driving habits substantially compared to our close-in suburban driving habits now.

      As it stands now, we have two cars, a sedan and a SUV. I find myself using the SUV far more these days than I do the sedan. There’s room for five, enough cargo capacity to carry what I might want to buy (without a HELOC, at least), good maneuverability and decent fuel mileage. In addition, even though it’s FWD, it has enough clearance to get through our lake-enhanced midwest snowstorms.

      I would vote for a compact SUV.

  • avatar
    andyinatl

    2007 Volvo V70R. This is the last year they made it with the 300 hp turbo motor, before they switched to the 3.2 inline 6. It could also be had with 5 speed manual transmission, all wheel drive, and built-in booster seats :-) Now finding one that is one-owner, and hasn’t been just killed by some kid, that’s another story

    • 0 avatar
      doublechili

      I thought of that one too. The MT is a must, so that limits the field (and eliminates the Macan, for example).

      Another one for me would be the recently-discontinued Acura TL SH-AWD with MT. Not off-road, but it checks most of the other boxes for a family sedan. And has not just any old MT, but a great one.

    • 0 avatar
      MUSASHI66

      Best car, not best lawn ornament ;)

  • avatar

    Easy answer.

    The best car will go anywhere. It will handle track days with equal aplomb as sitting in traffic on 128, 77 or the 5.

    It is a personal car but also one that can transport people while being flexible enough to swallow all kinds of cargo inside and roof mounted items outside…without the need for a crane or step ladder to retrieve things from there.

    It can go anywhere a road car should be able to go – at any time, in any weather.

    The best car is hyperformance but affordable too and is so obvious a choice, you will say: “Of course!”

    Sadly, it is unavailable.

    It was the 5-door Subaru STi.

  • avatar
    Boff

    M3 wagon with snow tires.

  • avatar

    In Texas, the answer is Suburban. 650 miles to a tank for crossing a 900-mile wide state. Holds everybody and everything. Tows whatever. Not showy but nice enough for a fancy dinner, yet not too fancy to make you feel like a douche out in the back woods. Reliable. Doesn’t display wealth at all. Worth something when you’re done with it. And you don’t mind banging it up a bit.

    Like most Texans with a family, I’ve owned a few…

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “Doesn’t display wealth at all”

      The new ones are like $50k+ dollars for even a basic one, how is that not displaying wealth ‘at all?’

      Now an older one, say a GMT800 body truck, I agree with you on all points.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        There are parts of Texas where a new Mitsubishi Mirage is a display of wealth.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Most people don’t look at a Suburban as a display as wealth. It’s just a big Chevy SUV that has been around forever. All the current BoF mainstream SUVs are vehicles that may be expensive, but they don’t display wealth driving down the road.

        It’s part of the reason why the people that buy the Yukon are more well off and loyal to the product than those who buy an Escalade.

        • 0 avatar
          ponchoman49

          You just need to be wealthy to afford one plus the gas, higher insurance and those expensive tires.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Oh yes, you need to be pretty wealthy to own a new one, but a Yukon/Tahoe does not elicit the same reaction as a Mercedes or BMW SUV, Land Rover, or Escalade.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          Exactly, the Yukon (and top-trim Tahoe, and Land Cruiser) is kind of the secret hand shake of the wealthy set, letting other wealthy people know you’re wealthy too but aren’t trying to show off to the plebes.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Yep. Even the Expedition qualifies. My last boss had a white Expedition King Ranch that was as stealth wealth as it gets. My current boss has a Lexus GX. That car doesn’t turn heads, but other people with money know what’s up with it.

            He won’t buy the new GX because of the Predator face. He’s says he’s going to have to buy a domestic SUV or a Land Cruiser.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Suburban XLT: the humblebrag of the 1%

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I’m not sure the GM BOF SUVs are stealth anymore — I think the current generation is showier than previous ones, and everyone knows how much they cost. A loaded Burban is definitely not AS showy as a Denali or Escalade, though.

          Now the Land Cruiser… that I’ll agree with.

          But I couldn’t own one as my do-everything vehicle because it won’t fit in the parking spots of lots of places I go, or for that matter even the parking spots at my condo. (In Texas, you don’t have that problem.) And because I’d hate driving it.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            They’re about as stealthy as Air Force One, or any other vehicle in Obama’s motorcade. You may not look “wealthy”, but you do look like you’re with some rather sinister 3 letter agency.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Everyone who’s Anyone in Siberia (Novosibirsk, Biysk) drives a 200 series Land Cruiser, or to really show the plebs, an LX570. In the center of Novosibirsk, I could swear every 4th vehicle was a black Land Cruiser. Mind you, these aren’t used RHD imports like back in the day (there are JDM 80 series all over the place as well), these are legit LHD 5.7L V8 variants bought new from the dealer. Not many Mercedes or BMW cars or SUVs around, it’s Land Cruiser or bust for the well heeled over there.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Let me guess: 5% tinted windows (including the windshield), corruptly obtained plates, plenty of guns and/or bats and/or metal pipes inside?

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            dal,

            thankfully not. The “wild 90s” as they are called in Russia are long over. These were mostly successful small business owners, financial sector people, trophy wives. The oligarchs and mobsters went legit, or at least underground for the most part. Easier in the long run to buy someone’s business out than to order a hit on them. In the 90s, it was the black, tinted out 80 series land cruiser with a brush guard that signaled you meant business in Siberia. ZJ Grand Cherokees were also respected.

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            dal20402 – – –

            These comments apply to a pickup not fitting in your garage, which you listed down below:

            1) What is the width and height of your garage door?
            2) What is the depth of your garage?

            I am a bit surprised that leaving your vehicles outside in winter caused all that damage. Where do you live?

            ===============

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      +1

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        I have to agree with Suburban/Yukon XL/Escalade ESV. It can do just about everything a car can reasonably well. Lots and lots of space, good towing prowess, comfortable for 8, off road ability, etc. Even its fuel economy is no worse than a large sedan. Once you get used to it, its even pretty easy to park/maneuver.

        Price wise, its not an economy car, but a Suburban LT is really mid-price on the automotive spectrum these days. Its about the same as a low-spec 5-Series or half or a well-equipped Range Rover.

        Sure, it may not ignite a fire in the pants of “Enthusiasts”, but its impossible to check ALL the boxes, this one just checks MOST of them.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    For me the best overall would be the Ford Flex ECOBoost. It combines space,quiet, and my kinda style. What would make them perfect? A 9/10 speed auto, 500lb weight reduction, and of course a 3.0 diesel/hybrid with a larger fuel tank of 22 gallons. Can you imagine getting about 800 miles out of a tank..love it.. I still find myself looking at them even today. In three years if they are still making them I will give my CX-9 to my brother and upgrade.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    VW GTi

  • avatar
    BDT

    Jeep SRT. Commute, race, tow, off-road, haul. Done.

    • 0 avatar

      I thought the central exhaust placement eliminated ability to tow. Or was that just in the first year or two?

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I’d love to see an SRT try to go down something even slightly more extreme than a gravel road. That low hanging front bumper and low-profile summer tires would be toast. Hell I don’t think an SRT would live for very long on the Siberian “roads” I just got back from, my uncle’s little 1982 Lada 21011 is a more durable vehicle under those circumstances.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Exactly. The off-road vs. track polarity eliminates all those ribbon-tired road performance SUVS and makes this an impossible question to answer.

        Ford Raptor probably comes closer to his criteria, assuming “race” means “Baja” or 1/4 mile drag.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    In the past (5-10 years ago) I would have said no doubt a BMW 3 or 5 series. Room for people and stuff, handles great, sounds great, ride was perfect blend of sport and comfort, quiet on the highway. It was equally good gobbling interstate miles as in the twisties.

    Now, they’ve lost a lot. Luxurious yes, but the sport is really mostly gone.

    Not sure now what I’d pick

    • 0 avatar
      baconator

      That was my answer, too, but my last BMW was an ’07 and I couldn’t be enticed into the current 3 or 5 when that one was paid off. BMW has subtracted out a lot of the backroads fun, and the big-diameter wheels with run-flat tires have taken the supple ride quality away.

      My wife is considering a VW GTI, which is a good all-rounder answer if you don’t have older / taller children and don’t need to carry stuff. For me, front-wheel-drive is a deal breaker for an “only” car.

      So…WRX STi maybe?

  • avatar
    energetik9

    911 Carerra C4S, but I might be biased. Great daily driver, reliable, AWD, decent MPG, doubles as a weekend fun car.

  • avatar
    burnbomber

    Whatever commuter/beater you have at the moment. Something to take the miles without concern, take you to work or take you to the hardware store for a load of bagged mulch or concrete mix.

    If you can’t carry crap in it, it’s not a best, all around car. You’ve got to be able to jump in it to go to the hardware store when you’re covered in grime, too.

    My current vehicle of choice to carry bagged mortar mix is a GM N-body. I can carry 8 bags on the folded down rear seat, or almost 20 in the trailer behind. And every time you throw one into the back seat, a little puff of air comes out of the bag top that carries the powdered cement out, too. Want that in your BMW? I’ve done that in my Miata (a big load is only 2 bags), but have to vacuum up the cement powder before it gets wet and hardens.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    Sierra SLT All Terrain 4×4 Crew cab with 6.2L, and aluminum roll up tonneau cover

    • 0 avatar
      BunkerMan

      As a fellow Canadian, I agree, although I personally like Ford. Mine’s a 4×4 XTR crew cab with a tri-fold hard tonneau cover. A 4×4 crew cab hauls the family and all their stuff. It has the ground clearance needed for our snow storms (16′ total snow here last winter) and a good set of all-terrain tires are good in most storms. The hard tonneau cover gives a lot of lockable storage too.

      No, they won’t carve the corners like a Miata, but they are quick enough in most situations.

      Besides, they will tow the trailer that has all the fun toys on it anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        Agreed, davefromcalgary. I like the Dodge Powerwagon, but I would take anything from the 4-door Taco on up. They are family sedans that can tow and haul. They are suburban sports equipment and Home Depot haulers, rural workhorses, hunting, fishing, winter sports and off-road warriors. They are tall and have large windows. You can equip them however you like and pay for anything from tradesman to platinum.

  • avatar
    Cabriolet

    I had them all and finally settled on my VW GTI. A fun car, lots of power, a nice ride and with the back seat folded a ton of room for my needs. I understand the the love for a Subaru but being a former owner i still have nightmares about that car. My wife also drives a GTI and she loves it. To be honest my car is going on 5 years old and i was thinking about trading it in but after looking over the current supply of new cars i think i will keep what i have. I service both cars myself and so far both of them have been bulletproof. If i do have a problem i might rethink about trading the car in but the car fills all of my needs. I will be 80 years old next year and i still get a charge every time i drive this car.

  • avatar
    tbp0701

    I tried to answer this a few years ago. I needed a new car mainly for commuting 80+ miles a day in the NE Ohio snowbelt often at odd hours. I also wanted something engaging but reliable, reasonably practical and didn’t cost a tremendous amount to own (which negated the WRX when I asked for an insurance quote). And as I sadly spend more time working than spending money, I could afford about anything non exotic. So I test drove a lot of cars and surprised myself by buying a Mazda 3.

    So, there’s my nomination, the simple, efficient, low cost but still fun Mazda 3. At least with a manual. Boring answer, but there you go.

    My personal runners up: BMW 328i (couldn’t convince myself to do it), Subaru Legacy GT (fuel cost was an issue and a lot of them seemed to need engine replacement), WRX (insurance!), 1st gen. Acura TSX (good all around but not quite awesome in any area; actually if the Mazda 3’s back seats aren’t roomy enough for someone I’d nominate this car).

  • avatar
    Mike N.

    Previously owned a GTIP. I looked at the V60, it’s a beautiful bar, but the swoopy styling negated all the usefulness of the wagon body. A better car in the same vein is the 328i Touring. Much more useful wagon area. I ended up getting a year old X5 diesel for the same price as a well equipped 328iT, and I love it.

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    Audi S4 or S6.
    Both do everything incredibly well.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Except for the whole “staying out of the dealership service bay” thing ;P

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      If you mean the first generation S6, I have to agree with you, and I very nearly bought one recently. They were spacious, comfortable and reasonably quick, and very well built for their time. Not many left that don’t need a restoration now though, and some parts are hilariously expensive.
      I always thought they looked really boring, but that makes them easier to ‘hide’ in traffic too.

      • 0 avatar
        ZCD2.7T

        I was actually referring to the current version (C7, in Audi-speak – like my DD which is in my Avatar), but all of the S6s have been exceptionally versatile cars.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Time will tell, I stand by the assertion that VAG cars, unless basic models equipped with the agrarian 8 valve 2.0L or stout 2.5L are utterly disposable automobiles that should be sent straight to the yard once their warranties run out, for the benefit of the sanity of any would-be used buyers.

          • 0 avatar
            ZCD2.7T

            Time has told.

            We’re currently driving our 5th and 6th Audis (the other is a Q5 TDi), and the last 4 have been as reliable as the Acuras we drove previously, while at the same time being true joys to drive.

    • 0 avatar
      JD23

      I’d go with S4. I have an A4 and think it would be nearly the perfect all-around car with a bit more power.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    For me it’s my current vehicle, a Land Rover LR4. I needed something that could haul dogs, mountain bikes, something that I could sleep in while camping and something that would pull a boat. And I love British cars, quirks and all…hence choosing a Land Rover over a Tahoe, for example, which would also meet these needs.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    This is TTAC, obviously the answer is a brown, diesel wagon with a manual transmission.

    Others wiser than me have often mentioned 1) a VW wagon as being all that any family would need for about 95% percent of their daily requirements (a Forester would probably also qualify) 2) others recommend a minivan as meeting all of a family’s requirements.

    The only qualifier being that their 2nd car is a Miata.

  • avatar
    Hamilton Guy

    Dodge Grand Caravan/Chrysler Town & Country.
    Can haul lots of people/stuff/dogs etc.
    Reasonably economical, but the 3.6 has lots of giddy-up when you need it.
    With decent snows it handles winter conditions well.
    Comfortable ride for a long haul drive.

  • avatar
    Acd

    For value, room, comfort, luxury, performance, handling, cargo space, build quality and the ability to make all who see you envious there is only one choice: Humber Super Snipe.

  • avatar

    THE CAR THAT’S PAID OFF.

    • 0 avatar
      Waftable Torque aka Daniel Ho

      Yes, because you would never lease, would you, BTR?

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      +1. There’s a lot to be said for paid-for.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Beat me to it.

    • 0 avatar
      stevelovescars

      Yup, my brown 2002 Taurus SEL Wagon that’s paid off is the perfect daily driver. I found it on Craigslist last year with 25k miles on it for the price of sales tax alone on a new 3-series.

      Good in snow, roomy, third row “way back” seat, cheap to run, and it allows me to keep my vintage cars for nicer days and non-winter driving. Is it fun to drive? Who cares, it usually has my 11 and 6 year old kids riding along and I don’t really care if they eat in it.

      Before kids, I thought my 1991 Miata was the perfect daily driver. It was easy to park, never needed any mechanical attention, got decent fuel economy, and made me grin every time I drove it. Needs change.

      Frankly, I don’t understand the apparent obsession with off-road capability in the answers here. I could potentially understand the need to tow if one’s hobbies dictated the need for a trailer, but real off-road capabilities seems to be a need for a very small percentage of people.

    • 0 avatar
      86Sierra

      Paid for W-body! My ’05 Grand Prix commutes 65 miles a day, fits 2 growing kids, swallows mountain/road bikes with seats folded, and returns mpg in the high 20’s. It has 208,000 miles and is a smooth, mildly entertaining ride but the trans worries me. Waiting for it to die and thinking an Accord sport manual as replacement. Or maybe a golf sportwagen or Subaru…

  • avatar
    pbr

    Dodge Charger. V6 if you’re smart.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Your avatar makes me thirsty! Love Pabst.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      Just had one as a rental and loved nearly all of the 700 miles I put on it. Even in base trim I was happy with it. I just have no desire to own another vehicle 200 inches in length when it’s usually me or the wife in the car. And we have an Odyssey for kid duty and other family, so we don’t need the space.

      I only wish the wagon still existed, albeit in a more utilitarian form than the form over function Magnum was. Then it would be one of the best all around cars out there.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Subaru Forester XT

    My first inclination was 4Runner Trail, but 21mpg hwy is not good enough to achieve all-around status.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    For where I am right now (no snow, thank God… smooth roads, kids in a few years) probably a GTI. Fun to drive, economical, fits rear facing seats handily, can haul a lot of stuff. Just weary about owning one out of warranty. For the money there are other cars that do certain things better but the overall sum is not as high.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Vaporware:

    Durango SRT
    Crosstrek STI
    GTI Wagon
    228 5-Door Hatch

    Real:

    Sienna AWD minivan with coilovers and non-runflat UHP All Seasons
    16 Tacoma V6 6MT with aftermarket suspension stuff

    Holy Crap, I just read further down the TTAC site and see that a Durango SRT may be coming. I’ll be talking to my dealership guy TODAY.

  • avatar
    Waftable Torque aka Daniel Ho

    The best daily driver for me would be a K900, Equus, or LS460L, with a set of winter tires. I discovered that there really is no downside to big powerful cars other than economic, and that midsize cars like an ES, E-Class, or Genesis can’t duplicate the comfort that comes with a long wheelbase, road hugging curb weight, and softly sprung suspensions.

  • avatar
    chaparral

    There is a right answer, and it’s a lot more modest than the lumbering beasts everyone else is suggesting.

    What can’t a Ford Fiesta ST do? You could drive an autocross on Saturday, go to the track on Sunday, take the freeway to work and the back roads home all week, cram in all the grocery shopping one night, take four adults with an average height of 5’8″ or less out for an evening in the city, and never think the car came up short in any way.

  • avatar
    Vojta Dobeš

    Škoda Octavia Scout, obviously.

    As Jeremy Clarkson once said, the only car everyone needs is a Golf. Add a bigger trunk and off-road capability to the Golf, and you have Octavia Scout.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    X5

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Sized like a truck outside, and like a small hatchback inside.

      • 0 avatar
        Master Baiter

        A GTI has 46 cubic feet of cargo space. An X5 has 66 cubic feet of cargo space, so 43% more. So you’re wrong, but thanks for playing.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          An X5 has 66 feet of cargo space. And it claims to be a “large crossover,” and has the 4930 – 4930!! – pound curb weight to back it up. That’s a pathetic joke, even if it beats a GTI that weighs almost a ton less. It’s for moms to show how rich they are, not for utility.

          Midsize crossovers that weigh more than half a ton less and are more than a foot shorter have it beat handily.

          Forester = 75 cu ft
          RAV4 = 73 cu ft
          CR-V = 71 cu ft

          In the actual large crossover class, you have these:

          Traverse = 116 cu ft
          Pilot = 109 cu ft
          Durango (RWD!) = 85 cu ft
          Highlander = 84 cu ft
          Explorer (known for poor packaging) = 82 cu ft
          Santa Fe (really a midsize) = 80 cu ft

          A while ago there was a QOTD about vehicles that make you irrationally angry. My answer was the Range Rover Evoque, the toy poodle of cars. I forgot about the X5, which is the concentrated essence of American fatness.

          • 0 avatar
            Master Baiter

            I owned a CR-V. At 80 MPH, it sounds like the engine is going to explode. You can’t compare the luxury and ride of an X5 to a CR-V or RAV4.

            The question was, what’s the best overall car. Not what’s the best overall value, or what has the highest ratio of cargo room/$.

            My wife’s Odyssey has 148 cubic feet of cargo space and costs half of what an X5 does. I’d rather drive the X5.

          • 0 avatar
            Zykotec

            @Master Baiter.
            What kind of tires did you have on your CR-V, because it has been impossible to hear the engine at 80mph because of road noise in both my 2ng gen CR-V’s and in my 3rd gen with an auto I believe it had just above 2000 rpm at 80 in 5th gear (that was one boring car…)

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            My point is not that people shouldn’t value luxury, my point is that the X5 is cynical junk engineering. How does an OEM even use 4930 pounds of materials to surround a box-shaped space the size of the X5’s interior? And how can it claim that a 4930-pound vehicle is a “driving machine?”

            BMW’s own X3, although still a porker, shows how poorly the X5 was conceived. It’s got just two cubes less of interior space and weighs about 800 pounds less dependent on trim. I’ll grant the X5 may be quieter — I haven’t been inside a current-gen X5, but the X3 is a bit noisy and rough. Still, other vehicles, notably the 2016 Q7, make the same point pretty well.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      We just got a CPO X5. I really like BMW’s, but I really don’t like the X5. Sure, it handles well for what it is, but it’s thirsty, big, heavy and so far, a PITA to own because of repairs after only 4 months.

      Overly complex for the sake of being complex.

      Big time buyers remorse.

  • avatar
    Feds

    Now that I’ve turned up the boost and fixed the gearing with taller tires, I’ll stick with this one:

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/reader-review-1993-mitsubishi-delica-super-exceed/

    Quiet on the highway, room for 7, room to sleep 2 or 3, does the Home Depot run, laughs at weather, tows whatever you want it to, something like a foot of clear space under the rocker panels, and goes around a track fast enough to scare Mr. Baruth a little.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    My former 1985 Chrysler LeBaron GTS comes to mind – roomy front and back, large hatchback, 5-spd stick, good on gas, comfortable on the highway, and good-looking for the time.

    I hauled everything from 2x12s to 1200 lbs of cement in it. Thankfully, it wasn’t a turbo.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      My 2009 Kia Sedona (or any long wheelbase minivan post 1996)…

      I can haul 4×8 sheets of drywall with the hatch closed, then transport 7 people someplace, while towing 3500 lbs of trailer.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    What would be perfect to me would be something Subaru doesn’t make anymore, an Outback with a manual transmission.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Prius or prius v are about the best cara to own. They suck to drive.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    A 2015 Jeep Renegade. While not perfect, it meets almost all the needs for fun, carrying people and utility as long as you don’t have a gigantic family. It’s a good on-road car that’s got enough performance and agility to sport around, yet goes off-road better than almost any non-Jeep at twice the price and higher; though maybe not as quickly as some. It’s small and economical enough to be a good commuter, yet large enough that it seats four quite comfortably.

    If I had to have one single vehicle today, I would choose the Renegade. But fortunately I’m not that constrained any more. My wife’s car is a Fiat 500 which she absolutely loves due to its agility, performance and economy while mine is a ’97 Ford Ranger which I like for its agility, economy and utility. Our “winter beater” is an ’08 Wrangler Unlimited which also serves as our long-distance driver due to a need to carry more inside than the Fiat and the occasional need to take muddy roads to reach our destination. It WILL be replaced by a Renegade–unless, of course, the Gladiator arrives to take the place of both Wrangler and Ranger.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Have you driven the Renegade?

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        “Have you driven the Renegade?”

        *nyuk nyuk*

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        @bball40dtw: Yes. Why?

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Because I rode in my FCA engineer neighbor’s Renegade the other day and I found it to be a hateful little beast. It’s cheap, so I probably shouldn’t judge it too harshly.

          It would work for someone that wants a cheap small vehicle to go offroad once in awhile, but I couldn’t live with it on a daily basis.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I would first suggest you go look at a production model, not an engineer’s pre-production model. I would also question exactly which model you were riding, as there are four different, with two different engine/trans options along other ‘features’.

            I’ve read reviews, even here, complaining about how cheap and weak the Fiat 500 is, yet I absolutely love my ’14 Fiat 500 Pop for its sporty handling, quick (albeit not outstanding) acceleration with the base engine and great economy. I love the fact that I can go 300 miles on roughly $20 worth of gas using Premium.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Lexus LS. Duh.

    “Alan Mulally, who recently replaced Tom Ford as the CEO of Ford, admitted to journalists that he drives a Lexus LS430 because “it’s the finest car in the world.” After studying all the cars on the market, he found the Lexus was the best”

    http://www.motorauthority.com/news/1029165_new-ford-ceo-admits-to-driving-a-lexus-ls430

    But if we want to break it down by category:

    BEST VALUES

    30-40K
    Lex LS460 09-12

    20-30K
    Volvo S80 I6 FWD 07-14
    Volvo S60 I4 FWD 10-15
    Toyota Prius 14-15 (high 20s)
    Lexus LS460 07-09 (depends on miles/cond)

    10-20K
    Ford Mustang GT 07-12
    Ford Mustang V6 12-13
    Toyonda Camcord 07-13
    Lincoln Zephyr FWD 10-12
    Chevrolet Volt 11-13
    Toyota Prius 10-14
    Lexus LS430 01-06

    With the exception of Volt, all are mature platforms and other than the newer Ford V6 and V8 in the Mustangs, the powertrains are old and proven.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Now that 2013 MKZs are starting to hit Lincoln showrooms as CPO vehicles, 2010-12 MKZs have dropped in price. The dealer by me has a few with under 30K miles, with a CPO warranty, pretty close to $15K. There is definitely value there.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Wonderful, beautiful car, but not that versatile. If the tinfoil-hatters’ worst fears came true, President Clinton’s black (or are they UN light blue?) helicopters came for my cars (and guns), and I had to keep just one of the LS and the Forester, I’d reluctantly have to choose the Forester. Better for snow/mud/rocks and for carrying messy kids and bulky stuff.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I figured the LWB version would be sufficient for families, and it can be had in AWD (although I agree it was not intended for any kind of offroading and the Subbie is better in this respect).

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          The LWB version would be amazing for car seats. Even the SWB fits our bulky one with the front seat all the way back and a few inches to spare. It’s more the occasional chair/nighttable/bookshelf, the inevitable milk/Cheerios crumbs, and the snowshoeing/hiking trailhead that would prevent me from using as LS as our family’s only car.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Good points. I think I want an LS460 now but there’s the cost and the fact I don’t need it right now, however over the next three years I may need something large enough for a wife/child (and I like cars).

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            [Oops; edited instead of posting a new comment]

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I was looking at MY11-12 because MY13 stops having a front bumper (and I kinda want a bumper). MY12s were trading mid to high 30s last I checked so I figure in a year or two they should trade in the low 30s like MY10 does now. I think AWD kicks it up a few Gs, and I want a LWB vs SWB. The hybrid still trades in the 60s [!] with sub 20K miles (incidentally a LS600h with 49K miles did $49K).

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            If you stick to 2011-up the control arms aren’t a problem. I was willing to spend about 2011 money, but for whatever reason fully loaded RWD SWBs are nearly impossible to find after 2008. I think the people who were willing to splash out the cash for the goodies all started buying AWD versions. If you want a LWB you shouldn’t have that problem. Look for one with the Luxury and Rear Seat Upgrade packages. More practical (and cheaper) than the four-seat Executive, but with all the fun bits except the ottoman.

            My issue with the hybrid is the curb weight. Most of that is the battery, a bit of it is that they all are LWB with AWD. That powertrain is just dreamy, though.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            What is in a “fully loaded” LS460? I would think most of the features are standard at that price point.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            There are a surprising number of things that aren’t standard, although some of them are very common as options (nav, Mark Levinson stereo, soft-close doors, cooled front seats, heated wheel). These are the goodies that are actually hard to find:

            – Full leather treatment (notably the door armrests/pulls, which are soft-touch plastic and feel a bit out of place in the basic LS)
            – Semi-aniline leather
            – Four-zone climate control (LWB only)
            – Cooled, power-adjustable, memory rear seats
            – Radar cruise and pre-collision brake assist
            – Self-parking feature

            My car has all of the above except radar cruise, which was a very rare option in the early years, and the LWB-only four-zone climate. I was really looking for the full-leather option, but it comes in a package with some of the others.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Thanks for the reply. The more common options I would be interested in, but not so much the rarer ones (although radar cruise sounds intriguing).

  • avatar
    Messerschmitten

    The Honda Fit (any year). With an exemplary ability to morph its capacious interior into many shapes and its indestructible mechanicals, it is the veritable Dung Beetle of the modern automotive jungle.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      My empty-nester parents use their Honda Fit full-time as a little 35mpg pickup for their hobby farm hauling bee hives and such. Seems to be holding up to the abuse, rear shocks are showing a little moistness finally (it’s an ’07).

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    A medium to large hatchback sedan with a trailer hitch,manual rwd or preferably rwd biased 4wd, depending on where you live.
    So, I guess I will have to admit the BMW X4 actually is one of the best modern alternatives to my old Ford Sierra.
    As I’m not wealthy, have two small boys and an old house to work on that takes too much time for me to work on my car projects, I have had to ‘settle for’ a 2nd gen Honda CR-V, which, apart from being mostly fwd and lacks some driver comfort is a darn good jack of all trades, especially if you live somewhere where a 0-60 time of 10 seconds is seen as ‘decent enough’ and where we are allowed to tow with most cars.
    PS: All CR-V’s since 2005 have been available (and still are) over here with a diesel and a manual, and some colours that resemble a shade of brown…
    And , if the Crosstour existed over here, and with a manual, I would take one for a test drive…

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    In my not-so-humble opinion, this is the type of question that separates the car/driving enthusiasts from the forum/benchracing/wannabe enthusiasts.

    Real enthusiast: What’s the absolute sportiest/most fun toy I can cram my life into? Appropriate answers are things like 911 (any), M3/M4 (coupe or sedan), Evo/STi, GTI, Mustang/Camaro, etc etc etc. Cars that are primarily fun to drive, but have just enough practicality (read: back seat) to slide it past the wife. Buy some snow tires for the winter and suck it up.

    For the poseurs, you have people who suggest things like wagons and (non-offroad going, that’s different) SUVs and such, which says “I am prioritizing my monthly trip to Ikea over having a fun car.”

    My ideal answer would be “911, any RWD unless it’s a turbo” but in the real world where money counts it’s something like a GTI/Civic Si/Evo/STi/WRX/E46 stick, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      Once you need more than just two rear seats, it’s a lot harder to be the ‘driving enthusiast’. As for being a car enhusiast, I also really appreciate good looking cars as much as driving which tends to exclude any Sti, Evo, or VW. And I really dislike cars that are heavy, quiet and has too many gadgets, which more or less excluding anything German built after 1983.
      I’d rather get the most practical car for the family , and then modify it to meet my personal needs.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        “And I really dislike cars that are heavy, quiet and has too many gadgets, which more or less excluding anything German built after 1983.
        I’d rather get the most practical car for the family , and then modify it to meet my personal needs.”

        Those two statements make no sense together. “I think an E36/E39/E34/E46/E90 is too quiet, heavy, and gadget laden, so I’d rather have a CUV or minivan???”

        • 0 avatar
          Zykotec

          My 2002 CR-V weights less than most of the cars you listed ( if in touring form with a straight 6) , probably has less than half the soundproofing of a Mk3 Golf Gti, and has less equipment than a new Mirage.
          It also feels a lot more lightfooted and quicker (at least below highway speeds) than the E34 525iX I replaced it with.
          And, with lowering springs and konis it even drives decently at highway speeds.
          PS, if I only had two children, there would be very few cars I couldn’t use as a DD. My younger brothers Integra Type-R could be a perfectly viably family hauler, as would a Sierra Cosworth. Neither is very cheap to buy though…

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      S2K Chris, I’m a fan of your comments, but I just wanted to discuss in this case the distinctions of car enthusiast vs driving enthusiast, vs “bench racer wannabes”.

      I am a car enthusiast. I love the tech (isn’t the VR6 one of the most awesome technical concepts ever???), the business is fascinating, in an eldritch “cthulhu just ate a freight train and I can’t look away” kind of way, and I enjoy have a nice car, thats suits my definition. In my case, it’s comfortable for the long straight highway jaunts that are an unavoidable part of my life, and hauls ass nicely up an on ramp or highway grade. Its not a great handler, but that doesn’t really bother me because only the odd road trip is into the mountains. So, I actually enjoy the task of driving, and my car makes the task of driving enjoyable, and I can competently handle my car (on the road, I would probably suck on a track at first), and I prioritize a car that suits my needs. A car that can fit our stuff and coddle us on the road to me is satisfying, and I don’t think it hurts my enthusiast cred that I am pleased to have a car that fits my needs.

      I dont know whether or not you are a car enthusiast to my definition above, but you are definitely a driving enthusiast. I think thats really cool, that you and your wife have made it a priority to have that sweet S2k in the garage (just based on my memory of your previous posts).

      The reason I bring this up is that your comment implies that a “real car/driving” enthusiast must have the sportiest option around, or they are just a bench racer.

      “Real enthusiast: What’s the absolute sportiest/most fun toy I can cram my life into? ”

      My Verano T is NOT the absolute sportiest, but we cram our life into it and like it (or, we like what it should be, lemon-ness notwithstanding). It’s painful in the mountains (very rolly polly, worst handling car I’ve owned) but like I said, thats a lower factor. I just take exception to the notion that not having the sportiest available option to suit a need invalidates ones car enthusiasm. I would restate your statement as:

      “Real enthusiast: What’s the absolute most satisfying to me car I can cram my life into?”

      Depends on what satisfies you in a car, no?

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Not every enthusiast prizes sporty over everything else, except in the track context. There’s more than one kind of automotive enthusiasm.

      When (let’s be real) essentially all of my driving consists of either three-lane roads with solid 30 mph traffic or crowded freeways sometimes with stop-and-go and sometimes with a wall of traffic moving at 60 mph, what good does a bit of extra grip or power do me? The reason I sold my G8 GXP, which is an excellent answer to this question the way you framed it, is that I realized I had had just one good chance to work it out in the previous three years, and it wasn’t worth putting up with the low-rent interior, rattles, and sometimes harsh ride in exchange for that little use of its potential.

      So I redirected my enthusiasm to build quality, quiet, and toys and bought my Lexus LS. Its virtues are ones I can appreciate on every drive, not the once in every ten blue moons when I’m on a mountain road and not driving the hiking-skiing-mobile.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I’m an enthusiast of automobiles, I’m a hardcore gearhead and engineer who can appreciate the brilliance of a Prius powertrain, or the brutal simplicity of a Tata Nano. I’m particularly fond of 4wd vehicles, perhaps due to the sheer amount of mechanical bits and pieces they contain and the science of finding the most possible grip through wheel articulation, locking differentials, etc. I also like to work on my cars, for the satisfaction that I have the knowledge and skill to undertake such tasks, as well as knowing the job was done right.

      Pray tell me, how am I any less of an enthusiast than you? Time comes and I’ll be driving a Sienna full of kids, and I’ll be the same enthusiast I always was.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        May I recommend the AWD Sienna?

        My daughter has one and her AWD Sienna has been seen frolicking in beach sand at the water’s edge and has never been stuck anywhere; from the snowy ski-slopes of Telluride, CO, in the dead of winter, to the beaches of the Gulf in summer, and the muddy roads of Texas and Oklahoma during the monsoon season.

        • 0 avatar
          dolorean

          I could say the same for the ’77 Pontiac Catalina that I owned twenty years ago. Factory optioned to have load levelers on the rear suspension in order to tow with a posi-lock rear diff. Ground clearance was surprisingly good for a nearly 17 foot long car that weighed almost three short tons. I could drive myself and seven people across the massive crushed blue mousefur bench seating (yes, there were lapbelts for the middle passengers) onto any beach in North Carolina. Open the yawning trunk to remove the two coolers of bevs and food, hibachi and bbq junk, and all the beach equipment necessary for a day/night.

          If it hadn’t STB at 300k miles, I woulda drove it into the milennium regardless of the laughable mpgs it got.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      BMW wagon. Goes to IKEA or around a racetrack equally well (and mine has done both). Entirely adequate in snow with appropriate footwear, even in RWD trim. Fits the family and their stuff. The perfect car, which is why I own one, as does seemingly 1/2 of Europe.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    I look for:

    – Room for the family.
    – Some cargo space.
    – Tow capability for unusual situations.
    – Economical to buy and operate.

    Something like a compact wagon, ideally a hybrid, with tow capability but nobody makes such a thing.

    A CUV is about as close to that as one can get and there are several good choices in that space; I lean towards the Mazda CX-5.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Reluctantly say 4Runner, only because I want one, should have bought one instead of the Volvo GLT I just bought and don’t want to add to the chorus of praise keeping resale value on ‘Runners up in the stratosphere.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    NV200 or Transit Connect.

    Decisions, decisions.

  • avatar
    EvilEdHarris

    America has answered this question already… just look at the sales figures. The crew cab 1/2 ton pick-up truck is the best all around vehicle. Despite the dismal fuel economy it is able to be a comfortable family hauler with a generous sized back seat (bigger than most full size luxury cars). Can come with a premium interior, I would not go as far as to call any of the interiors luxurious but they are very nice. They can haul boats and other toys easily and without trouble as well as make all the Home Depot runs people imagine they would do but never end up doing.

    I think you get the idea… Tell me I’m wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @EvilEdHarris: “I think you get the idea… Tell me I’m wrong.”

      Ok, you’re wrong. The average price of the vehicle you describe is well out of the reach of the average driver. While it may be the single most popular vehicle type in the US, that is at least in part due to fleet sales where they are purchased at the lowest price possible. Actual retail sales are significantly lower and surpassed in general by mid-sized SUV/CUVs and smaller. Those models don’t carry the profits of the full-sized pickup, however.

    • 0 avatar
      Master Baiter

      You’re wrong. Pickups ride like buckboards. Anything that can carry half a ton is going to ride like a$$ when it’s empty.

      • 0 avatar
        EvilEdHarris

        Interesting point, but for the sake of argument; I’d challenge whether or not your comment considers a 1/2 ton built after 2012.

        Either way most folks have already said it… there is no perfect all around vehicle which is why most families/folks own more than one type of vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Master – – –

        Please go to your local Dodge/Ram/Jeep/etc dealer.
        Ask the nice man if you can take out a new 1500 with Hemi for a test drive.
        Then get back to us a tell us how you think it rides.

        (I just did that, and found that coil springs all around with a completely empty truck have now solved the problem of ride-chop when unladen. It is smooth, powerful, and comfortable.)

        ================

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Mercedes E63 AMG wagon. Room for five, hauling capability, AWD, and 0-60 in 3.4 seconds.

    Make mine Cardinal Red.

    (Now, how much does a kidney go for these days?)

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    There isn’t one vehicle that does it all and we all know it. There’s your favorite vehicle and my favorite vehicle and it will differ depending on what you want out of your driving life.

    Nothing can handle both the track and off roading. Those that seem to come closest (Range Rover?, Cayenne?) are expensive and prone to breaking. Family hauler that can do track or family hauler that can do off-roading? Now you’ve got some options. Engaging commuter? You’ve got options there too.

    You try to do it all and you get some damned cross-bred ungodly abomination like the X6.

    What kind of animal would you have if it needed to simultaneously swim the oceans, fly the skies, sprint on land, burrow in the soil, feast on flesh and photosynthesize? Something horrible and bad at each of those. At it would look like the X6.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      I think one needs to exempt certain activities from “do it all” because they are outside the norm. Things like off-roading, track driving, towing 5k+ lbs, or carrying more than 5 people are more specialty activities, and one has to recognize that they will need a specific tool in order to do one of those things well.

      Move past that, and I think it is perfectly reasonable to expect a single vehicle to be fun to drive, capable of carrying 2-5 people in moderate comfort, carry a reasonable amount of cargo, and doing it in all weather. Basically, pick your favorite sports sedan or if you have small/no kids, 2+2 coupe.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      30-mile fetch – – –

      “You try to do it all and you get some damned cross-bred ungodly abomination like the X6.”

      “What kind of animal would you have if it needed to simultaneously swim the oceans, fly the skies, sprint on land, burrow in the soil, feast on flesh and photosynthesize? Something horrible and bad at each of those. At it would look like the X6.”

      Got a kick out of your comment. Yeah, even the salesman over at my local BMW dealer came out of his office to scratch his head when the first X6’s arrived. The best he could manage was ,”Well, it’s different…” and “What people are going to buy this”.

      ===================

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    2016 Subaru Forester XT: does what good transportation should; gets you there safely, efficiently, with reasonable comfort and driving chops.

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    Chevy SS. Its practical, relatively affordable, has 6.2Ls of V8 glory and a manual transmission. Family car and fun car rolled into one.

    Actually scratch that. Dodge Charger Hellcat. 700 very practical horses.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    If I have to just own one vehicle rather than two, then I have to focus on what I NEED rather than what I want. So both sport and luxury go out the window. What I NEED is the ability to carry a kid, to handle a Forest Service road from time to time, to occasionally carry bulky objects, and to fit in urban parking spots. I already own a car that’s perfect for all of those things — my Forester XT.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      dal20402 – – –

      Thank you for giving some garage dimensions. I certainly agree that a garage is a useful building for MANY other functions and assets, other than vehicles.

      In fact, there was a time (1970’s) when I told my wife, “Honey, I know it’s snowing, but why would you waste a perfectly good garage by putting a car in it?” (I think she filed for divorce a short time later….(^_^).)

      Anyway, back to a pickup that can fit and perhaps meet some of you other needs. If I calculate properly, 240 inches is 20 feet of depth, and the width of the garage-door opening is 7.5 feet.

      Although full size pickups may be a bit of a squeeze, a larger-than-ordinary midsize might be a good compromise. I faced much of the same issue, when I chose my 2010 Nissan Frontier. Here are some of its dimensions, using the 2015 model as an example:
      1) Width = 73 inches = ~ 6.1 feet;
      2) Length (Crew Cab; short bed) = 206 inches = 17.2 feet*;
      3) Fuel consumption = 19/23 MPG (Manual)
      4) VQ4 V-6 engine, with 260 HP and 280 lbs-ft torque.

      ————
      * If you were to choose a King Cab with short bed, it would be about 16 feet in length, and still seat 5 people.
      ————

      ===================

  • avatar
    ccd1

    If you don’t need a back seat and don’t off road, my current ride, the Audi TT RS. Can be taken to the track stock, is easily upgraded to be even more potent, a blast to drive on public roads, tons of useable space with the joke back seat folded down, decent gas mileage, ride compliant enough for long trips.

    What more can I say???

  • avatar
    meefer

    Ferrari FF.

    Now that I’m awake, Range Rover Sport SVR.

    Sorry, really up now, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      But we’d settle for a late model Ford Ranger that we could put jet fuel in to fly above the clouds!

      That’s about as much chance as I have at ever attaining the first two.

  • avatar
    TTCat

    Audi 225 TT Quattro coupe.

    Been my only daily driver for about 14 years.
    A blast to drive, yet good on fuel (even modded like mine), goes through any weather, holds more than anybody ever believes.

    The one I drive now (a CPO 2005), has been utterly trouble free – the first one was a new 2002 and had a few issues, but never left me stranded.

    Has the most perfect balance of tech versus simplicity of any car I have ever owned – as in having nice driving assistance for decent safety when needed, but virtually nothing else digital to go wrong or annoy me.

    The build quality and materials were (and are), pretty first rate, with nary a squeak or rattle even after over 105,000 miles.

    Even 14 years on people still stare at it and think it’s some kind of “new Porsche”, and for those that buy into the it’s just a “hair dressers” car, they are (90+ percent of the time anyway), relegated to my rearview mirror with ease, especially in snow.

    I have the means for a new ride, but nothing available today even comes close to providing what this car does – and don’t even suggest a new TT, while mechanically superior in nearly every way, they leave me cold, having at best only a pale shadow of the originals style, and no damn manual shift available – seriously Audi?

    • 0 avatar
      SunnyvaleCA

      The TT no longer has a manual? Wow. So sad.

      If you can give up the AWD, maybe a Cayman could be your next ride. I have one as my only car. There’s no chance of snow where I live, so I run summer tires all year around. The Cayman is a hatchback and, aside from a big hump for the engine, the back holds a fair amount of stuff and the “frunk” holds quite a bit too.

      I get strange looks at the dump, especially when the dump people try to get me to back into the dumping space but I go head-in to unload the frunk. Another source of strange looks: Inserting 10-foot-long baseboard at Home Depot and then even closing the trunk; with a slight bend, the baseboard reaches all the way to the passenger footwell.

      • 0 avatar
        TTCat

        I have always been a big Cayman fan, and were it not for the fact that I live in the foothills west of Denver where snow and steep grades are a reality of year-round driving, I would seriously consider one.

        I have an old Wrangler TJ that does seem some service in the Winter, but I built it up mainly for trail running, and the tires on it just plain blow for Winter driving, so the TT, even with its Haldex AWD when mated up with Dunlop performance snows will run circles around it, and frankly any SUV out there – never even been close to being stuck or unable to get home.

        I know the looks you get as well – I have slogged around complete sets of wheel/tires in the back, hauled flat screen TV’s and moved the entire contents of storage sheds with this car.

        And yeah, just like everybody else, Audi has been slowly banishing manuals to the pages of history, but sticks are all I drive, period – so the field of choices shrinks every year as well.

        Truth be told, if I could find a low mileage manual 06′ (the last year of the Mark 1), I would buy it in a heartbeat and drive another 15 years with it, but sadly, time and the corresponding miles have pretty much caught up with the first generation TTs…

  • avatar
    Tstag

    Range Rover Sport

  • avatar
    wmba

    There is no best-all-around car.

    Just as there is no best-all-around food.

    Or anything else for that matter.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Tacos

      But then we get into what kind of tacos and all is lost.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        That is the beauty of the taco… adaptability.

        My only personal requirements are
        1. Fresh Corn Tortillas
        2. I prefer terrestrial mammals as filling

        Toppings, cooking methods, parts of the beast? I’m open minded.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          You live in the land of glorious tacos. That’s one of the things I really miss about Tucson. Every time I go back, there are 4-5 taco places I must go to.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      I’m going to add Hamburgers and Pizza to the list, but technically they are ‘mixed foods’ and than their configuration can vary wildy, making the comparison to production cars invalid.
      But, as someone who prefers modified cars (of almost any kind) over production cars, I’d claim that almost any car can fit any use depending on how much money and time you are willing to spend.

    • 0 avatar
      Master Baiter

      The scientists say if you could only have one food, you should choose dog food. Has everything an omnivorous mammal needs.

      Which is why I have two vastly different cars. Even a so called “best” car is going to involve compromises.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “There is no best-all-around car.” Not one car for everybody, I agree.

      But there is a best-all-around car for each individual who chooses to drive, and that’s the car that works best for them and their situation.

      Mine happen to be a 2011 Tundra 5.7 DC and a 2015 Sequoia 5.7 4X4.

  • avatar
    Daniel J

    AWD CX-5.

  • avatar
    Chan

    If I could only have one car to do everything with…

    < $30k: Subaru WRX
    < $50k: BMW 328i Touring M-Sport
    $$$$$$: Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Estate

  • avatar
    TOTitan

    For running around on the freeways of socal at 80 getting 40 mpg, ability to carry a surprising amount of stuff, visiting my daughter down a unmaintained dirt road, great torque, and pretty good handling after installing Koni FSD’s and larger sway bars, for me, my ’12 VW sportwagen tdi is the best all around car. When I want some really crazy power and handling or go on a road trip I use the BMW 335d.

  • avatar
    dolorean

    For me, a 1995 or later Lada Niva Cossack 4×4 with the 1.7L and 5 spd. Funky, functional, simple, near bulletproof.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “near bulletproof”

      If by that you mean occasionally needing to crack open the transmission and transfer case for some fiddling, along with every single engine accessory (fuel pump, alternator, etc) then “near” bulletproof holds. I love me a Niva, or anything Russian, but I am very realistic about my expectations :)

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Eponymous.
    Glib, but honest. Decent performance, room, safety, sleeper, not ugly, guilt free fun.

    • 0 avatar
      UncleJunior

      Even though “Subaru owner” has become synonymous with “douche” in my vocabulary (I know way too many people with STIs, RSTIs, WRXs, etc.), the 4th-gen LGT wagon is still my attainable dream car. None of this jacked-up faux-SUV, CVT, body cladding, Outback shit. I don’t want a Legacy sedan. I just want an honest-to-god performance wagon, with a real manual transmission, and it happens to look fantastic, to boot. Too bad they’re next to impossible to find with a stick, although I know enough people that could help me with an automatic to manual swap.

  • avatar
    canyonero

    Land Cruiser. Better than the Volvo and here’s why: you’ll never race the Volvo at a racetrack, so the turbo and 325 hp will be spent hauling your brood around and fetching groceries.

    The Land Cruiser doesn’t pretend to be fast. Its core competencies involve luxury, tank-like toughness, exceptional capability, towing ability and interior space.

  • avatar
    ixim

    Buick Rendezvous. (Contemporary) Camry size on the outside, seats for 7 adults/Tahoe cargo volume on the inside. Mid 20’s mpg. The original CUV..

  • avatar
    mlcraven

    My daily-driver 5MT 1.6L 2014 Focus SE hatch hatch gives me more grins than any car I’ve owned since a 1971 340 Duster about 40 years ago.

  • avatar
    bbbuzzy

    “Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I’m asking the question: what’s the best all-around car if you had to have only one single car? What if you couldn’t have the track car, and the winter beater, and the commuter cars, and the off-roader? What if you had to stop and choose only one specific vehicle that does it all?”

    Doug specifies track duty, winter/off road cred, and commuting. my vote is for the Macan/SQ5/X3(35i) type of vehicle.

  • avatar
    MrFixit1599

    How is it possible that no one has said Crew Cab Raptor? Towing is reduced, but still more than most CUV’s. Race track? Check, hell take it on the Baja 500. Seats 5. Plenty of ground clearance, works well in the snow. Put a cap on the back and you have covered storage that ISN’T in the same space as the occupants. Granted I don’t have the funds right now, but one day in the next 5 years or so, I will have one. I can’t think of a thing it can’t do. The gas mileage is horrible, but it rides like a damn Town Car down the interstate thanks to the soft suspension.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      MrFixit1599 – – –

      Yeah, you’re right. Was thinking about that earlier, as well as the Dodge Power Wagon, as full-sized truck super-options, but then shied away from both because of the fuel milage problem.

      Actually, the Raptor did a good imitation of a sports-car by keeping up with my BMW Z4 on a moderate twisty-curvy road. I took him in the corners; he got up behind me in the straights, — it all balanced out.

      ==================

  • avatar
    Iwishmywagonhadamanual

    I have to say that my wife and I might have a contender. 2008 535xi wagon. with Msport package. Fast(faster with the JB4 in), extremely comfortable, classy, handles well (michelin ps2’s), reasonable fuel mileage (30 mpg+), HUD and a fantastic stock stereo. Got it a year ago with 80,000 km for 23,000CDN.

    Other than offroad capacity, or the ability to haul more than 5 people, It can handle anything thrown at it. Sure there are other contenders that will top it in a specific areas, but I think it is the best jack of all trades in recent memory.

  • avatar

    Depends on where you live. If I lived in NYC, I’d say a CR-V or RDX. High, slow driving, slushbox, good sight lines.

    Outside NYC I love my e46, to the point where I want to replace it with a California car. Mine has tinworms :(

    In Montana, a crew cab long bed pickup with a V8 is perfect for commuting, camping, and pulling snomobiles to the trailhead.

    I don’t think one is perfect for all

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    The basic trim Super cab 1/2 ton pickup. V8, 4X4 and rubber floor. The fukk do me and my dogs care what’s “best” the next guy/gal that would rather spend most of their time, work/play/etc, indoors breathing in everyone’s recycled farts??

  • avatar
    Funky

    I agree with the Volvo V60 (if I had to choose only one vehicle for all-around use). I would opt (and, have opted for a 2015 model…although it is not my only vehicle) for the I4 front wheel drive version since it gets better gas mileage than the all wheel drive versions (which reduces the cost of fuel when doing long distance daily work commuting). It is good enough, with decent tires, in this northern climate (snow, ice, etc.). It is not expensive to perform regular maintenance on the vehicle (for example, $55 oil changes at the local Volvo dealership versus local dealerships who charge $900 for merc or $1200 for BMW oil changes). And, it is adequate for local family hauling as well as adequate for family trips (room for luggage, pets, etc.).

    My second choice would be something like a small all wheel drive SUV like a CX-5. The gas mileage is not as good as the V60. And the crash ratings are not quite as good with the CX-5 (and, I think, this is similiar with most small SUV’s). But, the cargo capacity is larger, it has a higher stance and it is easier to get into and out of. The deciding factors putting the V60 first would be gas mileage and safety.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Continuing from my comment above (August 29th, 2015 at 1:29 am):

    Yes, the ‘Best All Around “Car”‘ is greatly dependent on where people live and their lifestyles. So choosing a “best one” is highly subjective, especially when extremes are factored in. Extremes are: living mountain/rural, like a farm in Montana; or living deep city/urban, like Brooklyn in NYC.

    But for anything else in between, it may in fact be possible to come up with an optimum vehicle that is not purely subjective (dependent on “looks” or color or elegance or price…or you name it).

    And with that in mind, we could try to isolate several factors that such a vehicle would have to meet, and assign a “% Success” in meeting them, and a rating on how important they may be. Some (10) factors or functions might be:

    1) Shopping, chores, kids-to-school, church, etc.
    2) Travel on highways, high speed.
    3) Traction and ground clearance in snow and off-road situations.
    4) Safety.
    5) Fuel economy.
    6) Hauling ability.
    7) Towing ability.
    8) Performance, such as handling (cornering), acceleration, and braking.
    9) Durability and longevity.
    10) Maintenance and repair frequency and costs.

    I am sure I am missing some “functions” that such a vehicle would serve, but let’s start with this. An example might be “ease of parking”, but my guess is that for suburbanites, its rank would be low. I should note that the rankings for each category were based on my longterm familiarity with several of these vehicles, and my 52 years of driving.

    So, we can then reconsider the suggestion in the email above: that specific type of pickup truck, and some other vehicles mentioned. Here the “% Success” is obviously “%”; and the ranking is on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = low and 10 = high, which most “average” Americans might determine. (These are my estimates only: choose your own.) – – – –

    Factors (above)…..Rank…….BMW X-Wagon……..Honda CR-V…….Nissan Frontier……..Ford 150 Pickup
    ………………………………………………. % Succ………………% Succ…………….. % Succ……………….% Succ.

    1) Shopping…..……………..9……………..90…………………………..90……………………90………………….90
    2) Travel………………………9………………..90…………………………80…………………….80…………………….70
    3) Traction.…………………7…………………80…………………………..70…………………….90…………………….90
    4) Safety……………………….9……………….90…………………………..90……………………..60……………………..80
    5) Fuel MPG…….………….6………………..90…………………………..60…………………….50……………………30
    6) Hauling……………………..6…………………70………………………….70…………………….80……………………90
    7) Towing………..…………..5…………………10…………………………..10………………………80……………………90
    8) Performance..………….8…………………70………………………….30……………………..40…………………..50
    9) Durability….………………7………………..80……………………………90…………………….70…………………..90
    10) Repairs……………………9………………40……………………………90……………………..80………………….80

    So, now if we take the “% Success” scores and multiply by the rank, and add up the columns, we get:

    Factors (above)…….Rank…….BMW X-Wagon…….Honda CR-V…….Nissan Frontier…….Ford 150 Pickup
    …………………………………………….% Succ.*Rank…..% Succ. *Rank…..% Succ.*Rank…..% Succ.*Rank

    1) Shopping 9 810 810 810 810
    2) Travel 9 810 720 720 630
    3) Traction 7 560 490 630 630
    4) Safety 9 810 810 540 720
    5) Fuel MPG 6 540 360 300 180
    6) Hauling 6 420 420 480 540
    7) Towing 5 50 50 400 450
    8) Performance 8 560 240 320 400
    9) Durability 7 560 630 490 630
    10) Repairs 9 360 810 720 720

    Totals =……………………………………5480………………………5340………………….5410………………….5710

    (NOTE: I ran out of “EDIT” time to try to format the above table after doing the first one, so you all will have to “unpack” the data and generate your own table here.)

    I did not “look ahead” here, but this may begin to explain why the Ford F-150 (and other similar large trucks) are the best selling “cars” in America, although all of the other three vehicles above scored well. See the link below, which lists the best-selling cars and trucks as recorded in 2014:

    http://www.autoblog.com/2015/01/06/best-selling-cars-trucks-2014/#slide-3244045

    ===========================

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      As an amendment to the comment directly above, here is another website, this time a German one, that lists the top 50 best selling vehicles in the USA, in 2013:

      http://www.auto-motor-und-sport.de/bilder/neuzulassungen-2013-top-50-usa-die-bestseller-auf-dem-us-markt-9152674.html?fotoshow_item=3#fotoshow_item=7

      The Top Five were, by their list (“Platz”):
      1) Ford F-150 Pickup
      2) Chevrolet Silverado Pickup
      3) Toyota Camry
      4) Honda Accord
      5) Ram 1500 Pickup

      =====================

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        NMGOM,

        That list makes sense. It probably hasn’t changed much for many years except maybe Ram/Dodge pickup is doing better than ever.

        (If it wasn’t for Ram and Jeep I wonder where Sergio would be?)

        • 0 avatar
          NMGOM

          thelaine – – –

          “(If it wasn’t for Ram and Jeep I wonder where Sergio would be?)”

          SOL….(^_^)…

          I own both a Jeep and a Ram, and think they are great!

          ==============

      • 0 avatar
        Funky

        Are the pickup truck sales numbers due to fleet sales (and the use of the vehicles by independent contractors)? Is the average American family choosing to use these huge, gas guzzling, difficult to maneuver vehicles as their primary family vehicle (for example, how does one carry a load of groceries, in bad weather, in a pickup truck?). I wonder whether there is any proof/stats/research that demonstrates that the pickup trucks are being used as “all-around” family vehicles (versus as fleet vehicles and/or being used by independent contractors).

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          Funky, pickup truck sales have been massive for decades. When CAFE hurt the big family sedan and station wagon market, pickups took up the slack.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Pickups are no different than sedans, in terms of back seat usage. Usually trips to the grocery store aren’t family events. “Yeah, call up the uncles and nieces and have them meet us there!” Covered storage isn’t so necessary with crew/extra cabs, but there are tonneau covers and camper shells if having the groceries inside the cab offends you.

          Fleet sales may be a large part of fullsize pickup buyers, but even in it’s half, that’s still a tremendous amount of private buyers.

          They’re gas guzzling to an extent, but most can work around it, or have a compact for commuting or long trips. To most, it’s worth the extra expense.

          There’s obviously more pros than cons, but once you’ve had one, and use a lot of its pluses, it’s tough to go back.

          A friend commutes to the city, 2 hours each way, in his fullsize V8 pickup and loves it. When asked why not a Corolla or something, he’ll tell you straight out, “Hell, life’s too short.”

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            No full-size pickup currently made fits in my garage.

            I won’t ever own a pickup unless it fits in the garage. I’m done with cars getting trashed after a few months (oxidized and scratched paint, disintegrated rubber, constantly dirty) as a result of being parked outside.

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            dal20402 – – –

            1) What is the width and height of your garage door?
            2) What is the depth of your garage?

            I am a bit surprised that leaving your vehicles outside in winter caused all that damage. Where do you live?

            ===============

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            It’s a snug fit, but the standard garage will swallow fullsize pickups. Here’s 2 examples, both super cab 4X4s.

            youtube.com/watch?v=uIm0-1yAT_A

            youtube.com/watch?v=tCMaCXb1AaU

            So what’s your garage? Built before the 1920’s? Oversize tool shed? Got pics? Others like it?

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @DM:
            “It’s a snug fit, but the standard garage will swallow fullsize pickups. Here’s 2 examples, both super cab 4X4s.
            youtube.com/watch?v=uIm0-1yAT_A
            youtube.com/watch?v=tCMaCXb1AaU
            So what’s your garage? Built before the 1920’s? Oversize tool shed? Got pics? Others like it?”

            You do realize that both those videos emphasize his point, don’t you? Both of those F-150s are extended cab, not crew cab. Both of those were so tight as to make it impossible to store anything around them and almost impossible to even access the wall side of the vehicle with the garage door closed. Yes, I did see how the storage shelves were custom fit to ride just above the bed of the truck, but now you have to pull the truck out to access anything IN those shelves. By no means could you have fit a crew cab into either of those garages unless they had the 4.5 foot bed and even then it would be questionable. And how many pickup owners pull the hitch ball out of the receiver? Where do they store it when they’re not using it? How many do they own because they left the hitch at home when they went to pick up a U-haul rather than messing up that oh-so-pretty painted bed? Those two trucks were so tight that they simply wouldn’t have fit with a trailer hitch mounted unless it was the ultra-light-duty bumper hitch that’s only good for a fishing boat or motorcycle trailer.

            The simple fact is that people use their garages to store more than their cars. Almost never do I see a newer pickup truck in their garage. Their sedan or CUV occupies that space while the truck sits outside.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            My garage door has a 7’6″ (90″) wide usable opening. Full-size trucks will fit through only if you fold the mirrors, which makes it very challenging to get in (if you back in) or out (if you back out) safely.

            Most cars are between 6 and 10 inches narrower than a full-size truck without the mirrors, and have much smaller mirrors to boot. I’ve owned two straight full-size sedans that have fit through without issue with the mirrors in normal position, although the fit is tight enough that my wife refuses to park cars in the garage.

            The garage is 240 inches long. If I did not store anything in the garage, an extended cab with 6.5′ bed or crew cab with 5.5′ bed would *just* fit inside, but would be so close to the ends that you literally could not get out the garage’s back door. But I want to have a small workbench and space to store a stroller and two bicycles in the garage.

            As for parking outside, my G8 GXP never recovered from spending about a year outside (in an otherwise protected off-street parking spot). Rubber exposed to the sun (especially the roof seam covers) was not in good shape, despite my efforts to keep protectant on it. The back glass and sunroof had water etching. The taillights started to show signs of oxidation (for some reason the headlights were OK). Some black plastic, notably the front plate holder and foglight housings, started to turn gray. The paint oxidized a bit and got a variety of scratches on it, my guess is from birds/rodents/cats’ feet. That’s correctable once, but if you try to polish paint too often you will wear through the clearcoat.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @dal20402,

            For several years I lived in a development that was built in the early 1950s (my house dated to 1953) and the 2 and 3 bedroom homes in the development that still had their original garages were all one car affairs.

            One of the neighbors bought an extended cab, short bed, 4×4 F250 and even just parking it in his driveway he would fold the mirrors in on both driver and passenger side. Although I think the trim package he selected had power folding mirrors.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            The statement is “No fullsize pickup will fit”. “Snug” mean they completely fit. And crew cabs don’t necessarily add any length to half tons. You’ll notice the one guy gave up room for the ball hitch with the push bumper. Yes you can scoot around it with the garage door closed, except you can work around that depending on how it gets parked. Same difference with an Accord plus a work bench.

            I see newer pickups parked inside garages everyday. Point is no one that complains and claims a fullsize pickup “won’t fit” can ever produce a picture of their tiny “garage”, or one like it. It’ll turn out to be a large tool shed, or modified garage, I guarantee it.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            OK, fine, I’ll modify my statement: “No full-size pickup currently made would fit in my garage in a way that would be at all useful for me.” It doesn’t change the point, which is that I won’t ever buy a pickup unless/until they get smaller.

            I hope you can see the problem with having one of the bumpers be 4″ from the access door at the back of the garage…

            My garage was built along with the rest of the condo complex in 1994. Small garages designed with compact cars in mind are very normal in urban and semi-urban environments. I live in an inner-ring suburb which has a lot of urban-style housing. This garage is the first one I’ve had since I was in high school that would even fit a full-sizer in an unrealistic way — the last four private garages I’ve had, along with the off-street parking in two other places, would have all been too small.

            You live in Denver — just think about the garages people have in the city there.

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            dal20402 – – –

            Thank you for giving some garage dimensions. I certainly agree that a garage is a useful building for MANY other functions and assets, other than vehicles.

            In fact, there was a time (1970’s) when I told my wife, “Honey, I know it’s snowing, but why would you waste a perfectly good garage by putting a car in it?” (I think she filed for divorce a short time later….(^_^).)

            Anyway, back to a pickup that can fit and perhaps meet some of you other needs. If I calculate properly, 240 inches is 20 feet of depth, and the width of the garage-door opening is 7.5 feet.

            Although full size pickups may be a bit of a squeeze, a larger-than-ordinary midsize might be a good compromise. I faced much of the same issue, when I chose my 2010 Nissan Frontier. Here are some of its dimensions, using the 2015 model as an example:
            1) Width = 73 inches = ~ 6.1 feet;
            2) Length (Crew Cab; short bed) = 206 inches = 17.2 feet*;
            3) Fuel consumption = 19/23 MPG (Manual)
            4) VQ4 V-6 engine, with 260 HP and 280 lbs-ft torque.

            ————
            * If you were to choose a King Cab with short bed, it would be about 16 feet in length, and still seat 5 people.
            ————

            ===================

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            You know Denver, I just happen to be doing a little running around tomorrow. I think I’ll take my camera and see what I can find while I’m out. I’ll admit I’m not in the best possible location to prove you wrong, but I might be able to do so anyway. I do know some other places where I could absolutely prove you wrong, but I also know you’d find an excuse even then.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          @Funky: “Are the pickup truck sales numbers due to fleet sales…?”

          A very good question. If you listen to people like Denver Mike they would say no to your first question and yes to your second. But the truth is not nearly so simple.

          Fleet sales and independent contractors are a large proportion of pickup truck sales, no matter what size is currently available. And yes, SOME families use them as the family hauler. But it does go farther than that. If you really bother to observe the people driving pickup trucks, the majority are males. Additionally, the majority of those trucks–even the crew cab models, never carry more than one additional person unless it is towing a camper trailer. Almost never will you see a human occupant in the back seat without a trailer attached.

          Yes, with a crew cab or an extended cab, you could carry groceries in bad weather. You could carry your Christmas shopping. Or, you could cover that bed–handicapping its utility–with a tonneau cover and carry them back there. If you’re lucky they’ll even stay dry. (Remember, those open beds have drain holes to let water out. That also means water could get in under the wrong conditions.) But, for being so popular as a class, they are not the most popular type of vehicle for individual owners overall. For now, the SUV/CUV is more popular as a class, with far more variety in size and better economy. You will find some areas where pickups outnumber CUV/SUVs, but not all that many. Maybe, if someone comes out with an even smaller model than the Colorado, the Toyota Tacoma will have some real competition in the small- to mid-sized class.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I’m going to add to my comment above that over the Labor Day weekend, I saw an old Toyota class C motorhome still cruising the highways and a nearly-new crew-cab pickup truck carrying an in-bed camper that appeared to be struggling to keep its front wheels on the ground as it made its way into a gas station. This only enhances my belief that today’s pickup trucks have become too big for their purpose.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @NMGOM: All in all a well thought-out commentary. I commend you for the effort you put into it. However, I question some of your rankings of the different vehicles; most specifically the F-150’s rankings. As I’m less familiar with the other three I will take your rankings as reasonable, but the F-150 is over-ranked in a couple places.

      * Shopping: You gave it a 90; I have to give it no more than a 70 and would prefer a 60. The F-150 is larger than all three of those other vehicles and as a result is less maneuverable. Out in a rural environment this isn’t much of a problem, but their size and lack of agility make it very difficult to maneuver in crowded parking lots, which are prevalent anywhere you go during the Christmas shopping season and common around most shopping malls at least during the weekends, which are the most common shopping periods. Additionally, the open bed makes carrying your purchases safely a question; especially during the holiday shopping season. Sure, if you have a crew cab or an extended cab some of your purchases may be kept inside, but this also assumes you aren’t carrying any family around.

      * Traction: You gave it a 90; I have to give it an 80. Pickup trucks are notoriously light in the rear which makes driving in slippery conditions tricky–even if it has 4×4 capability. Add to this the typical high-torque engines (yes, even the EcoBoost has high torque that can come in unexpectedly at low speeds) and you’ve got a vehicle likely to throw its tail around on snow and ice and even on wet roads under the wrong conditions.

      * Performance: You gave it a 50; I’ll give it a 70. Those high-torque engines do make for some decent acceleration both empty and under load. Moreover, their handling capabilities have improved significantly over the years. They’re not great vehicles for the road course, but there are worse–considerably worse.

      * Durability: You gave it a 90, I give it a 70. While I agree they’re able to take a fair amount of punishment, they look it pretty quickly, too. Unless a truck is babied and honestly not used for their designed purpose, they soon begin to lose pieces. A big part of this is their size again, as it is difficult to avoid every obstacle, especially if you’re using it as a work truck. Of course, this also means more repairs become necessary.

      * Repairs: You gave it a 80, I give it a 70. From my experience, Fords are more prone to breakdowns and more minor issues than most. I don’t know anyone who has owned a Ford and called it reliable, even when they love it for other reasons. I will credit their trucks with better reliability than their cars, but not by all that much. This comes from my own 45 years of driving as well as even now knowing several people who own the brand. Honestly, this makes me seriously question why Ford is the most popular truck, when the brand itself falls below GM, Toyota and I believe even Volkswagen in everything else.

      So, 70 x 9 = 630
      —- 70 x 9 = 630
      —- 80 x 7 = 560
      —- 80 x 9 = 720
      —- 30 x 6 = 180
      —- 90 x 6 = 540
      —- 90 x 5 = 450
      —- 70 x 8 = 560
      —- 70 x 7 =490
      —- 70 x 9 = 630
      adding up to a total of 5390. Putting it below all but the Honda CR-V.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        @Vulpine – Even when I drove an MR2, I gave up fighting for the closest parking spots. I don’t mind parking a few rows back. Saves on door dings on my truck.

        Despite you, of those that don’t own a fullsize pickup, how many wish they could? Millions no doubt. Probably (and secretly) your wife too!

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          Agreed DM, America loves full-sized pickups. And now that the mid-sized pickup market is revived, expect even more pickups to be sold. Sooner or later someone might even bring back a small pickup, and people will buy those too. Pickups, SUVs and CUVs – that’s what people want.

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            thelaine – – –

            “Pickups, SUVs and CUVs – that’s what people want.”

            Yup. Notice that all these you mentioned are step-up vehicles, not step-down vehicles. I mean that literally: You virtually have to climb up into some PU’s with a lift kit. (Yes, with some CUV’s, your butt is almost at the same level of the seat, so you neither step up nor step down.)

            I think many Americans enjoy being up a little higher to see better, and to sit more comfortably. In fact, it harkens back to the 1940’s cars that were probably the last generation for flat-floor construction, without foot wells. And of course, those cars had full ladder frames as well. So, I wonder if we aren’t coming around full cycle?

            ========================

        • 0 avatar
          NMGOM

          DenverMike – – –

          “Probably (and secretly) your wife too!”

          Actually, a recent survey (sorry, can’t remember reference) revealed that nowadays, if you single guys want to impress your date, show up in a new pickup truck, not a sports-car. Women LOVE pickups, and flashy sports-cars have become passé.

          ================

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            It’s no big secret women are attracted to guys in fullsize pickups. And there’s more to it than the dollars they represent. Pickup trucks speak of prosperity and virility.

            It’s why guys that don’t *get* pickups have to dish out the “tiny weenie” jokes and the “must love hauling air” canard. Deep down they ‘know’.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “It’s no big secret women are attracted to guys in fullsize pickups.”

            I don’t care who you are, this here’s *funny*.

            Don Knotts and Spanky McFarland come to mind.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            No, I get it. You want to keep it just between ‘us’. I’d be kind of pointless if every man drove a fullsize pickup. Like a secret high-five. Gotcha.

            But yeah the only times I’ve had women in the passenger seat of cars blatantly flirt with me, while their husband or what ever was busy driving, was when I was driving a fullsize pickup.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            If you hip men to how trucks get you laid, there WILL be babies.

            When there are babies, trucks are destroyed by getting 4 doors and fluffy interiors at the expense of bed-size.

            In the interest of truck purity, I’m gonna have to shut down your commenting privileges.

            Mark, make it so.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Exactly. Making babies is what it’s all about. Or at least the act of. But birth control happens too. Although there’s worse things than short beds and babies. Or so I hear.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          @DM: Who said anything about the *closest* parking spots? In most shopping areas, ‘a few rows back’ means 100-200 feet farther away. You should see my local Walmart on a Friday night; you’d think it was Christmas rush!

          Despite you, of those who don’t own a full-sized pickup truck, or any pickup truck for that matter, how many wish there was something smaller than even the current so-called mid-sized trucks? You seem to forget how much demand there is on the open market for older compacts in good condition. You seem to forget that Hyundai, of all companies, is talking about an Urban Lifestyle truck that has almost nothing in common with modern full-sized trucks except for an open bed that’s roughly 5′ square.

          You simply cannot conceive of the possibility that there are people driving crossovers today that would much rather have an open bed model that actually FITS their lifestyle and isn’t a pretentious lead sled.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            150 feet? That’s what you’re complaining about?? You’re walking about 1,000 ft total around the Super Walmart. Just jump on one of those scooter chairs.

            We’ve had subcompact pickups. And we’ve moved on. Now seating for four is a must, if it’s going to sell to a broad, but still ‘niche’ market. That’s not happening in combination with a (barely) usable bed, and within the footprint/chassis of a CUV. I’d have to be stretched into Ridgeline proportions. And how well does that sell??

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “We’ve had subcompact pickups. And we’ve moved on. Now seating for four is a must, if it’s going to sell to a broad, but still ‘niche’ market.”

            And what, DM, will you say when the Hyundai Santa Cruz takes off? How will you rationalize the fact that, like the Colorado itself, sales go far beyond your microscopic expectations? Seating for four is a must? Only for insurance purposes. And even there, seating for three is enough. My Fiat 500 has seating for four–and runs with both back seats folded down 99% of the time. My Jeep Wrangler has seating for five–and runs with the back seats folded down 99% of the time. My pickup of choice is not a crew cab, it’s an extended cab–with enough space to actually be usable behind the front seats. I don’t need tall, or long, or wide; I need enough open bed to let me carry flat-pack furniture or paving bricks or landscaping material or lumber without having it jam up under my elbow or even resting on the dashboard to close the tailgate of a CUV. A six-foot bed is almost ideal for the purpose but a 5-foot bed and a decent tailgate could be enough. That Santa Cruz will supposedly offer a true bed extension to make even carrying a trail bike or other ‘toy’ practical.

            The point is that one size does not fit all and for those who don’t need or want big, they have no choice. Let them have their choice and quit assuming you speak for all people who want an open-bed vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Oh, and by the way Denver, you’re absolutely wrong about my wife. She hated that giant F-150 with a passion; she flat refused to drive it. She’s the primary driver of the Fiat 500–she picked it out when I would have gone for something a little bigger–like the Jeep Renegade. But now that we own it, I’ve found that that tiny little car is an absolute blast to drive and gets remarkable fuel mileage; more than double either of my other vehicles in town and very close to double on the highway.

          Smaller IS better for more people than you want to admit.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            The Colorado is a real, functional pickup. It can wear many hats and does serve many needs. No one expected it to fail. I didn’t. Except it failed to cannibalize the segment, and instead mostly eats away at other, more profitable GMs, including the Silverado/Sierra. The same would happen to the Hyundai trucklet.

            Except a fwd based trucklette, trying to move both passengers and cargo, can do neither job well.

            Hyundai would spend way too much to give its customers variety at the showroom with a cute trucklette with not much functionality, but in the end, would split/divide up sales and therefor profits. Unless Hyundai is stupid, it won’t happen.

            Your wife is still female, and if she’s still ‘alive’, there’s no telling what kind of guys she fantasizes about. Cowboys in Fiats??

            I wasn’t talking about her wishing to drive old stinky pickups. I wan’t talking about her *driving* at all.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            And I quote:

            “That’s the biggest problem small pickup OEMs face in America. Everyone likes the idea of a small pickup, but used and bare bones would be ideal. Not enough fans of small trucks are willing to buy *new* or fully equipped.
            It like the Miata fanboys. They’re not the ones buying them new.
            But there’s no regular cab midsizers from now on. We abused the privilege and they were taken away…”
            Posted by: DenverIIIMike | Sep 25, 2014 9:05:59 AM

            What was that about saying, “no one expected it to fail”?

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Well what small pickup is still around? The Rampage? BRAT? Rabbit Truck? You call that not failing? Where am I wrong?

            They weren’t good for real cargo or towing, and never mind more than 1 passenger. “Everyone likes the idea…”, but what happens, or happened when it came time to buy one? Why is ‘now’ any different?? Because YOU want one???

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            You’re actively ignoring the coming Hyundai Santa Cruz. You’re actively ignoring the _remaining_ S-10s, S-15s, Rangers and yes, Dakotas which are selling for more than their equivalent big brothers of the same year model.

            If you must have showroom new models, the current Tacoma is still significantly smaller than the Colorado (though that may change with the ’16 model). The current Frontier is still significantly smaller than the current Canyon. They’re still selling and the Tacoma still in numbers larger than the Colorado and Canyon combined.

            Now, if those smaller trucks are still selling in reasonable numbers, how can you sit there and assume that an even smaller model *wont* sell?

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Vulpine – – –

        Thanks for your complement and update on % Success ratings. Yes, it was a bit of work, and I regret that the current commentary method used by TTAC cannot allow two additional features:
        1) Space recognition, such as that in Microsoft Word®. Sure would make generating data tables and charts, etc, a LOT easier;
        2) Photo acceptance. If an occasional “.jpg” could be accepted and shown, it might make explaining things much simpler (“picture = worth 1,000 words.”, etc).

        But, to get back to your updates. They certainly are valid, but now beg the question about how to update all the other rankings for the three other vehicles as well! Long ago, in the Pleistocene (actually, 1974), I sat down with my wife to decide on what new vehicle to get. We thought and thought. Finally, it came to me: what about a pickup truck with some form of extended cab as a family car? Well, Dodge just came out with its D100 Club Cab, and so that sealed the deal. We used that beloved reliable, functional truck (“Fred”) for 22 years and 225,000 miles. It helped me with construction in the Adirondack’s, and I built a camper on it that allowed us to go from Maine to Florida on vacations. I have never been without a pickup since; in fact, I would “never leave home without one”.

        Shopping was a breeze, whether for food or plywood or cow manure. Parking was never an issue, for much of the same reason “DenverMike” (below) quoted: “I gave up fighting for the closest parking spots. I don’t mind parking a few rows back. Saves on door dings on my truck.” We NEVER had any trouble getting around in the deep snows of upstate NY, with the manual transmission and 500 lbs of lumber over the rear wheels (and decent “snow ” tires). In fact, when the first snows came, I would find an empty parking lot to practice “donuts” with my cars, and then try doing it with the truck: it was nigh unto impossible for me even to put that thing into a skid, much less do a donut!

        But the specific pickup I had in mind with the Ford F-150, is a 4-door Crew Cab or Extended Cab, with the 6.5-foot box and 4WD, the most common configuration nowadays. Again, with proper weight balancing in the rear and tries for winter driving, I doubt that its capabilities in snow and ice would actually be worse than my old Dodge.

        As far as Performance is concerned, my criteria were not just based on acceleration: performance also involves cornering and braking, things which pickups are usually mediocre at, compared to CUV/SUV type vehicles, the top of the heap being the BMW X5M. I guess a Raptor might be an exception, but that was not what I had in mind. But, yeah, we could move that up a bit from 50, perhaps 60.

        Durability is actually a complex issue. Any vehicle with a separate ladder frame (LF) can be made to be more durable than a unibody (UN) version, all else equal. The reason is simple: when serious rust strikes a UN vehicle, it’s all over; when rust strikes an LF vehicle, just replace the panels. (The LF’s themselves are massive and typically don’t rust through for several decades, depending on a lot of things.) Durability also involves inherent ruggedness of components that would be subject to damage: suspension and drive systems. And here is where a pickup shines: those components are much tougher than similar ones in CUV’s/SUV’s. Example: slide the back wheels of the Ford F-150 sideways on slick ice into a curb at 20 mph. See what damage happens: usually nothing. Do the same thing with the BMW X5M. See what damage happens: prepare to re-mortgage your house! (Ask me how I know!).

        Repairs too are a multi-faceted issue:
        1) Inherent quality and reliability of individual components (e.g., fan motor, alternator, etc);
        2) Ease of repair and access for replacement;
        3) Cost of the repair in terms of both cost of labor and cost of the item;
        4) Availability for inexpensive non-dealer repair facilities (e.g., “Joe’s Garage” down the street, etc.)
        I kept that old Dodge alive over those two decades for a total repair bill of about $500. I doubt that either BMW XWagon or the Honda CR-V could accomplish that; don’t know about the Frontier, but the Ford F-150 would be higher now too (NOT including electronic do-dads in any of the vehicles).

        Please check the link for the German website, “Auto Motor and Sport”, above at August 30th, 2015 at 1:02 am:
        http://www.auto-motor-und-sport.de/bilder/neuzulassungen-2013-top-50-usa-die-bestseller-auf-dem-us-markt-9152674.html?fotoshow_item=3#fotoshow_item=7
        There are THREE pickups in the top 5 best-selling vehicles, and the other two are not even SUV’s/CUV’s! So, the rating method with “rank” and “% success” could not have been too far off.

        Anyway, just some explanatory thoughts.

        ===========================

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Pickup trucks are designed and overbuilt for endless commercial abuse/neglect. With normal/typical passenger use/maintenance, pickups can easily outlast any passenger car with the same.

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            DenverMike – – –

            I can confirm your observation. See chart below, listing ages in years. Remember these are averages of a bell-shaped curve. My suspicion is the up-scale breath of the curve (+ 3 sigma) is MUCH greater for pickups than for the other vehicles. Also, see link:

            http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2010/03/pickup-trucks-have-oldest-average-age-of-household-vehicles.html

            Vehicle………….1977………..1990………..2009

            Car………………..6.4…………..7.6……………9.3
            Van…………….…5.5…………..5.9…………….8.7
            Pickup……….…..7.3……….….8.4…………..10.9
            SUV……………….n/a…………..n/a……………7.3

            ===============================

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          @NMGOM: I would like to note that with your pickup trucks, you did something the average driver won’t think to do until they experience the naked truck for themselves: You weighted the rear axle and you put snow tires on it. Just this past winter as I was driving my Jeep, I watched a guy in a full-sized pickup truck going along a nearly perfect, level three-lane street, kicking its tail out multiple times because of not using what should be common sense. No weight in the back and regular road tires. This despite the fact the truck was a 4×4 and stood taller than my factory-stock Wrangler. You know what to do, DM likely knows what to do. Even I know what to do, having driven a 2WD Mitsubishi Sport truck in Denver, during winter, for two years!

          Then I turn around and watch drivers even today, nearing the end of summer on a road that has recently been ground in preparation for re-surfacing. What did I see? A fool in a diesel 4×4 pickup and another in a jacked-up Wrangler with probably 41″ tires squirreling down the highway driving over the speed limit and only barely keeping their vehicles under control. The truck kicked out its tail every time the driver hit the gas (and you could tell when that happened because he was ‘rolling coal’) and the Jeep was so squirrelly that the driver was sawing the wheel like mad just to stay in his lane. The average driver is an idiot and thinks massive engines and huge tires will get them through anything when they own a big vehicle like that.

          Yes, I’ve owned more than one pickup truck and I’ve driven them in quite a few different conditions. I’ve also owned more than one Jeep-style vehicle under multiple on-road and off-road conditions. When you have a short wheelbase on a plain, graded road (unpaved) or ground for re-paving, the thing will simply get wiggly and you have to slow down. Of course, a crew cab Raptor or Power Wagon wouldn’t have a problem there simply because the wheelbase is so much longer.

          Each vehicle has its advantages and disadvantages, as your listing above clearly points out. While on average your pickup truck listing above isn’t necessarily all that far off, my experience with Ford in particular over the course of 45 years of driving has been nowhere near the durability or reliability you describe. Had you mentioned GM or Dodge/Ram, I probably wouldn’t have changed those two numbers. Had you suggested a truck roughly the same length of those other three vehicles, I probably wouldn’t have changed other numbers. But the empty bed complaint I would keep because drivers not used to pickup trucks will get into trouble VERY quickly when conditions get tricky.

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            Vulpine – – –

            Good observations. Yeah, I understand your feeling about the Ford. I personally have had Dodge Trucks since 1974. (My current 2nd truck, a Nissan Frontier, was bought because getting a manual transmission is harder to do now in a full-size truck.)

            Yes, the “empty bed” trap can lead to a disaster, and many young pickup drivers have no idea what’s happening until it’s too late.

            Rules-o’-Thumb: Most pickups start out with about a 60/40 (F/R) weight distribution. Adding a heavy fiberglass cap for the bed brings it to about 55/45. Tossing in about 500 lbs of xxxx (you name it: lumber, cement bags, fuel pellets, sand, etc) close to over the rear wheels brings it down to about 50/50.

            Unless you have a Porsche too, most people do best with about a 50/50 weight distribution. My experience for stability and handling of pickups is that it is best NOT to try to go 40/60 for speedy road driving in winter, or you may find terminal oversteer kicking in when you least expect it.

            The inverse is the 60/40 weight distribution of small FWD cars, whose drivers in winter can often be seen standing next to their vehicles in a ditch wonder what happened. They were victims of unexpected understeer, frequently triggered by sudden and severe cross winds. Remember that with a FWD car, the front wheels have got to do EVERYTHING: you lose traction there and it’s all over.

            I used to commute about 10 miles to work one way on fast highways, and there were two types of vehicles that were off the road first when things got iced over:
            1) Small FWD cars (as mentioned above);
            2) Large SUV’s (whose drivers thought they were invincible!)

            ======================

          • 0 avatar
            Frylock350

            @vulpine,

            As the owner of a CCSB crew cab full-size truck I’d like to chime in. It’s damn near impossible to kick the rear of my Silverado out in 4HI whilst driving in snow unless I disable the traction control, disable stability control and give it far more throttle than is appropriate for the driving conditions. Only weight over the bed is a tonneau. It’s an excellent winter vehicle.

            As for a truly small truck I have reservations it would succeed, but we won’t know until GM, Ford or Toyota tries. Any other brand is fighting an uphill battle just because of the badge. The Santa Cruz doesn’t check any boxes for many enthusiasts other thev size. Its not domestic or a Toyota, its not RWD, its not BOF, and it looks feminine. It’s a nonstarter IMO. A BOF effort from one of the aforementioned three would be a true litmus test.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @Frylock: Obviously enthusiasts are about the only people who read a blog like this. However, I just spoke today to a woman I know who, along with her husband, really want a compact truck. I showed her a photo of the Santa Cruz and the first words out of her mouth were, “It’s beautiful!” When I explained it was basically a Tuscon with an open bed she said, “That’s exactly what we want!”

            Enthusiasm is out there; they just don’t read auto blogs as much as we do.

  • avatar
    runs_on_h8raide

    Best all-around….there’s really no such thing as there’s too many choices that fulfill “best all-around” opinions. And they are opinions.

    I will offer my opinions with two choices for best all-around…one for db’s and those seeking to compensate for small man syndrome or small wee-wee, or LBGT, etc, and one for normal people.

    1) Best family hauler normal people (2 kids, 1 set of parents male/female): Honda Odyssey. If said family is LGBT and has a chinese kid and african american kid, both adopted…Subaru Outback.

    2) Best Sedan over $50k normal people: Audi A6/S6. If you have a penchant for Budweiser, wife-beating, watching NASCAR, shooting guns, and other random violence…Dodge Charger Hellcat.

    3) Best Sedan under 50k normal people: Honda Accord. For LBGT, hipsters, libs and psychology professors: Toyota Prius or Hybrid Camry (tie)

    4) Best attainable sports car normal person: Mazda Miata MX5. Balding, have a penchant for Budweiser, wife-beating, watching NASCAR, shooting guns, and other random violence: Corvette

    5) Best Pickup normal people. Toyota Tacoma. Best pickup for lack of penis size and road raging….Dodge Ram.

    There’s lots more categories, for sure, but this covers a good 80-90% of the typical, ‘Murican market.

  • avatar
    MT

    While a Volvo wagon is stout (my ’02 still stout despite having no real trade-in value), the 1986 Honda Accord hatchback is my undisputed champ. Hauled a pickup truck’s worth of anything with the back seat down, 30mpg like clockwork, a willing 2.0 that revved happy via a 5 speed manual. Never got stuck no matter what, never burned any fluids, never burned out bulbs, nothing beyond regular maintenance. Even the dash/controls layout was/is almost as good as it gets, 30 years on.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      MT – – –

      “Hauled a pickup truck’s worth of anything with the back seat down…”
      You probably weren’t talking about cow manure, or gravel from the local construction materials yard, or 4×8 sheets of plywood from Home Depot on a pouring rainy day.

      And you probably didn’t have a tow hitch installed for pulling that 5,000 lb. boat. And you almost certainly didn’t have to meet the Winters in Buffalo, NY, over which they had to take aerial photographs in 1982 just find the city. Any off-road adventures were probably confined to gravel camping trails.

      But yes, “Even the dash/controls layout was/is almost as good as it gets, 30 years on.” This is true. My friend has a 2004 Honda CR-V, and feels the same way. The ergonomics couldn’t be better.

      So, overall, if you live in an urban or southern suburban environment, and don’t do much robust adventuring, or building things, then the Accord may be “ideal” for you. Not even close for me.

      ==============

  • avatar
    TAP

    Grand Cherokee Overland V8. Go anywhere(except track), and do anything.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    While I really like my Volvo V90 wagon, my perfect ride would be a Volvo 740 wagon, normally aspirated red block 4 cylinder, automatic or manual trans, no sunroof, no roof rack, cloth seats, manual heat and A/C, not the crazy climate control I have now, limited slip rear end which I have now and it helps tremendously in slippery conditions. Basically a base model so there is less to go wrong with it…drive that sucker until it just can’t be fixed any more then go looking for another just like it.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    E63 AMG Estate is probably the answer here or the E39 540 wagon. Sadly, I’ll never be able to afford the former and the ones that are left of the latter are 150+k basketcases by now or absurdly priced.

    For me, since there’s no track day involved, the minivan in most forms is the best all around vehicle if you have family. Our 2014 Odyssey EX-L has the goodies I like, the space we occasionally need and returns acceptable economy for its purpose.

    If I had to be honest, for commuting purposes, simply back and forth to work alone, the Smart car is probably what we all should drive. It’s just such a poor car and bad trade-off in many regards(in US form) that it doesn’t make sense or cents.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      If you’re really that down on the Smart (and it’s really not as bad as you let on), might I recommend the Fiat 500? Even the base Pop, without the turbo, is a surprisingly lively car and has great agility in traffic while offering decent fuel mileage (as long as you can keep your foot off the floor.) The little thing wants to run, it’s so quick, and with the back seats folded down, it has enough room for a typical Costco/BJs/Sam’s run. It’s really intended as a two-person car where there’s only an occasional need for passengers, so as a commuter it’s almost perfect.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        Yeah, perhaps my words were a bit too harsh, since I’ve not experienced the Smart personally. I won’t totally write it off because I like the idea ( and the upcoming car seems to fix many of the issues). But I’ve never seen a glowing review of the Smart to really consider it a viable alternative to nearly anything else.

        The Smart doesn’t 100% work for me either, as my wife still drives my car occasionally and we need the space for at least one kid in the back (still in car seats). I’ve had two Chevy Sonics as rentals and was impressed enough to consider an LTZ or RS hatch to replace our Mazda 5 at some point.

        I’ve considered the Fiat 500 too. The Abarth is what I’d like to have but I would consider other trims too. I know it’s not “the best” out there, but it’s so odd compared to other cars that it speaks to me. I’ve also had a Dodge Charger as a rental and enjoyed it, but can’t justify another big vehicle besides the Odyssey.

        I’ve got at least another year before I consider replacement of the Mazda. I drive so little that a lease isn’t out of the question and small cars can be inexpensive to lease. We shall see.

        • 0 avatar
          NMGOM

          Vulpine and gearhead77 – – –

          What about the Mini?

          ==============

          • 0 avatar
            gearhead77

            Oh yeah! I like the Clubman (especially now that it has proper doors) and the 4 door now that it’s here. Not a fan of the BMW-style pricing on Mini’s options though. It gets a bit dear too quickly.

            My “safe” bet, should something happen to the Mazda today, would be a 4 door Golf, perhaps a TDI. I love the diesel for the real-world torque, a plus in the Western PA hills. I don’t drive a ton, but could make up for that on the resale on the backside if I chose to buy. I love the versatility a hatch provides and lean towards them when considering a vehicle.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “What about the Mini?”

            Depending on the need, the Mini might be a good choice. It’s quick. It’s agile. And of course, it’s fun. People like to claim it drives like a go-kart.

            On the other hand, the average price is double that of either the Smart or the Fiat 500, which both have similar advantages to the Mini. The Mini also has a reputation for expensive repairs with some claiming poor reliability (I can’t speak to that as I simply do not know for myself.) What I can say is that the Smart has a ‘hidden’ feature that can offer a surprising ‘boost’ of power when absolutely needed (it even surprised the owner of one the first time he used it) while my own Fiat 500 has so far been a little gem as a daily driver with reasonable comfort even with two ‘plus-sized’ people in the seats.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • 80Cadillac: This is a terrible-looking car. Nose overhang is too long/high, rear overhang too short, wheels too...
  • Dave M.: An interior pic or two would have been nice. Growing up so long ago, anything made in Japan was considered...
  • Polka King: I think that this is silly.
  • Chocolatedeath: Well I must say Thank you for running with this. I did ask for it about a year ago. This went about...
  • snakebit: Amen – brsnd new tires don’t shine like the paint does, and seeing a car on a used car lot with...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber