Ask Jack: Get The Truck Outta Here?

ask jack get the truck outta here

“You are too much the artiste, Herr Case.” Ratz grunted; the sound served him as laughter. He scratched his overhang of white-shirted belly with the pink claw. “You are the artiste of the slightly funny deal.”

— William Gibson, Neuromancer

If you hang around the Detroit auto market long enough, you will hear about the slightly funny deals out there. Some GM store is trying to clear out some inventory so they’ll stack a bunch of incentives, play a little fast n’ loose with some eligibility, and shuck out a bunch of vehicles to friends and family at… how does $129 a month strike you? $79? What about $49 a month?

The deals are out there. I used to roll with a group of Pakistanis who would stuff their driveways with oddballs like $132/month Durangos, all leased to quick-bake LLCs for one-off passports generated by friends in the government back home. When I expressed a desire to borrow a vehicle for a weekend’s worth of towing, I was sent home with a new Jeep Commander Limited and strict instructions to bring it back in six months or so.

If you’re able to move fast and you’re not too picky, you can get some amazing stuff. The question is: should you bother?

Antoine writes,

I have a chance this week to get a new Colorado Double Cab 4×4 for $129/month, 24 months, about $800 out of pocket. I won’t know the color or exact specifics until I agree. I could use a truck for home improvement and keeping miles off my daily-driven ’05 Avalon, which is getting up there in miles. I’d feel stupid if I ever got a truck later and paid more. Like they say, Wat do?

I couldn’t find this exact deal on GM’s website — instead, I came across a substantially more expensive deal that, all things considered, requires about $8,200 more outlay over the course of two years than what Antoine’s being offered. So this is a classic “Detroit Stacker” where he’ll be required to sign off on everything from being a recent college graduate to a GM loyalty owner. If the dealership can slip all the grungy paperwork past the captive finance then he’ll be good to go. If not, he might be subject to a “workout” procedure where his lease payment goes up after the fact.

Most of the time, however, these deals do work as advertised, so I have to look at it from a different perspective. Namely: Antoine is going to spend about four thousand dollars, plus insurance, to have this truck for two years. That’s a hell of a deal, if he really needs and wants a truck.

The question we need to answer is whether or not he really needs a truck. Here’s my advice, Antoine: Go back in your planner/email/Facebook or whatever else you use to track your activity. Every time you see a time where you could have used a truck, write down how much you’d have paid to have a truck on that day. Then add all those times up. If you come up with the total cost of your truck lease plus insurance, then you’re a good candidate for el cheapo Colorado. It’s just that simple!

[Image: General Motors]

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2 of 36 comments
  • DenverMike DenverMike on Dec 28, 2017

    Isn't the leasing co gonna go nuts charging for minor to medium scratches and dents? Plus you know you gotta load concrete landscaping blocks with a skip-loader (use of pallets are for wimps!) from 5 feet up. I'd tell them they leased me a "truck" for fux sake, not a damn 3-series! But forget about occasional The Home Depot runs for a sec. A pickup truck forces you to get out there, get mud on the tires, hit the yard sales, camping, help motorist stuck in the ditch and of course help friends move. I hope you don't mind chopping wood too. Yes becoming a pickup truck owner doesn't have to mean changing a darn thing about your life, and yes you can do most things a pickup can do from a Subaru Legacy, just not nearly as efficiently. But you probably don't realize how often a pickup would improve your life or that of those around you. But having to rent a pickup involves a bit of staging, planning ahead and kills the spirit of pickup truck usership. The go anywhere, do anything, at any given time, no permission necessary, we leave at 3am tomorrow, just be ready and have your sh!t together.

  • Danio3834 Danio3834 on Jan 02, 2018

    The insurance might cost you more. That deal is smoking so I'd say if you're at all considering it, do it.

  • Marky S. To: article author: My Pleasure! I just don't want to be seen as a "know-it-all". There is a good detailed article on Wikipedia about the poor Edsel. Many believe that Ford gave up on it too soon, although there are a variety of reasons why Edsel was not popular. It actually sold respectable well, considering that this NEW nameplate was introduced during a Recession.
  • EBFlex "I've only filled the gas tank three times in 2500 miles"Assuming you went from 0 gallons to full (17.2), you have averaged almost 50MPG over those 2500 miles. 50 MPG in a Jeep Wrangler. To all of you EV nut jobs, tell me again how PHEVs are not the absolute best thing to happen to automobiles since the wheel. And tell me how they don't make EVs look like the awful play toys that they are.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird The Buick 215/3.5-liter aluminum V8 was one of GMs great engines. Unfortunately GM being GM in one of their greatest mistakes was selling off the tooling to BL. If they kept it around and improved upon it it would have been a fine motor for their compacts and midsize models through the OPEC oil crisis.
  • Chris P Bacon Not sure why a '21 is getting reviewed, because there have been improvements to the 4xe. I've got a '22 4xe Sahara. May 2022 build in High-Velocity yellow with a soft top. As soon as it was announced I knew I wanted to try it, not for the fuel mileage, but for the technology. I don't have a Level 2 charger, it charges fully overnight on the included Level 1. I see an indicated range of 27 miles regularly. Today it indicated 29 when I unplugged. I've only filled the gas tank three times in 2500 miles, a full charge costs me about $3 based on my current electricity supplier. I don't experience the rough transitions between electric and gas, so maybe Jeep figured it out? It's stupid fast when using all the power off the line. So much so that it will break the rear wheels loose when you stomp on it. I agree that plugin hybrids are the future. I see no need for a pure electric. This is the way to go.
  • RHD The word B R O N C O written in contrasting paint on the dashboard is quite unnecessary. The passenger certainly knows what kind of vehicle he or she is in. That detail is a big fail. The red and white Bronco looks great, especially with tires that have honest-to-goodness sidewalls on them.