QOTD: What's Your Pick for a Vehicle You'll Really Need to Depend On?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
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qotd what s your pick for a vehicle you ll em really em need to depend on

For a number of reasons, you’ll find more than a few weather and storm-related accounts populating my Twitter feed. The power and beauty of Mother Nature, if that’s a correct term in this day and age, amazes and frightens us all, and such accounts provide just the sort of non-political diversion one needs to stay sane in 2018. To remind us of our inconsequential status in the Grand Scheme of Things. Violent storms, blizzards, and gorgeous sunsets know no partisan hackery.

Last night, a perfectly creepy photo of an ominous, rotating wall cloud popped up in my feed, dark against the fading daylight, menacing. You could imagine the gathering winds buffeting that dirt road and surrounding fields, rippling the plants like storm-tossed waves. Through this image, just like with so many others, you could sense the photographer’s excitement and apprehension as the cloud threatens to spawn the most terrifying of weather phenomenon: a tornado.

Naturally, I complimented the photographer on his great photo of a Toyota Camry.

Sure, it was not the focal point of the image, but the thought of a storm chaser blasting across the plains or prairies in a perfectly sensible midsize sedan amused me. In reply, he explained his recent decision to trade the Camry in for a new chase vehicle: a still-sensible RAV4.

All-wheel-drive could come in handy on rain-soaked rural roads, especially with those soft shoulders. No one wants to find their parked chase vehicle bogged down to the hubs as an F5 bears down. On a more practical note, the RAV4 gets decent mileage, has a rock-solid reputation for reliability, and isn’t a slouch when it comes to depreciation.

Sure, it’s no Suburban, but good luck finding any vehicle capable of withstanding 300 mph winds and flying houses in the event a chase goes awry.

Naturally, this got me thinking about what would make a perfect chase vehicle. To track nature’s monsters, one must possess a vehicle capable of hauling a certain amount of gear, navigating around (or through) obstacles, and putting on thousands of miles in one shot without fatiguing the driver. Something rugged, practical, dependable.

In the multitude of videos littering the internet, chasers (many of them the obnoxious, bro-dude type who can’t stop yelling obvious observations, like we’re all blind or something) stick with popular favourites. A Dodge Grand Caravan. Chevy Tahoe. Ford F-150. Something solid and cavernous. Compact, front-drive cars don’t seem to do well, but anything works in a pinch.

If money’s no object, sure, there’s steel-plated A-Team-style vehicles that can be cobbled together, complete with lowered side skirts to keep winds from reaching under the vehicle and armor to protect from flying debris. I wonder what kind of fuel economy these contraptions return. But we’re not going to talk about such vehicles today. No, your job this morning is to choose a factory-fresh chase vehicle, completely unmodified, for the task of seeking out tornadoes.

What would it be? Keep in mind most tornado hunters aren’t rolling in cash, and likely, neither are you. Meaning, of course, that this chase vehicle will surely spend much of its time taking the kids to school and picking up groceries. If your job or pastime involved taking potentially exciting, potentially hazardous road trips all the time, what would your long-distance driving companion be?

Sound off in the comments.

Steph Willems
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  • Flipper35 Flipper35 on Feb 14, 2018

    Last time I was up close to a tornado I was in a 1988 Dodge Shadow ES. It had the turbo 1 engine and we were running 120mph on the interstate because the storm shelter we just passed had a line outside. We were close enough it sucked the passenger side window out of its tracks and was pulling corn up in its funnel on the other side of the four lane. Fun times. Glad I didn't have my 1978 318 Ramcharger at the time with all 125hp. It was that day I realized that minivans can travel at a much higher velocity than they look.

  • Thehighwayman Thehighwayman on Feb 14, 2018

    A Hertz or Avis rented new Suburban with unlimited milage and all the insurance paid for. Just pick it up and if it gets damaged call and get a replacement. Lots cheaper than buying one for tornado chasing

  • ToolGuy I appreciate the thoughtful comments from the little people here, and I would like to remind everyone that Ford Motor Company offers a full range of vehicles which are ideal for any driving environment including New York City. The size and weight our of product portfolio has been fully and completely optimized to be friendly to the planet and friendly to pedestrians while consuming the bare minimum of resources from our precious planet (I am of course a lifelong environmentalist). Plus, our performance models will help you move forward and upward by conquering obstacles and limits such as congestion and your fellow humans more quickly at a higher rate of speed. I invite you to learn more at our website.Signed, William Clay Ford Jr.
  • George Hughes What ever happened to the American can-do attitude. I know what, it was coopted by the fossil fuel industry in their effort to protect their racket.
  • 28-Cars-Later "But Assemblyman Phil Ting, the San Franciscan Democrat who wrote the electric school bus legislation, says this is all about the health and wellbeing of Golden State residents. In addition to the normal air pollution stemming from exhaust gasses, he believes children are being exposed to additional carcinogens by just being on a diesel bus."Phil is into real estate, he doesn't know jack sh!t about science or medicine and if media were real it would politely remind him his opinions are not qualified... if it were real. Another question if media were real is why is a very experienced real estate advisor and former tax assessor writing legislation on school busses? If you read the rest of his bio after 2014, his expertise seems to be applied but he gets into more and more things he's not qualified to speak to or legislate on - this isn't to say he isn't capable of doing more but just two years ago Communism™ kept reminding me Dr. Fauxi knew more about medicine than I did and I should die or something. So Uncle Phil just gets a pass with his unqualified opinions?Ting began his career as a real estate  financial adviser at  Arthur Andersen and  CBRE. He also previously served as the executive director of the  Asian Law Caucus, as the president of the Bay Area Assessors Association, and on the board of  Equality California. [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Ting#cite_note-auto-1][1][/url][h3][/h3]In 2005, Ting was appointed San Francisco Assessor-Recorder in 2005 by Mayor  Gavin Newsom, becoming San Francisco’s highest-ranking  Chinese-American official at the time. He was then elected to the post in November 2005, garnering 58 percent of the vote.Ting was re-elected Assessor-Recorder in 2006 and 2010During his first term in the Assembly, Ting authored a law that helped set into motion the transformation of Piers 30-32 into what would become  Chase Center the home of the  Golden State Warriorshttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Ting
  • RHD This looks like a lead balloon. You could buy a fantastic classic car for a hundred grand, or a Mercedes depreciationmobile. There isn't much reason to consider this over many other excellent vehicles that cost less. It's probably fast, but nothing else about it is in the least bit outstanding, except for the balance owed on the financing.
  • Jeff A bread van worthy of praise by Tassos.