By on November 20, 2018

2018 chevrolet colorado red - Image: Chevrolet

Advice time. My friend wants (though she might say “needs”) a truck, and the choice is narrowed down to two prospects, each competing for midsize pickup supremacy.

Can you help her make a decision?

I’ve known this friend, whom I’ve mentioned in the past, since Grade 4, so you’d best treat her well. Having just given birth to her first child, days and nights are long, and periods of sleep are excruciatingly short for this new mother. I don’t know how they do it. My parenting abilities fall short of a potted houseplant.

Anyway, after the joyous arrival, my friend discovered, to her dismay, that her Mazda CX-3 — a vehicle she quickly grew ambivalent of — proved to be too small for the simple task of carrying two normal-sized adults and an infant in a child seat. Stuffing the loung lady in the backseat requires a forward positioning of the front seats, apparently, and this just won’t do. Maybe a subcompact crossover can be too compact?

2016/2017 toyota tacoma

Given that the family’s other vehicle is a previous-generation Ford F-150 crew cab 4×4, the possibility of a second truck in the driveway looms large. However, going full-size for the second vehicle seems like overkill. While she’s in a rural area where big trucks rule the roads, she’d prefer slightly easier parking lot maneuvering and an extra MPG or two.

It comes down to two very familiar choices: A Toyota Tacoma or Chevrolet Colorado, in crew cab/V6/automatic guise. One can’t be built fast enough and holds its resale value, the other is the Colorado, which sells in very healthy numbers. The Colorado is newer, overall, and could be had for a lower MSRP. In terms of power, both trucks don’t disappoint, though the Tacoma slightly edges the Colorado in terms of fuel economy (20 mpg combined vs. 19 mpg), while the Colorado has a slight leg up in torque. “Slight” seems to be the word of the day here. Keep in mind that towing and payload capacity are not considerations here.

Safety’s a top priority, for obvious reasons, but both the crew cab Colorado and its Tacoma rival boast “good” IIHS ratings in all crash tests. Headlight performance for both are dim, pardon the pun.

So, B&B, which of these closely matched vehicles should my friend buy — the Tacoma, or the $2,800 cheaper Colorado LT? Or, should she save her loonies and just get into a larger crossover?

[Images: General Motors, Toyota]

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166 Comments on “QOTD: Two Trucks, Once Choice...”


  • avatar
    cdrmike

    Crossover. Pick one that has enough space to fit her lifestyle this time. No reason to have two trucks in the driveway with empty beds.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Agree, another truck seems wasteful. She’ll get far more use out of a standard size crossover

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        This is going to be Mommy’s truck so IMO a 4dr 4×4 Tacoma is going to give her all the utility of a mid-size CUV/SUV plus a bed for packages too large to fit through the doors.

        If the cost of gas is an issue, many Tacoma trims are available with a 4-banger. But mpg with an I-4 is not much different than a V6. Insurance cost is.

    • 0 avatar
      Pete Zaitcev

      Yeah, I meant to withhold the same opinion, because the recipient of the advice has set her mind already. But she really needs a Honda CR-V (or such), and if we have a subthread of pointing out the obvious, might as well say it.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Considering this is her first child, has she considered all the accessories that come with a baby, and if a truck bed (even with some form of cap or cover) is the best conveyance for them? Like, in the middle of February, does she want to be reaching 6 feet to grab a stroller that slid to the front of the bed? Considering they’ve already got a truck, I feel like a crossover is the better answer here (or a base Toyota 4Runner, if she wants something a little butcher, and is willing to stretch the few extra thousand over a similar Tacoma). I mean, I really feel like minivan is the answer, but I know that’s not a popular one.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      In her case, minivan is the ONLY rational answer.

      Getting her to be caught dead driving a minivan, however, may be an effort that stretches rationality.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        No a Minvan is not the ONLY rational answer. The right comapact or midsize xUV can be had that will hold the rear facing car seat, have enough room for all the items needed.

      • 0 avatar
        mittencuh

        Minivan for one child is over the top. A mid size sedan is the best choice IMO for one or two kids (why I have an Accord).

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Or, split the difference and get the midpoint between minivan, crossover and pickup: The Ridgeline. It’s MUCH roomier in the cab than the Taco. Much less clumsy to strap kids into. Drives much better on anything even resembling a road. The trunk is big enough she may not need a cover or cap.

        On another note, between the Colorado and Taco, if a tonneau cover is to be fitted, Colorado all the way. The Taco’s bedsides are much lower. May not even hold a folded stroller under a closed tonneau. Doubly so the new, below the bedrails tonneaus that are so popular now. With a cap/camper shell, the Taco is nice, as the low bedsides allow for fairly low mounted windoors to reach into the bed through. But the Ridgeline is sufficiently better than both as a crossover and/or minivan alternative, that it ought to be the default choice for anyone not specifically needing a truckier truck for towing, offroad (not dirt road) or a longer bed.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Tonneau cover to protect the contents of the bed and a simple bed divider (very affordable for most truck owners) resolves almost all your complaints about the truck, Maymar. Moreover, the tailgate makes a very helpful impromptu changing table for the baby when out of the house for some reason. Everything can be kept easily in reach while purchases can, if necessary, be loaded forward of the divider.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        I wouldn’t consider a bed divider a solution. If you live someplace that has a winter season, I don’t think you’d want to put a stroller (or other items you don’t want exposed to the cold) in an unheated bed.

        I’d rather a SUV over a pick up. A Four Runner or Durango would be my choice.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          Yeah, not to mention a (statistically speaking) shorter female trying to load stuff in the bed. It’s just a totally needless hassle.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          @hubcap: I live in a coming winter area. In fact, forecasts suggest this winter may be more severe than any we’ve had in about 10 years (which roughly fits a known cycle for the region.) I just purchased a Colorado simply because I have need of an open bed BUT want to keep frequently-accessed items near the tailgate. I do have a tonneau cover over the bed and a divider that doesn’t let anything slide forward more than three feet while still letting me load things forward, if and as needed. If I wanted to, I could put another divider roughly one foot forward of the tailgate, keeping only most-needed things within easy reach.

          Now, I understand cold but depending on the individual, that stroller (or other items) is not likely to stay in the “trunk”, no matter the type of vehicle, unless it is kept in a garage. That stroller in the bed would be no colder in the truck bed than it would in the back of any CUV/SUV that stays outdoors.

  • avatar
    redapple

    Thumbs up on any mid size pick.

    I had a rental Silverado in DTW last week (only other car was a KIA.
    A NO go. Was visiting Big 3 and optics are important). Took the Chinesium. Full 4 doors. Long bed.
    It was HUGE.
    Hard to park.
    Hard to maneuver in parking lots.
    Just a real silly size.

    I took it back 2 days into a 4 day rental. Very happy they had a Malibu.

    Chevrolet VS toyota? Go Toyota. A no brainer.
    Negligible higher cost.
    Much better quality
    Much Better Resale.
    Less Chinesium.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      A Silverado is not a Colorado. While I agree the Silverado is huge, the Colorado doesn’t feel nor drive as large (I’ve driven both within the past month… I own a Colorado.

      What I’m finding with the Colorado is that the nose is a LOT shorter than what you would imagine when behind the wheel… I feel I’m just about to bump the wall or car in front of me when I park, only to discover I have nearly two full feet of space between the nose and the obstacle. Meanwhile, the rear camera makes parallel parking extremely easy, as well as helping to confirm where your back end is if you reverse into a spot (or pull through.)

      You call the Toyota a no-brainer but I believe a lot more thought needs to go into the decision. Your disdain for GM trucks simply doesn’t make sense, especially since you have no such disdain for Chevy cars, made with materials from the same sources.

  • avatar
    ravenuer

    Larger SUV is the only way to go. Minivan actually, but we KNOW how that would go over!

    • 0 avatar
      Pete Zaitcev

      There is nothing “mini” about minivans nowadays (unless you count Ford Transit Connect). Mazda 5 is dead and gone. Why have more trouble parking than with the truck?

  • avatar
    Krivka

    Buick Tour-X

  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    If those are the only two options, go with the Toyota. The RAV4 is getting a redesign for 2019. Maybe take a look at one of these to see if it fits her needs. Or a Highlander.

  • avatar
    Syke

    Does anybody make a two door pickup with a real bed anymore, that isn’t a bottom-of-the-line-fleet-special? I look at those two pictures, and my first thought is, “Why would anyone want either of them? They can’t haul 4×8 sheets or a motorcycle.”

    And you wonder why I’ve replaced my pickups with a minivan?

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      The F150 XLT is your best bet. You can get the regular cab long bed F150 XLT with the 3.3L V6, 2.7TT V6, 3.5TT V6, or 5.0L V8. You can also get it in 4×2 or 4×4. I doubt you’ll find it on a dealer lot though. Better order that truck.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Helped a friend strip an old cabin down at their property, their hauler of choice is a ’15 F150 XLT Supercab with an 8 foot bed, 5.0L FX4 package. Apparently it was a special order that a buyer backed out of. Super long wheelbase, but a great utility truck. Tows a twin-axle trailer with a telehandler no sweat.

        As to the question at hand, I’ll join the choir: buy something with an enclosed cargo area, be it minivan, crossover, or traditional SUV if she cant’ stand the thought of a car-based vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        Adam Tonge

        Ford will also sell you a F150 SuperCab with an 8′ bed all the way up to the Lariat trim.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          OMG that thing is huge, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in the wild

          http://tatestrucks.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/20160610_133843.jpg

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I’ve seen them where I live and yes, they ARE huge! Fortunately, most of them seem to actually be used as working vehicles, too; unlike most of these ultra-high-trim jobs that are more style than function.

    • 0 avatar
      MoparRocker74

      All full-sizers are available as single cabs, long or short bed 2 or 4wd. Nissan just announced they’re bringing one out. Like anything worthwhile, you’re gonna have to do some legwork or just pony up to order one to your liking. When it comes to pickups, I basically want a Jeep or a muscle car that can also haul stuff when I need so whether 2wd or 4×4, the classic shortie suits me best.

      • 0 avatar
        Adam Tonge

        But most companies don’t give you a huge selection of engines or multiple trim levels. Chevy only gives you a RCLB in the WT while RAM only in the Tradesman. Nissan does give you the S and SV in the Titan now. However, you only get one engine option.

        Ford is the only company that has two trims and four engines on their full size RCLB truck.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          The 3/4 and 1 tons are all available as RCLB. With every engine otherwise available.

          A bit over the top for a baby even in America, I suppose…

        • 0 avatar
          Frankster

          Qualifier: I work in sales dept of a Chevy dealership. Actually, Chevy does offer the RCLB up to LT trim (we’re talking 1500 series, here). Very, very rare. Granted, 85% of RCLB are WT trim, with maybe 5% being RCSB. And 99% are summit white, unless a courtesy delivery fleet order. Another 9% of RC are LS trim, in various colors. Since the current style Silverado came out in mid-2013, I’ve only seen 2 RC’s, yes, only 2, out of approximately 5,000 Silverado trucks sold by my dealership since then in LT trim. One was a RCSB Z71 4×4 back in 2014 or ‘15; and recently a RCLB 4×2 in siren red with the All-Star package (included in about 80%-90% of LT trimmed Silverado’s). Took it in as a dealer trade from some small town dealer. I wanted it, but the problem is while the MSRP is about $3k lower than an identically equipped double cab (extended cab), after rebates and incentives not applicable to a regular cab, the double cab comes out to be about $2k-$3k less! Go figure. As an aside, you can only get a 8 foot bed in a 1500 model with a RC, the 6-1/2 foot bed is also available with a RC, while it is the only bed you can get with a double cab 1500; the 2500 and 3500 double cab offer both beds. Chevy really needs to offer a 8 foot bed on the double cab 1500. Today’s 1/2 tons have similar payloads to a 3/4 ton of 30 years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      Goatshadow

      Not only is the bed too small, but the back seat is too small too.

      And unless there has been drastic improvement in the structure of midsize crew cabs regarding side-impact safety I would not trust the merely “good” rating with my children’s protection. Maybe the newer design Colorado is better at this?

      • 0 avatar
        SPPPP

        Word up. Rear seat room and truck (lack of) safety. These are two excellent points.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        The Ridgeline has a back seat that is big by any standard, short of the megacab and latest limolike fullsize crewcabs. Good crash test scores as well (it’s a Pilot). Bed is still too small by my standards (adventure motorcycle comfortably, ideally with gate closed. Perhaps a snow machine.). But more than enough for strollers and boxes of kids room furniture, as well as bikes and sporting equipment.

        As shortbed trucks go, it really is a standout for all non-tow, non “serious” offroad uses.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “And you wonder why I’ve replaced my pickups with a minivan?”
      — Yup. Your excuses don’t make sense.

      Sure, I know that the standard bed for a crew cab is about 4 – 4.5 feet but you CAN buy a long-bed version (if desired) while the adaptation for carrying 4 x 8 plywood/wallboard is extremely simple and reasonably cheap. If you really want cheapskate, all you need are two pieces of 2×4 board cut to fit the width of the bed; the trucks have pockets those can fit into to carry the panels over the wheel wells while making tying them down very easy with the built-in tie-down rings. Motorcycle? Get the flip-over extender gate that rests on the open tailgate. Should extend the bed enough for MOST loadable motorcycles.

  • avatar
    SixspeedSi

    Minivan. There someone had to say it.

    A midsize truck does seem like a good size to her now but has she actually tried one out with the car seat and accessories that come with children. I’ve often found that many mid-size truck owners complain about the actual inside space of their vehicles.

    I’m going to say a midsize crossover is the best choice here. Heck, they’re practically built for kids. Plenty of good choices. Plus they already have a truck in their fleet.

    If not, go Toyota. Might as well have good resale when you outgrow your midsize truck in two years.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Agreed totally. My experiences of the past four years has shown me that minivan is a smarter answer than pickup truck at least 75% of the time, and beats a crossover 100% of the time.

      Unfortunately, women seem to have become stupidly allergic to them.

      • 0 avatar
        SixspeedSi

        There was someone on r/whatcarshouldIbuy the other day asking why they can’t find a large Crossover under 25k. They also said they currently rent minivans on vacation because they love the space and usefulness.

        So, I suggest they get a nice Pre-Owned Van, plenty under 25k. NOPE, husband doesn’t want to drive one. Too many men are caught up in their masculinity and too many women think their image can’t warrant a van even though they’re already mothers and have “the look”. Sorry for the rant.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          We bought a 2nd gen Highlander a few months prior to my daughter being born.

          A couple of weeks after purchase we went to buy a new dresser and nightstand for ourselves and I could fit the nightstands OR the dresser in the Highlander with both rows down but not the dresser & the nightstands.

          I looked at my wife and said: “You know what this would fit in? A minivan.”

          She was none to pleased being a card carrying member of the female anti-minivan fatwa.

        • 0 avatar
          Cactuar

          I’ll never understand this way of thinking. There is nothing more fulfilling in life than having a happy marriage and many children. Having a minivan means having the right tool for the job, so your parental duty can be accomplished with ease. Why wonder what others think when you’re devoted to your family? Do the right thing, get the best for your family, even before your personal preferences (I know what a concept). And don’t let stereotypes fool you into thinking you’re uncool if you’re now a family man or woman. Cool/uncool are modern concepts that are pushed and supported mostly by advertising: you’re cool if you buy this, you’re uncool if you don’t. Sadly a lot of people fall for this false paradigm.

          Have the maturity of an adult and get a minivan.

          • 0 avatar
            gearhead77

            Amen, Cactuar.

          • 0 avatar
            Cactuar

            I didn’t mean to say that if one gets an SUV he or she is immature. Rather, we should rise above the stereotypes and think more critically, rather than emotionally.

          • 0 avatar
            ChevyIIfan

            I don’t understand the hatred at all. We recently had our 2nd and my wife has been begging me for a minivan for almost 2 years now, since our first turned 1. It hasn’t been an option due to daycare costs, but she recently got a huge raise for a new job, so we will be getting one sometime in the next year once we get settled in to the new job. Most of our friends are generally open to (or have) minivans, so all hope is not lost.

        • 0 avatar
          XanthanGum

          I’m an enthusiastic minivan renter. They are, as you are saying, the most sensible solution for maximum utility and efficiency. The most space for the least fuel used, too. I like minivans. But I do find that the disdain for them from the driving public extends to how you are treated in traffic. I don’t change my driving (+10% over the posted limit, keep up with the fastest traffic, but good on fuel too, so early liftoff for red lights etc.). But in a minivan I experience more aggressive driving from others, especially pickups. Almost like drivers say “f’in minivan” under their breath as soon as they see you. It’s a real thing in my experience, I don’t think it’s my imagination.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @SixspeedSI: “I’ve often found that many mid-size truck owners complain about the actual inside space of their vehicles.”
      — I’m not one of them. I got almost exactly what I wanted in a mid-sized truck, only considering taking out the second row seating because after this past trip to the in-laws, it will probably never carry another second-row passenger again. I bought it for carrying things, not people.

    • 0 avatar
      Pete Zaitcev

      A minivan is dumb unless you have 4 kids, at which point it begins to make sense.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I used to think that way too. And then I noticed more and more old people, age 55+, traveling in minivans, especially the Sienna AWD. No swagger there. Just stoop-shouldered old men or women drivers.

        Never did figure that one out, unless those seniors just needed more room while traveling to carry all their old people stuff, like oxygen concentrators, electric Coleman coolers for meds, wheelchairs and walkers.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Does either have rear seat vents?

    IIRC the reviews I’ve seen for the crew cab Colorado/Canyon do not show rear seat vents built into the console (incredibly lazy on GMs part IMHO).

    In my wife’s 1st gen Terrain (no rear seat vents) we have to keep the setting on “bi-level” to get any hot or cold air to the rear seats where we have a 4 month old and a 4 year old sitting.

    I won’t buy a family vehicle where I can’t get HVAC to all of the passenger compartment.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      The Colorado sure as heck doesn’t. I think you have to get the TRD Sport to have the HVAC vents in the rear console on the Tacoma.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        STUPID.

        I have a BASE (only real options are V6 & 4WD) 2nd gen Highlander and there are vents for ALL THREE rows even though the 3rd row is clearly an occasional use affair.

        Why do companies hate their customers?

        • 0 avatar
          Adam Tonge

          Because the Colorado is a world truck, and the ROW doesn’t use trucks like the US does. At least at the same level of adoption. GM, in its infinite wisdom, decided that they didn’t need to spend the money on that.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Personally, I think some “customers” have gotten too soft. Even in cars, rear seat vents are only available in high-end versions unless they’re luxury cars from the outset.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Too soft, too fat and too sweaty.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            Having a vent in the rear seat center stack doesn’t make one soft. My C-Max SE, that cost under $24,000, new has rear vents. VW gives you them on a Golf. It is a good thing to have if you carry passengers in the back.

            Having things like this is better, not worse. Sure, I sat in the back of a Renault Alliance as a 6 year old, didn’t have a booster seat/car seat, and didn’t have A/C. My 6 year old daughter usually rides around in a Lincoln MkT, has a booster seat with side impact protection, and has an HVAC vent above her head because we’ve made progress.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @Adam: I was raised in a multitude of cars that did NOT have a heating or cooling vent in the back. Said cars typically had Zero (0) passengers in the back roughly 80% of the time. My point? You’ve gone soft. Those vents are not a necessity; they’re a luxury. And I don’t care if even a Fiat 500 has them, they’re still not necessary; they just add cost and complexity making those cars more expensive to maintain and repair.

            In fact, not ONE of my parents’ cars ever had rear vents for heating and/or cooling… and my mother died at 94 years old just 3 months ago, having owned 2 Cadillacs in her later years and at least two Buicks.

            Me? I almost literally never carry anyone in the back seat of any of my cars. My wife’s car carries her step-mother and niece whenever we visit them, but that’s like four times per year, if that often. The rest of the time, the back seats are folded down and the area is used to carry THINGS, not people.

            Again, vents back there are a waste of time and resources.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “Those vents are not a necessity; they’re a luxury.”

            I agree. But it’s a *luxury* that I’m fully willing to pay for even if it means additional expense upfront, adds complexity, and makes internet strangers think I’m a pansy.

            I believe GM not even optionally offering rear vents on the high-trim Canyon Denali is a mistake.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @ajla: And now we know why cars and trucks are so expensive today. Americans are willing to pay ANYTHING for their comfort.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            No they are not only available in high end versions of everyday cars. As Adam mentioned they are there in the low rent version of the C-Max and are also on base versions of the Fusion, Escape and everything above.

            Yeah I survived sweating it out in the way back of wagons when I was a kid but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t get the Dual AC in the Minivan and SUV that I hauled my kids around in. The SUV also had vents in the rear of the console and you can adjust then distribution between the top and the bottom outlets.

            So yeah get off my lawn, but fact is that rear seat vents are now more common than not from base models of moderate price cars on up.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            The formula is simple:

            A car Vulpine owns = everyone should buy it if they know what’s good for them.

            A feature that Vulpine’s car is missing = you don’t need that, quit whining!

            Rinse and repeat.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            The C-Max is one of Ford’s higher-end CUVs.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      This may have changed with the all new ’19s but the last generation Silverado 1500 and the current HD trucks don’t even have rear vents in their crew cabs. I agree with you, it’s really a stupid place to cut costs since it’s so noticeable.

  • avatar
    whynot

    A crossover or minivan. As someone said a 4Runner if she still wants BOF. Midsize pickups get surprisingly tight with car seats.

    If she absolutely wants a midsize pickup, I say wait until Ranger is out. Colorado/Canyon is typical GM eh (not bad, but could be better) and the Tacoma is not as comfortable and just feels so sluggish. See how the Ranger is, and if even after the Ranger she likes the Colorado or Tacoma better she will probably find a better deal because of the new competition.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      “Midsize pickups get surprisingly tight with car seats.”

      So much so that the Colorado owners manual suggests you don’t use rear facing carseats in it. (IIRC).

      (I read this in 2016 when I had one kid in a booster, one kid in a rear facing carseat, and one kid on the way — and I was doing something tech startup with an abusive boss. I wasn’t getting much sleep, so it’s a little hazy.)

      So, check the owners manual before recommending the Colorado as a family vehicle.

      The Ridgeline has a much more generous back seat (it’s a 2-row Honda Pilot with a bed), and it has a trunk under the bed that looks to about the right size for some strollers.

      The Ridgeline is a better family hauler than the Colorado. Of course, the Pilot and the Odyssey are real family vehicles, while the Ridgeline just isn’t as bad as the Colorado.

      Most people should just face the fact that they’ll be too busy living life as parents to give a flying f*ck what other people think. Buy the minivan.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        @Luke 42: “So much so that the Colorado owners manual suggests you don’t use rear facing carseats in it. (IIRC).”
        — I can check that later for you, if you wish. My owner’s manual is down in the truck right now and I have to go out later anyway.

        “The Ridgeline has a much more generous back seat (it’s a 2-row Honda Pilot with a bed), and it has a trunk under the bed that looks to about the right size for some strollers.”
        — All good factors for the purpose, though I’d note that the Ridgeline is also nearly as wide as a full-sized pickup, so you could run into parking issues of too-tight spaces (the interior is quite roomy, though.) Also, the clean floor in back with the seat cushions folded up is a big help when you’re not carrying more than one passenger (I believe it’s a split bench, but I’m not sure.) Very flat floor and roomy enough to carry a pretty good-sized box. Not sure the Pilot offers anything like that.

        Meanwhile, the minivan is passé. There’s only about three or four left on the market and none of them see good sales.

  • avatar

    I always think it’s funny ( or awful) when people seek car advice for a family and say what kind of vehicle, but everyone pulls out the minivan/wagon judgement card.

    Any ways if she wants to go midsize I say Colorado the back seems much roomier then the taco. If their planning on more then one kid the crew cab misdsizers tend to get tight, do full-size or another category might work better.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    I let our ’97 Altima go after the birth of our first (and only). It was difficult to fit all the gear in the small trunk, but the major sticking point was bending down and fiddling with the car seat.

    It’s replacement, a ’97 Mountaineer, was much better for my back. And it was easier to wrestle with the stroller or pack ‘n’ play.

    So I vote for mid-sized SUV/CUV, even though I’m not a fan of them for real driving, they are good enough for a small family. But two kids or three? Minivan.

  • avatar
    cognoscenti

    I’m “the car guy” at work, with my friends and in my extended family. Everyone comes to me to talk about what they should buy. I listen carefully to their needs and desires, then make suggestions of what vehicles they should consider and hopefully test drive, before committing to anything. I am exceedingly careful NOT to tell them the car that I think they actually need or should buy. Why not? Because I know that 90% of the time they are just going to head out and buy what they originally wanted anyway. All they really want is for the “car guy” to validate their choice.

    This is no different. Both of these mid-size truck choices are terrible for a new mom – but it doesn’t matter. She’s going to buy what she wants. The only legitimate contribution to deciding between these two I can offer is this: ask her whether folks in the area/city/neighborhood she lives in care whether the vehicle is from a domestic brand or not.

    • 0 avatar
      SixspeedSi

      Spot on. I think I’ve maybe had one person take one of my recommendations. If she wants the truck, she’ll get it. With that being the case, buy the Tacoma. At least it will be reliable and the resale will be higher when she needs to dump it in a few years.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “The only legitimate contribution to deciding between these two I can offer is this: ask her whether folks in the area/city/neighborhood she lives in care whether the vehicle is from a domestic brand or not.”

      — That shouldn’t even be a consideration. She should buy what SHE likes, not what somebody else expects of her. All we should be doing is recommending which, and why. Ultimately, she will choose for herself.

      • 0 avatar
        cognoscenti

        “— That shouldn’t even be a consideration. She should buy what SHE likes, not what somebody else expects of her. All we should be doing is recommending which, and why. Ultimately, she will choose for herself.”

        I totally agree, Vulpine. However, if she’s buying a truck (i.e. a vehicle that is obviously not ideal for her needs), then she clearly cares about image.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Perhaps, cognoscenti. But I am not convinced that a truck is, “obviously not ideal for her needs.) I have clearly expressed my views on how a truck CAN be a very good choice, despite the fact that it is so much larger than any CUV. What we don’t know are her absolute needs, outside of raising a new life in this world. Said truck might be a better choice than you imagine but as you clearly acknowledged, it is not for us to tell her otherwise.

          Does she care about image? Or rather, could it be something else… a kind of rebound effect from having purchased something too small for her needs previously? That’s not image, you know, it’s a need to replace something bad by going to the other ‘extreme.’ I’m just happy she chose not to go the full-sized route. After having driven both a Colorado and a Silverado effectively side-by-side last month, I’m far happier with the smaller choice, even though it’s notably bigger than I originally wanted.

  • avatar
    RedRocket

    The Tacoma is a 1980s design and is sorely lacking in anything except resale value for some inexplicable reason. My Toyota dealer has a stack of brand new truck frames sitting outside the back of their service department waiting for customers to get warranty approval for replacement of their rusted-out ones. Plus driving it is like sitting on the floor, just an awful seating position. Buy anything else.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “The Tacoma is a 1980s design”

      What exactly do you mean when you say this?

    • 0 avatar

      “My Toyota dealer has a stack of brand new truck frames sitting outside the back of their service department waiting for customers to get warranty approval for replacement of their rusted-out ones.”

      Oh come on.

      • 0 avatar
        RedRocket

        You want a picture?

        • 0 avatar

          It seems like it would be a news item if it’s this big of a deal, or a recall. Sounds like you’re onto something.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            They’re still doing ’95-’04 trucks, my brother has a friend with a really used and abused ’04 with 237k (used for environmental surveying and firewood hauling out of the woods), came in to my bro’s shop for a clutch. At first glance it looked amazingly rust free consider it hasn’t been washed in years. The only rot on the body was a bit through the incredibly dented up bed where crap had accumulated and trapped moisture. Well some poking with a screwdriver turned up a section above the rear axle that was rotted through. He went down to the dealer and sure enough they were going to hook him up with a new frame. That’s some solid good will right there.

          • 0 avatar

            Alright, that answers that question. I’d have thought all of those were done several years ago.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            At this point, I’d call it purely an impressive show of good-will and expensive PR. There are plenty of similar aged trucks from other brands with frame rot by now, my ’97 Ranger was no exception. They offered the guy a choice of 150% of book value or the new frame, he didn’t really care for or want to spend the money on a new Taco so he went the frame route.

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      >>except resale value for some inexplicable reason.

      Rust issues aside, reliability is their big thing. I bought a 200k mile Toyota T100 that had rusty rear quarters. I used some POR-15 to stop what rust I could. The only thing I needed to do in three years was new brakes, oil changes, and fix a trailer wiring harness (which was the fault of the previous owner, not the manufacturer). Just a tough little beast of a truck that felt like I could drive it anywhere. I thought of it as my “Zombie Apocalypse” vehicle.

      Sold it to a friend where it served winter driving duties for his wife for 4 years. Now sold again and being driven by someone else. I have no idea what the mileage is now.

  • avatar
    DedBull

    Car seats, especially rear facing infant carrier/base assemblies are huge. Once the child reaches 1yr and they transition to a conventional rear facing child seat the overall seat assembly gets taller and less “deep”. There are other styles of rear facing infant seat that are shorter, but you lose the convenience of having an infant carrier that easily comes in and out for shopping and other trips in and out without having to completely remove said infant from the car seat.

    My suggestions are two fold:

    If they are overall happy with their CX3, are still paying on it, and had intended to keep it for an extended period, shop for a new car seat not a new car. This has gotten more challenging now that Babies-R-Us is gone and you can’t compare 20+ seats in one place, but online research is your friend.

    If they are hell-bent on purchasing a new ride, leave baby with aunt, grandma, etc, and take the car seat and base with them to both dealers. Check and see how it actually fits and if it provides the expected front legroom. Test the location and ease of reach for the LATCH system anchors that will be used for anchoring car seats that will have to be removed countless times over the next few years.

    I would also say skip the truck and go with a different compact/midsize crossover. As alluded to above it is much easier to carry strollers etc in the rear of a crossover out of the weather. If a truck is equipped with a cover, there is potential for that stroller to be at the front of the bed and require setting said infant down, crawling into the bed, and dragging the stroller back out.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Try “Buy Buy Baby” – they’re a division of Bed Bath & Beyond My Means.

      Compare lots side by side and then go online to find a better price.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “As alluded to above it is much easier to carry strollers etc in the rear of a crossover out of the weather. If a truck is equipped with a cover, there is potential for that stroller to be at the front of the bed and require setting said infant down, crawling into the bed, and dragging the stroller back out.”

      — No, it isn’t. You can’t imagine how many times I’ve watched people even with full-sized SUVs try to figure out how to cram a stroller into the back of their now-overloaded rig. There are ways to make that much easier with a pickup and STILL have free space for cargo. Moreover, with that cargo OUT of the cabin, there’s less risk of any of it flying forward onto the passengers in the event of a sudden stop. True, not everybody needs a pickup but the capabilities of the pickup can override some of the inconveniences of a fully-enclosed cabin.

    • 0 avatar
      ChevyIIfan

      Ehh, the rear facing convertible car seats (capable of handling infants up to children) are quite large and are deep front to rear. We have a Diono Ranier for our 6 week old and it is quite deep. Buying a carrier/base system never made sense to me; why spend $200 on one unit then another $250 a year later for a convertible, when the same convertible for $250 will take your kid all the way through. Save the $200 and just get the convertible from the get go. We are EXCEEDINGLY happy we never messed with the carrier/base system.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        The carrier/base is good because baby can stay asleep in her seat when you get home.

        I’m missing the carrier/base setup with my 18 month old.

        And, yes I am posting at 4:39am — because she’s a light sleeper.

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    Grand Cherokee or 4-Runner. 2 pickups in the driveway is kinda silly. A minivan for one kid is beyond overkill. Let’s face facts: minivans are still stupid expensive and writing out that fat payment each month for something you hate is gonna SUUUUCCCCKKKKK.

    Crossovers just don’t have any unique redeeming qualities. Basically just minivans without the room or sliding doors yet none of the ruggedness or capabilities of a real SUV. Apparently some people think they’re less lame than minivans but they’re both mommy mobiles to me.

  • avatar

    Minivan
    Cherokee
    Rogue
    CR-V

    Really any of those ought to do it. I don’t think a second truck is the right answer in this case. If you want that truck experience, head over and check out a 4Runner.

  • avatar
    teddyc73

    Here’s a suggestion, put an end to starting a new thought or paragraph with “anyway” as if we are having some conversation over a beer. It’s annoying.

    “Anyway”, If she really wants a truck I suggest the Colorado. If she really wants an all around good practical family car with plenty of utility I would got with a Chrysler Pacifica.

  • avatar
    gasser

    This is an often repeated question, and one to which there is no right answer, due to way its presented. Needs vs. Wants. A truck is a tool for a job. What is the job? Hauling one child around? The disadvantages of fuel economy, interior second row heat/AC vents, and a slide around truck bed are all listed above. For me, needing covered storage for the high chair, portable crib, portable play pen and a zillion diaper bags means NO truck. Buy one of the midsize CUVs and get the room, storage, comfort, safety and mileage you NEED. If not buy whatever the heck you WANT.
    I agree that 99% of the people asking for car buying “advice” are just seeking car buying “validation”.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @Gasser: I hope you don’t mind if I disagree with all your points. Second-row heating/AC isn’t nearly as bad in a pickup truck as it is in a crossover or SUV. The interior volume of a pickup is so much smaller that it warms/cools much more quickly than any other vehicle of its size.

      A tonneau cover serves well for covering the high chair, portable crib, play pen, etc PLUS it leaves the interior uncluttered for passenger purposes. Moreover, it leaves the stink of the used diapers outside, making the interior a little bit more livable for those otherwise forced to live with the stench. The ONLY drawback is that even if covered, they may be a bit warm/cool to the touch when first pulled out–but then, they do that anyway even in an enclosed-body vehicle.

      I fully understand the popularity of pickup trucks; I’m now on my fourth pickup in a lifetime. What I don’t understand is the demand for full-sized trucks, because they are simply unnecessarily large. My mid-sized truck is nearly the exact same size as my 1990 F-150 when I had it, only marginally narrower and a slightly lower roofline. It’s all the truck • I • need or want.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        On a low-bedrails midsize like the Taco, things need to fold pretty shallow to squeeze under a closed tonneau. The Colorado’s bedsides are taller, but still not all that tall

        For deluxe mommy, or any cargo handling, duty in a pickup, get a topper with windoors (or toolboxes) and a cargoglide with 100% extension…

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          I was keeping it relatively low-priced. You’re describing an additional $2,000 – $3000 over and above the price of the vehicle.

          My four-panel tonneau and bed-divider kit ran less than $1,000 combined. Tonneau easily folds forward to carry that bulky load while still letting the baby stuff ride in an easily-accessible location. If the load’s not too tall, the tonneau can be folded back down and locked into position, protecting said load from most rain and theft.

          Oh, and most people don’t carry that baby stroller upright on its wheels, no matter the vehicle. They lay it on its side, which makes it much, MUCH flatter. That doesn’t make it any less bulky but it is able to lie flat a lot easier than it to try and keep it upright in the back of the CUV.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    The mid-size pickups are going to be too limited in terms of hauling baby gear, more kid stuff, or even a second kid. I’d also be tempted to hold out to look at a Ranger if it HAS to be a mid-size pickup. But, if the CX-3 cut it in terms of AWD capability where they live, then any larger crossover would do. CR-V or RAV4 would be the choice but may also want go to the midsize Highlander. If three rows aren’t a priority, there is the two row Cherokee, Edge, or Murano (but again think kids and friends). If more AWD capability is needed, 4Runner would be the best choice.

  • avatar
    d4rksabre

    It straight up cannot be the Tacoma because of how bad the Tacoma fails at car seats.

    https://www.cars.com/articles/2016-toyota-tacoma-car-seat-check-1420684062047/

    https://www.cars.com/articles/2015/01/2015-chevrolet-colorado-car-seat-check/

  • avatar
    CannonShot

    It’s pointless to recommend a vehicle your friend really doesn’t want. She already drives a crossover. If she wanted another crossover she’d be asking about crossovers. If she wanted a mini-van she’d be asking about mini-vans. Many women (including my wife) absolutely despise mini-vans. If she wants a truck (and can afford it) she should get a truck. A mid-size truck has plenty of cargo room in the backseat for one child and their gear. Either the Colorado or Tacoma is a solid choice. It just comes down to which one she likes best. I think the Tacoma looks much better than the Colorado. I’ve never owned a Toyota so I can’t speak from experience. I’ve had several GM vehicles (a GMC Sierra and a GMC Acadia) and been very happy with them.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Honda Ridgeline
    The choice is obvious.

    • 0 avatar
      cammark

      My thought exactly.

      A compact CUV like the CR-V, RAV-4 or CX-5 is what 90% of people in this situation seem to choose.

      a minivan is a great choice when you know baby #2 and #3 will arrive before you pay off the loan…

      The Ridgeline is, as we all know an Odyssey(/Pilot) with a pickup costume on. Your friend gets what she needs and what she thinks she needs all in one.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        The Ridgeline is also a limo in the rear seat, a Subaru in the snow, a Raptor over washboard, an Accord for practicality and safety, and a Honda for reliability ad ergonomics. It’s just a better mousetrap for any pickup usage recommending a sub 6 foot bed, no heavy towing and no real (not dirt road) offroad excursions.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I’m a believer in the minivan being the best family vehicle. You really can’t go wrong with any of them. If AWD is a concern (you mentioned truck country) the Sienna has it. We’ve had a Mazda 5, an Odyssey and now the Sienna (my wife has never liked the Chrysler in any form). When the Toyota lease ends in ’20, it’ll be back to the Honda probably. The 5 was fine until the kids got bigger and needed more room. Car seats take up a lot of space in any car, didn’t even realize it until they got big enough for boosters only.

    I am not a fan of mid-size trucks, since they aren’t really THAT much smaller than full-sizes. But, it’s a toss-up here. The Toyota has the spirit of the Hi-Lux lurking in it, but to me, it’s like the Ranger was for Ford. Sure, it’s up to date, but its still the same old truck. But I just don’t care for GM trucks. Go for Toyota.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Since the Ranger is so close to dropping if she is really dead set on a less than full size truck she should stick it out until they hit the market at least.

    Personally from my limited exposure to the midsize crew cabs, its probably going to be very tight for that rear facing car seat in the back, so she better take that car seat and be certain it fits.

    However like many I don’t think a midsize pickup is a good choice for a family hauler when there is already a full size crew cab pickup commuter in the family.

    Step up a size or two in the world of xUVs and she’ll get the capability of using the rear facing car seat, that really won’t be around that long, and still have enclosed cargo space and depending on the power train options probably better MPG too.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    Buy: Tacoma
    Lease: Colorado

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    Whatever they do, take the seat with them and make sure it fits. Even our 1st Gen Durango had a hard time with a rear facing car seat. It had to go in the middle of the second row so could protrude between the front seats.

    Just because a vehicle is larger doesn’t mean more room between the front and rear seats. Our Avenger has 2″ more rear legroom than our Rogue.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    CPO BMW 328ix Gran Turismo (GT). 2015-16 off-lease models are available in low-mid $20s, has very effective AWD, has a far, far, far roomier backseat than any mid-size pickup or CUV, bigger cargo area than most mid-size CUVs, and sits a bit higher than a standard 3 series so easier on the back for loading the kid and accessories and gives modest “command” view that people want. Furthermore, it drives way, way, way better than any pickup or CUV or Minivan, and gets better MPG than any that aren’t some sort of hybrid. Use the money you save to buy an extended warranty for peace of mind.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “bigger cargo area than most mid-size CUVs”

      It has 25 cu ft with the seats up, that’s less than literally everything in the compact segment, to say nothing of the midsize class (with third row folded).

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        I’ve got family members with a GT and X3, the GT has a bigger cargo area unless you stack to the roof where the squarer shape of the CUV format provides extra space – but I don’t think it is very safe to stack to roof with a baby in the backseat.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          BMW CUVS have tiny cargo areas for their footprints.

          Even a current Terrain has about 36 cubic feet with the 2nd row up.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          Okay, I get that argument about the longer usable floor space, when compared to something in the compact CUV space where they tend to stack space vertically. But something “midsize” like a Highlander or Explorer thoroughly smokes any sort of 5 door hatch thing for cargo space.

    • 0 avatar
      cammark

      what you’re suggesting is virtually the same interior volume as the CX-3 she currently considers too small but with worse gas mileage and an extra 1000lbs curb weight.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        cammark – you obviously have never seen the interior of the GT – it has seriously long rear leg room, while the CX-3 is noted for having a very tight backseat. If you don’t want to drive a huge vehicle (over 200 inches), you will not find a larger back seat in any other car. The GT also have EPA fuel economy that is virtually the same as the CX-3, but with 100 more HP and 0-60 in 6 seconds – about 2.5 seconds faster than the Mazda.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        If you want further proof here are pictures and a review.

        https://www.edmunds.com/bmw/3-series-gran-turismo/2014/long-term-road-test/2014-bmw-328i-xdrive-gran-turismo-child-safety-seat-fitment.html

  • avatar
    cdotson

    I’d be surprised if a midsize truck works at all. They definitely need to put said rear-facing car seat actually in a truck during a test drive, properly fastened, and see if it works.

    I bought my 2002 Quad Cab Ram 1500 2+ years before my firstborn arrived. The rear-facing seats barely fit behind the driver seat when positioned for me. I’m tall, but sit with my knees in proximity to if not in contact with the knee bolster and I sit fairly upright. My wife is as tall as the average man but lounges and reclines and we could not put a car seat behind her without driving her nuts.

    Full-size 4-door trucks have more room in them these days. A modern midsize I would be surprised if it is even as roomy as my truck. Don’t count on using the center seat either as few of them have either a suitable support geometry (hinges, cupholder cutouts in cushions) or enough space between front seat backs.

    Quick tip for testing without installing car seat: Install seat properly in a vehicle, with enough space to stick a finger between the top front edge of the seat and the seatback in front of it. Measure from the top seatback edge horizontally to a straight edge (yardstick, level, etc) that goes down to where the lower rear edge of the seat is crushed into the hip-point area of the rear seat. When test driving and seat is adjusted for the front row occupants repeat this measurement. If it isn’t comfortably larger than the measurement from the installed seat it probably won’t work.

  • avatar
    kkop

    This one’s easy!

    Solution: Regular Cab Full-size truck with bench/center seat:
    – easier parking than crew midsize
    – child seat in middle of bench/ on center seat
    – probably cheaper than midsize

  • avatar
    Darkdowgow

    Need more input from buyer. Is child 1 the first or last child? If,over 4 years , 2 more kids will be added to the family the midsize pickup is a bad choice. When I had my first I got a mini van because I knew cars were 7-10 decision and I knew my first wasn’t my last kid

    Minivan is the answer if this is just the first kid

  • avatar
    boozysmurf

    I’ve literally just gone through this predicament – have a fifteen month old boy (aka “Sparkplug”) at home.

    We had a 2005 Subaru Forester. We bought the smallest-footprint rear-facing seat on the market (Chico KeyFit30).

    The rearfacing seat did not fit.
    Also, the brakes on the Forester took a dump, and it wasn’t worth the time/effort in the middle of winter to replace the entire system. So, it was new car time (well within budget, no issues there).

    So, we took the rearfacing Chico keyfit30 with us on test drives. Any time we drove something, the first thing we did was (attempt to) install the child seat.

    And rear facing seats don’t fit a lot of modern vehicles.

    We tested:
    2017 Honda Ridgeline

  • avatar
    boozysmurf

    My wife and I have just gone through this exact scenario – we had our first (baby boy, aka “Sparkplug”) just about fifteen months ago. We were proactive in buying a lot of the stuff (paranoid first time parents), so we had the car seat in hand early. We knew our existing car, a 2005 Subaru Forester, was relatively short on space for a rear-facing car seat, so we bought the smallest footprint rear-facing child seat on the market – a Chico KeyFit30.

    And it didn’t fit in the forester – not with the passenger front seat in any semblance of a comfortable position. the seat would have had to been completely vertical-backed, and all the way forward on its track to fit the car seat. The smallest carseat on the market.

    At that time, that older (Ottawa winter with salt on the roads) Forester blew out a couple of brake lines (rust). It was more realistic to replace it with new reliability, so we went shopping.

    2017 Honda Ridgeline
    apparently, in the redesign, they took six inches out of an already relatively small back seat. It’s fine for an adult in the short term, but, as with the forester, unless the front seat is all the way forward, and 90o back, the rear facing seat won’t fit. Even then, it touches the back of the front seat, which is an installation no-no. This would be zero issue with a front-facing child seat.
    2017 Subaru Forester
    As with the ’05 Forester, except the only fit point was central seating postion on the back seat – when you do this, it fits, but rests on the shoulders of both front seats. Again, this is bad-juju from an impact perspective – the seat should not touch the seat in front of it, never mind rest on them.
    2017 VW SportWagen 4motion TSI
    As above
    2017 Chevrolet Colorado 4-door
    Same as the Ridgeline
    2017 Chevrolet Impala
    hahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa no.
    2017 Subaru Outback
    With the seat in place, and the front passenger almost entirely forward with no rake to the back, it fit. Just. Again, this is the SMALLEST rear-facing child seat on the market.
    2017 Kia Sorento
    No problem, but with the requiste AWD, was pushing $45k CDN
    2016 Ford F150 Super Crew
    No issues. More importantly, lots of additional space. The CHico KeyFit30 is a rear-facing only, good to 30lbs/30 inches long seat – it would need replacing with a new seat when Sparkplug reached that size.

    We bought the F150. I don’t like it, per se, but it’s a good tool for the current job. We do use it for “truck stuff” (a lot of landscaping and home renovation stuff happening right now) and we totally first-time-parented and filled the bed with baby gear for the first week trip to the cottage last summer. We way over did it. :D

    However, Sparkplug has grown quickly – at ten months, he was at the 30 inch limit for the Chico Keyfit30. We replaced it with a Diono Radian RXT, which is currently sitting rear-facing, with a rear-tether attached to the front seat rail (another impact safety item) and will be moving to front-facing in the next six months or so – Sparkplug’s legs are getting long enough he’s starting to squash his feet against hte back of the bench seat in the truck.

    Modern child seats are MASSIVE. I get that they’re safety cocoons in and of themselves, but, damn. anyone who’s income won’t allow them to buy something big (ie. Mid-size SUV & up) is screwed.

    My biggest piece of advice is “buy the car seat and take it car shopping with you”. It’s likely going to be easier to get a vehicle to fit a seat, rather than a seat to fit a vehicle. And the Keyfit30 is the smallest footprint on the market.

    • 0 avatar
      NG5

      Revealing and interesting comment. Thanks.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        https://youtu.be/Wf3KB3C4HtM

        So you just didn’t like the Impala?

        Because the child seats fit. Heck even 3 across they fit.

        • 0 avatar
          boozysmurf

          @princopalDan I actually quite liked the Impala, but, like the Taurus (the Taurus is a lot worse – couldn’t sit behind myself) I helped a buddy test fit when he and his wife had twins a few years ago, with the front seats adjusted for ample humans (ie. I’m 6′, 240lbs) the rear-facing seat doesn’t fit.

          This is 100% a non-issue as soon as they get to front-facing, zero issue at all. No problem. totally a first-year-or-so, rear-facing issue. (I’ll check out the video when I get home, can’t see it behind the work firewall).

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @boozy

            I’m fortunate to have a wife who is 5’3″. That’s the only person that I care about fitting in the passenger seat.

            And I know about child seats. I’ve got a 4 year old daughter and a 4 month old son. I use the Chico KeyFit 30 as well for our rear facing seat.

    • 0 avatar
      Cactuar

      “Modern child seats are MASSIVE. I get that they’re safety cocoons in and of themselves, but, damn. anyone who’s income won’t allow them to buy something big (ie. Mid-size SUV & up) is screwed.”

      Not really. Minivans can be quite inexpensive and they fit all the car seats you can throw at them.

      • 0 avatar
        boozysmurf

        @cactaur Same issue on price as midsize SUV’s in Canada, unless you happen to catch a serious sale on a Caravan – and my wife had seen the impact testing on the caravan and wouldn’t touch one.

        But you’re right – a minivan is a nearly perfect answer. I actually like ’em. My van of choice was the Flex, and again, wife-veto on it – she hates the “hearse” she thinks it looks like. ;)

  • avatar
    geozinger

    The pragmatic in me would just take the car seat for the child and see what it fits into (if they have it already, sometimes these are shower gifts).

    Just like boozysmurf, take it along for fit, and then install and remove the seat AND install and remove the child (or a life size substitute, a niece or nephew, better yet.) to get a feel for how things feel in there. In fact, do it about five times in the worst weather you can imagine, because, that *WILL* happen to you at some point.

  • avatar
    NG5

    What’s the ambivalence on the CX-3? You didn’t mention what she liked about it. I test drove a CX-3 on a slick snowy day and it was fun with AWD. Very small inside but nicely appointed. I wanted one a little after that, but I already had my fun hatchback, only regretted no AWD in my life. I could certainly feel it working on dealer-lot all-seasons in a 30 degree slush day.

    If the size is the only issue and there is some ambivalence about it why not just get a CX-5? I especially don’t see the value in a truck if the house already has a more capable and spacious one. I second the recommendations of an SUV if it has to be truck-based. Adding an unladen bed and rear driven wheels doesn’t provide a lot of on-paper user-friendly driving dynamics. It just makes no sense to me when there is already a truck for truck tasks when it is needed.

    To answer the question as posed, and assuming that it’s possible to fit the stuff you need into both, I say get the Tacoma and save the difference in resale value later to put in your kid’s college fund. Buying a second daily driver truck is in most circumstances I could imagine pretty irrational, so just get the one you love or follow the money. I can’t tell you what to love but I have a solid guess about Toyota resale values.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Child seats, strollers, cribs, etc. are all enormous. The back seats of these little trucks are not.

    If she insists on buying one of them anyway then Toyota resale will sting less when she admits that she was wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      With the right cargo management devices and a good tonneau cover, the size of those strollers, cribs, etc. are insignificant; the bed can easily carry them and a cargo divider can keep them near the tailgate for easy access and FAR more convenience than a CUV’s hatch area. This also keeps most of the clutter out of the cab, making it easier to adapt to toddler and pre-teen carrying over time while still being marginally smaller and maneuverable than a full-sized truck.

      I certainly wouldn’t call her choice a ‘mistake’ and can well see the benefits of her choice as she’s less likely to be called on as group taxi for the kids as they get older while still able to carry almost anything needed for said child’s sports or other activities. Personally, I think she’s making a good choice, whichever truck she chooses.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        “for easy access and FAR more convenience than a CUV’s hatch area.”

        On what planet is reaching past an open tailgate on a modern 4wd midsize truck easier and more convenient than into the average CUV’s hatch (particularly a CRV or Rav4)? That’s got to be at least 18 inches higher lifting height, and you’re reaching past an 18 inch long impediment in the form of a tailgate.

        This is another classic case of “Vulpine owns a certain vehicle and recommends it to everyone for everything.”

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Earth. There is more square footage in a pickup truck bed that allows bulky items to be carried more readily. I’ve watched people get totally frustrated when trying to stuff their little one’s stroller into the back of an overloaded CUV the size of the RAV 4 (In fact, I think it WAS a RAV4.) They started asking who wanted to wait behind until the rest of the family could get the rig home and unloaded so they could come back for said passenger just so they could get the stroller and baby bag into the vehicle. At least with a pickup truck, they could have carried everything AND the passenger.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Okay, so just say “truck has more cargo space.” It is emphatically NOT as “easy access,” due to the height of the bed and the tailgate.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @gtem: And now you ignore the cargo divider again, which separates the load and puts things you need to access in an accessible location.

            Really! Whatever happened to “common sense”? Or is it that you’re being intentionally dense?

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            I’m talking about cargo directly by the tailgate, held in place by this fantastic divider, being placed notably higher, and you’re reaching past an open tailgate, even in the best case scenario.

            https://goo.gl/images/K7HVq3

            https://goo.gl/images/NH79HW

            Do I need to get you a diagram of some sort?

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @gtem: Based on the images YOU provided, it is clear you have little ability to understand space awareness. You’ve completely ignored how the open tailgate can function as a changing table; you’ve completely ignored how non-essential things can be placed forward of that bed divider and you’ve completely ignored how you have typically only about 8 square feet of load floor in the back of a typical CUV, maybe 12 in a larger one. And in that CUV you almost dare not use the full vertical cubic feet as anything that rises above the upright seat backs can and very probably will fall forward in an emergency stop–potentially right onto the baby.

            The average person has no idea how to properly load a car or truck. They just throw things in on top of other things until they can’t shove anything more into the area; then wonder why they can’t fit all the rest of the things that previously came OUT of that space! load volume means nothing without the load FLOOR to put it onto.

            Your argument is bunk because while you’re touting access, you’re totally ignoring simple bulk. Just to access a stroller loaded into an already packed CUV, it’s going to be ON TOP of that load, where it can easily slip forward and fall onto the back seat passengers (including the baby). There is far more risk of injury from an ill-packed CUV than there is from an ill-loaded pickup truck with the same volume of cargo. In other words, dude, your attempt to refute my statements proved them instead.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            @Vulpine
            It’s evident you’ve got a very real mental hangup about needing to be right and nothing in the world will change that. You’ll ignore and move goalposts as needed to accomplish this.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I have a feeling that Vulpine is just warming up to go a few rounds with his family this afternoon

            gtem, it’s obvious that the storage space in a CUV is much easier to access then the storage space in a truck. Believe me if the opposite were true young mothers/parents would be buying pick-up trucks instead of CUVs

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Poor, poor boys. Just have to be right, no matter how wrong they’ve been proven. Reminds me a lot of the current political atmosphere. Worse, they’re adopting the well-known tactic of accusing their ‘opponent’ of the things they themselves are doing. Such a pity.

            You see, I’ve had the CUV; I’ve had the pickup trucks; I’ve personally watched as families had issues attempting to load a CUV that is already stuffed to the gills. • I • am not the one moving the goalposts. I am the one who has to step in and help these people when they get frustrated in their attempts to load their vehicle. They almost always been amazed when, after I’m done re-packing their car, they have room left over.

            You don’t think people have packing problems… issues with space management? Might I suggest looking up the Mythbusters episode that discussed several such automotive myths?

            Oh, and while you’re at it, watch these two videos:
            • https://jalopnik.com/heres-the-difference-between-all-wheel-drive-and-four-w-1830575881?utm_source=jalopnik_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2018-11-21

            • https://jalopnik.com/this-should-settle-the-4wd-vs-2wd-winter-braking-debate-1822591648

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Vulpine have you yourself changed a baby on a pickup tailgate? Do you even have children?

            Also, you walk around helping people repack their things in parking lots?

            These are just some of the questions that are swirling through my mind when I read your responses.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            If you think that your mind is swirly now, just picture the fursuit behind the name.

            https://tinyurl.com/yaycw6ff

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @gtem: Unlike you, I live by what some would call Christian morals; I help people in need and don’t judge–or at least, try not to judge. Like the Good Samaritan, I will at least offer to help when others are having trouble. I was raised this way by my VERY conservative parents. So yes, if someone is having trouble getting loaded into their car and the problem is obvious to me, I will help them repack their car.

            And clearly, thinking outside the box is something you don’t do very often. A practical person is one who can make what they have serve them in as many ways as possible. A pickup truck’s tailgate has long been a very practical workplace for many a good contractor, engineer, modeler, photographer, etc. You use what you have when you need it. That’s one reason why I’ve never seen an outright need for an individual to own a full-sized pickup truck–especially today.

            Oh, I know all about the interior size and comfort arguments but I wouldn’t buy a full-sized truck just because it’s soft and cushy, especially if I don’t have a need for its maximum capacities (which most buyers don’t.) I’m always impressed when I see one used for the types of jobs it was designed. Then I still laugh at how some of those owners still have no “common sense.” Just this past Tuesday evening I had to play “Dodge Bale” on a highway because someone with an un-secured load of hay bales had one come flying out of his bed because the tailgate was down and they were stacked out onto that tailgate with NO form of tie down to keep them from falling off. Even a simple bungee-type cargo net would have prevented that and certainly tying it down with cord or straps would have at least kept that last stack intact, considering the speed limit where it fell off was only 40mph.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @Dan: Which one you going to buy? The cute, custom-tailored one in the first photo of that group or the more typical and cheap baggy one which is what that page is really trying to sell?

            By the way, you do know you proved my point in my response to gtem, don’t you? Don’t judge what you don’t know. And don’t assume you know someone just because of a username and a few comments. That’s how people get themselves in trouble.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            The scene: some young parents are in a parking lot standing in front of their CUV, struggling haplessly to figure out where to change their baby’s diaper.

            Up rolls Vulpine in his Colorado, in full fursuit garb.

            “Here folks let me show you how it’s done!”

            Onlookers are mortified.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Alright here is some real world experience.

            When my first child was born I had a Ranger that had a canopy. It was our nicest and newest vehicle at the time. Fact is it completely sucked at hauling a kid and its various items. It only took 4 months to the day from when he was born that it was traded in.

            The next primary family vehicle was a Crown Victoria. Far superior to the pickup for hauling the kid and things and we actually took it on a number of road trips, some that included Grandma and she doesn’t travel light. Everything fit in the trunk just fine.

            It was supplemented by a Grand Marquis which of course performed in the same manner with regards to space, though the lack of the HPP option meant its driving characteristics were not as good.

            Then came kid #2 and the Panthers just didn’t cut it for longer trips so the Grand Marquis went away to be replaced by a Mini-Van.

            The space issues of course were solved, at a price which included lower fuel economy among other things. But definitely an overall improvement over its predecessors when it came to hauling kids.

            Then my wife had to travel back to her grandmother’s funeral in the middle of a Midwest winter. The rental vehicle of choice? An Explorer, the only way to get a 4wd at the rental counter at the time.

            Well next spring we were out to replace that minivan as she wanted a SUV (never was that happy about driving a mini-van).

            For day to day use the SUV was the Goldilocks vehicle. Just the right size being shorter in length and narrower and with a higher seat bottom height. It was so much easier to strap kids in their car seat and thanks to the opening window in the hatch far easier to load and unload for the small things. It had the 3rd row and with it up it did field trip duty just as well as the minivan. Folded down just enough cargo room for everything needed for a trip or a run to Costco.

            15 years later that SUV which would now be considered a mid-size is still sitting in the driveway. Sure with the kids off to college it does sit in the driveway more than it goes. However they are home for Thanks giving and sure enough it is what we used to go to Grandma’s house and was then the vehicle of choice for Pre-Black Friday and Black Friday use.

            So while that SUV only sees 3~4k per year nowadays I don’t see it going away anytime soon because it is so versatile. We’ll have to wait and see what the new Explorer and Aviator Hybrids look like MPG and towing wise as well as how they drive. If the specs are good it would address the only drawback to our current SUV and why it only sees 3-4k per year which is MPG and then I may just have to bring one of those home.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @gtem: Imagine what you will, but you know you’re wrong. About me AND about fursuiters.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Plus here in the rainy PNW having that open hatch you can stand under is a welcome thing.

          There is a reason I came to really like the canopy set up on my F250 that I had fully intended to remove. That is the fact that it is the style where you remove the tail gate and it has a panel with two swinging doors for access. Far easier to deal with than having the tail gate in the way.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    4Runner is always the answer

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    To address the friend’s request from personal experience; in some ways the two trucks are VERY equivalent. A lot of the decision is going to have to come from personal desire. However…

    I chose the Colorado with the V6 for many reasons, not least of which is the 8-speed transmission which gives it good acceleration AND reasonable economy, especially on the highway. While you may not need highway mileage, the 8-speed offers the equivalent of a “granny gear” to get moving smartly when under load as well as at least two overdrives for easy cruising. I’ll also note that while the shifts can be felt more than, say, my wife’s Jeep Renegade with 9 speeds, they are hardly intrusive and much less so than the 6-speed automatic the Toyota carries.

    I can’t speak to the economy of either truck outside of their posted EPA ratings as each person’s driving habits will affect that economy differently. I can say that towing a lightweight U-haul trailer 150 miles, starting with hilly country and a gradual uphill run for most of the trip still achieved nearly 25mpg in that Colorado… with the truck barely even noting there was something back there. So the Colorado’s economy is at least acceptable to me, though not as good as the wife’s Renegade which comes just short of 30mpg on its own over the same route.

    As for mounting the baby carrier, I have an extended cab model and it still has allowance for securing a carrier–even to extending the seat cushion for support by transferring the headrest down into a socket in the front of that cushion. Definitely an imaginative way to ensure carrier support and safety, though I don’t know if a crew cab model does the same. On the other hand, I personally like the clear floor the Tacoma offers when the back seat cushions are folded.

    I admit to being very divided in my thinking between the two trucks concerning in-cab usability vs performance and economy. I ultimately chose the V6/8-speed due to a professed desire to eventually (within a year or two) buying a 4000# – 6000# travel trailer for weekend and vacation travel (I want a popup for ease of storage and simple convenience while she wants a full-on TT for comfort and privacy. I have to admit the new trailers are notably lighter and significantly improved interior layout than they were 30-40 years ago. At 24 feet, you can get a surprisingly nice two-room suite with fully-enclosed bathroom. Some design concepts don’t make a lot of sense but others are very, VERY, nice.

  • avatar
    Babe RuthLess

    Taco may have a higher purchase price but it works out cheaper in the long run – depreciation evens things out and slightly lower fuel bill gives it a slight edge.

    It feels, however, a lot “truckier” if that were an actual word. I mean it feels a lot more like a truck than the Colorado.

    Based on that alone, I’d recommend the Chevy. It does feel a lot more like a SUV than the Toyota, and if she’s already decided on a mid-size pickup for passenger car duty it’s not like she’s very sensitive to a rational arguments and might as well get the more pleasant drive (on tarmac anyway).

  • avatar
    binksman

    Since your friend has already narrowed it down, she should go to a dealer and check out both trucks. Take the car seat and see how it fits in all three positions in the back seat. She may only have one child now but that can easily change. Go with what fits them best and which interior they like best.

    I was so happy when my wife agreed the kids were big enough they could just use their boosters.

  • avatar
    SPPPP

    I think that a mid-size pickup might be one of the worst vehicle segments your friend could choose. Probably just behind subcompact crossover. The rear seat room is just not there. In fact, there are very few cars with truly roomy rear seats. You have to check these out in person, and preferably install YOUR child’s car seat into them, before you reach any kind of conclusion. Best idea – RENT ONE FOR A FEW DAYS BEFORE BUYING ANYTHING!!!!!!

    A minivan’s sliding doors are a big blessing for parents of young children. They greatly reduce your stress in parking lots because you can’t accidentally knock the door into the car next to you. The low ride height of minivans also helps in loading your children in and out.

    However, as pointed out, a minivan might be too much vehicle for a 1-child family. (They can quickly turn into 2-child families(!), but assuming there will be no addition in the near future…) If a minivan doesn’t feel right, why not a midsize SUV? (Though bear in mind that SUVs aren’t cheap, just because the manufacturers don’t price them that way.)

    A Ford C-Max has pretty good rear-seat room, but it doesn’t come with AWD. It is a tremendous used-car value and will save tons of money on gas. However, like a minivan, it also doesn’t come with macho cred. So maybe that is not tenable.

    A full-size SUV would give her good options for rear seat room, but if a minivan is too big, then it might be hypocritical to pick a full-size SUV. (If you want to ignore that, then consider a used Ford Edge or Lincoln MKT, or a new Mazda CX-9.)

    I am guessing that the best category for her might be the mid-size SUV. Mazda CX-5 is a good choice. If she likes Toyota, try the RAV4. Or how about a CR-V? If she likes domestic, try the Equinox (though I don’t know how well those hold up these days, and I hope it is better than the first version). Or even (oh, no, I am going to say it…) a Nissan Rogue.

    If AWD is not a requirement, try a VW Passat. Or an Altima.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      A minor pedantic quibble: what you’re referring to as “midsize SUV” are generally called “compact crossovers,” a midsize SUV is a 4Runner, Durango, something of that nature.

      But I agree fully with your advice.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    All 3 of my boys were transported from birth in my 2004 GMC Sierra HD CC. I suggest your friend takes a rearward facing baby seat and set it in the cab of either the Toy Tacoma or Chevy Colorado. She’ll soon realize that there is not enough room unless the front seats are pulled forward rendering them useless. In my Sierra that seat always went in the middle between the two front bucket seats. Another reason bench seats in a PU suck. That may be also be an option in a narrower midsize or not. Honestly after considering & looking them over you couldn’t give me a midsize truck. I’ll just do it right and go with a FS 1/2 ton. More room for people, V8 power that offers the same or better fuel economy when towing, and a heavier more stable truck that’s guess what……. is better for towing!

  • avatar
    DedBull

    Regardless of the choice, this article demands a follow up review by the new parents of the chosen vehicle. Photos of the installed car seat, loaded with baby gear, etc. Lock the comments if needed.

  • avatar
    66Cortina

    Why do you guys keep addressing your readers as a ‘Bed & Breakfast’?

  • avatar
    Mackey

    If a body on frame truck already exists, I think the Honda Ridgeline absolutely needs to be at the top of the list.

    It offers greater efficiency, AWD, excellent ride and accommodations, and features that make it far more flexible than the standard mid-sized trucks, unless heavy off-road needs exist.

    The cabin is larger and more flexible, the in bed trunk is a game changer (see and use one for yourself), and the dual-action tailgate isn’t just a gimmick.

    Yes- I own one- I am a life long ‘truck guy’, but can confidently say that the current Honda Ridgeline is all the truck that 70+% of truck buyers would ever need, but will never admit (save for construction crews, heavy tow needs, etc).

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    All these recommendations but the choice is between a Colorado or Tacoma.

    Tacoma no longer has any durability edge over the Colorado. The engine in the Tacoma has been much maligned. Drum brakes are still on the back of the Tacoma. The Colorado has a nicer and much more comfortable interior along with a better ride. Tacoma has better resale but the Colorado can be found at a better price.

    I personally would buy the Colorado. They didn’t say trim… how about a diesel ZR2 in deep forest green ;) Sorry, that,s my favourite but a Colorado would be my recommendation.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Well Lou, yourself a Ford man would love my BT50 with the inline five 3.2 diesel. The same diesel that sits in the US HD Transits. It’s far from rapid, but it will go through hill and dale at 80mph on cruise.

      If you recall I put an ARB Old Man Emu suspension kit through it, which is great off road and for high speed dirt road driving.

      It would be nice if the US Ranger came with the 3.2 diesel, it would be a locomotive. The only thing is nowadays the 3.2 diesel isn’t the best on fuel. I just drove 1400km last weekend mostly dual carriageway highway sitting on 75mph and I got about 28.5mpg (US) I used 110 litres of fuel in our speak $165 AUD or $120USD. The newer midsizers are getting much better FE now. I was talking to a guy at work who drives the freeway from the Gold Coast to work around 100km each way every day and he’s getting about 23mpg (his claim). But the Nissan Navara diesel he has doesn’t have the grunt of the 3.2.

      If the difference between our Ranger and Colorado is the same difference between the US Ranger and Colorado the Ford would be the choice.

      One thing I did and now regret. I’m driving with 10ply TA’s, it makes the truck ride like a dump truck at times, unless the road surface is perfectly flat. My next goal is to buy steel rims with a greater offset (similar to the Ranger Raptor) fitted with dedicated offroad rubber and have a set of highway rubber on my pretty rims, these highway tyres should be good enough for most dirt roads and even the beach.

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