2006 Toyota Corolla vs. 2001 GMC Sierra

Hi, I was wondering if someone could help me with a question I have. I am currently driving a 2006 Toyota Corolla with approximately 55,000 miles. It gets about 35-37 mpg (I can’t recall which). It has been a pretty good car since I got it. I have no major complaints except for the fact that it is so easily damaged. Sometimes I feel like I’m driving a tin can.

My father drives a 2001 GMC Sierra 1500 4X4 Short bed, with and 8 Cylinder engine. It gets 16 mpg and has 60 thousand miles on it.

Once I pay my car off in a few months, he offered to exchange vehicles. He would then sell my car and purchase a new truck for himself.

I currently work at an office right now, but I plan on going to graduate school for archaeology in a year. Having a truck would be better for the offroading and hauling of materials I may potentially have to do as an archaeologist.

My problem is that I cannot decide if I want to take the older, safer, more powerful truck with bad gas mileage, or if I should stick with the newer car that, once paid off, I will have sunk 15+K into.

The truck hasn’t had any major problems, but my father said it may be getting to the point where major things will start to break down, leaving me to foot the bill.

The hauling would be great, especially since I will be moving out of state. If I took the truck I would probably get a shell for the bed.

I am filled with indecision, and hoping to get some informed opinions on this problem. What would you do in my position?

Thank you,


It is a nice truck, but it is 5 years older than my car.

Drive the truck for a week or two (switch with dad for a short time) and see how you feel when you fill up with gas. You will be paying about $50 per fill up vs $25 and going less miles between fill ups. If you feel ok about spending the money for gas the switch might work.

These are really two completely different vehicles and you just can’t compare them. If you need a truck, go truck. If you don’t need a truck the Corolla is much cheaper per mile to run. If you can afford it pay off the Corolla, and buy the truck from dad when he is ready for a new one. That way you’ll have a truck for your work when needed and a cheap ride the rest of the time.

" I have no major complaints except for the fact that it is so easily damaged."

By whom? Are you a bad driver or do you attract them? I would not call a ten-year old pickup “safer”. How many miles are on the truck? I’d stick with the Toyota, but then I have no use for trucks. If I needed a vehicle for off-road and carrying equipment, I’d get a RAV4, CRV or Outback.


Wait 'til you actually complete school and become an archeologist before deciding you need a well-worn pickup with a gas thirsty engine. Chances of your needing a truck to go to the sites you’ll be visiting during your schooling are minute. The trips will be organized and arranged by the professors, complete with group transportation.

The Corolla will serve you much better while you’re in school.

Keep the Corolla. For those few times you think you need a truck, borrrow you father’s.

I agree with the others, keep your soon-to-be paid off Corolla, go to school, get a job, then see what you need. If you end up needing a truck, you could get a smaller pickup at that time that would get (somewhat) better milage. Your Corolla is plenty safe in the mean time.

Keep the Corolla and let the professor do the driving. You might not work on digs anywhere near school anyway. Will you take the truck to China or Peru - or even Mexico? Many sites in the USA are probably accessible by car anyway. At least they are in MD.

You keep your car, and when your dad is ready for a new truck, he can sell or trade his in, and buy whatever he wants at that time. There’s no point to swapping vehicles now, since the future isn’t for quite a while.

And when the future does come, you should first look and see what the conditions you will need to drive in actually are, and THEN make the vehicle purchase that you need to then.

There’s nothing wrong with your car, just your perception.


The only reason the Corolla is easily damaged is when used for what it isn’t intended or operating it improperly. So many of we in newer cars forget they don’t have the clearances of yesteryear that “old” style vehicles like trucks still do. Bumper heights, ground clearance and solid underpinnings are what you give up for mileage (and mechanical reliability). Are you willing to make that huge sacrifice in this particular instance ?