A Ford Ranger or a Toyota Tacoma?

For a teenage driver who just totaled two Land Cruisers going too fast, one on dirt road, one on freeway… Conditions are going over deeply rutted, steep dirt roads several miles on way to school in San Diego, so which of these two would be more likely to take the abuse? Probably need V6 to negotiate pretty steep hills on the dirt, especially when it rains. Which has better off road capability in your collective opinion? Not interested in too fast/powerful given her driving history… Which would be safer? Thanks you guys!


when she can afford to buy and insure her own car, THAT would be the car I would recommend.

School Bus

If I had a teenage driver, male or female, who totaled two vehicles (Land Cruisers, no less) going too fast, I would not reward said teenager with another vehicle. I would insist he or she learn to walk, take the bus, call a taxi, or whatever it takes to get where he or she needs to go.

Toughchoice, what you need is tough love. You’re asking us to help you reward your daughter for her foolish behavior. You can do that if you want to, but I can’t help you.

Land Crusiers don’t come cheap. This kid has cost you an enormous amount of money, and she’s lucky she didn’t kill herself. If you let it go and turn her loose in a pickup, she’s just going to do the same thing. You have to do something to stop her from driving too fast for conditions.

Maybe the money doesn’t matter to you. Nice to be in that position. But your daughter doesn’t know how to drive, and she’s a danger to herself and other motorists on the road. You need to do something about that.

The Tacoma is superior to the Ranger, but she’ll trash either one unless you do something about her driving skills You’re the parent. Exert your authority. She needs a wake-up call.

One is as good as the other.
The big issue is not which vehicle to get her but why in the world you’re even considering getting her a vehicle at all.
Either vehicle will run 40 MPH and from the sound of things that’s going to be plenty enough to do her in.

Totals 2 vehicles, you’re expecting yet more abuse in your words, and you’re concerned with “road capability”?

Sorry, your teenager daughter should be made to walk before she kills herself and/or someone else with your willing cooperation.

You might as well just give her your old Land Cruiser that you’re planning on replacing with the Tourag and see if she can get the trifecta. Or is the VW going to replace one of the totaled Land Cruisers? A pair of timberlands might be the best mode of transportation for your daughter; they can handle the toughest of terrain. You’re far more forgiving than my parents were. I was sent to military school for getting a speeding ticket when I was 16…

Ranger for the only the reason they are significantly cheaper to purchase and replace when it gets totaled again.

Well said andrew.

and make it a stickshift 4cyl model, with crank windows and pull up door locks. When she totals that, replace it with a Honda CRX(yes, crX, not crV) or something else even cheaper. when she totals that, get her a bus pass.

Neither. Get her a mountain bike. They’re cheaper to buy, maintain and when she wrecks it, make her walk.

Can you post some pictures of this alleged “deeply rutted, steep dirt road”? I have a really hard time believing that ANY driveway that’s within “several miles” of San Diego seriously calls for an off-road vehicle like a Land Cruiser or Tacoma.

Not to come off as overly abrasive, but the sentence “Probably need V6 to negotiate pretty steep hills on the dirt, especially when it rains”* to me suggests that you really don’t know much about owning, buying or driving a 4x4. To be perfectly frank, I think you’re romanticising your living situation and using it to justify buying these fancy 4x4’s that you don’t really need.

What it sounds to me like you need is a Subaru station wagon. It’s a much safer vehicle for on-road conditions, but it’s excellent AWD system means that, short of high-centering, it can handle anything you throw at it off-road. I live in western Montana and know a lot of folks who live up really nasty roads and most of them drive Subarus. Plenty of 'em also get by just driving slow in normal old front-wheel drive cars.

*Unless you’re talking about snow-plowing or competitive rock-crawling or something, more power usually doesn’t equal better off-road performance on a 4x4, especially if you’re talking about just a wet road. Even a 4-cylinder truck can climb pretty much anything in low range.

Totaled 2 vehicles in less than 4 years excessive speed none the less. I would get her the absolute cheapest vehicle I could find,(no radio, manual trans, take away the cell phone and mp3 player so there are no distractions from driving) and make her pay for the insurance. I don’t even understand how she can still get insured, Had this been a male who totaled 2 vehicles while still a teen he probably couldn’t even get insured.



If you buy her another vehicle, she will continue to drive them in ways that result in crashes.

If she has to get a job and earn money to buy her own basic vehicle, she will treat it with a lot more care and respect.

This is really a parenting decision about values and not a vehicle decision.

It’s a sad commentary that a parent seems to be perfectly willing to dismiss the possibility of their child getting killed due to sheer ignorance and carelessness and whose only concern seems to be furnishing her another vehicle in which to possibly kill herself or others.

A now deceased friend of mine lost his 17 daughter to a roll-over accident on a gravel road only about a mile from his house about 15 years ago. I’ve driven this road a number of times and it can be safely driven at 35 MPH, maybe 40 if you’re alert. In this case she was apparently doing a shade over 50 when the car decided to go skating and flipped, killing her instantly. And this road is a long straight stretch with no curves at all.

OK guys, I see it might have been more productive as far as getting automotive advice if I had skipped the accident part and just asked your considered opinion about the relative merits of the two trucks, but fair is fair and I appreciate the feedback and understand your judgement. Your reaction is not that far from my own when I got a call she had rear-ended a Ford Contour on the freeway because the car in front of the Contour decided to stop in the fast lane. Still her fault, still going too fast, but in spite of the evidence, she is a good kid who has been driving without a hitch for about a year, then she had two accidents in one week. The first Land Cruiser was totaled when she swerved to avoid a deer on the dirt road exiting a blind curve with a rock protruding in the middle (same rock that broke my husband’s 4Runner axle a few years ago, and he’s a very careful driver who has been driving this road for close to 20 years). She lost control, was no doubt going too fast, and flipped the car. LC righted itself and drove the 500’ to home on a shredded tire. And I do fully understand how incredibly lucky she was not to get as much as a scratch, and most importantly, not to hurt others. I don’t know about you all’s driving record when you first started driving, but my dilemma is that preventing her from driving altogether is not likely to improve her driving skills, now is it? Actually that’s her dad’s argument. Just keeping her off the roads just delays when she finally gets out there and at that point with less experience than she would otherwise would have.

To be perfectly truthful it’s all my fault: I drive like a bat out of hell on that dirt road, and kids will do what you do, not what you say. I love to drive fast, never had an accident, but I’m 51, and I should have known better when driving kids to school all these years that it would come back to bite me, even though I drive faster when they are not in the car.

That said, we live in the middle of nowhere about 40 minute drive from her school so the only other mode of transportation is parents driving her. No public bus, Vespa would not make it down the hill (don’t laugh,I considered it, I grew up in France, at that age I drove a moped to high school!), got to have some sort of truck. She is grounded for six months, will pay for the deductibles and the insurance hike, and will have to take a defensive driving course from AAA. Any other suggestion you driving experts might have as far as ways to make her safer for all in the road would be most appreciated, but she does have to go to school in September, home schooling is not an option (just anticipating you wise guys here…:slight_smile:

Now back to the trucks then: Ranger appears cheaper but maybe more sturdy to take pounding on dirt road (Tacoma suspension parts not as thick - of course this is according to Ford salesman!), while Tacoma is safer (side and curtain airbags, not even an option of Ranger), although only in later years, and I would not spend the $ to get a newer vehicle. Thinking around 10K (of which she’ll pay half), something utilitarian and sturdy but very basic, and yes, with stick shift because driving a manual takes up more attention and forces you to focus on driving. Subaru an option as well, but worried about ground clearance, and it’s also more $. A basic truck without extended cab prevents her from driving anyone else, a privilege she lost as well.

So if you can look past my parenting shortcomings, I would very humbly appreciate any advice on both improving her driving skills, and on which of these two trucks to get. 4 cyl vs 6, 2WD or 4WD, etc…

GreasyJack I’ll go take pictures in a bit, but it’s funny, my standard line is “I’m one of the only people I know that actually NEEDS an SUV!” when people comment at how dirty our vehicles are. I am no mechanic nor driving expert, but have been living off these roads and driving them several times a day for close to 20 years now, in a variety of vehicles. You’re right a 2WD or 4 cyl can make it, we have had both a 2WD Jeep Cherokee and a 2WD 4 cylinder 4Runner. Most of the time (11 months out the year) road is not muddy, just very dusty and with rock outcroppings and deep ruts, which of course get worse after the rainy season. My comment about v6 was after we took Ford salesman through the road for test drive yesterday he said 4 cylinder Ranger would have trouble with how steep it is -= hence I am asking you the experts. Issue with Subaru is ground clearance unless you are going to drive at 5 miles an hour negotiating each rut/rock safely without bottoming out.

She will be paying for increase in insurance and pay about 5K of truck. In the meantime to being self sufficient she still needs to get to school somehow :slight_smile:

McParadise I totally agree, but how do you "do something to stop her from driving too fast for conditions. "? Install governor? Have her take defensive driving course? Really looking for constructive solutions here, thanks for the advice.

BTW LC were both older, 1999 and 2001 (BTW this is a testimony to how well they retain their resale value: insurance paid me more than I paid for the 2001 3 years ago!), but I loved them both, they are great vehicles, and as you say besides money the issue is safety. That’s really the conundrum.

ok4450, sorry I didn’t make clear by “abuse” I meant punishing road conditions, not that I expect my kid to get in more trouble. On another forum that is why I am debating replacing one of the LC with a Touareg for myself because I wonder if it’s sturdy enough to take the daily pounding, as the LC were. So that’s what I meant about these 2 trucks, which is sturdier, more likely to have less repairs given the road is going to give it a beating?