A Ford Ranger or a Toyota Tacoma?

I personally would pay for her to go to a driving school. An Actual professional driving school to teach her to really be able to control a vehicle correctly. It’s not the vehicle it’s the driver.

The problem may not be entirely driver but the Land Cruiser. They don’t do too well when they need to swerve around dead stopped Contours. The sense of hugeness and invincibility did not help. If the Tacoma has smaller suspension pieces, that’s good. This kid needs something fragile, not a tank.

Something off the San Diego Craigslist

I wouldn’t mind bottoming out something that cost me less than 5 grand. But it will remind the driver what happens when she hits a big unseen boulder in the middle of the road.

It’s not the vehicle it’s the driver.

I absolutely agree. Back in the early 1990’s, my son was a college sophomore on an Appplachian studies progrm. He spent part of his time working at a little mission and was drving children around in a big van on treacherous mountain roads. I rode with him once on these roads with a van load of children. Every child had to have his or her seatbelt on before he would even start the engine. He never had a problem.

At the same time, at my institution, a student was killed when another student driver flipped the same model of minivan (Ford E-350) on an interstate. My intitution took all these vans out of service as happened at other institutions because these vans were considered “unsafe”. When I told my son about this, he remarked that if a driver uses common sense, these vans are safe.

Yes, I think sending the daughter to a driving school would be a good investment in safety.

My vote is for a driving school also and hopefully what they teach will stick. I can’t even imagine getting a call from the police that one of my children is DOA at the hospital due to a wreck.

My oldest son is a pretty careful driver but about 10 years ago he was almost killed one night when his car slid on the ice during a snowstorm after attending a night class.
The car spun on him instantly and it went down a 15 foot embankment into a full creek where it ended up facing the opposite direction and with water up to the top of the dashboard.

He was lucky. The door jammed and the drivers window worked long enough to lower most of the way which then allowed him to crawl out and wade to the creek bank. The only damage being a bump on the head from the door glass.
The posted speed was 45 and knowing him as I do I’m sure he was telling the truth. He’s just not a speed merchant much like me.
My reply to him was that considering the conditions maybe he should have been doing 20 instead of 45.

As to vehicle choice, my vote is for the Ranger in a 4WD. Good reliable trucks and parts are generally available on the cheap everywhere if needed. Craigslist is chock full of fix-it parts if it comes to that.

For 10k, you can get an 05 V6 Ranger XL 4x4 and a little bit left over for that pre-purchase inspection you’ll want to have done on all vehicles you’re looking at. $7k will net you the 4cyl stickshift 2wd version.
For the price of the v6 Ranger, you’d get a 4cyl Tacoma 2wd of the same year, $14k for a v6 4x4.

What does she really want you to buy her? How many vehicles must she destroy before she gets it?

yes Touareg is to replace is one of the Land Cruiser.

I would go with a Ranger. They are cheap, plentiful, and rugged enough for what you need it to do. It will probably also be cheaper to insure.

I also suggest driving school and defensive driving courses for your daughter. They will not only teach her driving skills that everyone needs to know (Driver’s ed classes should cover much more than they do. Mine was only a semester long 10 years ago in high school, with something like 10, 45 minute behind the wheel sessions including a blue slip test), but will probably also defray some of the additional insurance costs, which will undoubtedly be exorbitant considering she has totaled two vehicles, Land Cruisers at that, in a very short period of time.

She does not get a choice, nor does she express one. As you might guess she is pretty contrite about the whole thing. I am hoping she does “get it”. Sounds like a Ranger 4WD V6 and a driving school. Any suggestion on “An Actual professional driving school”? I take it my local AAA probably would not qualify. In San Diego there are drivers’ ed schools, but instruction is pretty uneven. Online I found the Skip Barber school , but I am afraid this might make her overconfident:

Our professional driving instructors will teach you the foundations of safe, fun motoring, including:

understanding vehicle dynamics & behavior
slides & recoveries
threshold (“panic”) braking
lane-toss exercises & accident avoidance
applying your new-found skills in the Mazda RX-8, MX-5 & MAZDA3s
Mazda driving school graduates are immediately eligible to enroll in the Advanced Car Control program, a Skip Barber Racing School advanced activity.

If you MUST get another vehicle (I’m with those who say buy her a bike or a bus pass):

Get a Nissan Frontier.

Neither the Ranger nor the Tacoma get top marks for roof crush safety from IIHS, and with this driving record, you’re going to need rollover protection.

I don’t know where you live, but when I was a kid growing up in Buffalo, NY in the early 1980s, my parents gave me a mountain bicycle for Christmas. With its wider off-road tires, I didn’t have to wait for summer to ride it. I was able to ride to school on snow and ice (although I tried to avoid the ice). After my family moved to Dallas, TX, a friend talked me into going on a 150 mile bike ride to benefit M.S. While in training for that ride, I would commute to school on my bicycle, which was a magnet school across town. The route ended up being about 15 miles each way. Today, with mapquest and google maps available, I could shave the trip down to about 10 miles in each direction.

The reason I tell you these stories is to show you a motorized vehicle isn’t the only option. Having to ride a bicycle 20 miles to school will teach your teenage driver an important lesson that driving is a privilege, not a right, and that privilege can be taken away by either you or the government, even if you live in the middle of nowhere. If having to ride a bicycle to school for a couple weeks doesn’t motivate your teenage driver to slow down, nothing will.

When Einstein was asked to define insanity, he said (I am paraphrasing), insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results.

Personally, between the two, I would get a four cylinder Tacoma. Unless the truck is loaded with heavy cargo (like bricks and sand), you don’t need a V6 to climb hills.

The best 2 wheel drive off road vehicle would probably have front wheel drive. Every pick-up truck I know of has rear wheel drive, and pick-up trucks have very little weight in the rear. Perhaps the right vehicle for negotiating dirt roads on steep wet hills would be an all wheel drive or front wheel drive car-based SUV.

Just to get my two cents in, I don’t think Skip Barber is a good choice in this case. That’s where you go when you want to learn to drive fast. Think of it this way: Even Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan had coaching. That’s what Barber is: Coaching for the accomplished.

I would urge you to consider a different driving school, and a 2WD, 4-cylinder, automatic Tacoma or Ranger. Consider the Nissan, too.

I’m glad you explained the circumstances a little better later on, too. I was ready to recommend a Specialized, Trek or Giant myself, but in your circumstances, a slow, rugged pickup does make sense. A whole couple boatloads of restrictions to go along with that as well, of course.

How did she get to school before she got her driver’s license?

I’m not sure either vehicle is up to this. I’d consider a 4 cylinder old, perhaps very old, Jeep. Not Cherokee, or Grand Cherokee, but a CJ type Jeep. I would make sure it had a roll bar, good brakes, and good tires. She can use 4WD low in the steep section and that may keep her speed down. Keep this vehicle as basic as possible. Take the radio out, no fancy lights, hopefully it will be dinged up and a bit rusty. If you are going to spend money on it, a skid plate is a good idea. No collision insurance and if she wrecks it she can figure out how to buy her next car.

My sense is the Ranger with a V6 going to be too fast, they are pretty zippy trucks. The Tacoma with a V6 is also too much power for her based on her recent driving history. A newer decent truck is going to be prohibitively expensive to insure if you have collision and comprehensive on it. That’s why I’d go with an old junky Jeep. It will require repairs but if she wrecks it you won’t be out a lot of money even if the loss isn’t covered by insurance.

If she goes 2 or 3 years with no more accidents, perhaps then you can upgrade to a decent truck for her. For now if she is going to drive at all, it has to be an old clunker or nothing.

Agreed. Why enable this kind of irresponsible and dangerous driver?

I agree. I voluntarily ride my bike 32Mi. round trip twice a week to get to work. It keeps the millage down on my truck and I get a small discount from my insurance. When I was younger I had a little Yamaha 125cc 2stroke motorcycle that I rode year round for 2 years 'til it got stolen. It was mighty cold in the winter. After it was stolen it was back to the bus for me. My father’s rule was that if you want your own car you can buy it and pay for your own insurance.

As a parent of three, I can relate to your situation, as I also lived up a mountain trail. Having a child drive is a great relief to a parent who has to drive their child to school, or a bus stop, Also after school activities, etc…I’m sure your daughter has gained experience in the learning curve of " growing up."It takes along time,but these experiences are part of life.I’m also a firefighter who has seen his fair share of teen accidents from texting and other things that distract teenagers.I strongly advise you to ask her to narrow down a choice of vehicles. Then have her drive the vehicles.It is important that the vehicles fit her. Visibility front and rear. Pedal and steering wheel position. Controls for defrost, wipers, radio etc…are user friendly to her. A Ranger would be a good vehicle in my opinion.

Thanks Oldwrench, you sound like a very wise old soul indeed. (now I don’t mean to offend if you happen to be in your forties…:slight_smile: After much thinking we are going to just have drive with us through the summer, take driving lessons, put off any vehicle buying decision for her until September, and see how it goes - probably a Ranger sounds like the way to go, although we’ll look at everything suggested here. I just need to decide right now whether to replace my beloved old (2001) Land Cruiser with another one or a Touareg, but that’s the topic for another forum, and I feel like you guys have been very generous with your time and advice as is. Thanks!..

Forgetting all the above and just concentrating on the best off road vehicle that is also the safer of the two; the Toyota Tacoma wins hands down. Rangers have not changed for many years and my experience with them is they are off road dogs w/o a lot of upgrades. Tacomas come standard with all that capability. You don’t believe me…park the two side by side and crawl underneath. The added frame and component strength, protection and placement is readily apparent in the Tacoma. Trust your eyes and take a look; not even close. If you go standard or short bed, the 4 has plenty of power. You really don’t need the extra power w/o the weight of the 6 cyl in a Tacoma.
I’ve had them for years and the 4 cyl is more docile on road with no deficit off in low range, while the 6 is more tempting to drive too fast.

Get one used with manual hubs and teach her some off road humility and have fun while doing it…enjoy.

Not trying to be funny here, but get her a 70’s era ford pickup. they are as tough as all get out and at least where I am under 1000 for a running driving one. parts are cheap and any bonehead can fix them. another nice thing is that with the low gearing they top out at about 75 mph. small or big block fords will get you about 10-15 mpg, so not really fuel effecint, but hey, get if for under a grand and you can buy a lot of gas.

I LOVE Toyota and think overall they make far superior vehicles to Ford/GM/Chryco…

I do know several people who own Rangers with several hundred thousand miles on them…and very rarely do they ever need service. Ford found a design that works and kept it.