Towing/hauling: Subaru outback with trailer, Mercury Grand Marquis with trailer, or old pick-up?

We recently moved to a small hobby farm and need to transport compost, brush, livestock feed, and other items regularly. We would appreciate advice regarding our options (including cost, practicality, durability, etc.)?

Our options are:

  1. Use our nice Subaru Outback 2011 (AWD, 4Cyl) with a trailer.

  2. Use my Dad’s old Mercury Grand Marquis (RWDm, V8) with a trailer.

  3. Suck it up and just get an old pick-up truck.

Bug Momma

  1. is by far the best for somebody with a farm
  2. might work OK, depending on the weights towed (that stuff can be HEAVY, will kill the trans)
  3. is to be avoided at all costs, even if you have to occasionally rent a truck.

Thanks, Texases! I figured that was the best option, but was worried about shelling out the cash. But in the long run, an old pick-up will probably pay for itself!

Ditto tex.
The pickup is the only way to go.

One more vote for an old pickup or the old Merc.
As much as I like Subarus, this is just not something that you should be doing with that Outback, particularly since it is a 4 cylinder model (and likely equipped with the CVT).

Yeah I think I agree. On a farm in the long run, you’re going to want a pick up. Plus you can put a plow on it for the winter.

Consider this… A pick up and a utility trailer with a small tractor and loader is ideal. If you have a small tractor, you just mount a ball hitch on the loader and dump your utility trailer with it. Without a doubt, you NEED a compact tractor, and from there, pick up truck and utility trailer will allow you to do jobs quicker and safer then you ever thought possible. If you have to, I would sell the two cars and move in that direction…but, that’s just me with an old back and lots of stuff to move.

I would even, for money wise, recommend the tractor and utility trailer FIRST.then figure a way to get the truck later while you tow with the Grand Marquis. Utility Tractors can plow or do anything else with attachments.
I have never met anyone who worked on any farm with livestock that regretted having owned a utility tractor. Your back and your other vehicles will thank you and over time, it is the cheapest way to get the most work done safety

Thanks everyone for all the great advice!

We already have a really nice (albeit old) diesel tractor. It has a front loader, mower, till, and trailer. So we’re all set in that regard. The truck would be primarily used off the farm to pick up hay, feed, transport compost from the county site, and other such things. We have 2 small children (and live in the snowy Midwest), so we won’t be selling the Outback too soon. But maybe the Marquis could be traded in for a truck.

Outstanding ! Other than that, I would get a used truck and put stake sides on it to make it easier to load higher with the tractor …an older 3/4 ton would be best as the stuff you carry could be weighty. I would not worry about any particular make. When buying used, just look for the one in the best condition regardless.

If you get a truck to haul the stuff you listed, make sure you can get the truck into the places you need to put the stuff when you get it. I have both the utility trailer and a small truck, but when I go after compost. I hook the trailer up to the truck to go and get it, but when I get back, I transfer the trailer to the tractor because I can’t get the truck out to the garden.

Great idea! Thanks everyone for all the terrific advice! We’ve started the search for a pick-up!

Bug Momma

I think you are doing the right thing in searching for a pickup truck. When I moved to a five acre place in the country, I bought a 22 year old 1950 Chevrolet 1 ton pickup for $110. I hauled hay 50 bales at a time, hauled sand, peat moss, fill dirt and fence, and even stretched fence with the old pickup truck. Half ton pickup trucks are quite popular so you might get a better price on a 3/4 ton or even a one ton pickup. As I understand it, you are looking for a “work truck”. These trucks without comfort options may be available at a reasonable price. If you aren’t concerned about driving long distances, gasoline mileage is not an important factor.

You are right- this will definitely only be used as a “work truck” for all of those things you just mentioned. We could care less about the body and comfort (the uglier, the better;-). If it runs and can do the job, it will work for us! Thanks!