Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

What hath Docnick wrought?

Well Docnick you brought up an interesting concept in"Why do we love our cars so much?" not wishing to interupt or hijack this thread,I would be curious as to what vehicle you would recommend for me.I like to work,almost 6’2" around 210# have callused hands and a aching back. Currently I have a 7 year old Dodge Dakota 4dr,4wd pickup,auto transmission.Like the truck,but next time would like a bit more power and economy.(Anyone else can use this thread that wishes) I’m always open to reasonable suggestions and value others opinions-Kevin

More power and more economy - and your current truck is only 7 years old. This won’t be easy.

You need to see if you feel the Ford F150 with “eco boast” is more powerful. Since it is a bigger truck not sure if it would give you more economy too.

If you can find and buy a 4 cylinder Tacoma it might have more economy but not likely to have more power.

Do you haul things frequently? If not, think about an AWD car and a Harbor Freight trailer. If you pull heavy things, a car might not do. I can get a king size mattress and box spring in my HF trailer. Some pickups might have trouble with that. Trailer bed is lower too, much easier to load a riding lawnmower or a motorcycle.

Does your truck have the 4.7L? If not, you might consider another Dakota with the 4.7L engine. That engine has a lot of power for a small truck and may even do better on gas than the V6. I used to have a WJ Grand Cherokee with the 4.0L I6 and got 16-17 mpg out of it according to the trip computer, which agreed with my old-fashioned trip odometer calculation method, and other Grand Cherokees that I saw come into the shop with the 4.7L V8 showed 19-21 mpg on their trip computers and would flat MOVE! when you put your foot into it.

Uncle Turbo,a friend of mine bought one recently and it does get better mileage and he says it will move out if you get on it,Wha Who?, have actually considered that,mark9207 this is true,practically everyone around here who has a V-8 Dakota claims better gas mileage,the combination of high vehicle weight and numerous mountain grades around here really tax the little V-6(main reason I bought was that they were running a very enticing sale) guess the Pentastar V-6 would have been the engine the Dakota really needed.I am still waiting for the logical approiate vehicle(ever heard of the plastic concept pickup(M-80,I believe it was that Dodge was messing with?) Thanks-Kevin

Kmccume; the final choice of vehicle is very personal.I have a friend who is now wheelchair-bound, but have known him for many years. He is 6’-3" and worked as a steel modular building contractor for a number of years. He is also a model train collector and hobbyist and goes to many exhibitions.

Becasue of his size, he settled on a Dodge Grand Caravan V6 2WD as the most versatile vehicle for him which also had reasonable gas mileage.

I just bought my wife a new car, a Mazda 3 sport in “Velocity Red” (zoom zoom!) . It should meet her needs for fun to drive, shopping at Costco and loading up all her ski and hiking grear for a weekend in the mountains with her outdoor friends. The cost was about the same as a loaded Dodge Caravan mini van.

I would only recommend a 4 WD or AWD if you absolutely must have it. Also, trucks are not very comfortable compared to most other vehicles, and their gas mileage is relatively poor. My 6’ 3" friend also had a bad back and really liked the captain seats in the minivan. His 6’ 4" son also has one.

If you want more power AND economy, get out of 4WD and get the lightest vehicle that has good captain seats. The current Dodge Caravan has oodles of space and very good seats and lots of headroom for a tall guy. It does not have the overall quality of a Toyota or Honda, but costs about $9000 less and is a much better vehicle than your Dakota. My neighbor has a Honda CRV, also with good seats.

Get rid of the “truck mentality”; almost verything you buy at Home Depot can be carried inside a minivan.

P.S. I’m assumimg here that you do n ot tow a trailer. If that were the case then you might need another truck, depending on the weight and size of the trailer.

Well Docnick,you have a valid point-for years I have been admiring the power of some of these minivans and versatility.But what is the solution to stinky cargo?Sometimes I live trap skunks for release and always haul stinking garbage.BTW,I do agree about the 4WD dilemma,its just that I’m spoiled now,thanks-Kevin

@Docnick -

I don’t think you bought a Mazda3 sport in Velocity Red, did you? I was trying to make sense out of how you got a sport trim up to anywhere near the price of a Grand Caravan, then realized the sport trim is only available for sedans (not hatches) and doesn’t even come in red. I think you probably bought an s Touring or s Grand Touring model, no?

Going with an s Grand Touring hatch completely loaded with every factory option available, I was able to get an MSRP of $28,340 and a no-haggle quote of $26,727 (still cheaper than a loaded Grand Caravan by a few thousand, but somewhat close). The most expensive I could get a Sport was an MSRP of $20,365 and a no-haggle quote of $18,487, which is still $2200 less than the cheapest Grand Caravan

Eraser, the local Chrysler dealers are advertising 2012 Caravan models now at just under $21,000 plus taxes. The low price is no doubt due to incentives to get rid of the remaining 2012s.

The Mazda Sport (or 5 door)I bought is also a 2012 (I did not want to wait for the 2013s), it’s the Hatchback version of the DX with only auto, A/C, cruise and power windows. It does not have mag wheels and all that other stuff, including the 2.4 engine; that hatchback model is now called the Mazda Speed, and comes with Sky-active direct injection. You can easily get the Mazda 3 up to $28,000 or so if you add all the stuff they offer.

In any case, all inclusive, except for plates, I paid about the same as the 2012 Dodge caravans advertized.

My wife is not interested in any of this, just those options I bought and the red colour. The car is built in Hiroshima, Japan.

Kmccume; I did not realiize what kind of cargo you carried. I that case, a small truck with a cab would be OK. The Ford Ranger (no longer avaliable in the US) would have done just fine. Whenever someone wants power AND fuel economy I have a problem. The only solution is to reduce vehicle WEIGHT. A compact pickup truck seems to make the most sense.


The DX?

The Mazda3 hatch for 2012 came in “i Touring”, “s Touring”, “i Grand Touring”, and “s Grand Touring” trims. The “Sport” moniker is reserved for 4 door sedans only. The Mazdaspeed3 comes only in “Touring” trim. That’s why I’m confused…

But the Grand Caravan at $21,000 is most likely not a loaded version - that would be about right for the SE trim, which is just about the bottom of the line Caravan. Not that “bottom of the line” is necessarily shabby… :slight_smile:

Also, the Speed 3 has the 2.3L engine, not 2.4L. The sedan/hatch came with 2L or 2.5L engines.

Thanks Guys,yes Docnick,I would give up 10HP for a 300# reduction in weight.I’m a bit of an armchair engineer myself,always like to imagine what I can streamline or eliminate to save weight,jerking mass around requires energy,whigh requires more fuel.Point in case,my Boss spent around 40K several years ago getting a DM Mack truck converted into a service truck it was apalling to look at the hundreds of lbs of useless steel deadweight that was added to that truck and I guarentee that my boss paid handsomely for every lb of useless steel that was added to that truck,The Boss selected air pumps for the dispensors and they are a real pain in the butt in the winter time-You should see the Rube Goldberg drive for the compressor(beyond belief) To put it simply I believe in “KISS”-Kevin

A truck man with an aching back…a Ridgeline. You deserve a little more car like driving experience while still truck’n it. Sorry, you still will have to pay for gas for that performance.

In the final analysis, your bad back will rule the roost. If you need a truck, find one with 1) good seats and 2) the smallest engine available. As Dagosa says, the back comes first; you only live once. The Ridgeline gets very good reviews; a local car TV program has the resident mechanic praise the comfort and versatility of the Ridgeline; he owns one himself. Although it is not a “serious” truck, it will carry a lot of dead skunks and roadkill.

sometimes the smallest engine isn’t the best, especially with full size trucks.

I agree with Docnick that the Ridgeline is not a serious truck. But it’s popularity lies in the fact that few people really treat compact trucks as serious vehicles.

The Tacoma and Frontier with really abismal rides excepted… The standard F150, the compact Dakota, Ranger, Chevy/gmc compacts are no more capable in standard form for off roading and most (perhaps) all have less payload capacity.

Framed trucks have more potential to add that capability on but people with back backs, my self included, have now divorced them selves from the loss of comfort in doing so.

Off road, towing packages are useful for a small percentage of owners…even those who drive trucks routinely and especially those with bad backs. I went from a Tacoma to a 4Runner for comfy towing and off road use with a utility trailer on the side, another possible but more expensive option.

The Ridgeline is in the sweet spot for your use IMO.

Well Dagosa ,you have sold me.The good thing about all of this about the Honda,is the Ol’ woman is crazy about Hondas and I must admit that I have had a generally favorable experience with Hondas across the board,from Cars to generators and waterpumps as Docnick says its serious enough for me-Kevin