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What to buy?

We need to get a new car (due to accident) for my 23 year old son. Need most reliable, cheaper to repair etc. He does not have expendable income. Looking at 2004 Toyota Tacoma with 148,000 vs 1999 Ford Ranger with 98,000. Of course we will have our mechanic look at both of them but overall does anyone have any details of one verses the other?

College Student ? Does It Have To Be A Truck ? How’s It Going To Be Used ?


One year out of college and it doesn’t necessarily need to be a truck but he’s driven trucks up to this point and likes them. Carts stuff to and from the beach, plus he’s moving soon. To and from work - about 20 miles daily and pretty much around town but with some longer trips home (4 hours) a couple times each year. We’re stuck at around $5000 which is what we expect from the other insurance company.

I would ask about most recent clutch and timing belt (if applicable) replacements. Let that info guide pricing and choices. In general, I go for lower mileage, anyway.

As far as used vehicles are concerned, 2wd compact trucks are a pretty good buy and cheaper to maintain. I think he’s on the righ track. Mileage is only part of the story. If you’re in a rust prone state, make sure body condition is good. I would recommend rangers only if the use was light. Other wise, the best buy in a compact truck is the Toyota. I would recommend it over the Ranger iF it passes the muster of your mechanic and is real cheap.
Toyotas can be repaired and will not be revisited. Rangers can be repeat offenders.

The Ranger should be less than $3000 with AC and any transmission. You could find a 2004 Ranger XLT with AC and auto transmission for about $5000 and 80,000 miles. A cost equivalent Tacoma PreRunner would be a 2001. Maybe you should keep looking.