I’m not really a truck person. I respect trucks, but never had much of a desire to own one. Then I had to move a bunch of junk from my house when I realized my Volkswagen GTI and our Sienna minivan weren’t going to cut it. After borrowing my dad’s Frontier, I developed a new appreciation for the cheap pickup. Here is why you should get one.
Sometimes you just need a truck
I own both a hatchback and a minivan; they are pretty practical vehicles for almost every task, but there are situations where they can’t take the place of a something that is specifically designed to load and unload large items.
As a child of the 80s, I was able to hone my box arranging skills through Tetris. I take it as a personal challenge to pack all variety of shapes and sizes on that pickup bed to maximize the space.
Also, there are some items that you just don’t want to transport inside a car. For those of you into DYI home projects, whether it be in the yard or inside the house, the last thing you want is mulch or grout making a mess on your seats.
You don’t have to worry about speeding tickets
The particular 2003 Frontier that I drove was a V6. I was totally unaware of this fact until I saw it on the side of the truck. With about 175 hp and a 5-speed manual, 0-60 happens at... some point in time.
Now this may sound a little weird to some people, but Jalops will understand, vehicles in their own way communicate with you. Once I leisurely reached about 70 mph on the Garden State Parkway, the truck sort of gave me the message of - “Whoa, buddy...that’s good right there.” On the other hand, My GTI at 70 says - “Is ziz ze Autobahn? Vy aren’t ve going faster?” In an old beater pickup you have little desire to exceed the speed limit, slow and steady is where it’s at.
They can be fun in their own way
Just because a pickup is slow, doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. If your fortunate enough to find one with three pedals, there is something charming about planning those really long gear changes way in advance. Take older pickup with four-wheel-drive (or not) for some light off-roading and you will come to understand that even at 10 or 20 mph, the amount of focus you need can be a rewarding experience.
Now that brand new pickups are getting priced up to seventy grand, most of them will be remained polished up and confined to pavement. However, if you drop a few thousand on something that has been seen some miles, getting a little mud, dirt, and a few brush scratches will just add character.
Because they are cheap
I realize that statement is really obvious, but here is a way to make them even more affordable, buy it with someone else. If you are going to get one as a secondary vehicle and you have a close friend or family member that also could use a truck, ask if they will split the cost with you. My dad purchased the 2003 Frontier with his neighbor and co-worker. They both have luxury cars as daily drivers, but could each use a truck for occasional weekend trips or house projects. So they each only had to spend $2500 on a $5000 truck.
Of course you both need to come to some kind of agreement on how to split the maintenance and insurance costs, but a co-purchase allows both of them of you to get more truck on a limited budget. That’s not for everyone, of course, but it’s also not a bad idea.
They might even make you some money
Since almost everyone needs a truck at some point in time, having access to a a pickup may bring some opportunities to make some cash on the side. Do you get big snow storms in the winter? You can put a plow on it and clear driveways and parking lots (just make sure you are insured properly for that kind of activity). Do you have a friend with commitment issues? When your buddy gets kicked out of his girlfriend’s apartment, a few bucks and a 6-pack can be swapped for your hauling capabilities. Or how about your neighbor that is into fishing? They can give you a small fee to tow their boat to and from the dock. Though you might want to get some practice on that one before charging money for it.
With an open bed an an active imagination, the possibilities are endless!
If you have a question, a tip, or something you would like to to share about car-buying, drop me a line at AutomatchConsulting@gmail.com and be sure to include your Kinja handle.