SUV vs. Pickup


I’m currently wrestling with upgrading my pickup OR keeping my pickup and getting an older SUV.

The facts are:

  1. Current pickup - 1991 GMC full size, standard cab, full size box. 105K. New motor August 2000, new clutch August 2001, good condition.

  2. I need a full size pickup with an 8 foot box for gear (personal, not work).

I’m trying to decide between buying a 1999-2000 full size Dodge pickup with an extended cab and 8 foot box OR keeping my current truck and buying a 1998-1999 Dodge Durango.

If I buy the extended cab pickup, it would be my main vehicle and I would trade in the GMC. If I buy the Durango, it would be garaged most of the time and used for road trips where I don’t need the pickup’s box capacity. My GMC would be the vehicle I drive every day.

Any thoughts on which way to go?

There are some other consideratons (read disclaimer), but none of them major.




  1. Yep, I’m buying a Dodge. They look good. (insert comments about foreign vehicles, service records, having a mechanic check it out, etc.)

  2. Insurance either way is not that much different.

  3. I’ve been driving full-size American pickups for 25 years. I’m a little nervous about parallel parking an extended cab - not that I can’t do it, but after all these years I’d have a tough time getting used to the extra length.

  4. The Durango would be garaged. The extended cab pickup would not - it won’t fit, or would be darned close

2 vehicles = 2x the headaches. You don’t say what the cost difference would be, but I suppose that having the two vehicles would be more expensive.

I vote for upgrading the pickup.

For road trips, you could rent a car if you wished. I’m guessing that renting a car a couple of times a year would be less expensive than owning and maintaining 2 vehicles.

      • Pickups are good at carrying lots of everything but people, unless you go for one of those Leviathan club-cabs (which I don’t know if Dodge even makes now anyway).
  • I didn’t mind driving a full-size regular-cab pickup, except for two things : not much passenger space, and frost/snow between the cab’s rear window and the shell’s front window. - DougC

I’m facing the same delimma in a way. I love my 1999 Jeep Cherokee. But it would be very useful to have a pickup if I need to haul my Yamaha to the shop for maintenance. Most of my driving is done solo, but I frequently drive when my office buddies and I go out to lunch. A four-cylinder Toyota Tacoma gets slightly better mileage than the Jeep, but the Jeep has more power. (Of course I wouldn’t make the mistake of getting an automatic transmission again, so smaller engine/lower power isn’t really an issue.)

I’ll probably end up just keeping the Cherokee and getting a Toyota later.

I love my Dodge Dakota quad cab. I have room for five and six in a pinch, and have a bed that is almost 6 feet. The interior seats fold up and leaves a huge interior trunk as well.
I haul lots of standard lumber/plywood/sheetrock with the wife and kids along for the ride. Bed size isn’t an issue. Fewer trucks have or need 8’ beds.

The originals are two years old and have depreciated somewhat, so there are some used ones out there. In six months, the oldest quad cab model will be 3 years old (?).

I just didn’t want an SUV. Not very versatile if you ask me.

Up until recently 2000 (?), SUVs were just put on a pickup chassis, weren’t they? So you’d need a newer SUV to get some of the better safety features, otherwise if you just get an old SUV, you’re basically getting a pickup.

I vote for the 2-vehicle option. That way, you can use the vehicle best suited to what you’re doing at the time.

Instead of wrestling seats out of the SUV and lining it with tarps to keep the door upholstery and carpets safe each time you want to carry something dirty, greasy, or bulky; just take the truck.

Instead of cramming the wife and kids into an extended cab, you can take the wagon on outings and leave the truck home.

The dealer is just going to rape you on your trade-in anyway. You won’t get anywhere near what your new clutch and motor are worth unless you “drive the money out of” those repairs.

The only question I have is whether or not the Durango will regularly leave the pavement. If not, maybe something like my Dodge Caravan with all-wheel-drive would do. You’d actually gain interior room over the Durango and your wife and kids would like the lower step-in height better on a day-to-day basis.

more is always better, in my opinion. buy the 2nd vehicle.

i got an old, full-size beater truck for hauling camper and for beating up hauling rock, horseshit or whatever. got a small, economy truck for small loads, good milage, running around town. got a full size mega truck with shell for hauling livestock, long road trips, no damaging cargo. wife wants another, 4 door small truck (thinkin about the nissan frontier quad cab extendo-bed) for small, long distance runs where we need to take the child seat too.

of course, i got to have a jeep for beating up off-road, a sports car (had it since college), a “family car” (it came with the wife), and i got a “muscle” car sittin’ on the other side of the garage for when i want to cruise around and look cool. (i dont drive it too much)

i can never call-in with car trouble stories to work. they know better.

more is always better! (wanna hear about the motorcycles?)

Thanks all, some followup:

The Durango would be my “Cadillac”. I’d use it for long road trips or fishing trips where I don’t need the pickup box or I have more than two guys (most of my friends are in the 6 foot/200 lb range, so three in a cab gets tight on long trips). The rest of the time the Durango would be garaged. I’d use the 91 GMC as my around-town car.

I’m realizing that I have fewer trips where I “need” the pickup box. For example, going to visit friends in Spokane or Eastern Montana, when it’s just drive there, drive back.

No wife, no kids, just a dog and the occaisional 3-4 guy fishing trip. The vehicle has to be a 4x4 and as a 40 year-old bachelor, I’m unlikely to buy a minivan. I’m set on WHICH vehicles, the question is one of HOW MANY.

I do need a full-size, 8 foot box. I have a toolbox on the truck I won’t live without and my raft frame doesn’t fit at all well in a smaller box - it’s downright scary. I probably carry the raft frame 10-15 times a year. And I can’t stand a smaller pickup cab (I tried some years ago).

I checked the rental on a Durango. A rough figure is that it would cost me about $1500 a year. Realistically I know that I’d be unlikely to rent when I already have a vehicle. I’m cheap.

I’m not particularly concerned about the newest safety features.

I know that more vehicles can equal more costs. I also know that with multiple vehicles, each gets driven less. I also have a 1984 Chrysler LeBaron convertible. But it’s going to die as soon as it needs more than $400 in repairs (133K on a K car means I don’t even drive it out of town)

Thanks for all of your suggestions, they’ve pointed out a few things I hadn’t considered. I have a 3 guy trip coming up in a couple of weeks, I may check into renting a new Dodge pickup or Durango for the trip. (Hmm, the dog will be tracking mud into the Durango, but not the pickup cab. Hmm.)


Oh yeah, I’ve owend in the past:
67 GMC pickup
75 El Camino
81 Subaru wagon (hated it)
79 GMC 1500 PU
79 Full size Blazer
89 Toyota truck (hated it)
85 Ford full size pickup

Why would he go to a dealership where he would be sexually violated? And if his dealer wanted to rape him, don’t you think he’d choose a more concealed location than on top of the trade in?

Whistlepig–what kind of raft/frame do you have?

Green Bean, I got 505’d (host unknown) on your off-board email.

NRS Sprite, 12.6 ft. Frame is from a local shop, 1 inch steel tubing, lashed in plywood floor. It breaks down, but not as quickly as it can be lifted into the pickup box.

Oo! Thanks for the heads-up on the email. I had changed it between Dec. 7 and the crash, and I guess the change got lost in the ether. It should work now.

We have an Aire SuperPuma and an Aire Ocelot cataraft, both with NRS frames. We sometimes break down the frames–they’re easy enough to assemble at the put in with a cordless DeWalt. Sometimes, we put the whole frame on the rack on our truck. (We have an ‘84 Jeep J-10 full-size pickup with a cap and an awesome set of contractor racks with an additional set of Yakima crossbars. Hoo yeah, we’re stylin’!)

I wonder how many boaters there are on the board?

And as far as the “need” for a full-size bed or not–I wouldn’t be happy with anything less than a full-size bed, either.