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    Thread: What's a better "utility" vehicle?

    1. Member
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      Volt, MK7 GTI
      06-17-2017 10:40 AM #1
      Cliffs:
      - Current vehicle is a tad small for hauling cargo
      - Looking into adding a new vehicle, narrowed down to two options
      - Would be good if it can also carry passengers while hauling cargo, with enough power and A/C cooling capabilities
      - Thanks.

      ____

      Hi! I'm getting into the thick of things with a business I've started a few months ago, which requires the occasional hauling of supplies. To date I've done this on the GTI with all seats down, but it sometimes takes a few trips and there are just things i can't fit inside of it -- or i end up not getting large quantities of certain items mainly because of it (losing to economies of scale, think: getting 300lb bags instead of 50lb-ers.)

      So I've started looking into leasing a new vehicle/purchasing used, either a:

      - Ford Transit Connect (passenger-type)
      - Toyota Tacoma (4-door, stick) -- i originally looked into something larger like an F150, but just can't get over its heft.

      I've never owned either a van or truck before, but have sat occasionally in one or the other. I see the pros and cons of either vehicle types just based on my limited experience with either, but don't really know which would be the most versatile and can also double-duty as passenger/cargo hauling (i.e. have seats available while hauling cargo.)

      I'm leaning towards the Connect because it feels like it could fit more and all the cargo is protected from the elements. Seems under-powered if loaded, however. Has a bit less payload capacity, and I'm concerned about how well the A/C can cool down that cavernous interior in the peak of TX heat. It does feels more like driving a car, which i like the dynamics of.

      The Taco has a noticeably larger payload capacity, but possibly less space to work with (just the bed?). The higher seating is interesting, but only if not maneuvering through tight spaces. The engine and A/C feels more than adequate. TBH, the stick and strong A/C is weighing heavily with me on this one.

      I think i already know the answer, but can't escape the feeling I'm missing something. What do you folks think?

      Thank you.
      - Mike

    2. Geriatric Member BRealistic's Avatar
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      06-17-2017 10:44 AM #2
      The new Taco has excellent resale value on its side, which sways lots of sales.
      Not sure about with a manuel tho... as I know a few buyers that opted for the auto after trying a maneul and saying it felt like a dog.
      removed because realized just as annoying as the people that refuse to turn off their phone app's auto-spam with every post.

    3. Senior Member A.Wilder's Avatar
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      06-17-2017 11:06 AM #3
      My company has a large fleet of these. I can't stand them, no power, terrible reliability, everything seems to be built to a standard of quality i thought we surpassed decades ago. For example, doors falling off, "panels" flying off at highway speed, cable-routing plastic covers for sliding doors fail 100% which can cause a whole list of crazy electric problems, a/c is meh, huge blind spots, mileage disappointing, ours have shelving installed making the interior space very cramped. Company leased these to replace our full size vans and universally everyone hates them and the CEO that made this "golf course" deal with ford was quickly ushered into retirement. YMMV.



      I have no experience with sprinter vans personally, but a few friends have own/owned them and didn't have many issues with them. Short wheelbase (dunno if we got it in the USA) might be a good option? Also, look into possibly tax benefits if you are purchasing fora company/LLC/etc. you might find your budget is more flexible.

      Last edited by A.Wilder; 06-17-2017 at 11:09 AM.
      signatures are annoying, right?

    4. Member SoCalDubber's Avatar
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      06-17-2017 11:26 AM #4
      I have a 7 passenger XLT 2015 Transit Connect and I absolutely love it. I can't say enough good things about it and the way it hauls my detailing or event production stuff around the country with ease, how civilized it is for passengers, or the kind of MPG I see in it (25 or so cross-country around 80 mph, fully loaded)
      Wuste European Car Festival The West Coast's LARGEST European Car Show!

    5. Geriatric Member BRealistic's Avatar
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      06-17-2017 11:43 AM #5
      The Transit Connect's big appeal is small footprint and low price (unless you load on options).
      Seriously- a base Transit Connect Cargo is just $24k msrp + dest.
      That is cheap for a brand new work van (a base Chevy Express Cargo is $33k).
      And unfortunately it seems like Ford did some cost cutting to make that happen (since built in Europe and imported to US makes them even more expensive than being built here).
      I think the 1.6 turbo would make them much more usable with a load because torx.
      But I am sure A. Wilder's deal was for regular 2.5 models- which is bad idea if you plan to haul around lots of tools/parts all the time.
      The base 2.5 box is good if you need the space but not to haul heavy stuff all the time (like a florist), or if you just want the ability to haul stuff occasionally.


      *This may be why Chevy is offering the four banger diesel in the Express now.
      It will be slow.. but many buyers may now want the old school domestic van toughness after trying some front wheel drive models, and the diesel puts a fuel economy spin on the deal (to make the bean counters ok the added cost over the cheaper FWD models).
      removed because realized just as annoying as the people that refuse to turn off their phone app's auto-spam with every post.

    6. Geriatric Member BRealistic's Avatar
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      06-17-2017 11:49 AM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by SoCalDubber View Post
      I have a 7 passenger XLT 2015 Transit Connect and I absolutely love it. I can't say enough good things about it and the way it hauls my detailing or event production stuff around the country with ease, how civilized it is for passengers, or the kind of MPG I see in it (25 or so cross-country around 80 mph, fully loaded)
      Personal and commercial use can produce vastly different results.
      There is a reason the old rear drive domestic vans kept going for so long even after front wheel drive minivans dominated the personal use market.
      Even with "dedicated" work van versions, the front wheel drive minivans just weren't practical when long term repair costs/down time were factored in when compared to the old school truck based domestic vans.
      Businesses track this stuff over the life of vehicles, so they know.
      (longitudinal front engine/rear drive is typically way easier to work on than traverse F/F)
      removed because realized just as annoying as the people that refuse to turn off their phone app's auto-spam with every post.

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      06-17-2017 12:26 PM #7
      What do you do for work? Also do you have to carry stuff daily to do your work.

      If you constantly have stuff to carry the TC will be much easier to work out of, and have easy to access storage. Where the taco wagon has less lockable storage, and if you add a cab. It is annoying to work out of.

      Also with either, and your GTI. You could get a small cargo trailer to do occasional larger hauls.
      Focus ST which stands for Suspension Technologies.

      That means it does things magically. In such ways I can not describe, but it is better in every way.

    8. 06-17-2017 12:53 PM #8
      I've been struggling with this issue for years. There isn't a perfect "do it all" vehicle for me.

      Modern trucks and vans can carry a ton of cargo but are terrible(for me) to drive on a regular basis. I've tried several vintage haulers(VW Bus) but the upkeep and lack of modern tech/safety are the downfall. They do get a ton of attention with your business logo on the side though. You already know that cars like your GTI are cargo challenged.

      The best compromise I have found is a large modern station wagon.(think Volvo/Audi). There is noticeably more cargo room than a GTI. Plus you get all the bells/whistles and a comfortable ride. Install a hitch and tow a light cargo trailer when you need a bit of extra space. That's what I've been doing and it beats everything else I've tried.

    9. 06-17-2017 12:59 PM #9
      Used Honda Element.

      bulletproof, dead simple and reliable. and they are reasonable cheap.

      all plastic interior including floors, no carpet anywhere. you can literally hose it out.

      rear seats are removable or can be folder up out of the way for cargo. roofrack for anything bigger.

      75sq/ft with seats out. cant beat it short of a longbed truck.
      Last edited by Aseras; 06-17-2017 at 01:01 PM.

    10. Member r_fostoria's Avatar
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      06-17-2017 01:01 PM #10
      I just looked it up out of curiosity, and the Ram C/V Tradesman actually has a higher payload (1800lbs vs. 1650lbs.) and towing capacity (3600lbs vs. 3500lbs.) than a new Tacoma pickup. It's almost certainly better to drive as well. The Town & Country its based off of isn't bad at all. Actually, if you want to haul passenger too, a used Stow 'n' Go Caravan probably isn't a bad idea.


    11. Member HI SPEED's Avatar
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      06-17-2017 01:17 PM #11
      I think I am qualified to answer this question. I have both a manual Tacoma, and a Transit Connect company car .

      For my purposes both fit my needs perfectly. However they are separate needs. The Transit needs to be able to move 5 people down to our downtown offices one day, and then move a huge amount of equipment and materials through the city, and potentially be parked securely while loaded with expensive equipment.

      My personal tacoma is a much better utility vehicle by far. I have the 6 foot bed, surf racks, and a bed extender. I can haul a ungodly amount of stuff, with no sweat whatsoever. What I cannot do is leave things in the bed, or easily maneuver and park through the city. The engine however is stout as hell, requires nothing but oil, and despite what people say I love the manual. There is nothing more hilarious to drive then a 6 speed pick up truck, especially in this day, and age.

      As far as the Transit AC is concerned, I have no Issues, even during the hottest time of year here in Hawaii. The AC works excellently. Unfortunately that is the only good news. I have myriad complaints about the transit, and hate everything but the looks, handling, and the utility. Firstly is gas mileage. I routinely get around 10-11 mpg in the ecoboost Transit, I only drive it loaded through the city but still. The transmission feels like it is going to fall out, at under 10,000 (hard) miles. My biggest gripe though is the radio, it is torturously terrible, constantly loses bluetooth connection, and has these byzantine menus that drive me nuts.

      If I had to pick between the 2 I would go Tacoma 1,000 times over. I would just throw a cap on it, and call it a day. Who would have thought that the truck would be the one better on gas.

    12. Member
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      06-17-2017 06:32 PM #12
      You guys are awesome. Thanks so much for the insight!

      Quote Originally Posted by BRealistic View Post
      The new Taco has excellent resale value on its side, which sways lots of sales.
      Not sure about with a manuel tho... as I know a few buyers that opted for the auto after trying a maneul and saying it felt like a dog.
      I didn't even think of the resale, i guess that matters much if i went with a lease. If i bought used, the TC goes for around $15k, the Taco is significantly a bit more for the same year/mileage. Interestingly, i've read the opposite in terms of the transmission on the Taco -- the auto being the problematic one.

      Quote Originally Posted by A.Wilder View Post
      My company has a large fleet of these.
      The reliability thing will definitely be a problem. Since i'm going for the passenger version of it, would you think the issues would be the same? I guess it would be since I doubt Ford would throw commercial fleets under the Friday afternoon production line.

      Quote Originally Posted by SoCalDubber View Post
      I have a 7 passenger XLT 2015 Transit Connect and I absolutely love it. I can't say enough good things about it and the way it hauls my detailing or event production stuff around the country with ease, how civilized it is for passengers, or the kind of MPG I see in it (25 or so cross-country around 80 mph, fully loaded)
      And no issues whatsoever? Mind if i ask how many miles you have on it now? Being able to haul passengers and cargo at the same time is rather enticing. Right now i have to make two trips when hauling the heavier stuff... one to drop off an assistant and wait for me to come back so they can help me haul cargo.

      Quote Originally Posted by BRealistic View Post
      The Transit Connect's big appeal is small footprint and low price (unless you load on options).
      I think the 1.6 turbo would make them much more usable with a load because torx.
      Yep, i'm looking at the 1.6, but that would definitely limit me to just used ones. If i'm not mistaken, they dropped that for the current model year -- so no lease option.

      Quote Originally Posted by Spatzle View Post
      What do you do for work? Also do you have to carry stuff daily to do your work.
      Also with either, and your GTI. You could get a small cargo trailer to do occasional larger hauls.
      I roast coffee and will soon have an actual coffee shop as well. The former entails a lot of heavy sacks, and moreso if i'm able to haul more than the small bags i do now on the GTI. The Taco has the benefit of a dock able to drop a pallet on the bed, whereas if i get the TC it would entail me also having a pallet jack. Either way, i'll likely have a ramp as well. The TC definitely wins on the significantly lower loading height. I considered getting a small trailer for the GTI -- this would obviously be the most affordable route for me, but concerned about being on the highway with such heavy loads and the cargo mostly unprotected from the elements -- key if i'm also to start purchasing perishables in bulk.

      Quote Originally Posted by sellitsoon View Post
      I've been struggling with this issue for years. There isn't a perfect "do it all" vehicle for me.
      The best compromise I have found is a large modern station wagon.(think Volvo/Audi).
      I looked at the Jetta Wagon, which could actually work, and it's already familiar territory. I guess with anything that entails an open bed or trailer, i just need to be more careful with weather and logistics. Ah, choices.

      Quote Originally Posted by Aseras View Post
      Used Honda Element.
      all plastic interior including floors, no carpet anywhere. you can literally hose it out.
      Forgot about those, i'll check it out. Hoseable is certainly a plus!

      Quote Originally Posted by r_fostoria View Post
      Actually, if you want to haul passenger too, a used Stow 'n' Go Caravan probably isn't a bad idea.
      Good point, I was so focused on pure utility it never occurred to me to even look at actual minivans -- probably cheaper to insure, too.

      Quote Originally Posted by HI SPEED View Post
      I think I am qualified to answer this question. I have both a manual Tacoma, and a Transit Connect company car ..
      Look at you. Does the bed extender allow you to still allow for a lockable bed cover? I don't ever foresee needing to lock, but just in case.

    13. Senior Member Iroczgirl's Avatar
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      06-17-2017 06:39 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by r_fostoria View Post
      I just looked it up out of curiosity, and the Ram C/V Tradesman actually has a higher payload (1800lbs vs. 1650lbs.) and towing capacity (3600lbs vs. 3500lbs.) than a new Tacoma pickup. It's almost certainly better to drive as well. The Town & Country its based off of isn't bad at all. Actually, if you want to haul passenger too, a used Stow 'n' Go Caravan probably isn't a bad idea.

      I didn't even know these existed! They must be slow sellers. All you see in the PNW are Transit connects and the Promaster City

      Lots of VW stuff|Rare Scirocco parts!
      The family: '55 Ford 351C, '70 TR6 262Olds, '80 Rabbit AAZ, '84 C30 350, '88 Scirocco 9A, '97 Hardbody KA24E, '01 TJ 150AMC.
      Quote Originally Posted by Crimping Is Easy View Post
      You're always better off with a Citroën.™

    14. Member r_fostoria's Avatar
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      06-17-2017 07:01 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by Iroczgirl View Post
      I didn't even know these existed!
      Well, they kind of don't. They stopped making them in 2015 and filled the slot with that Fiat van.

    15. Member adrew's Avatar
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      06-17-2017 07:14 PM #15
      What about a SWB/low-roof full-size Transit? They have decent power with the 3.7-liter V6 and a lot of power if you get the Ecoboost. It is 219" long which is 6" shorter than a double cab Tacoma.

      Standard config is 8-passenger seating which leaves a lot of room for stuff in the back and you can get a full vinyl floor. You can add auxiliary rear heat/AC (not just rear vents) for $860.

      Example (not sure if this one has rear A/C)
      https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/d...9145/overview/
      Improving the signal-to-noise ratio

    16. 06-17-2017 07:24 PM #16
      If you are hauling bags of coffee beans and the like, do they need to be protected from the elements and protected from thieves? That may make your truck vs van decision right there.

      Other options:
      Ram ProMaster City (mentioned above)
      Nissan NV200
      Any minivan with the seats folded down. Chrysler doesn't do the "cargo" version of the minivan any more, but that doesn't stop you from buying a regular one and either taking the seats out or folding them down. This may actually be your least expensive and most flexible option.

    17. 06-17-2017 07:27 PM #17
      r_fostoria

      I just looked it up out of curiosity, and the Ram C/V Tradesman actually has a higher payload (1800lbs vs. 1650lbs.) and towing capacity (3600lbs vs. 3500lbs.) than a new Tacoma pickup. It's almost certainly better to drive as well. The Town & Country its based off of isn't bad at all. Actually, if you want to haul passenger too, a used Stow 'n' Go Caravan probably isn't a bad idea.\

      I bought one of these for my scuba business, was like 17K new and has 80,000 on it now with no issues. The 3.6 V6 is excellent and im averaging around 24mpg.

    18. Member HI SPEED's Avatar
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      06-17-2017 08:41 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by soundmike View Post

      Look at you. Does the bed extender allow you to still allow for a lockable bed cover? I don't ever foresee needing to lock, but just in case.


      https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...WQ3SjeU1Eq4tLA

      Yup no problem. I don't have a bed cover because I have racks for my board on mine, but it stows neatly in under the bed rails. There are a few pictures in the Amazon link.

      I would certainly lease the Ford, and buy the Tacoma. The long term reliability of the transit is definitely a open question.

    19. Member CaleDeRoo's Avatar
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      06-17-2017 09:20 PM #19
      2.8L Duramax Express
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      #FREEPATRIKMAN

    20. 06-17-2017 10:13 PM #20
      Tacoma all day. Who wants a rape van parked in front of their house

    21. I hibernate. Just like the Turtles! GoHomePossum's Avatar
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      06-17-2017 10:23 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by Nicefeet View Post
      Who wants a rape van parked in front of their house
      What, is that not okay?
      I now have an InstaGram: emmettlodge

    22. 06-17-2017 10:38 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by GoHomePossum View Post
      What, is that not okay?
      Not ok because have you ever seen an ugly person driving a Tacoma or 4Runner? If you get a rape van you might was well get a bumper sticker that says I'm the quiet neighbors with the big freezer.

    23. Member CaleDeRoo's Avatar
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      06-17-2017 10:40 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by Nicefeet View Post
      Not ok because have you ever seen an ugly person driving a Tacoma or 4Runner? If you get a rape van you might was well get a bumper sticker that says I'm the quiet neighbors with the big freezer.
      Most of them actually.
      Instagram: calederoo

      #FREEPATRIKMAN

    24. Member LT1M21Stingray's Avatar
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      06-18-2017 01:45 AM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by Nicefeet View Post
      If you get a rape van you might was well get a bumper sticker that says I'm the quiet neighbors with the big freezer.
      Last edited by LT1M21Stingray; 06-18-2017 at 11:22 PM.
      Quote Originally Posted by Mk1Madness
      Back when making your car faster and better handling was the big thing.
      Quote Originally Posted by Tavarish
      The car's best safety feature includes ejecting you in the moment of impact and wishing you the best of luck.

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      06-18-2017 08:15 AM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by Aseras View Post
      Used Honda Element.



      all plastic interior including floors, no carpet anywhere. you can literally hose it out.
      As the owner of one, try that and let me know how it works out for you.

      It may be plastic, but it's not sealed all the way around so water will get into the electronics.

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