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After 25+ years of continuously driving  a lot of different makes of AWD and 
4WD vehicles (both very big and very small), I've come to the conclusion 
that if you want an all around ski/gearhauling/winter vehicle, nothing beats 
a big diesel pickup for lowest total annual operating cost (old s**tboxes 
excluded, which everyone knows is absolutely the cheapest way to drive, 
assuming you are prepared to drive such a vehicle on long, barren winter 
hauls).

I say this because of several factors:

- even the biggest 4WD diesel rigs get an honest 25-30 mpg, often *better* 
than advertised;

- mechanically (in a real-world scenario) they are by far the toughest 
things out there;

- they just run, and every independent shop knows how to repair them 
cheaply, used parts abound;

- they have unbeatable percentage resale value, and by a huge margin (ever 
seen the prices on used diesel 4X4s?)

- tons of room, basically as big as you want to go;

-  you can haul around your own lodging;

- the overall net annual cost is less than paying for the faux-cachet of 
driving a Prius or Smartcar etc. once the obscene mark-ups for those 
vehicles are taken into account;

- modern diesel engines are very clean, especially on a real-world basis, 
which is the standard one should use when comparing overall emissions - for 
example, diesels burn virtually 'all air' and almost no fuel while idling, 
as opposed to gas engines, which are horrifically inefficient at idle (read: 
in city driving conditions);

- the most compelling argument is that many, many folks use the truck as 
their primary/only vehicle; I've yet to see more than the odd case of a 
Prius-type owner NOT requiring a second vehicle whenever some real-world use 
is needed beyond puttering around the subdivison or to the mall (as long as 
your purchase isn't too big, which rules out most of my trips to Home Depot, 
and hey, it's way more enviro-conscious to borrow your less enlightened 
buddy's truck whenever you need something hauled, right?); but more 
seriously, meaning that additional global resources are expended on 
producing two vehicles for every driver;

- the big dressed-up rigs compensate for shrinkage; :-)

Leigh

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jim Crowley" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2007 12:17 PM
Subject: Re: [SKIVT-L] New Vehicle?


> Sharon said:
>
>>But no one mentioned the Toyota Matrix.
>
> Okay, I'll mention it since that's what I drive.
>
> I have the 2wd, manual version. It gets 33-34 mpg in warmer weather and 
> 30-31
> mpg in colder weather. Like Ben K., I log every gas fill-up so these are 
> true
> numbers.
>
> Great car. I have good snow tires and have had no trouble going anywhere 
> in the
> snow. It helps that the clearance is fairly high. I like that the rear 
> space is
> plastic rather than carpet, allowing me to just sweep it out when it gets 
> dirty.
> I can sleep comfortably in the car because the front passenger seat folds 
> down
> flat.
>
> Jim
>
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