Does ANYONE make a quality tow vehicle any more?
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    Does ANYONE make a quality tow vehicle any more?

    Had a 2011 Tundra Platinum CrewMax 4x4. It would pull my house off of its foundation if I needed it to, but I absolutely hated all of the amenities that I paid so much money for. Horrid and largely useless navigation system, Bluetooth that kept dropping connection to my phones, archaic voice control system, and far too many things that you SHOULD have been able to do with steering wheel or voice controls but simply couldn't.

    Traded that for a 2010 Ford Flex Limited AWD. Ford's AWD system is a misnomer - it's FWD and will automatically engage the rear wheels when needed. Ever try towing in the snow with a FWD vehicle? Not fun going downhill on snowy roads and having a 2000 lb trailer pushing the rear end around. On top of that, the differential blew and was completely inoperable. So, I had NO RWD from the vehicle no matter what. Had to have it replaced under warranty. Sync is junk, navigation left a LOT to be desired, voice control was incredibly clunky. Rode nice and was comfortable though.

    Traded that for a 2011 Ford Explorer XLT 4x4. Remember that differential problem I had with the Flex? Same issue with the Explorer. Plus, bad idler pully, passenger side wiper vibrates at 50MPH+, brakes have been replaced (with rotors), Bluetooth is crappy (static), door panel is coming apart at the seams, rear gate doesn't lift properly and it has brand new gas shocks, bad tensioner pulley has caused premature wear to the serpentine belt, USB input for the audio has choppiness in the audio during the first three seconds after the track changes, and it blew an actuator in the climate control and the A/C wouldn't cool the car on a hot day.

    I'm looking to dump the Explorer and get back to a truck. RAM is out - I'll never own a Chrysler (Fiat) product again. There's something about the way they design their seats that are absolutely not comfortable for me. I've driven Jeeps, Chryslers, Dodges, and RAM trucks... They're all the same to me - UNCOMFORTABLE.

    I had thought for about a second of buying an F-150 (I had a '97 XLT 4x4 that I loved), but laughed that idea off after being so completely disappointed and frustrated with the four Ford vehicles I have owned in the last two years (two for me, two for my wife). Toyota is out because their creature (un)comforts are a joke. The Honda options would be a Pilot (underpowered for towing) or their half-truck (forget the name, but no). The Acura MDX was a nice vehicle all around, but I got rid of my last one when gas prices jumped. They will again. So, no. I'll never own a Nissan again after what they did to me with my Maxima.

    That leaves me with GM. The Sierra / Silverado would be something I would consider, but only the 2014/2015 because of the new motors with cylinder deactivation. The problem with these turds is that there are large numbers of them with driveline vibrations that the dealers can't even find let alone fix.

    So, the question is, who actually makes a quality vehicle any more that will hold up to the use that it's intended for AND has the ability to be a truly comfortable vehicle?
    ---

    2011 JD 2520 with 200cx loader, 61" materials bucket, and Artillian JDQA Pallet Forks (42" forks). 62D MMM, ballast box, turfs, and loaded rears.

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    56FordGuy's Avatar
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    Have you considered a used truck? There are still 1997 F-150s for sale.

    Honda claims to be redesigning the Ridgeline for 2016, and despite it's goofy looks everybody I've talked to that has owned one absolutely loved it. Aside from the odd styling, it seems like they really built a quality vehicle.

    It sounds like you don't need a big truck, and are looking in the F-150/ 1500 class. Is that about right? What kind of creature comforts do you want? Ford still sells XL trim trucks with manual windows and locks, rubber floors and an AM/FM radio if you just want a true work truck, but if you want fancier gadgets like factory navigation, bluetooth, etc you start moving up trim levels, and adding complexity.

    As for who makes a quality vehicle, most manufacturers have a pretty even track record in my opinion. My '07 Ford work truck was great, my '14 Chevy has taken some getting used to but seems pretty sound as well. Both are basic, no option service vehicles though. The fewer options, the fewer opportunities for things to break.
    Last edited by 56FordGuy; 12-29-2014 at 09:27 PM.
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    *shrugs* I bought a 2012 Tundra Extended Cab Base model. Saved a ton of money by ignoring the "Platinum" package nonsense and pretty much every other option. I bought mine with the tow package and a sliding rear window. I added my own tow mirrors and an Alpine after-market sound system.

    The Alpine system also has the voice response/bluetooth nonsense but quite honestly, I don't use it. I bugs me when I see other people chatting on their phones instead of paying attention to their driving so I don't so that myself. You want to call me? Leave a voice mail and I'll call ya back when I get wherever I'm going. If I need to make a call I pull off the road, park and use my phone to call.

    If all the gadgets bother you, then buy a truck that doesn't have them. Same with all the latest/greatest whizzbang engines and transmissions. Let someone else debug them and hold off on buying that stuff until the manufacturer's work all the issues out.
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    What I need:

    - Bluetooth
    - Tow package (MUST have 5k tow capacity, would prefer more in the event that I want to go back to the tougher trailer for hauling heavy loads)
    - Rear camera (Ford's SUCK - they don't work properly at night as the CCD sensor isn't sensitive enough for low light conditions)
    - Power windows
    - Power locks
    - Power rear window if it's a truck
    - Four Wheel Drive, preference would be with a locking rear diff but NOT at the expense of an off-road suspension package
    - Strong 6CYL (SUV) or an 8CYL (truck) - standard gasoline ONLY, and no turbo garbage
    - Taller rear end if possible (the Chevys are available with up to a 3.83, I believe, but they seem pretty hard to find)
    - Leather seats
    - Automatic climate control

    What I would LIKE:

    - Perforated leather with heat / cool
    - All four windows with Auto up/down
    - Push-button start
    - Remote start
    - Integrated garage door opener
    - USB input for audio system
    - Key (ignition) -operated power outlets (I want them to go off when the ignition is off)
    - Assist struts / springs for the tailgate (truck). The Tundra had a nice assist system that made the gate easy to close and never "crashed" down when being opened if you let go of it.

    What I don't care about:

    - Factory navigation. Quite honestly, I really like my Garmin LMT3590 compared to every system I have ever used EXCEPT the Alpine and Pioneer systems that Honda and Acura used / use.
    - Sunroof / moonroof. Waste of money for something I never use. Mind you - in a truck with a power sliding rear window, cracking the roof creates a pretty nice breeze.
    - Integrated trailer brake controller. I have a nice Tekonsha that I kept when I dumped the Tundra.
    ---

    2011 JD 2520 with 200cx loader, 61" materials bucket, and Artillian JDQA Pallet Forks (42" forks). 62D MMM, ballast box, turfs, and loaded rears.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JimR View Post
    *shrugs* I bought a 2012 Tundra Extended Cab Base model. Saved a ton of money by ignoring the "Platinum" package nonsense and pretty much every other option. I bought mine with the tow package and a sliding rear window. I added my own tow mirrors and an Alpine after-market sound system.

    The Alpine system also has the voice response/bluetooth nonsense but quite honestly, I don't use it. I bugs me when I see other people chatting on their phones instead of paying attention to their driving so I don't so that myself. You want to call me? Leave a voice mail and I'll call ya back when I get wherever I'm going. If I need to make a call I pull off the road, park and use my phone to call.

    If all the gadgets bother you, then buy a truck that doesn't have them. Same with all the latest/greatest whizzbang engines and transmissions. Let someone else debug them and hold off on buying that stuff until the manufacturer's work all the issues out.
    Giving up the Platinum package also takes away things that I want, though. And, as much as I'd love to go the route of putting pieces in that I need, adding my own sound system and such would take me a ridiculously long time to accomplish because I just don't have the time to do it (and I won't let anyone else do custom work like that on my vehicles).

    My job doesn't afford me the option of stopping every time my phone rings. That's why the BT system is an imperative, and it MUST work well. I've had this sort of need going back to the 2006 Acura TL that I bought new. Never had an issue, and I have enough sense to ignore the phone when I see the traffic needs increasing. I happily tell people to Hold On while I'm driving and I have to focus more closely on traffic, turns, etc.

    I've considered picking up a much more basic truck, but then I would need another vehicle for the bulk of my work-related driving. And that means ANOTHER car payment. I just want one vehicle to do what I need it to do, and to do it reliably.
    ---

    2011 JD 2520 with 200cx loader, 61" materials bucket, and Artillian JDQA Pallet Forks (42" forks). 62D MMM, ballast box, turfs, and loaded rears.

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    Ha! You deserve an escalade!
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    Quote Originally Posted by meburdick View Post

    That leaves me with GM. The Sierra / Silverado would be something I would consider, but only the 2014/2015 because of the new motors with cylinder deactivation.
    Wow, with a track record like that I wouldn't dare recommend anything, but I don't understand your statement above. I have a 2006 Chev Impala SS that has the cylinder deactivation, had a 2009 Chev Avalanche that had it, now have a 2014 Chev Silverado that has it, so this has been around for awhile.

    I wish you luck in finding what you want and need.
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    Unfortunately to get what you want/need requires you to build your own vehicle. I'm not trying to be a smartass; but that's a tall order to cherry pick what you like from each manufacturer.

    Maybe if Kenworth built pickups and this was the 70's when it seemed the heavy duty truck manufacturers allowed customization out the wazoo; you'd be in business.
    I have more ideas than ambition.


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    Quote Originally Posted by meburdick View Post
    What I need:

    - Bluetooth
    - Tow package (MUST have 5k tow capacity, would prefer more in the event that I want to go back to the tougher trailer for hauling heavy loads)
    - Rear camera (Ford's SUCK - they don't work properly at night as the CCD sensor isn't sensitive enough for low light conditions)
    - Power windows
    - Power locks
    - Power rear window if it's a truck
    - Four Wheel Drive, preference would be with a locking rear diff but NOT at the expense of an off-road suspension package
    - Strong 6CYL (SUV) or an 8CYL (truck) - standard gasoline ONLY, and no turbo garbage
    - Taller rear end if possible (the Chevys are available with up to a 3.83, I believe, but they seem pretty hard to find)
    - Leather seats
    - Automatic climate control

    What I would LIKE:

    - Perforated leather with heat / cool
    - All four windows with Auto up/down
    - Push-button start
    - Remote start
    - Integrated garage door opener
    - USB input for audio system
    - Key (ignition) -operated power outlets (I want them to go off when the ignition is off)
    - Assist struts / springs for the tailgate (truck). The Tundra had a nice assist system that made the gate easy to close and never "crashed" down when being opened if you let go of it.

    What I don't care about:

    - Factory navigation. Quite honestly, I really like my Garmin LMT3590 compared to every system I have ever used EXCEPT the Alpine and Pioneer systems that Honda and Acura used / use.
    - Sunroof / moonroof. Waste of money for something I never use. Mind you - in a truck with a power sliding rear window, cracking the roof creates a pretty nice breeze.
    - Integrated trailer brake controller. I have a nice Tekonsha that I kept when I dumped the Tundra.
    How about a car for the amenities and then a real truck for the work?

    I have a '97 F250 diesel that is a great truck but it is a truck, solid axles, tough suspension and plain ole interior. When I need a truck it does what a truck was designed to do, work.

    When I want to tool around in comfort, get good fuel mileage and have gadgets I get in the car.

    The biggest issue you are going to have with your list is every manufacturer has its downfall. While one manufacturer may have Bluetooth connectivity figured out, their voice commands will suck. I don't think one manufacturer can give you the total package.
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    One of the best trucks I ever owned was a 1997 Ford F-350 with 7.3 PowerStroke engine, automatic, 4-wheel drive, and extended cab.
    "IF" I was in the position to have a need for something comparable today, I believe I would most likely pick the new GMC Sierra with automatic coupled with the Duramax diesel engine, 4-wheel drive, extended cab, and leather interior.
    The I.R.S. must love poor folks, they create more and more every day.

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