The truck saga...final chapter.
We got the diagnosis on the Dakota and it was not good. Blown engine I believe is what they called it. After weighing what it would cost to put in another one vs. what the truck was worth and the fact that we have outgrown it (my knees are on the dashboard when the kids are in the back) we decided to do some truck shopping.
We spent hours on the internet, visited three dealerships, test drove three trucks and stuffed our kids in five different vehicles. Our criteria were simple: four doors, 4wd, v6 engine, at least a 5.5 foot bed, sliding back window and as new with as low miles as we could afford.
I would say that I am pretty much a mid-sized truck expert by about now. I can tell you that the best deal price-wise is a Chevy Colorado. However, they are small (width and bed length) and have a 5 cylinder inline engine. Just too squishy for a family of five. The Tacoma worked, but tended to be pricy. It also comes standard with at 5.5 foot bed and is hard to find the 6 foot bed. The Dodge Dakotas are no longer being made and they have rust issues. The Ford F-150 started making an eco-boost V6 engine in 2011, but they start at $38K new and it is fairly impossible to find a used one. We didn't quite get to the Nissan Frontier.
As luck would have it, we found a 2011 Tacoma with under 8K miles on it, complete with tow package, 6 foot bed and sliding rear window. It didn't have the cool back-up camera or temperature/compass reading on the rear view mirror, but we think we can live without that. Honestly, the automatic windows will be treat enough.
I was hoping for a more muted shade, forest green or navy blue being my first choices. T said he actually liked that his truck was metallic blue and easy to spot because everyone knew it was him... !!! Well, no worries there folks because our new truck is Barcelona Red. I had it confused with Fire Engine Red, but I was wrong. I think we will still be able to see him coming!