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Big Guy with lots of outdoor hobbies! Which car should I buy?

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Photo: David Tracy / Jalopnik

Bill is a big guy with an old Ram truck approaching 300,000 miles. He wants something newer that can handle the abuse of his outdoor hobbies, while still being comfortable and reliable as a daily driver. Which car should he buy?

(Welcome back to Which car should you buy? Where we give real advice to real people on buying cars. )

Here is the scenario –

I’m a big guy with a lot of outdoor hobbies, I need a big vehicle that can handle the abuse while still being a daily driver. I own a 2004 Dodge Ram 2500 4-Door 4×4, 5-speed with a Cummins diesel engine. I bought this truck new and apart from the regular maintenance I only had to change the water pump. He is my daily driver in the sun and in the snow, I took my kids to school and me to work every day without complaining. It’s getting long in the tooth, almost 300,000 miles and of course 17 years old and I’m looking to move on to something newer. I have a Ford Bronco reservation but I’m starting to have doubts.

Ideally, I’m looking for something that is tough, reliable, future-proof, and I can spend up to $ 60,000. But no Jeeps, I have owned several and they break down too often.

Fast facts:

Budget: up to $ 60,000

Daily driver: Yes

Site: Placerville, California

Wants: Robust, reliable, future proof

Will not : a jeep

Expert 1: Tom McParland – Proof of the Future

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Picture: Autotrader

You said you were a “bigger man” so my initial guess was you needed a big truck. However, you have your eye on the new Bronco which is technically a mid-size SUV, so you may not need a direct replacement for the Ram 2500. While the retro-looking Bronco appears to be driving. pleasant, Ford had some issues with the build quality. Additionally, there are unfortunate stories of reserve holders being told at the last minute that the dealer will charge substantial premiums over the MSRP.

If you want something durable and ‘future proof’, this is a Toyota 4Runner. The 4Runner hasn’t changed much over the past few years, and while there might be an EV 4Runner on the horizon, I think there will always be a market for a gas-powered 4WD on the go. ‘Ancient “.

4Runners has always been a challenge to stock up on a reasonable price and given the current market, getting one close to MSRP won’t be easy. Here’s a Limited trim in that super cool green not too far from your location. The dealer says “ask for the price” which is usually not a good sign, but you might get lucky.

Expert 2: Steve DaSilva – Treat yourself to a snorkel

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Tom is on the right track with the 4Runner – spacious, off-road ready and reliable to the ends of the earth. In fact, my first thought while reading your question was to look for Lexus GXs for these same reasons. But, the GX and this 4Runner share one fatal flaw: They could always be more rugged.

No, for the true outdoor enthusiast, you want something that can be beat and beaten without the hassle of replacing expensive plastics. Something with the same Toyota indestructibility, but more ground clearance, a durable bed, and a factory skid plate. You need a Tacoma TRD Pro.

That one is for sale not only in your budget, but in your city – that kind of convenience should be kismet. A word of warning, however, for a self-proclaimed tall guy: test one out before committing. If the seating position is fine for you, fantastic, but if not look for a 2020+ model with the updated seats.

Expert 3: Rory Carroll – Like the other two, but hey

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You could absolutely overpay for a 4Runner or a Taco, but you’d be much better off with this GX. Instead of settling for a ho-hum powertrain, you’d have sporty V8 horsepower. You would get comfortable seats, more interior space, much better equipment AND just as much “ruggedness” if not more. If you’re my size or taller you might find the Tacoma a bit … tight. With this one you have enough surplus in your budget to start modifying it with a lift, wheels and tires and maybe start thinking about a new front bumper.

Expert 4: Lawrence Hodge – What about the rugged and professional quality?

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In my opinion, one of the best examples of ruggedness and reliability is the GMC Sierra. Especially when it comes to the off-road focused AT4 trim like the one you see here.

It is off-road ready from the factory. You get a two-inch lift, four-wheel drive with a two-speed transfer case, 18-inch wheels with Goodyear Wrangler tires, and Rancho monotube shocks. Unfortunately, this one doesn’t have the optional 6.2-liter V8. But you still get the equally good 5.3 liters with 355 horsepower. The interior isn’t a bad place to hang out, either with leather seats and all-weather floor mats.

This example is at one Trader in Sacramento and fits your budget. It’s a 2019. I would have suggested a new Sierra AT4, but some resellers hit them with tags.

Expert 5: Collin Woodard – Something other than a Toyota

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Photo: CarGurus

Personally, I think the Bronco would be a great choice. But if you are looking for other options, there is certainly nothing wrong with it. Likewise, if you end up buying a GX or 4Runner, I’m sure those will be solid choices. After all, when you think of “rugged, reliable and upgradeable” you usually think of Toyota. And for good reason.

I could probably suggest a Land Cruiser to round out our already heavy list of Toyota recommendations. But why not go with something a little more exciting like this Land Rover Defender 90 1997? There will certainly be tradeoffs, especially in terms of interior refinement, creature comfort, and safety, but it looks cool.

And while it probably won’t be as reliable as a brand new SUV, the recent restoration should help. Plus, you’ll likely be able to find parts for this long after EVs have taken over, and we’re all working for Verizon Chipotle Exxon. Since it’s a diesel, you could also hypothetically run it on biodiesel in a future where conventional gasoline and diesel are no longer available. How is it for the future?

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