Hi y'all --
(Posting this on "Campfire" since it has nothing to do with vans.)
I need some advice/education, and the folks on the Toyota Tacoma /Toyota truck forums are a bit, uhm, rabid on this subject. Cooler and wiser heads prevail on the SMB forum.
I'm thinking about replacing my dying daily driver with a recent year Toyota Tacoma Access cab, V6. I might have looked for a recent year v6 body-on-frame SUV (like the Explorer) but those were all victims of the "crossover" stampede. These faux minivans have nil towing capacity, too many seats (at the expense of cargo capacity), way too many cup-holders for me and Dawg, and are just plain ugly. (OK, I'm rabid on this subject
I don't want a v8 because this will be a daily driver in the city. Friends with Expeditions and Tahoes get about 12 mpg around town. Ouch!
I had a 2001 v6 4x4 Explorer (put 196K miles on it) and the power was just fine, even in the Rockies and Cascades. And it did well towing a pop-up camper. As did my 1992 Mazda Navajo.
So I'm leaning in the direction of a v6 Taco with the tow package (6500 lbs) and a shell on the back for camping.
I don't do off-roading, per se,
but back when I lived in Oregon I liked the security of having 4x4 for snowy conditions when I'd head to the mountains to ski or for dog sled races (though in fact I rarely needed to use it, as I had studded tires). Now I'm more likely to drive on semi-graded dirt roads (like in Utah to see fossil beds or in Big Bend NP), NFS roads, and if I'm lucky, light snow (if and when I get to camp in the mountains in shoulder season again -- I love the Tetons and the San Juans lightly dusted in snow in October).
Drive train? Assuming I'm looking for 2010 or later, would the Tacoma automatic limited slip differential with good M/S tires (and chains when necessary) be OK, or should I go for the 4x4 knowing that 98% of the time it will not be needed...or perhaps 99% of the time?
Note that 4x4 Tacomas are not easy to find in central Texas.
Help! Car salesmen of course assure me that I need what they have on their lots and would be a fool to consider anything else....
Or is there another vehicle that I should be looking at?