Utilitarian

We actually owned one of these 30+ years ago. It was a great little truck

We actually owned one of these 30+ years ago. It was a great little truck

It won’t be long before Ana will need a new vehicle. My old hatchback has served me well (and still does) but the rust and mileage are piling up. I would love a pickup, but I need good MPG. I also need to haul stuff, but I need to haul grandchildren too.

Researching vehicles is the comedy of the absurd. I recently watched a sales pitch video about a crossover SUV that was supposed to be the best of both worlds. I don’t think they ever talked about actually hauling anything IN the SUV.

What I want:

A small bare bones pickup with good gas mileage and a 4 cylinder or small 6 cylinder engine. I need to haul things that are dirty or cumbersome to haul in a car (some lumber, manure, plants,wood chips, etc) (I was able to fit several 8′ 4×4’s into my daughter’s tiny Kia sedan recently), possibly tow a small trailer.

There won’t be any helicopters dropping tanks in the bed

while I’m perched at the top of a ski slope to test my brakes.

I want a key – a real key – one key that works the door and engine. The kind of key you can have duplicated at the local hardware store, not an $800 electronic key that will operate the vehicle while it’s in my pocket but will also become de-programmed if I accidentally drop it on the sidewalk.

Power windows are nice but not necessary. I’d love it if it had those little triangular vent windows so that you can direct the air to cool you off without blasting the passenger.

I’d like a radio. I do not need a computer which will allow me to send email while driving, and watch videos about every minute function of the engine and power train, but I do like to listen to Democracy Now and Thom Hartmann and some good music while I drive. (I know I could get an eXeM/Zerius radio and pay rental and subscription fees, but just give me a radio.

Cup holders – definitely cup holders.

A bench seat. I need it to be possible to have 3 adults in the cab (see above about grandchildren). Seats should be utilitarian and easy to clean. In recent years the upholstery and interiors of vehicles have become plusher than the lounge in a 4 star hotel. I’m going to be working here – and there will probably be a dog.(You should have seen what I had to go through to protect my mini-van when we hauled calves in it.)

I do not need, nor do I want a backup camera monitor. Give me mirrors – I know how to use mirrors. Standard transmission – I know how to shift. I’ve always liked manual transmissions cause you can roll start your vehicle if the battery goes dead. Recently I had the occasion to wish for one when the truck I was driving suddenly lost all ability to brake.

It would be nice if basic repairs on this vehicle could be done by a person (like me) without a PhD in robotics.

Oh yeah – air bags – I do not want nor do I feel I need for 16 air bags.

Just more stuff to break and be expensive to repair. I realize I may need to compromise on front air bags, but jeepers this is getting ridiculous.

I’ll even compromise on those cup holders.