Thursday, December 1, 2016

New Truck!

It finally happened. Just 16-1/2 years after I bought my old Dodge Dakota I stopped squandering the New Truck Fund on British sports cars and finally bought another pickup truck. Say hello to my new winter driver!

For those of you who care about the details, it's a Gem Green 2016 Ford F150 Lariat Supercrew with the 2.7L V6 turbocharged EcoBoost engine. My rationale is that it has four-wheel drive, remote start, and heated seats, my original criteria for my next winter driver.  But the truth is that it's really a luxury truck: double-paneled moonroof, heated and cooled leather seats, navigation system, SYNC3 entertainment and phone system, blind-spot information system, back-up camera with traffic and proximity alerts, trailer tow package, off-road upgrades, and a bunch of stuff that I'm probably forgetting. (For example: folding side mirrors, electric sliding rear window, side spotlights, LED lights in the bed, electronic locking differential, automated trailer backup system...)

Oh, and the greatest feature of all time: a fold-out tailgate step so that I don't have to crawl into the back whenever I want something in the bed.

The notion that I just bought a luxury pickup truck still seems ridiculous to me. So how did I get here?

Let's start with the old truck, our much beloved though elderly 2000 Dodge Dakota, nicknamed "Sprout." (When I bought it Monique said it was so big that it was like the Jolly Green Giant but I pointed out that it was only a mid-size truck, much more like the Jolly Green Giant's little buddy Sprout.)

Sprout was the first new vehicle I ever bought and the successor to my much beloved Mighty Plymouth Acclaim. I loved the general usefulness of having a pickup truck with four-wheel drive and I particularly liked a lot about the Dodge Dakota. It was a convenient size, it drove really well on the highway, it towed everything I'd need to tow, and it was great in the snow. On the other hand, even in its younger days it was prone to needing more expensive repairs than I liked. By the year 2014 rust had set in everywhere, and its thirst for frequent repairs had grown. So I built up the ol' New Truck Fund with the intention of replacing Sprout with a new SUV or a crew cab pickup ... something that would be good in the snow and that would also give us a bit more passenger room for the big road trip out to Wyoming that we had planned for that summer with a couple of my nephews.

And then I went and spent the New Truck Fund on this:

The astute reader will notice that this is not a truck.

No regrets. This is in fact our ridiculous 1999 Jaguar XJ Vanden Plas about which I have rattled on at length many times before. (In the post The New Road Trip Vehicle, for example.) I loooooove this car and we had a great time on that road trip, even though there wasn't really enough room for four people and all their camping gear. There were, however, fancy-shmancy walnut tea tables, so who cares, right?

Alas, blowing the New Truck Fund on a ridiculous Jaguar just because it drove like supercharged butter meant that poor old Sprout had to soldier on for a couple more winters.

Unfortunately, it turned out that the Jaguar was a more expensive purchase than I had realized at the time because it introduced me to the notion of heated seats. Sometimes I like to think that I'm a tough, grizzled old bird. But the first time I sat my butt on a heated seat on a sub-freezing morning the truth was finally out. I am old and soft. And my butt was done sitting on frozen seats. The next winter driver was going to have heated seats. And while I was at it, I was tired of going out every morning to start up the truck far enough in advance for the ice to melt off the windows. Heated seats would have to be joined by remote start.

Fast-forward to 2016. Sprout had indeed made it through two more winters, though repairs had continued to grow in frequency. By this summer repair costs were starting to add up to a pretty good chunk of a truck payment. The time had come. So, I set forth with my criteria:

--Four-wheel drive
--Heated seats
--Remote start

Fast-forward a bit more through a big pile of research that would bore you all. I looked at a ton of options, including just finding a slightly newer Dodge Dakota -- one with heated seats! -- since I liked my old one so much. But the time for a new truck had come.

Then in September my Dad blew up the transmission in his old pickup. (This is its own long story that I'm not going to tell here, but he needed another truck.)  And, since he was passing through town I handed off Sprout to him. My old truck lives on in the Adirondacks.

Ultimately, after all my research and waffling among the options I mostly just wanted another green pickup truck to replace my old green pickup truck. I like green pickup trucks. And while I was at it, I managed to rationalize myself into an awful lot of nice bells and whistles on the grounds that heated seats and remote start were most efficiently purchased when bundled with several other desirable options in the Lariat package.

In defense of my ludicrous decision to purchase a luxury pickup truck, there were much more expensive models with even more bells and whistles. I don't even have a heated steering wheel or adaptive cruise control. Sacrifices were made! But, yeah, I admit it. There is no defense for buying a pickup truck with heated and cooled leather seats. What can I say? I refer you to the part above where I point out that I'm old and soft.

Say hello to the new pickup truck:

It's name? Well, since we replaced a mid-size green pickup nicknamed Sprout, this is its bigger buddy, Jolly.

What do I think about it now that I've owned it for a couple of months? It's niiiiiiiiice. I'm really, really happy with my new truck. (Just ask Monique if it's easy to pry me away from it.)

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