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2007 Sports XT 4EAT (former)
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Discussion Starter #1
So my sister is starting a gardening business and she needs a pickup. It doesn't have to be anything huge, just something that can carry around things like plants, soil, and landscaping tools. She is trying to keep it under $3000 and she wants something as reliable as possible. The only limitation is that she has to have an automatic.

I have a few thoughts but I figured I'd see what the forum has to say. :smile:
 

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2017 Foz 2.5i CVT
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So my sister is starting a gardening business and she needs a pickup. It doesn't have to be anything huge, just something that can carry around things like plants, soil, and landscaping tools. She is trying to keep it under $3000 and she wants something as reliable as possible. The only limitation is that she has to have an automatic.

I have a few thoughts but I figured I'd see what the forum has to say. :smile:
Under 3 grand, your best bet is to shop multiple brands and get the truck in the best mechanical and physical condition. Used pickups in lower price ranges are very popular with people who use them as beater work/hunting/farm trucks. I have always said that trucks are like blue jeans---when they get a bit beat up, they are MORE useful, whereas dress slacks with a hole in the knee are like a beat up old luxury car--kind of gross.

Biggest decision is whether you want to go full size or to a smaller truck. Your best deals right now may be on some domestic models like the Ford Ranger (or Mazda equivalent), Dodge Dakota, Chevy S-10, etc. If you find a clean Toyota or Nissan that would be great as well. Smaller trucks without a lot of power equipment have always had very low parts and maintenance costs. My younger brother took a late 80's Ranger up to 275k miles and it still runs...

Not sure where you live, but here in Michigan, it seems like the older Japanese trucks are rust buckets, and I know Toyota has a buy back for its Tacomas with rusting frames.

Again, in this price range, you are shopping for condition more than anything....

Good luck,
George
 

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2014 CVT
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to move supplys, she'll prob need a long bed, i would think something in the ranger/ S-10 size would be too small, i would look at F-150s which can be had for pretty good, or a chevy or GMC 1500
 

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ford ranger.
those 4L V6 engines are very reliable. good work horse.
Almost no rust compare to all the toyotas out there.
 

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to move supplys, she'll prob need a long bed, i would think something in the ranger/ S-10 size would be too small, i would look at F-150s which can be had for pretty good, or a chevy or GMC 1500
One of my Internet friends actually has a wife in the gardening biz, and she does fine with a small Toyota truck. I don't think a woman into gardening is going to be moving huge stuff very often. Even if she has to bring in a 15 foot tree, I'd guess she'd have that brought in by the nursery. But I may be wrong on that...Smooth, what do ya think--big or little?

Another issue with big trucks is that a LOT of $3k trucks met their demise in the Cash for Clunkers program because they became $4500 trucks, so the herd did get a bit thinner. As with the small trucks, go for condition, and something like a dead trans or engine can quickly add a couple grand to the price... And gas costs with the big trucks can add up.

For what it's worth, I have owned full size vans for 24 years running, and now have an '02 E150, so I do like my Fords.

George
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
to move supplys, she'll prob need a long bed, i would think something in the ranger/ S-10 size would be too small, i would look at F-150s which can be had for pretty good, or a chevy or GMC 1500
The actual business is focused on "edible gardens" i.e. helping people establish and maintain vegetable gardens etc. They will be doing some landscaping, but they shouldn't have to haul a TON of large items usually. I think they'd be OK with a compact for the most part, or possibly pick up a small trailer to go with it. Good point though.
 

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2008 Forester X Sport
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I would agree with the bunch. If you are looking for a smaller truck, any Toyota, Nissan or Ford would do. They are abundant and are easy to fix. And if your sister is not expecting to do any harsh terrain driving(edit: or towing anything the same weight as the car), 2wd would be fine and would save her a bit on maintenance and gas.
 

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From personal experience I would say a Ranger (or Mazda B Series) or a Frontier.
 

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Toyota if you can find one with a rustfree frame. Otherwise something like a ranger. What kind of car does she have now? I think just a simple ~4x8 utility trailer would do everything a pickup could without the added insurance, fuel, maintenance etc costs.
 

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+1 on a trailer setup with her current car.

If that won't work, then a toyota with a rust free frame would be my choice.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Toyota if you can find one with a rustfree frame. Otherwise something like a ranger. What kind of car does she have now? I think just a simple ~4x8 utility trailer would do everything a pickup could without the added insurance, fuel, maintenance etc costs.
Neither she nor her partner have a car right now. They've both been saving for a while to get the business started.

Thanks for all the recommendations so far. I've been scanning local listings for Rangers/B-Series, Nissan Hardbodies, and older Frontiers/Tacomas and even T100s. There are a lot of them out there! I think they'll just have to do a lot of legwork to find the cleanest example.
 
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