This is probably the most moot decision I have ever had to face.
Instead of replacing my 2013 Jetta (Dieselgate buyback) with another sedan, I decided to kick that can down the road for two years or so. I bought my parent's 2002 Ford Explorer (4.0L V6, 97,000 miles). I've been servicing it since 2006, so I know the vehicle well.
Between fixing up the Explorer to be a daily driver again and making my 2003 F350 chore truck (5.4L V8, 135,000 miles) civilized enough to be a tow vehicle, I'll be sinking about $5,000 into the two trucks. (The money is a non-issue, since I won't have a car payment for another 2-3 years. $5K/2-3yrs= $150-$200/mo. vs. $450/mo for the Jetta)
This leads to the dilemma, since I will now own two vehicles that are capable of towing my trailer. Both were factory equipped with the tow package (transmission cooler, OEM hitch, etc.).
The question becomes, "Which one to actually use?"
+ The Explorer is a MUCH more comfortable vehicle. The front seats were replaced with a set from an Eddie Bower Edition.
+ The Explorer has a rear seat and cargo space for carrying stuff.
+ The Explorer got new rear springs and struts this past winter.
+ The Explorer got a complete front end rebuild 2 weeks ago, including new struts and springs. (Wow! It is now a 1/4-ton truck again.)
+ The Explorer is only a little larger than a car. Easier to park and use once the towing is done.
- The Explorer currently has an 1.25" hitch and 4-pin connector. They will have to be upgraded ($300 + a Saturday + a brake controller) to make it totally ready to tow my trailer.
+ The F350 has more than enough power for towing.
+ The F350 will barely notice 500# tongue weight.
+ The F350 is totally ready to tow my trailer now.
+ The F350 has more capable brakes
+ The F350 has manually locking hubs and stays in the 4x4 mode the driver selects.
+ The F350 is longer and heavier. It won't be influenced significantly by trailer sway.
+ The F350 has a higher driving position, less glare at night, better visibility
- The F350 has a higher driving position, tougher to get in and out of.
- The F350 is a standard cab so it has no room for extra stuff
- The F350 is a big, heavy vehicle.
- The F350 carries commercial plates; Restrictions on roads/lanes even when not towing.
So, it seems to boil down to choosing between "enough truck to make the trailer behave" or "being comfortable while trailering"
Nope, not that simple. The Explorer is going to be my daily driver for the next 2-3 years (30,000 miles per year) so it will be receiving quite a bit of abuse outside of towing duties. But, is that a bad thing? By staying on top of maintenance items, it'll always be ready to tow.
Looks like I am going to have to try both. See which one feels better on the trip to/from our campsite and for doing side trips.
Looks like SWMBO and I will have to play Rock, Paper, Scissors as part of hitching up.