Practical before style

I’m not one that buys a new car or truck every year. I buy what I want and then keep the maintenance up. When I was shopping for a new vehicle in 2007, I was stuck between a new Jeep Cherokee or a Dodge Durango. I had driven a 1988 Dodge Ramchanger since it was new. I basically wanted the same thing, just updated. The Durango won out because Dodge (who owns Jeep) was in my price range, offered more incentives and had a larger cargo space.

You get what you pay for and you pay for what you get. In Alaska you can’t afford to be stranded on the side of the road, especially during winter. Vehicle breakdowns when you’re in the middle of Alaska when the temperatures are below freezing have cost people their lives. If you go off the main roads, you might not run into another soul for a long time.

Fuel economy is a good selling point with the price of gas going up and up. However a vehicle also has to be practical. A Toyota Prius might be awesome on gas milage, but you can’t carry passengers and cargo comfortably. I also need ample cargo space for luggage or large kennels. If I drive out of town, I have a tote that has my winter gear in it. In it you’ll find insulated underwear and socks, hat, gloves, insulated Carhart pants and coat, and a couple blankets. You have to be prepared for the weather if you break down.

There are also hidden compartments where I keep jumper cables, a tow strap and a few tools. You never know. I expect my vehicle to be reliable and maintain it to be, but not everyone does. If you’re broke on the side of the road, I’m there to help. It could be a long time before AAA gets you someone there.

It has to be all wheel drive or at a minimum front wheel drive. Traction is a must. If you’re driving 60 mph on ice covered roads, you have to have good traction. You also don’t wait for the snowplow after it snows to go somewhere. You get up and go, no matter how deep it gets. You don’t buy the discount tires, you buy the best.

The comfort items aren’t that big for me. I need a fair radio with an IPod jack, what we use to call a cigarette lighter but now it’s a 12v power outlet, an engine block heater and rear window defroster. Everything else that comes standard is good enough for me. A remote start is nice on those cold mornings that you would like to jump into a warm vehicle, but not a necessity.

What I would like to have in my next vehicle, whenever that might be, is Bluetooth capability. For now I have the earpiece, which I loose on an annual basis. OnStar and satellite radio with reasonable rates would be nice also.

Reliability and practicality works for me.

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