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PMRacing UltraDork
6/28/22 8:37 a.m.

(Warning: long winded brain dump ahead)

I currently drive a 2015 S4. Great car, perfect commuter and fun in the twisties.  Problem is I live in MI where the twisties are few and far between and even though roads are slowly getting fixed, they still suck. I don't really drive for fun anymore. I just commute and run errands.  I also know the car will be due for it's German preventive maintenance in the next two years (clutch, suspension, already did cooling) requiring significant cost even though I'd do the work myself. I have my track rat Miata and my wife's 2015 allroad to maintain as well. 3 cars takes a lot of time to maintain when I have an almost 5 year old taking up more and more time.  I LOVE the interior and seats of the S4.  I can drive for hours and get out refreshed and it's a great place to just be.

I had a rule about not buying new and going for CPO or used cars.  However with the market the way it is, new seems like a better deal right now with trade in being high.

I've considered new GTIs and Golf Rs but they are not much different than the S4 and are front drive biased, although I had a Golf TDI I really liked). I'd rather just keep the S4 and save for maintenance.  But the new Toyota Tacomas appeal to me for some odd reason. They also come with a manual transmission. I sat in one and it was comfortable enough. The interior definitely was not up to the Audi in terms of craftsmanship and soft touch surfaces. I still need to drive one. 

I have driven trucks daily in the past (first car was a '94 Toyota 2WD pickup, '99 Chevy C2500, '99 F250 Powerstroke, '96 F150) and as long as I had a fun car for an occasional fun driving fix I was OK.  The truck would be useful for house projects and towing the Miata to a couple of HPDEs (Waterford hills is 10 minutes away but any other track is a brutal ride). And I wouldn't care about Michigan roads as much in a truck. 

What would some other options be?  I've ruled out Jeeps due to quality issues and they're more expensive than the Tacos anyway. 

Thanks for listening!  And damn this AutoADD!

Olemiss540 HalfDork
6/28/22 8:42 a.m.

Had the same problem in Illinois and ended up selling my non-track cars for that reason. Also kids. Just get a reliable appliance that scratches your utility itch as cheap as possible and drive it into the ground. At this point I would be eyeing MPG ratings as well given the current state of gas prices, maybe something hybrid with enough tow rating for the Miata? Its hard given our propensity for desiring cars in general, but you are going to be best off keeping the number of transactions (buying/selling) as low as possible so try to buy for the next 10 years. 

Javelin MegaDork
6/28/22 9:55 a.m.

You're nuts. Manual trans S4's have gone up 40% in value over the last 2 years. New Tacos are nearly identical mechanically to 20 year old Tacos and have the most uncomfortable interior I've ever been in. Keep the S4 or at least replace it with something you won't hate in 2 months. 

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
6/28/22 10:15 a.m.

Personally I'd keep the S4.  There are essentially zero manual transmission performance sedans being made any more, you currently own one that you know most of the history for, and if you sell it you'll have a very hard time replacing it with a similar car.

And a Tacoma isn't a great choice as a tow vehicle anyway.


¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
6/28/22 10:16 a.m.

Convert the S4 into a ute.

2003-2007 Audi A4/S4 B6 and B7 dr Ute | smythcars

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
6/28/22 11:00 a.m.

I loved my Colorado which is a lot like a Taco.  I also really enjoyed my A4 and two S4s.  The truck can do truck things, and I like camping and driving to remote outdoors places cars cannot go.  If you get an AWD Taco the world will have more possibilities for you.  

Brett_Murphy (Agent of Chaos)
Brett_Murphy (Agent of Chaos) MegaDork
6/28/22 11:22 a.m.

In reply to AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) :

The interiors of the current generation of Colorados are comfortable- unlike the Tacomas.

Steve_Jones Dork
6/28/22 11:22 a.m.

I had a Tacoma for 2 months.  I really wanted to like it, but couldn't. I put a bunch of money into it trying to make it more fun, but it was blah.  On paper it was a nice truck, right color, right options, right upgrades, but just a blah vehicle to be in, hopefully the next guy liked it better than I did.  I also felt too old for it, like if I was 30, cool truck, at 50, not so much. It also had no power so trying to merge was horrible. I replaced it with a Gladiator, then supercharged that. How this truck could be boring is beyond me, but it was.

frenchyd MegaDork
6/28/22 11:32 a.m.

In reply to PMRacing :

You're getting to the age where your time is in high demand.  Repair of a daily driver will always be an intrusion on your schedule.  Yes the part may be affordable but what about your time?   Will you ignore your kids to fix your commuter?   
     Why not look ahead.  Way down the road?   You're always going to need something to commute with and the cheaper that is the more money you'll have left for other priorities.  Your kids will start needing more and more expensive things for sports and fun. Plus your wife deserves some time with you, like a date night.  
 Since transportation needs won't go away but a cheap operating cost is more important than a low purchase price.  Keep it for 20 years so depreciation won't hurt. 
  Trucks last at least that.  EV trucks would really do that nicely.   Fuel  is going up and likely not down.  Think of where most oil comes from.   It's not your roof or back yard. The well is expensive especially in the remote areas most oil is coming from. Then  It has to go to some refinery and finally  be moved to wherever you buy it from. 

   Sun shines on your roof or back yard  and solar is getting cheaper and cheaper. 
Wind blows even at night and modern permanent magnets generate electricity as low as 5 mph wind speed. 
    Don't have the money for a new truck and your own Generation?   Your neighbors will sooner or later. They will gladly sell you their surplus. 
 Here in Minnesota we are approaching 50% renewables 10 years ahead of schedule. 
   Come home from work and plug in, 30 seconds? When you leave you'll be fully charged up.  Instead of the trip to the gas station in the morning.  So your morning commute just got 10-15 minutes shorter. 
  Like a warm car in winter, cool. in summer? Punch the AP on your phone.
    Keep your track car for fun.  Spend the money you save driving a EV  making the track car more fun.   
 So trade in your daily driver and buy something like a Ford F-150 lightening.    The money you save on Gas will go a long way towards making payments.   Then at some point you'll do a spread sheet to see if you can justify the Solar or wind generator. 

buzzboy SuperDork
6/28/22 4:47 p.m.

I loved our 93(4?) Pickup and then dad replaced it with a 2nd gen. I hated that truck so much. Like the antithesis of the Pickup. The 3rd gens are better but still very numb.

Steve_Jones Dork
6/28/22 5:25 p.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

How TF do you turn a what car thread into a Solar/Wind power diatribe? A F-150 Lightning is @$65k minimum and a 2 year wait. Even with no wait that's a $1200 monthly payment for 60 months. If you drive 2,000 miles a month, at 25MPG and $5.00 a gallon gas you spend $400 on gas, your version of "a long way towards the payments" are different than mine.

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
6/28/22 8:50 p.m.

In reply to Brett_Murphy (Agent of Chaos) :

I really liked my Colorado.  We did a lot of family stuff in it.  I had it placed most Jeep owners would fear.

93EXCivic MegaDork
6/28/22 9:33 p.m.

Tacos have the world's most uncomfortable front seats imo

frenchyd MegaDork
6/28/22 9:36 p.m.
Steve_Jones said:

In reply to frenchyd :

How TF do you turn a what car thread into a Solar/Wind power diatribe? A F-150 Lightning is @$65k minimum and a 2 year wait. Even with no wait that's a $1200 monthly payment for 60 months. If you drive 2,000 miles a month, at 25MPG and $5.00 a gallon gas you spend $400 on gas, your version of "a long way towards the payments" are different than mine.

Stop thinking such short term.  ( unless you plan on stopping driving  in  60 months). 
  Start thinking long term. 20 years. That's what I've got from my last Chevy. And the Ford I've got is now on its 6th year without a dime spent repairing it.   
   I spent $22,000 for my Chevy ( new)   That worked out to be  less than $100 a month.  I did spend about $1000 in repairs over that 20 years.  But when it went to the Junkyard with 371,XXX miles on it the engine was untouched,  the starter the original, and the trans and rear end untouched.   All in good running shape.  
 Yes I spent money maintaining it, oil changes,  brakes, tires etc.  what any vehicle will require. So I'm not an accountant with a spread sheet.  
The sheet metal lasted over 15 years before the tin worm started to eat it up.   But for the rust belt that's excellent. 
I worked the death out of that truck,  often carting 3-4 times it's rated capacity of stone and Timbers for my house.  
 It hauled my race cars all over the  country, over the mountains and through the deserts. ( I'm sure I was overloaded most of the time). 
       The base Ford F-150 Lightening. Starts out at $42,000.   20 years on that will be. $175 a month.   You'll save on oil changes and brake jobs.  Not to mention all the other things EV's don't have like water pumps or transmissions. 
    Then 20 years of gas.  (12,000 mile /year ). That's $60,000 assuming gas stays at $5 /gal. 

Javelin MegaDork
6/28/22 9:45 p.m.
93EXCivic said:

Tacos have the world's most uncomfortable front seats imo

If you think that's bad, you should sit in the back. 

RyanGreener (Forum Supporter)
RyanGreener (Forum Supporter) Reader
6/28/22 10:07 p.m.

Tacomas are pickups and they're reliable. That's about it. I drove my friend's Tacoma and I hate the driving position, let alone the driving experience (slow, bad handling, bad gas mileage, etc). Never rode in the back but I can't imagine it is comfortable either. Also, Tacomas rust like crazy for no reason, even in 2022.

Loweguy5 HalfDork
6/28/22 10:34 p.m.

I hate to burst everyone's "Toyota reliability" bubble but Tacomas aren't particularly highly rated for reliability or being problem free.  If I remember correctly transmissions have been a dependability issue and they see many clients back complaining of a lot of excess wind noise.

Something to research and consider at least.

frenchyd MegaDork
6/28/22 10:37 p.m.

In reply to Loweguy5 :

The Toyota dealer is right on my bus route.   I see more than a few Tacoma's in line for work.  Plus for a long time they had stacks of rusty frames  out back. ( we're in the rust belt ) 

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
6/28/22 10:57 p.m.

An eco boost ranger or a Colorado diesel will be a more sane choice.   Chevy more comfortable than ford.  Maybe a tdi touraeg or diesel x5. 

I had an 84 Toyota pickup.   Seems like modern tacos' and 4Runners are now bought by lemmings. 

RyanGreener (Forum Supporter)
RyanGreener (Forum Supporter) Reader
6/29/22 5:33 a.m.
Loweguy5 said:

I hate to burst everyone's "Toyota reliability" bubble but Tacomas aren't particularly highly rated for reliability or being problem free.  If I remember correctly transmissions have been a dependability issue and they see many clients back complaining of a lot of excess wind noise.

Something to research and consider at least.

I know a few Tacoma owners with varying amounts of mileage who tow/off road and haven't heard any issues regarding the transmissions unless you're referring to the transmissions horrible ECU logic. I can also imagine wind noise being a thing as well. They're not very comfortable.

footinmouth Reader
6/29/22 6:29 a.m.

Fupdiggity (Forum Supporter)
Fupdiggity (Forum Supporter) Reader
6/29/22 7:23 a.m.

tough crowd here. I thought we liked tacos? 

I did (doing?) something similar, had a Mk7 golf R MT that I sold last year, now I'm waiting on a new tacoma (MT as well, it might be a while). The golf was fantastic, but just didn't get driven enough. My motivation was slightly different, the roads here are good, but I bike to work, so most of my driving was to a trailhead, my garage, or the hardware store so I'd end up spending more time in my truck. I prefer trucks for an adventure vehicle, occasionally tow cars, need to fit 4 people, and strongly prefer a manual. Looking new, the taco is the only game in town.

The seating position is low, with your legs stretched out in front of you. It's more car like than truck like, which is polarizing. If you fit & like it great, if not, plenty of other options. Sounds like you sat in one and it works for you. 

Drivetrain: I've driven two (both manuals, both 2020's w/ about 20-30k on them), the first one turned me off, big time. The 3.5 felt very anemic (and I generally like motors that need to rev), throttle response was lazy (both tip in and rev matching), rev hang was bad. The 2nd felt much better, more like I would expect it to drive from the reviews. Still not a stump puller, but had no problem with light acceleration from lower revs and noticeable step up (almost like coming on cam) at about 3500. It still had lazy throttle response but wasn't actively fighting me. My last toyota was a supercharged 3.4 in a 3rd gen 4runner, I loved that motor, great throttle response, plenty of torque, supercharger whine. It set a bar that the 3.5 couldn't hit, unfortunately. There are tunes available that address the rev hang & throttle response (and even add some more low end torque), I'm already planning to tune mine, but I'd probably still be OK if I couldn't.

If you've driven a manual toyota truck/SUV, the transmission & clutch should be familiar. Tall gear shifter, long throws, but relatively accurate. I think it fits the character fine. I've never driven an auto one and have no interest in those, I don't hear great things about them.

On the chassis/suspension, stock toyota trucks/SUVs have ridden the same to me for almost 30 years, lots of suspension travel, somehow soft & stiff at the same time, very poor body control. A decent set of aftermarket coilovers/shocks does wonders and is worth every penny. I'd buy a TRD pro for that alone, but they're unobtanium. I plan to source a set of pro suspension for mine at some point, but again, I don't actively dislike the stock ride, it just doesn't want to be hustled. Aftermarket is flush with options. 

On the quality/reliability front, toyota's have never been high "quality" vehicles by german car standards. What toyotas have done well for me is look, drive, feel, operate at the same level for decades. My old 4runner had 300k and was 23 years old when I sold it, everything worked, the switches felt the same as they always did, nothing in the interior was cracking, peeling, or sticky. It still drove great, I trusted it everywhere, it was not well taken care of before me either. I'm not sure new ones are built to that standard anymore (are any?) and others have closed the gap, but I still put a BOF toyota near the top of the heap to hold up over the next 20 years. 

Looks wise, I go back and forth. I don't like the giant protruding grill, but everyone seems to be going that way now. The hood is pretty tall and roof line low, not the greatest visibility or airiness to the cabin, but I can cope. The TRD sport & pros add that alful hood scoop, the extra height noticeably reduces front visibility (at least for me, i'm short). 

Interior: I seem to have a tolerance for toyota hard plastics as they don't bother me, but others (looking at you GM) really do. I'm not sure if there is a real difference or I have rose colored glasses, but I like's what I likes. Ergonomics are good in my view, I love toyota's cruise control stalk. Really this is a personal preference and easy to determine if it works for you by sitting in or driving one.

Towing: I haven't towed with one yet, but I don't see it as having any trouble dragging a miata to the track, especially in MI. I don't subscribe to the "oversize your tow vehicle" mentality that seems to be prevalent on many forums (not so much here thankfully) for the typical weekend warrior that's towing a handful of times a year. I'm sure you need to be willing to use the upper half of the rev range of that little 3.5, but is has enough power to handle the job. Again, the autos might be a different experience as they seem to like to hunt, with a manual, you can stick it in a lower gear and let it eat. Caveat here is I don't have a lot of mechanical empathy, a lot of what is acceptable from a towing perspective is down to each person's preference. It's certainly rated for it though (6,400 lbs IRRC) and I'll be towing my track car with mine (E46, uhaul trailer, probably around 5500 lbs).

Taco's speak to me, but if I wasn't hell bent on getting a midsize/manual/truck, there are objectively better performing adventure/tow vehicles out there and they're probably a lot easier to get your hands on. It wouldn't be my first (or 10th) choice as a commuter vehicle. As far as the market, it's hot. Tacos have been easy sellers for years. When I was cross shopping them back in 2012 it wasn't a ton different. Manuals were very hard to come buy, they were selling for MSRP or close to it, and used examples were at or sometimes above new prices. Now its the same, just turned up to 11. I'd find a nice clean 2nd gen if I could, but the asking price for those is batty, new it is. 

I've started my search in honest only a week ago, but I've probably contacted a dozen dealers. I've got a deposit/waitlist down with 2 and I've heard 3-18 months. If I was more flexible on colors, trim (TRD sport for example), or options (looking for a premium pack w/ a moonroof because I'm bougie) I could probably find one within a month or so. Toyota doesn't build to order, so when you put in an "order", your reserving a spot in line. When toyota releases their build list (twice a month), dealers match up orders with similar trucks, then you get to decide if it's similar enough or if you want to keep waiting. Unfortunately toyota is leaning into the skeezy dealer model and loading these up with accessories (think tube steps, tonneau covers, roof rack, trim, etc.) to skim some more profit. You don't have a say in this, it's a take it or wait for another one that may (or may not) have fewer accessories. MSRP is likely the best you're going to find. If it's sitting on the lot, there's probably a markup on it. Most MTs are coming through already sold. Don't sell your daily until you have a replacement, obviously.

TLDR: midsize, MANUAL TRANS!, tows, hauls people, reliable, killer resale value, what's not to love about a taco (aside from availability)? They need a few tweaks, but the aftermarket is strong. If you don't need midsize and/or manual, look elsewhere, you'll get a ton more for your monies.



Placemotorsports HalfDork
6/29/22 8:05 a.m.

I have a 2nd gen Tacoma, it's a great truck and will probably last forever if the frame holds up.  Lot's of folks that have gotten 3rd gen Tacoma's have sold them and gone back to the 2nd gen, they just drive/feel better.  They will never replace the smiles and fun factor of a good sports sedan though, especially the whine from an S4.  Id advise to keep the S4 and get a cheaper Tacoma so you can have either or when you need it.  I've convinced my wife that we need at least 3 cars at all times for various situations. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
6/29/22 8:16 a.m.

I agree with the idea--I don't think I could maintain a house without a truck--but question your judgement on which truck. I'd buy a Ridgeline, Ranger, Colorado or Frontier (in that order) before a Tacoma, and that's assuming Mavericks remain unobtainable. 

Fupdiggity (Forum Supporter)
Fupdiggity (Forum Supporter) Reader
6/29/22 8:51 a.m.
Tom Suddard said:

I agree with the idea--I don't think I could maintain a house without a truck--but question your judgement on which truck. I'd buy a Ridgeline, Ranger, Colorado or Frontier (in that order) before a Tacoma, and that's assuming Mavericks remain unobtainable. 

Funny, I'd agree with all of the above, even the order of vehicles (with the exception of the colorado, bleh). The thing that brings me back to a taco is the manual trans. Ridgelines also are pretty tight on towing capacity. If you have a lightweight trailer & car (i.e. the OPs miata) then it's probably no issue. I would bet a ridgeline tows better than a taco too, despite the 1,400 lb delta in rating. 

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