Recently I asked a question in Mile Markers that has been posed to us and that we have often considered ourselves, "What in the world can replace the Green Machine?"
I wrote about some of our thought processes to arrive at the point of replacement. Now I will discuss a little of our thinking going forward. We are starting at the same place we started when we began looking for the Green Machine nearly nine years ago.
-Fuel efficiency- Gas prices were sky high in 2008 and so a car that sipped fuel became important to us. By 2012, we were ready for better MPG.
Gas prices are much lower now, but we all know that is temporary. The price will soar once again and people will be trading their gas guzzlers at a loss, like last time.
We still want to be careful with MPG ratings, but we are slightly more flexible with that than we were in 2012.
-Room for two wheelchairs and three of us- We carry a power chair, actually a scooter the last several years, and Odie's lightweight folding wheelchair. Both of them need to travel in the car when we are traveling between churches.
We also carry quite a bit of sound equipment in the car when we are not able to park the bus at the church. The Green Machine has been quite a truck at times.
This pretty much eliminates a small car with a trunk, even if it clicks other boxes. Not many small cars with trunks are towable like we need them to be anyway.
-Ease of entry and exit- Because of Odie, we cannot tow something that sits down on the ground or something that has a six-inch lift kit.
-Towable four wheels down without major modification- This may be the most unnegotiable item on the list. The vehicle we tow behind us must tow with all four wheels on the ground. I refuse to consider using a tow dolly. That is a nonstarter.
The fact is, most cars are not towable with four wheels down without modifications. I counted less than 50 on the list for 2020 cars. Some years it is more, some years it is less. That eliminates a lot of choices.
The little Ford Transit Connect vans or small Nissan NV200 vans would be perfect, but they can not be towed four wheels down. The larger versions of these vans are rear wheel drive and I will discuss their possibilities below.
-Fits in the tent trailer- We would love for our tow vehicle to fit into the tent trailer if possible. However, the height is an extremely limiting factor because of the lift overhead in the trailer.
We have decided that if we partially retire the Green Machine before it is dead and replace it with something that checks off all the other boxes, we might keep the Green Machine to take with us during tent revival season.
That way the replacement would not have to meet the qualification of fitting in the tent trailer. We are not sure how that would work in real life, but it is an option we are considering.
Chevy and GMC trucks and SUVs that are four wheel drive are USUALLY towable. With the current popularity of trucks, the prices of these have soared. We have looked around quite a bit at these and have pretty much crossed them off our list for that reason alone.
Most Ford four wheel drives are towable too, but with pretty severe speed and sometimes mileage restrictions. That is a deal breaker.
There is one modification we would consider and that is purchasing a rear wheel drive van and installing a transmission disconnect. We would only consider that if we found something with low miles at a good price, that we would be inclined keep for a number of years. If we kept it a long time, it would average out the high cost of getting it ready to tow.
Nissan does have a larger NV van that is rear wheel drive and the full sized Ford Transit is rear wheel drive too. Blue Ox sells a base plate for these and they could probably be equipped with a transmission disconnect. If so, we would consider one of them too.
Ideally, we would like to find something five or six years old at the most, so we can delay starting this process over at least eight to ten years down the road.
A good friend recently pointed out that some years of the Honda CRV is towable and the Chevy Traverse is towable four wheels down most years too. We have a few options to ponder.
So all of that to answer the question, what can follow the Green Machine?
We are not sure😁
Hopefully, we will know soon. Thank you for joining us today.