Recommend a used small truck, good in the snow?


Need moar dirt
TRUCK PURCHASED; see post #37 for details :thumbup

Hi all,

My son's work responsibilities have expanded and he's now looking for a second car, a "beater" vehicle for driving in the snow, per the following:

used small truck or SUV
hitch with 1500# tow capacity (small utility trailer, summer only)
AWD or 4WD: decent in ~6" of fresh snow
doesn't care about exterior or interior condition
Heater/defrost and wipers must work
open to 4 or 6 cylinder motor, auto or manual transmission
High mileage is expected, but hopefully < 250K
Target price $4K - $6K
Purchase in the next 20 days

He will be driving a round-trip commute from Tahoe City down Hwy 80 to Kingvale, 28 miles each way, likely in all conditions, and in the dark in the am.

What say you barfers? Looking for suggestions, recommendations or leads; including vehicles to avoid with such high mileage, and/or their weak points to check out first before buying. I'm thinking with anything over 150K miles, owner's regular maintenance is probably paramount above all else, no?

Thanks in advance!
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easter bunny

Amateur Hour
Didn't those rust out like crazy? I seem to recall everyone I've ever seen looks like swiss cheese. Especially the rear wheel wells.


Staff member
‘06 Range Rover HSE. I have one. They weigh like 5500 pounds so they are good in the snow. Pretty low entry cost too.


Recedite, plebes!
Oh man... couple weeks too late.
Sold my '97 XJ for $5K, ordered it new, 5Spd manual, 3" OME lift, 31's, ARB lockers front and rear, Hella lights and other stuff, w/only 160K miles.

If interested in the XJ's look for the '97-'01's. I've had three of them, two had over 240K when I sold them. If you have any questions about the XJ's hit me up.

As for small pickups, probably be looking at Japanese versus US trucks.

Also, might look for trucks in the Reno area.


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2fast 2live 2young 2die
The vehicle isn't as important as the new studded snow tires he should put on whatever awd he winds up with to run that route.
- sent from a truckee resident


2fast 2live 2young 2die
Also, big chunky mud terrain tires (like on the jeep above) are usually awful on snow and ice. Don't be fooled by the looks.


Well-known member
I have a 97 XJ I bought for the dog..
I am running a new set of studded snow tires at 25 psi..
Its floats all over in the snow and ice. A little groove of ice berm will
Throw it off the road. It's way to light at Hwy speeds..
My 2wd S Class Mercedes is way better
In the snow!
It's also very small with no crash protection. I'm 6.2..
My Tacoma was way better with sand bags in the back to offset
The one sided fuel tank weight and low pressure in the rear tires..


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Recedite, plebes!
Tires are an important consideration when living in snow country. A good set of “winter” 3 Peak/Snowflake branded tries work quite well on paved roads and most are “studdable”.

I’ve found studded tires beneficial on roads that ice-up particularly at night, like I80/Donner and down to Truckee. It’s also my experience studs don’t do much in deep snow nor for off-road use.

Have good friends that live in Truckee and Reno and I spend a fair amount up there in the winter and summers and wheeling out in Nevada during both seasons. (Well, except for this past year.) For me it’s a compromise since I live in the Bay Area and dedicated studded tires aren't the best option. I prefer to run a siped M/T tire and carry chains. YMMV

The vast majority of the people driving I80 can’t drive worth shit anyway. Too fast, too close, and trying to pass everybody by using the right lane and diving back to the left when they get behind a truck. Plus their “ extra stupid” gene seems to really kick in when it’s raining or snowing!


get it while it's easy
best snow vehicle we ever had was an audi A6. the thing plowed through anything and everything. truck-wise, the most fun was one of the old small 4x4 toyotas with big knobby tires. it was light and high - but oddly, was like a water beetle - never sank in any surface. just skimmed over the top throwing up rooster tails of mud, sand, snow, you name it. super fun!