Right now, my daily is an ‘03 Civic EX coupe. It’s a really nice car, I like it. Its nice to drive, comfortable, gets like a million miles per gallon on regular gas, and doesn’t cost anything to insure.

But a combination of things have occurred. A few months ago, we found out that we’ve got our first baby on the way, due just before the end of the year. The Civic isn’t exactly car-seat friendly, so I thought then I would start looking to swap it for a 4-door version.

The next thing that happened was that I got a much more local job. I was working just outside Boston while living in Rhode Island, so I was doing 100 miles a day. My new job is about 8 miles from my house, meaning that my Civic’s million miles per gallon just became a lot less important.

Also currently happening is that my truck is really on it’s last legs. It’s a 2000 F-150 XLT SuperCab, 5.4L 4x4 which belonged to my late brother. I wouldn’t have kept it as long as I have (or put nearly as much money into it as I have) if it wasn’t his, but now it’s just it’s time. It’s got 240k miles, but it looks like it has 300k. The body has become really rusty, the tires are worn out...it runs nice and it drives okay (a bit of front end noise lately), but it looks like junk and I don’t want to spend any more money on it.

Then there’s the matter of towing. I’ve got that Saturn I’m turning into a race car, and I’m still going to need something to tow with...my wife’s ML350 can tow, but it’ll tow more like a motorcycle, I wouldn’t want to tow a car with it.

And lastly, but certainly not least, the Terrible Burden of Truck Ownership. People know you have a truck, and they don’t have a truck. They could rent a truck, but hey, they know somebody who has a truck...they know YOU. So it’ll either be “hey, can I borrow your truck?” or, even worse, “hey, can you help me move something with your truck?” Honestly, it makes me feel slightly agitated just thinking about it. I’ve got a rad hifi system, nobody ever asks to borrow it. I’ve got a dog, nobody ever asks to borrow him. I’ve got a really nice aluminum table and chair set out on my deck, nobody ever asks me to borrow it. But every week it seems like somebody is asking to borrow my truck, and the truck has gotten so worn out that I won’t let anybody else drive it, so that means they’re asking me to help them move. No more, I say.

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Basically, I’ve decided to buy a largish SUV. I’m mostly looking at Ford Expeditions and Lincoln Navigators, but I’d go for an Excursion as well if I could find a nice one for my budget. I figure I can tow with it like my truck, it’ll be car seat friendly for the baby, and nobody ever asks “can I borrow your SUV?”.

Right now, this is the front runner:

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Ignore the missing center cap, I’d buy one on eBay before the paperwork is done. It’s a 2003, so it’s the first year of the 2nd gen body style, which is what I want, and it’s the right color. The engine is apparently the DOHC 5.4L V8, which I guess is a 5.4 liter version of the engine I had in my Lincoln Mark VIII?In 2004 they went to the SOHC version, I don’t really care which one I get, but I liked the DOHC engine in the Mark VIII. Tan leather, 130k miles, looks like it’s in pretty good shape. They’re asking $5000, I think it’s worth about $4000.

It seems like for what I’m looking for, that’s basically perfect. It’ll tow like I want, if I fold the seats down I can carry plenty, and it’s got all the luxury shit and toys that I want. The air suspension doesn’t worry me, apparently swapping in regular shocks and springs is a common thing if the air system goes south.

What do you guys think? If anybody has any experience with the 2nd gen Navigator/Expedition or the Excursion, I’d love to hear that too. And vehicle suggestions are always welcome, of course.