The American car market is a funny place. In recent years, the CUV, or car-based SUV has become wildly popular with buyers nationwide looking for a car that is both less economical than a hatchback and less roomy than a minivan. Obviously we are not a nation that makes decisions based on logic, which probably explains why our three vehicles today have always been the underdogs on the sales lists. The Honda Ridgeline, Ford Explorer Sport Trac, and GMC Envoy XUV all offered rugged, pickup truck beds combined with comfortable, SUV/minivan driving behaviors. Which of these practical sales failures is the most appealing?

The first contestant: 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL - $7500

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The Ridgeline has always received a lot of flak in the enthusiast and journalism circles as a ‘fake’ truck because of its unibody structure and minivan motor. Still, it’s obvious that the used car market has not heard of this downside because it is literally impossible to find a decent Ridgeline anywhere in the country for under $7K. This one was the lowest reasonable one I could find, although its $7.5K price may be a little high for its reported 226K miles...is it still a good buy with the Honda reputation for reliability?

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The second contestant: 2002 Ford Explorer Sport Trac - $6995

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The Sport Trac was likely the original inspiration for the Ridgeline, although it’s surprising that given the low sales success and odd design that anyone would attempt to replicate it. Still, it is slightly more rugged than the Honda with its underpinnings on the BOF chassis of the contemporary Explorer. These truck-things also claim rather high prices on Craigslist, but is this relatively affordable one with an unknown mileage worth the price?

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The third contestant: 2005 GMC Envoy XUV - $6200

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The GMC Envoy XUV was one of those things that might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but looking back on it it was nothing more than a roomier crew cab Canyon with a very fancy bed topper and a high price tag. Nowadays though these things are cheap, with this example undercutting both the Ford and Honda with only 86K miles on the clock. Does the inexpensive price tag and relative youth of this truck appeal over the high mileage, high price tag philosophy of the Ridgeline and Sport Trac, or does the amount of mid 2000s GM in this scare you away?

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