Back in the day – the day being roughly 50 years ago – I always enjoyed seeing what the Road & Track staff had in their garages. Most of what I remember was relayed by R&T’s editor/owner, John Bond, but I could also watch staffer Ron Wakefield’s evolution from Corvette owner/enthusiast to a BMW owner/enthusiast. Later, Peter Egan would share his garage inventory with us, and it was one spectacularly diverse inventory. More recently, websites like Jalopnik provide an automotive biography with most bylines; with each, readers are provided a small window into what makes that automotive scribe ‘tick’. Although the below inventories don’t suggest the automotive exotica supplied by a John Bond or Peter Egan, we hope it provides a brief glimpse into the automotive psyche of our small txGarage staff. – DB
Harold Allen: 2018 Ford F-150 XLT 4X4
It Replaced a F-250 Super Duty
My daily driver is a 2018 Ford F-150 XLT 4X4 with a 4-inch lift kit. I purchased it at the end of the model year, trading in my 2018 Ford F-250 Super Duty. The base price for the truck was $42,055.00, with $11,000.00 dollars worth of options and $11K for the dealer-installed lift kit and monster tires. If I had to do it all over, I would not do the lift kit.
The truck’s gas mileage is around 16 city and 22 highways…on a good day. I have always been a truck enthusiast, and consider the 1980-86 F-Series one of the best trucks Ford has ever built; the one I own now has over 250,000 miles on it, and has the original engine, transmission and rear end. But back to the current daily driver. This truck has a 5.0L V-8 and has a great exhaust note unlike the smaller engines in a lot of trucks today. That 5.0L engine was a $1,995 option. With a host of options – including the 10-speed automatic and Sirius XM – it’s a joy to drive.
David Boldt: 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee
And Of Course It Has The Hemi
For any number of reasons, we hold onto vehicles for a long time, helped – in no small part – by my ability to tap into press vehicles for most of my daily driving. This Grand Cherokee replaced my wife Tina’s ’98 Grand Cherokee – we had sold the ‘98 to our son (wholesale!) when he needed a replacement vehicle.
Tina knew she again wanted a Jeep, and the Grand Cherokee was her go-to solution. It was the fall of ’06, the 4-door Wrangler Unlimited had just hit the showrooms (too agrarian), and a diesel-powered Grand Cherokee would hit the dealerships just a couple of months later. But our son needed our ’98 immediately, and so we pulled the trigger on the ’06 quickly. It hasn’t been absolutely perfect in its 110,000 miles, but pretty close to perfect. The body is still vault-like in its solidity, and there’s nothing quite like a normally-aspirated V8 to get you where you want to go.
Jesus Garcia: 2013 Mazda3
The Most Reliable Car I Own
My daily driver is also my first new car. A pearl white (base model) Mazda3 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with a 5-speed manual transmission, power windows and dealer-installed tint. I purchased this car on July 4th, 2013 and at the time it was the only manual Mazda3 in South Texas.
The car now has 90,000 miles, and every single oil change have been done by me. I’ve changed the oil on this car in Wal-Mart parking lots more than once. I’ve taken it across the country three times. Once to Colorado – where it made it to the top of Pike’s Peak – and twice to Las Vegas for the Mint 400 race. It has never left me stranded, and the only new parts I’ve purchased have been a set of tires, one battery, and a replacement horn. I can squeeze 300 miles out of its 12-gallon gas tank, and have never paid more than 30 dollars to fill it.
I love this car because it has been as reliable as a sun dial and provided the necessary transportation to pursue my dreams in life – both personal and professional. I don’t plan on selling it, and only wish it had cruise control.
Steve Kursar: 2006 Toyota Tacoma
I Married a Texan – We Own a Pickup
I married Texan so we own a pickup, a 2006 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner Access Cab with 2WD. This is your basic, midsize work truck with few frills. Gray cloth seats, AM/FM/CD radio, six speakers; the only luxury is power windows. It has a 236 hp, 4.0-liter V6 engine mated to a five-speed transmission that gets close to 20 mpg when I drive it or closer to 14 mpg when my wife – the Texan – is behind the wheel. She’ll argue that’s because she hauls stuff while I just haul air. In addition, she’ll happily insist that when she’s driving our truck she has a much stricter schedule.
I love this Tacoma because Toyota designed it to last a lifetime. Ours has less than 140,000 miles on the odometer, so it’s barely broken in. I change the oil myself and the only things I’ve replaced are the U-joints and the shocks. Our teenage daughter has already claimed it, although she may have to wait. She, like her mother, loves having a truck at her disposal. So regardless of the many cars we’ll undoubtedly cycle through in our family, this one is the keeper.
Adam Moore: 2018 Volkswagen Atlas
Yeah, It’s My Wife’s Car – I Don’t Have A Car
Honestly, I don’t have a daily drive anymore. I own a 2013 Hyundai Sonata that I bought new, but now that my oldest son is of driving age this is basically his car. In 2018 we finally upgraded our family vehicle from a Dodge Grand Caravan to a Volkswagen Atlas. This is essentially my wife’s vehicle – but if I’m ever not driving a press car, this is what I drive. I reviewed the Atlas in November of 2017 and we really enjoyed it as a family. I purchased mine in January of 2018.
There’s an entire video on our YouTube channel, Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is, which explains my decision when making the Atlas our new family vehicle. But what it really comes down to is this: I think the Atlas provides the best bang-for-the-buck among 3-row SUVs on the market, at least in 2018. It’s always nice when you get out of a brand-new press vehicle and into your own and still love the decision you made. With our Atlas, we have that.
Alan Pease: 2011 Subaru Outback
Shifting This Way – And That
Everybody has a favorite car, truck or SUV, one they would buy if money were no object. But what you drive every day is a different story, or is it? My daily driver is a 2011 Subaru Outback with a 6-speed manual transmission, which I bought used in 2014 with 47,000 miles on the odometer. Fortunately for me, it was a Subaru Certified Pre-owned (CPO) vehicle. Today it has 128K on the odo.
This vehicle has spent a lot of time in the shop. Fortunately, most of that time has been on Subaru’s dime. So, while a CPO vehicle doesn’t guarantee you that it’s perfect, it does give you recourse for any problems that crop up in that first 100,000 miles. So, I highly recommend the CPO program if buying a pre-owned vehicle.
Why do I like my Subaru? And why do I still own it? Because it gets me, my friends, my dog, my groceries and lots of other day-to-day tasks accomplished while making the driving – an intrinsic part of those tasks – fun! I get to go where I want to go, and I get to shift my way down the highway getting there.
Boldt, a contributor to outlets such as AutoTrader.com, Kelley Blue Book and Autoblog, brings to his laptop some forty years of experience in automotive retail, journalism and public relations. He is a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, Chicago's Midwest Automotive Media Association and L.A.'s Motor Press Guild. David is the Managing Editor of txGarage and the automotive contributor to Dallas' Katy Trail Weekly.