Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Cincinnati Ohio
I agree with what you are saying here. The usefulness of a 1/2 ton is limited from the payload point of view but there have been substantial increases in the towing capabilities of 1/2 tons as of late. It really boils down to lifestyle. A Tahoe or Expedition is a pretty capable tow rig if equipped properly but you do lose that ability to carry oversize cargo, whether it be 2x4s, refrigerators, mattresses, etc. I've strapped a box spring to the top of my ZJ, getting anything with any significant weight on the roof of any SUV is nothing short of a pain in the ***.
I also have a full sized cargo van, an older Chevy G20 (3/4 ton) 350 white box carpeted inside which I have found to be far more useful than my pickups. I'd agree that you can't put a queen sized mattress in it, but for most other things it is much more useful. I have a set of ramps, so the quad, the ride-on mowers, go in. And, you can sleep in it if you are out in the rain. It will tow a TJ and a trailer as good as a 1/2 ton pickup and you don't have to worry about people taking your stuff when you are out on the trail. Just lock it up. If you buy a bunch of lumber at Lowes, it stays dry and unmolested until you use it. I had them put a pallet of cement blocks in it recently. Its standard length and you can put a 10 foot lumber on the floor in it with the doors closed. If you angle, you can put in 12 footers. I can't tell you how many times I had to move camp inside the van.
All of that said, there is nothing to compare with a modern diesel tow rig.
03 Rubicon; 99 xj with too much stuff to list; Unimog 406 (gone)