Can I post a spreadsheet here?

Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
Just wondering if I could somehow post or import a spreadsheet.
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My research of the last few months on full sized SUVs had me getting dizzy and I finally figured I needed a simple way to display the information that was important to me so I could compare side by side. So I channeled my inner geek and did an Xcel spreadsheet using data I got from Edmunds.com.
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Obviously I only looked at the factors that mattered to ME so it may or may not be applicable to others but I figured since I did the work someone else might benefit from it so why not share it?
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I compared the full sized SUVs from Chevy/GMC, Ford, Nissan (Armada) and Toyota (Sequoia) and also included my current V6 4runner as a "baseline" for comparison. The data points I looked at were:
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Year/Make/Model
Engine size in L
Engine HP
Engine Torque
Overall length in feet/inches (need to know if it will fit in my garage!)
Wheelbase
Curb weight
Transmission gears (all are automatics so number of gears is the only variable)
Turning circle size in feet
Flex fuel yes or no (not a huge consideration but I figured it would be nice to be able to use E85 when it is available.)
MPG (EPA Estimates City/Highway)
Fuel tank size
Range (basically the last two variables multiplied.)
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Notice that I did not include GVWR or max towing capacity as I will be staying far below both so they're not factors in making my choice.
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I did not include the Denali versions of the Yukon because I have no interest in an AWD with no low range, ditto for the 2500 Suburban/Avalanche with the 8.1. I also did not include the Infiniti Q80 or whatever they're calling the Patrol luxo-barge sold in the US because I have no interest in it. Finally the Expedition EL was not included because it seems they were only made for a few years and are generally outside of my price range (trying to stay under $15k.)
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Anyway, I don't know if there's any way to post a spreadsheet here but I thought I'd ask.
 

rayra

Expedition Leader
seems like a lot of extra work. usually it's 2-3-4 major criteria and the rest doesn't matter. You'll drive yourself nuts trying to weight the rest of the factors. Or fall into option paralysis.

And on top of all that, you are looking at USED, so there are all sorts of other factors related to wear and tear, was a vehicle well cared for or flogged about. Accidents / damage. What are the known problems for each vehicle / drivetrain. What's its service history. And then there's the issue of sales history, number of owners (which can indicate hidden problems or lack of vehicle care) - btw, when the time comes for hard shopping, buy th emulti-pack of carfax reports and USE THEM on the vehicles you seriously consider AFTER you've inspected them in person.

Unless you have very strong criteria already in mind, you need to turn your analysis upside down and work up a list of DISqualifying criteria. Especially when looking at used vehicles. Known recalls or chronic failure points. Age / mileage acceptability (nat'l avg mileage is 15k/yr, as a baseline). Vehicle condition, abuse, wear, RUST. Body condition. Interior condition. What are you willing to put up with. What can you yourself work on and what will you have to pay $$$$ to fix.


Took me most of last year to go from decision to buy to finally buying my '02 Sub. And that was knowing I wanted a 4x Suburban going in. I couple months of casual consideration of options, budget, deciding what vehicle conditions I'd accept. Then it was months of casually perusing ads, chasing private sellers, trying to get advertisers to respond to messages. And ultimately a dearth of 4wd versions in my area led me to cast a far wider net, to where I was making 100mi round trips to go look for K1500 and K2500 Subs. The only K2500s I could find that fit my gross criteria of year and price range where nothing like they were represented to be. Far more worn out or shabby than I cared to work on. So I 'settled' on K1500. But we'd had Tahoes for 16yrs, a '99 and '05 (still have this) and I new they were solid and did everything we asked of them, including some moderate towing. So I stepped it up, checked ads every day instead of once a week, drove all over to inspect vehicles and when I finally found one that fit my major criteria it was unfortunately black. I bought it anyway, despite having owned a black 4wd minitruck 30yrs previously. I KNEW what a pain in the *** it was to keep a black truck looking clean. But after months of looking, I cared far more about the mechanical and cosmetic condition than what color the thing was.


Regarding a spreadsheet (been working Excel since its beginning and Lotus 1-2-3 before that) - put your most important criteria fields leftmost. Once you've populated all your data, do a series of sorts by each field and use the color fill options to color the undesirable end(s) of the data range red and the 'winner' green. Get fancy and shade intermediate pale green and pink too. Then re-sort on the next field and so on. When it's all color-coded, go back and sort on your key criteria and tally how many greens or reds. You may find two different vehicles are 'close' with a different mix of good and bad. But at least you can narrow down what brand / models you can get serious about shopping.

But ultimately, depending on where you live, how big of a town or city you live near, you are going to find that all this detail searching doesn't mean squat, because you are shopping Used and AVAILABILITY is the key field. You have to pick the most acceptable from what is available. Otherwise you'll spend a year looking for THE vehicle and you'll get to the seller 10mins after he's sold it to someone else.


'02 K1500 Z-71 package with the 5.3L vortex and 4L60E trans, 116k mi, needed brakes, tires, alignment and a thorough cleaning inside and out when I got it. The leather seats were good for their age but the fronts will need reupholstery in ~2yrs, cracking now. Every switch and powered option worked fine, driver window is lagging though. I've seen 5yr old vehicles that were in far worse condition. I drove it off for $6000. 9mos / 4k mi later, trans is getting a bit sloppy. I still think I got a deal.

 
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Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
seems like a lot of extra work. usually it's 2-3-4 major criteria and the rest doesn't matter. You'll drive yourself nuts trying to weight the rest of the factors. Or fall into option paralysis.
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Heh, well, I already did all the work so that's a moot issue. And actually I think it did help me a bit. Yes, certainly with a used vehicle there are variables that can't be expressed in a chart but the chart does give me the ability to compare raw numbers, obviously things like HP and torque can be shown in numbers but they also have to be felt and experienced to make a judgment.
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Nevertheless, the chart was an eye-opener for me and showed me that, for example, the Sequoia is on the weak end of the power side compared to the domestic competition.
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I've pretty much settled on an 03-06 Suburban (to be completely fair, I had pretty much decided on a Chevy before I started but I wanted to look at the numbers and make sure I gave all the other makes a fair shake before dismissing them out of hand.) Funny thing is, the 'Burb is pretty much the only vehicle in its category (I'm including the 'Burb's fraternal twin the Yukon XL) since Ford dropped the Excursion and it looks like they only made the Expedition EL for a few years. The things that "sold" me on the 'Burb were the greater interior storage capacity, the bigger fuel tank (5 gallons more than the Tahoe) and with all of that, EPA mileage is only a 1 MPG lower than the smaller Tahoe, equal to the Expedition and actually better than the Armada. The IRS on the Expedition and the Armada also seemed "iffy" and the older Armada's have a pretty awful reputation on-line.
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Funny thing is I started off assuming the Suburban was too big and wanting something more like a Tahoe but the more I looked at the numbers the more the 'Burb made sense. Certainly it's overkill to pull a 2,000lb trailer but it's not just for the trailer - it's for all the other crap we've come to carry with us. As a secondary consideration, the 'Burb's long wheelbase should make for a nice freeway cruiser - the ride on the short 4runner could be very 'choppy' on the interstates.
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I'm not ready to buy yet since I'm still driving the 4runner, most likely will keep that through September at least and possibly into November (it's our only vehicle capable of pulling our trailer and we have 4 more camping trips planned, the last one over Thanksgiving weekend.)
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I scan CL daily just so I know what's out there and what the asking prices are. Looks like you scored a good deal with your low mileage '02. Like you, I would NOT want a black vehicle (though at least I don't live in So Cal - I imagine that's got to be brutal in mid-summer!) and fortunately being in Colorado, 2wd's are actually pretty rare so most of the ones for sale are 4x4s. I haven't decided yet whether black will be a 'deal breaker' for me or not - as I said, there are lots of 4x4s here so I don't think I'll find myself in the dilemma you did, though I may be faced with choosing a lower-mileage black truck vs. a higher mileage non-black one.
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My biggest dilemma, I think, is going to be mileage vs. cost. Do I roll the dice on a higher-mileage truck at a significant cost savings, (perhaps even banking some of the money I saved in case I need a major repair,) or do I get the lower-mileage truck at a significantly higher price? Thing is, I've learned that high miles doesn't mean something WILL break and low miles doesn't necessarily mean something WON'T break so all things considered, that seems to make the high mileage/low price choice the better one.
 

rayra

Expedition Leader
I'd consider higher miles with a single-owner vehicle on the likelihood they took better care of it, especially if any service records are available or if there's already been a trans replacement. 140k-160k mi. I don't know what the upper limit is on the vortec motors, but our '05 is over 150k and still looks and runs like new. We've done all the recommended maintenance / intervals. Not leaking anything from anywhere, either. It's been flogged up and down this state and L.A. daily commutes, ~150 trips into the Sierras during the 11yrs we owned a vacation house on the Kern river. Still like new, inside and out.
And yes, bank ~$1500 towards a new long block engine or trans replacement, on the 'savings'.

I think I mentioned it in one of the innumerable other Suburban recommendation threads :) , that its overall length and wheel base are almost identical to my C-10 standard cab long bed pickup. The sub is big, but it isn't ginormous. If you aren't carrying more than 4 bodies (including dog) and aren't planning to sleep inside it, a Tahoe might do the trick. Shorter wheelbase, tighter turning radius, 20cu' less internal cargo space, everything else the same and still a totally capable towing vehicle. Tandem-axle UHaul trailers, 10' boats, 6x12 utility trailers, car trailers. We've towed them all behind the Tahoe without any trouble at all.

Too, if you want to go old skool, the older Subs with the spare stored upright in the back have a whopping 42-gal tank.
 

Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
Too, if you want to go old skool, the older Subs with the spare stored upright in the back have a whopping 42-gal tank.
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Was that all of them or just the 2500? I do kind of like the older body style (92-99) only because it has a true tailgate, but I'm not handy enough to want to take on the potential problems of a vehicle that old. You can find them dirt cheap around here ($1500 and up for one in fair but running condition) and because we're so dry, rust is rarely an issue.
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From my experiences the thing with older vehicles is that it's not the engine/drivetrain/T-case/Axles that will fail, it's all the little "peripherals" that will drive you crazy: Power windows that won't work, switches and controls that start to break or work intermittently, random electrical gremlins that are a PITA to chase down, saggy doors, gloveboxes that no longer latch, door handles that break off, AC/heat problems, etc. IOW nothing that would "deadline" a vehicle (to use military terminology) but frustrating and not worth repairing unless you really intend to fully rehabilitate the vehicle to like-new condition. That's one of the reasons that the oldest vehicles we have (my 1996 Mazda B2300 a/k/a Ford Ranger and the wife's 95 YJ) are as simple and Spartan as can be: No power windows, manual transmissions, and in the case of Liz's YJ, not even power steering!
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I do keep going back and forth between the Tahoe and the Burb. I actually like the look of the Tahoe a little better but I keep thinking that a Burb would have a nicer ride and between the greater storage and the bigger gas tank, would be the better one to get.
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I guess the nice thing is that if I don't like it, I can just sell it and get the other - there are tons of Suburbans/XLs and Tahoes/Yukons on the market here, many with right around 100k miles on them.
 

dcbryan

Observer
I'd be interested in seeing that spreadsheet. My advice for posting would be, If you have a gmail/google account, use Google's free spreadsheet alternative called Google Sheets. It's as simple as copying and pasting the content from your excel doc right into a google sheets. You can then get a public link and share the URL here. I've done this a budget doc for one of my project: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1DtiHSxEBgv8X2pFB0tXRuLq4qN4dn_0X36IGwbliE5g/edit?usp=sharing
To make your links a little nicer looking you can run them a URL shortner like https://goo.gl/, here's a shortened version of the same link: goo.gl/Rc3lMs

The advantage to this over attaching a .xls file, is that everyone with a browser can read it, no need to buy a Microsoft product. Also you can continue to update your spreadsheet after it's been posted, and the link will stay up to date.

Hope that helps
 

Antichrist

Expedition Leader
Would be easier to read, probably without scrolling right to left if you fix your cell justification, narrowed the cell width to only what's needed and wrapped the text in cell 10.
 

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