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Vehicle Recommendation for Alaska

Old 10-18-2020, 05:32 PM
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Default Vehicle Recommendation for Alaska

My Son just got orders for his new duty station: Fort Wainwright, AK. He currently has a 2WD Nissan Frontier approaching 100K miles and he wants to upgrade to a new vehicle before heading North next Spring. Probably will be there for 2-3 years so needs a reliable vehicle that can handle the sub-zero temps in the winter. Any suggestions?
Old 10-18-2020, 05:36 PM
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Subaru...

No reason for a truck.. The front weight bias of pickups make them not as stable as a SUV/CUV.

Subaru with snow tires is always my vote.
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Old 10-18-2020, 05:46 PM
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I was thinking along the same line. He mentioned a Toyota Tundra 4wd, but I think something along the lines of an Outback may be better in those winter conditions. I think a 4Runner would even be better than the Tundra.
Old 10-18-2020, 05:58 PM
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Fluid film
Old 10-18-2020, 06:02 PM
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Something with heated seats.
Old 10-18-2020, 06:05 PM
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One with a really good heater!?
Old 10-18-2020, 06:55 PM
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You’d not believe the number of Subaru’s in Alaska. There are a bunch. The Subaru “stereotype” doesn’t apply up there.

On my last Winter trip to Anchorage, I needed a pickup truck to haul some bulky, but not heavy cargo. It was a PIA to drive. It was snowy enough that I needed 4x4 in parking lots, driveways, etc, but not snowy enough to just leave it in 4x4. It bugged my to keep switching in/out of 4x.

I’d want something with full-time AWD or at-least “auto” 4x4.
Old 10-18-2020, 08:08 PM
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Have two good friends who moved to Alaska 40 years ago. Both tell me Subaru if you are mostly in town, and Ford full size of you are going to be often rural. Cite ground clearance, resistance to wildlife encounters, and ability to fix or get parts off the beaten path as reason for the truck. One also mentioned Toyota Tacoma as a good compromise.

Anchorage had had their first snow of the year yesterday.

Thumbs up to your son. Sounds like an adventure.
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Old 10-19-2020, 07:39 AM
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In the interior of Alaska, you probably don't want a diesel.
Old 10-19-2020, 07:59 AM
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Agree.
He's not considering a diesel. Apparently, it gets down to -40F in the winter up there.
Old 10-19-2020, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Design59 View Post
Have two good friends who moved to Alaska 40 years ago. Both tell me Subaru if you are mostly in town, and Ford full size of you are going to be often rural. Cite ground clearance, resistance to wildlife encounters, and ability to fix or get parts off the beaten path as reason for the truck. One also mentioned Toyota Tacoma as a good compromise.

Anchorage had had their first snow of the year yesterday.

Thumbs up to your son. Sounds like an adventure.
He also mentioned maybe a Tacoma might be a good vehicle. I told him if he went that route to buy it before he goes up there. Was looking at the Toyota dealers website in Fairbanks. They are tacking on just over $6K to the MSRP for a Tacoma. Supply and Demand at work I guess.
Old 10-19-2020, 08:22 AM
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That far north, it gets colder than 40 below.
Old 10-19-2020, 08:27 AM
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Fairbanks actually doesn't get that much snow, especially compared to what I'm use to (UP of Mich, 200 inches a year, Fairbanks, 60). I spent 3 weeks there cold testing vehicles in Jan, it's dark and very very cold. Roads are hard packed snow so it really doesn't matter that much on vehicle, just one that will start well below zero. The traction at those temps is great, plus there isn't really any high speed driving on hardpack snow . When I was there 20 years ago most plug their vehicles in at night. Our requirement was a minus 40F cold start unassisted.

That said, I'd get a truck.
Old 10-19-2020, 08:40 AM
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Find a good deal on something used down south that is popular up north. Sell it before coming home and buy something else here.

I have a cousin that has been stationed in Hawaii twice. Vehicles there have a similar "your in the middle of nowhere" price premium. Taking something used, but decent, and letting the military pay for getting it there (they typically will ship one vehicle I believe) has paid off. Even if driving up via canada, I would consider letting them ship one to make bit of $ on it if such arrangements apply to the duty assignment.
Old 10-19-2020, 09:02 AM
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T4R. End thread.
Old 10-19-2020, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by JMOATL View Post
Agree.
He's not considering a diesel. Apparently, it gets down to -40F in the winter up there.
A gasser or diesel it really doesn't matter when it gets down to - 40°, you have to either park the vehicle inside, plug it in or leave it running because neither vehicle is going to start after sitting in the parking lot after 8 hours.
Old 10-19-2020, 05:34 PM
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A small 4wd with studded tires. I lived in Alaska for over 35 years and studs make all the difference in the world. Fairbanks will rarely see roads clear of ice and snow from the end of October until the end of April.
Tacoma, F150, or Subaru would be my choice.
Old 10-19-2020, 05:37 PM
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Mechanically sound beater
Old 10-19-2020, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Garett View Post
A gasser or diesel it really doesn't matter when it gets down to - 40°, you have to either park the vehicle inside, plug it in or leave it running because neither vehicle is going to start after sitting in the parking lot after 8 hours.
Not true, I know of at least one OEM that had -40f requirement for unassited start, and a number of imports only tested to -20f.

That said, everyone still plugs them in, less time when oil doesn't move much, plus heater will start blowing warm air sooner!
Old 10-19-2020, 07:14 PM
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All good suggestions but no one vehicle is the best for Alaska. I've seen them all in Alaska, to include me owning a Subaru Brat. A mid size truck like a Tacoma would be at the top of my list or even 4runner. Take care of it for 3 years and make all if not more money back when you sell it.

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