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Wheels for the Weekend Warrior

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author photo by Autotrader February 2009

Years ago, doing home improvement on the weekend didn't appeal to a lot of people. Tiling a bathroom, power washing the driveway - these were activities most were not interested in. But lately, it seems like everyone is going to Home Depot to start new projects. What's changed?

There are a number of things that helped create this do-it-yourself revolution, but the two most interesting are television and new vehicles. A quick spin through the dial shows that on some cable channels, home improvement is king. What started in part with 'Trading Spaces' has now grown into dozens of shows that inspire people to pick up paint brushes and screwdrivers. Consequently, automobile manufacturers have responded by offering new options designed for weekend warriors.

While we can't go into the specifics on which show gives the best tips on crown molding, we can tell you a few of the vehicles to think about if you get serious about doing a weekend work on your home.


Vehicles:

Honda Ridgeline
Although larger than other vehicles on this list, the Ridgeline's versatility makes it hard to ignore. A great example? The In-Bed Trunk. This weatherproof unit outplays its size offering 8.5-cubic feet of storage. Throw your tools in without committing to a permanent tool box. And when work is done, toss in your golf bag in or even a 72-qt cooler.

Ford Ranger
The Super Duty and F-150 are the way to go if you turn a hobby into a business; but for now, start with the Ranger. In addition to standard features such as four-wheel drive and anti-lock brakes, the Ranger has one other thing we love - a longer bed. Although it's not standard, it is the only compact pickup to offer a seven-foot long box. Other boxes are only six feet long. That extra foot might make all the difference for your weekend job.

Dodge Dakota
Improve your home and the environment with the Dakota. Offered in a V8 Flex Fuel with ethanol, the Dakota makes you feel good about more than just the project you complete. But don't worry; this is one green vehicle that won't leave you hurting for performance. It offers 302 horsepower and 329 lb-ft of torque, both of which will make hauling some new patio stones a lot easier.

Toyota Tacoma
While the Tundra is better suited for full-time work, the Tacoma answers your needs as a part-timer. With an available 236-hp V6 and fiber-reinforced Sheet-Molded Composite inner bed, it's easy to see that this vehicle offers a reassuring blend of performance and durability that have made Toyota famous the world over.

The Crossovers, SUVs and all the rest
In addition to trucks, there's a host of other vehicles that will make this weekend's work a little easier. Versatile vehicles such as the Toyota Venza and the Honda Element seem to find their way onto every list. That's because they tend to deliver lots of convenient features. For instance, some vehicles like the Venza now offer lower cargo floors which mean it's easy to load and unload all your weekend gear. And some parents have found it so easy to remove the seats from their minivans that they're using these family vehicles as storage solutions. Make sure you try the Toyota Venza, Honda Element, the Toyota FJ Cruiser and even a few minivans in your search for a weekend work vehicle.

Those are just a few of the options available. We encourage you to explore the full range. The most important thing is never to overcommit to a project or a vehicle. Challenge yourself, try new things, but start out slowly. It's tempting to get a massive truck that can haul 80 paint cans, but be certain you enjoy weekend work before you buy a vehicle.

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"AutoTrader.com" is a registered trademark of TPI Holdings, Inc. used under exclusive license.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Wheels for the Weekend Warrior - Autotrader