Looking for the right SUV for the job

Hey, I have been in the business for a couple of years now and business is starting to pick up to the point that I want a better vehicle.

Right now I have a old cargo van I use for inspections, and my own two door car as well for personal use. Im looking for an SUV that will meet both needs and hopefully also look alot more professional than my beat up cargo van for clients.

It needs to be big enough on the inside (with the back seats removed which I assume is possible in all SUV’s although i’ve never owned one) to fit my ladders, I use a standard six foot and four foot step ladder as well as a little giant ladder for roofs.

It would also be nice to have somewhat decent MPG and price, looking for something in the 2009 or 2010 range less than 20 grand and less than 15 would be considered even better.

Thanks in advance for any help.

I have had 2 Ford Transit Connects and they have been great.

I am in the same boat. I have been using a full size van. The gas mileage is what I don’t care for. I average around 13 MPG. I am considering a smaller 4cyl SUV, with roof racks for my ladders (werner multifunction 17 and 26). The ladders on the roof will hurt the mileage but IMO they are important for the “look”… almost like part of the signage. The top of my list right now are CRV, Rav4, Escape, Forester. Most of these get close to 30MPG which would be nice.

I like the Transit Connects but I have three kids so having the option of using the vehicle with them is important, and I have not found any used TCs with the passenger set up.

Ladders on the roof do look better but I rather do not enjoy taking them down and putting them back up by myself.

Don’t like ladders on my roof…makes a ton of noise, effects the gas mileage and then there is the handling aspects. Drone, spectroscope, 14 ft fold up. Everything fits in the van and I get great mileage (30 mpg). Looks cleaner too. People are more impressed with gadgets that get the job done. Makes you look ahead of the curve a bit more. Plus, the spectroscope is a lot easier on the body then any ladder and you can get an arguably closer and safer look.

I used to use a VW Passat station wagon. I loved it until it died on me…
Now I use a Toyota Highlander. I fold 2 of the back seat down and slide my 17’ little giant in it. It holds everything needed.
I’m like Jeff, I don’t like ladders on my roof.

Your ladder makes a huge impression even if you do not take it off of your vehicle. It is marketing. If you have the right rack taking it down is not an issue.


It takes you longer to fold your ladder than it does for me to take mine down and it is really not that noisy.

I drive a prius. 50 mpg. 17’ little giant in the back along with all the equipment i need.

I have a 2010 Honda Odyssey and a 20014 Honda CR-V. I would hig powerhly recommend the Odyssey as a great Inspect mobile. With one of the second row seats removed, there is plenty of room inside for three ladders, the 17’, and 13’ folding Werners and the 6’ step. The 28’ Extension ladder goes on the roof when needed, loads easy, looks professional. Plus all on inspect stuff. It gets 21 mpg hwy, has fantastic
power. You should be able to find a 2010-11 for under $ 10K private sale with around 120,000 on it. Much more through a Honda Dealer. Just have it Carfaxed and take to a good Honda mechanic to inspect before buying. The biggest issue I have had over 165,000 is the A/C going out. But that’s in May-Oct. hot Las Vegas. Good luck

I completely agree with this statement. I do radon for 2 local inspectors and the look on clients faces when my truck pulls up to set a test is priceless. They hired an inspector driving a prius and my 4x4 with 3 visible ladders makes an impression

I agree that what vehicle you pull up in really matters. I have a Full size dodge van with a rack on top that I usually use. I often get comments like “wow, you are all set up”, or “looks like you have everything you need in that thing”. I also have a prius with a small trailer set up for my ladders that I use on inspections more than 50 miles from home…I always get comments about it…usually along the lines of…“you need to get yourself a nice truck” or “wow, that is not what I expected you to be driving”. First impressions are a big deal, and vehicle choice is the first impression when meeting clients. By the time you step out of the vehicle, the tone has already been set. I really like my prius, it more power than most realize, and the gas mileage is truly great. But is a very polarizing vehicle, people seem to either love it or hate it…this is not what I want in a business vehicle. The prius carries everything I need and has room for more, but at the end of the day, appearances matter and I don’t want to put doubt in my clients minds the moment I pull up.

There is a Nachi guy in my area that just stopped using his Prius, he had some of the same reactions. Finally when one of his long time realtor’s switch to me because I can get on almost all roofs(28’ ladder) he decided he needed a bigger ladder also.

Without a doubt. I did it ONCE.

Chevy HHR is a good compromise , inexpensive buying used and almost 30 mpg. Great room for graphics as well. I have one as well as a super crew cab Ford F-150. Gas on that is crap but it is a moving billboard. I believe the impression you make will equate with enough business’s to more than take care of the extra gas.

Last week at a realtor meeting a realtor commented that they have never seen my vehicles dirty… Then a couple more chimed in and commented that this is the general comment about my vehicles around town…

Image is very important especially when you also deliver the goods

Kia Soul which Billy has as well.
Been using since July and still in love .Fits 17 foot giant in back.

Sound system with light up speakers has me rocking and rolling to every job.
Damn thing with the larger engine option is like a sports car and has a energy conservation mode I never use …lol

I keep my Ram pickup parked most of the time and drive a VW TDI Sportwagen which gets a minimum of 36 mpg carrying all the gear, including two Xtend & Climb ladders. It’s got the necessary torque & turbo boost in traffic and parkability for tight locations. I don’t have to change the oil or fill up nearly as often as I used to.