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Dear Tom and Ray:



We need your help in resolving a dispute. We have done our research and have
come up with three possible new cars: Ford Expedition, Chevy Suburban and Chevy
Tahoe. We are now ready to throw darts and choose one. Our dilemma is this: 1)
We have a 100-pound dog to haul around. 2) We are anticipating increasing our
family population in the near future. 3) I -- the husband -- want something
large and trucklike that my 5-foot, 6-inch wife can also feel comfortable
driving around town. 4) We want something reliable and cost effective. We
presently live in Italy but will be moving to California next summer. Please
help us or we will end up saddling up the dog and riding him to California.
Thanks. -- Doug

TOM: Geez, Doug. I have a hard time recommending a Suburban or Expedition to
anybody who lives in an area with a population density greater than west Texas
or Siberia. These vehicles are just too darn big for everywhere else.

RAY: And neither one is going to be comfortable for ANYONE to drive "around
town." Especially not your 5-foot, 6-inch wife. They're hard to maneuver in
traffic, very hard to park, and don't even fit into some parking garages. Add to
that the fact that they get something like nine miles per gallon around town,
and you're hard pressed to find a good reason to get one these.

TOM: Especially in your situation, Doug. You've got one dog, and one kid coming.
It's not like you're taking a job as nanny for the McCaughey septuplets.

RAY: So I'd definitely encourage you to consider going at least one size
smaller. Of the three you mention, the Tahoe is the smallest (although it's
hardly small!). But if I were you, I'd consider something in the Ford Explorer/
Chevy Blazer/Jeep Cherokee size. Those are much more practical for around town.

TOM: And the dog will do fine in one of them. Trust me, I'm an experienced dog
handler. Just throw a family-sized bucket of Extra Crispy Kentucky Fried Chicken
in the back, and a dog will happily travel in a Yugo.
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