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Discussion Starter #1
I'm wondering if owners of the 159w could share their experiences with "real world parking". It's 236" from bumper to bumper, which makes it just a few inches longer than most full-size 4 door pickups. Does it fit in most parking spots still or are you finding that you frequently take up two spots? From what I'm reading, it seems the 136w will fit in any "standard" parking spot, but I would occasionally need the 12 ft of cargo space the 159 allows. However, since I'm using the van to pick up materials and make deliveries, I don't want to run into parking issues all the time. I make residential deliveries as well as commercial, including high rise buildings downtown. The 136w would be fine for probably 90% of my tasks, but I could rent a uhaul (few min from my shop) for anything that requires 12ft of cargo space. But, if the 159w still fits in almost all standard spots, I'd rather buy that size and not ever have to deal with renting a truck again.

Thanks!
 

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My 3500 ext doesn't fit in a normal space. If I want it to I need to back it in to overhang the tail.

This won't work if there isn't space, the ground rises up, or there are trees. But when it does work....it works great.

Keep in mind this means you will almost always be backing into a spot.

And if you get one....pro tip....make sure you don't hang your tail over the top of a sprinkler head. You're going to wake up very confused when it turns on. Ugh.
 

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For the last 4 yrs I've been driving a 4 dr, 8' bed pickup.
164" WB, 248" overall length, 80" overall width.
It's a touch longer than the average parking space, but I have never had an issue. As mentioned, I back in when I can, or park a little further away where there's less cars, but never an issue.
It has a backup camera and a really tight turning radius, so that makes it easy.
I assume the Promaster is easy to maneuver also and has a backup cam.
I'm getting the 159 also and don't foresee having any trouble with it.
If it were a foot wider than most vehicles, that would be tough, but I'm sure it's not.
 

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Plus, I forgot, the truck has the long, boxy front end. The promaster has that sloped front end and high seating position with huge windshield. So I'm guessing it's very easy to maneuver.
 

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OP is talking about a 159, Wankel is talking about an extended.... two very different vans!

My "regular 159" has been all over the place and have never had a problem with length - never. My biggest concern was at an open air market in downtown Savannah GA. A Cadillac pulled out of a parallal parking space and I slipped right in. No problems.

OTOH, I do get concerned when I want to go into a big city with lots of parking garages and not many surface lots. That has been a problem a few times. We split our vacation between camping and hotels. In Niagara Falls, ON, we couldn't stay in the Embassy Suites (been there before with our SUV) because all they had was a parking garage... asked about a back lot or area to park the van, and they had none.

Other big city hotels with parking garages have offered a solution when we asked. In Atlantic City NJ, we stay at the Borgata because they have a parking garage AND surface parking lot.

Bottom line? get the 159! (hey, that rhymes!)
 

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wikipedia says in the US:
"most parking spaces will be within 16 to 20 feet (4.9–6.1 m), with 19 feet (5.8 m) feet deep being the standard DOT recommended depth for standard perpendicular parking. Parallel parking spaces typically range from 20 to 24 feet (6.1–7.3 m) long."

In my experience length of parking spots is rarely if ever an issue for my 159, sometimes maneuvering in/out of those spaces is tight in very compact parking lots though. The width is almost more of an issue. Im glad I have the electronic folding mirrors and the sliding door.

I usually park in the back of a lot for convenience, its much easier and easier on the van to walk farther than to wait and slow speed maneuver.

I haven't compared the specs of the 159 PM to full size 4 door pickups but it appears to be about the same size. It has always struck me as very odd that so many people refuse to drive a 159 PM around town but are happy to drive a pickup of the same size or even bigger around town but I think there's more of a cultural than practical reason for that...
 

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Big box lots are no problem. Smaller strip malls spots can be a tiny bit short, but not so bad that I wouldn't park there.

I've had to learn that the van has very little front overhang, so keep pulling in. I still sometimes misjudge the turn in point because the turning radius is so different from my other vehicles.

I've never parallel parked the van.
 

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159 extended, I have absolutely no problem. Yes some spots are tighter than others but no worse than driving a f150 truck. Except my van turns way tighter than a f150.
 

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It's way better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.
People always wish they had just a little more room, little more power, little more lifting cap, little more towing cap, little more height etc, etc.
Trucks, tractors, vans, trailers, you name it.
The 159 is only 2' longer. It will make a big difference on the inside when you need the space and not make much of a difference on the outside when driving.
And at the end of the day, some people just aren't good at driving. Doesn't matter if it's a tractor/trailer or a mini Cooper.
I say get the 159, unless you live in a place like Boston, NYC, Tokyo, etc.
 

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I have been driving my 159 Ext. as a daily driver for over two years now. I live and work in a suburban setting, I would say most of my daily driving is country roads but I do work and have to drive daily in a small suburban town. I have no problems parking at grocery stores, home depot, my office, parallel parking on streets, etc. Yes the length of the extended can be a challenge in some lots, but I've found that I look for spots where I can back in and overhang the curb so that I don't stick out too far into the road portion of a lot. I've also learned that by pulling right up to curbs with the front tires I can overhang the front as well. The extra clearance of these vans means you will never scrape a curb with the front lip. I would suggest rear parking sensors and backup camera, regardless of length. The biggest issue won't come from the extra length, it comes from the height.

Shaun
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the replies everyone. It really helps. If you were going to use the van as only a "family van" (like a minivan) would you still stick with the 159? Trying to get another perspective on this. Let's say every weekend your going to drop kids off at practice/lessons, go to the mall, get ice cream, groceries, go out for dinner etc... Would you go with the shorter one instead? The longest vehicle I've owned was a 2006 single cab Ram truck, and that was mainly used as a work truck since it didn't have enough seats. I'll have to look up how long that is for comparison.
 

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Well, now things are getting tricky.
My kids are grown, so I don't need seats in the back. My van will be my commuter, work vehicle and when it's time to road trip, it will be a camper.
When my kids were little, I had the crew cab Tundra with short bed. Family in front, work in the back.
Before that, I had an E150 church van and just left the middle bench in for the kids.
Point is, if I still had to do all that stuff AND use the vehicle as a family vehicle, I'd get something with factory rear seating.
How many kids? What ages?
Did you see the post the other day about the 5 seater vans?
To answer your question:
If I needed to drive it daily with kids and also wanted to camp with it, I would absolutely get the 159.
I'm getting it now and it's just me and the wife. If it was us 2 and 2-3 kids?
I might even get the ext.
But the 159 at min.
 

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Adoption is always a consideration.
Would make the van shopping a lot easier.
Or are they too old now and you're stuck with them?
Man, if I could do it all over again.....
 

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Personally I think the 136 would be perfect. Large enough to camp for 2, small enough to commute and park anywhere, great to see out of and inexpensive enough to drive and own it can be an everyday vehicle. For a dedicated camper or live in vehicle I too would consider a 159. We use ours like you might and would buy another 136.
 

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Someone on another forum mentioned that if you go 4 months, you just as well call it full time. We will reach the 4-month mark in a couple of weeks. The 136” has been fine. It’s particularly handy to be able to U-turn in a single maneuver and to slide into the car area instead of parking with big boys.
 

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We have the 159 (not EXT) used daily in town and as a camper. Have gotten very comfortable parallel parking it in cities in any normal spaces. The hardest ones as others have mentioned are one-sided strip mall straight-in with cars on either side, sometimes not doable. Very occasionally find that on-street diagonal parking spaces are not really the standard 19ft and a corner hangs out beyond reason. But I consider the van as being able to park basically anywhere I'd park a minivan, disregarding garages :)
 

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I think the biggest consideration is, if there needs to be permanent rear seats for kids and it will be used as a family daily driver,......what will the rear be used for? Will it be used for camping inside? Just a cargo hauler?
How much space will be needed after the seats?
If there's not going to be liveable space built into the back and it's just for cargo, then I would say the 136 is fine. Might even have enough length left over to build some bunks.
 

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Someone posted this a few days ago.
I would have been all over a promaster with rear bench seat when my kids were little. My situation was basically the same as yours.
 
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