Last post on Nov 28, 2007 at 10:44 AM
You are in the Pickups - Archived Discussions
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Honda Ridgeline, Nissan Frontier, Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Dodge Dakota, Ford Explorer Sport Trac, Car Comparisons, Truck
#726 of 751 Re: Dodge Dakota [poncho167]
Oct 29, 2007 (5:22 am)
"... Automakers need to bring back compact trucks again because they are too big now, and the buyers generally only use them for commuters anyways. A Chevy Luv, Ford Courier, Dodge D50, or old Datsun p/u would be perfect sized for the majority of buyers."
I don't own and never have owned a Ranger or any other model of Ford Pickup. However, the Ranger is still fairly close to the size of the original "MINI" pickups. Therefore in a pretty good position. What it needs is High MPG engines. Possibly small diesels.
I had a "Datsun" stick shift and the mileage wasn't a lot better than the Chevy Cheyenne 350 Auto that was traded for it. A couple of trades later netted a Dodge D50. Seems it had a 2.6 I4 engine. With the AT it got 18+/- mpg on the road and 14+/- mpg commuting. The last 2 small trucks with carburetors were an old Toyota I4 MT and Mitsubishi Montero. Both 4WD MT and both averaged 14-15 commuting.
Last Pickup was a 98 Ram Sport AT, 5.9 V8. Commuting 13-15 Mpg. Highway 17-18 mpg.
Point is that the old "small" Pickups didn't get any better mileage for me than the larger.
Today, the mfg have the opportunity to build a small pickup from composites and other light weight materials that could weigh in at 1500-2000 pounds less than their full size big brothers. Install a variable valve, small engine that will shut off half the cylinders when not needed. Maybe with an efficient turbo to kick in, when power is needed.
Right now we, the American public, have gotten use to the idea of $2.75 - $3 gas. The mfg are constantly raising the Horse power but not doing much for mileage. When, and I believe it will, gas goes to $4 or $5 a gallon, we will be crying the blues again. Maybe Dodge would have been better off making the 4.7 more efficient than more powerful.
There is and will most always be a place for large, heavy, powerful pick up trucks for heavy towing and hauling. However, most of the Pickups on the road have a driver only, nothing in the bed, and the 4WD models never go off the road.
I believe the day will come that the Ford Ranger or maybe even a Honda CR-V pickup thingy, or Subaru Baja will be sitting in the "Cat Bird" seat.
Instead of the present day thinking of "MY small pickup is bigger than yours and burns more gas", we will be thinking, "My small Pickup is all I need and gets great mileage".
Just some thoughts.
Oct 29, 2007 (4:03 pm)
My 07 Frontier Crew Nismo optioned out, gets pretty much the same mileage that my Nephew's Mazda B-Series 2 wheel drive 3 Litre motor gets. Quite frankly, I never seriously wanted to own a true "compact" truck. I've always kind'a liked them, but just not quite enough elbow room for me. I patiently waited for the mid-sized trucks to arrive on the scene (the Dakota wasn't on my list) and then purchase one. Finally in 05, they rolled in, thankfully.
#728 of 751 pick-up comparisons
Oct 29, 2007 (7:16 pm)
I think Kip has it right. I had a 1977 Datsun KC 5 speed with no a/c, a 2000 Nissan XE KC auto with a/c, and now an'05 Nissan LE KC auto with a/c.
I got about 20 mpg on the two 4 cylinder trucks no matter how I drove them even the a/c on the 2000 did not seem to matter.
The '05 V-6 gets about 18 to 19 around town and 21-24 mpg on the road depending on what speed I drive at. This is using a light foot and looking ahead to avoid having to stop for lights when possible.
If I drove the '05 like I did the other two it would probably get about 14 or 15 mpg. With age you gain wisdom and patience thus the better mpg.
#729 of 751 Re: Dodge Dakota [poncho167]
Oct 30, 2007 (12:30 pm)
I agree the Dakota and Ram are a bit to close in size. I saw two sitting side by side the other day and other than the Dakota's cab being narrower they were pretty close in size. You may be right about the Dakota leaving in three years or so but it won't be right now. I owned one of the first Rangers back in 1982 and thought it was a nice size. A redesign that keeps it about the same size would be a good move in my opinion because there are still a lot of customers out there that don't need the bigger size. The Ranger is still selling because of this despite it's dated design.
#730 of 751 Re: Dodge Dakota [xscout]
Oct 30, 2007 (6:03 pm)
Ranger and the Colorado have the compact market covered. The colorado even has a quad and regular cab option. The world has moved on.
#731 of 751 Bring back the smaller ones!!
Nov 08, 2007 (5:35 pm)
I have a 98 Nissan Frontier. It has the 2.4 liter 4-banger. Perfect little commuter, you can still haul most of what the average homeowner needs. I get about 24 MPG in town!! Keep it tuned and change the oil every 3-4K and they never seem to die. Fits easily in the garage and I don't have to worry about dinging the wife's SUV. Wish I could get another this size when the time comes...a small one with a diesel would be a bonus!!
#732 of 751 Re: Bring back the smaller ones!! 
Nov 09, 2007 (5:04 am)
Your wish may well come true. Saw on the news a day or so ago that gas is $4 a gallon in parts of California.
A lot of folks that thought they "needed" a mid to full size truck, might begin to re-think the NEED vs. WANT ratios.
Towing and hauling can/will dictate the size and power of our truck "NEEDS".
What about "wants"? Even though I don't really have a need; How do I look driving it, how do I feel driving it, am I making a statement, are "WANTS" based a lot on ego? And yes!... In my minds eye, I looked darn good driving around in my full size White Ram Sport.
It is interesting that at my place of part time employment ( a shooting range/gun store) most of the guys drive full/mid size pickups. The guy with the old '80s 4wd Toyota and the guy with the Ranger seem to always have something or other in the bed to take home or take to the dump.. The full size and mid size trucks rarely do, and when they do, it is usually something that would have fit in a Ranger bed. However those owners are complaining about the $75+ fill ups every week or so.
We are seeing more and more small Suvs becoming available. I expect to see a similar trend for Pickups in the near future, along with "interesting" engine choices.
#733 of 751 Re: Bring back the smaller ones!! [kipk]
Nov 11, 2007 (7:41 am)
Right on Kip! I've read several articles that show a direct coorelation between US vehicle size and America's obesity. Big people want big vehicles.
I love my '06 Nissan Frontier SE Crew Cab and with the 6-Speed I get 22-1/2 to 23-1/2 MPG on the highway. If Nissan had made it several inches narrower, it'd be even more perfect for a thin family like ours.
It's been my theory too that s long as people can put gas on a charge card, it doesn't 'hurt' their finances as much as if they had to instead peel off three or four $20 bills. The average American houshold has $8500+ of credit card debt, thus hasn't done a real good job of watching costs on anything.
#734 of 751 Extended cab storage bins
Nov 11, 2007 (1:14 pm)
I wonder why GM or Isuzu do not offer these storage bins on US trucks, at a minimum they should offer them to commercial customers.
#735 of 751 Re: Bring back the smaller ones!! [asa]
Nov 12, 2007 (2:41 am)
"It's been my theory too that s long as people can put gas on a charge card, it doesn't 'hurt' their finances as much as if they had to instead peel off three or four $20 bills. The average American houshold has $8500+ of credit card debt, thus hasn't done a real good job of watching costs on anything."
I agree. I tend to spend much less when paying with cash. Odd how that works, isn't it?
The truck mfg are simply catering to our belief that bigger is better and our "Want" of instant gratification. Five and six year financing (and sometimes longer), interest only payments, and the credit card have enabled the small Pickup to grow in size, and therefore in price, to equal the full size ones. It is not hard to spend $30K +/- on a mid or full size truck. Either, with what would have been considered "Well Equipped" 5 years ago, can be purchased for much less than $30k. But with all the latest gadgets and long term financing we "Need" the $30+K one.
I remember paying about $3,300 for a new '73 Chevy Cheyenne P/U, "LOADED" with everything except leather. Even back then I thought I "NEEDED" all the bells and whistles.
We feel we "Need" all the GEE WHIZ bells and whistles. And we can have them at the "same low monthly payment" as a lesser truck. All we have to do is to stretch payments out (with more interest) 12-36 months longer.
If we had to save the money to pay cash, and unfold those bills during the purchase, we would be a lot more careful when balancing the "Needs" and "Wants" act.
After the initial shock, $4-$5 gas will become a way of life and just another thing to complain about and add to the plastic card. And Visa will dance with Glee!