India’s Mahindra & Mahindra is only a few months away from launching its TR20 and TR40 compact diesel pickups in the U.S. The trucks have captured our attention because they promise payload ratings of up to 2,765 pounds, as high as 30 mpg highway fuel economy and a starting price of around $22,000.
But maybe you’ve wondered what passes for a small pickup in India? Mahindra has an answer for that too – the new Mahindra Gio. It’s billed as India’s first compact truck. To our eyes, it looks like the Tata Nano of pickups.
The diminutive Gio carves out a niche that’s a notch above India’s prevalent three-wheeled runabouts but uses a conventional four-wheel layout.
The Gio is powered by a two-cylinder, .44-liter diesel engine that’s rated at only 9.1 horsepower and 16 pounds-feet of torque. Yet, Mahindra says it’s capable of hauling up to a 1,000-pound load in its 5-foot cargo box and returning up to an astounding 67 mpg.
Mahindra’s engine supplier for the Gio is Kohler Engines, an American company that makes diesel and gas motors for lawn mowers, garden tractors, concrete construction equipment, pressure washers and other products. It’s four-speed transmission is built by Mahindra.
Perhaps even more astonishing than the Gio’s tiny footprint, high mpg and cargo carrying capability is its price tag, which starts at 1.65 lakh, or only $3,525 U.S. dollars.