What About the Little Guys? Small Pickups Snubbed in Detroit

What About the Little Guys? Small Pickups Snubbed in Detroit
By Mark Williams for PickupTrucks.com

It's hard to believe that an old 2005 GMC Canyon with more than 200,000 miles on it could steal the national spotlight from the swarm of small and alt-fuel cars that took center stage at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this month, but that's exactly what happened when Scott Brown and his green pickup won a U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts last week. But even Brown's successful campaign strategists would likely struggle if they had to convince truck makers to invest in their midsize and compact haulers because the real winners in sales and profits continue to be full-size pickups.

We spoke with several automakers about their small pickup trucks to find out what lies ahead for the baby brothers. The segment has been in decline for more than a decade, so we’d guess there’s been plenty of discussion about what the future holds. Our guess is that Toyota’s A-BAT from two years ago gives the most clues, but if that’s true, the OEs weren’t giving many hints. Here’s what our sources told us at each manufacturer.

Honda: “It seems like this would be the perfect time for something smaller, more efficient and less expensive. We like that the Ridgeline straddles the fence between the two worlds (full size and midsize), but it looks like somebody should be able to come up with a sporty category-buster.”

Toyota: “It does seem like something here will have to change. We’re selling a lot of Tacomas because they can do so many different things, including be a small, stripper, econo-hauler, but we’ve seen everything in the segment steadily grow. We’re not sure it (makes) much sense to go smaller with a Toyota. We’ve got some pretty good cars to do that.” (It’s worth noting that it was announced at the North American International Auto Show that the Prius would transform from a single vehicle nameplate into a family of vehicles and that Toyota's Scion brand might still have a place in its lineup for small pickup.)

Nissan: “We’ve definitely given that segment a lot of thought, and we think it makes sense for us to get back to basics. In this environment, you can expect to see the Frontier get a little smaller, get a little more rugged and become more economical and efficient for our buyers.”

Ford: “We’ve done a lot of background work here, and everything we’ve collected tells us the majority of people buying these vehicles are looking for a commuter car. In fact, the vehicle they cross-shop are all economy cars. From an investment point of view, we don’t like having one global midsize pickup and a different U.S. midsize pickup. That’s likely to change, but not very quickly. We haven’t done a lot to the Ranger in over 15 years, and it still sells quite well.”

Chevrolet: “We’re still dedicated to the midsize market, and we’ve seen it probably doesn’t make sense to keep putting a V-8 option inside something that small, no matter how much fun those packages are to drive. We’ve invested a lot of development cost into that platform, and it is sold around the world, but we think there might be some places to play with something smaller and less ‘traditional truck.’” (It’s worth noting GM had not a single Colorado or Canyon on the floor at the 2010 NAIAS.)

Dodge: “It seems our direction is pretty clear: The Dakota is going away (by 2011), and we’re likely to come out with something quite new, but we’re not walking away from the smaller pickup segment. The restructuring and renaming of the Ram trucks still leaves the door open for something that still looks like a Ram but can still do some work. Ladder frames work very well, but there are other choices that still have some of the same old capabilities.”

Suzuki: “We’re here because it makes sense to be here. Suzuki buyers use trucks. Are we going to go into full-size trucks? Probably not. But this is a long-term plan we have designed to build and support all of our Suzuki loyalists. Our buyers wanted the option; we knew the truck was good; and this is our foot in the door. We have the advantage of a better lifestyle fit than some other makers so we’re guessing that it’ll help us over time.”

Comments

I can all ready see Gunga Din blowing his trumpet and hear the roar of the Mahindras preparing to invade the compact truck market.

Move over Henry, here comes Anand.

It makes sense to me. Small trucks have the same or worse fuel economy than full size trucks with alot less usefulness. I owned a 4.0L Ranger for years, pig on gas. Now I own a GMC 1500 and it is much better on fuel. It blows my mind to see guys go buying small trucks because they think they are better on gas.

The only exception are the old 4 cyl Toyotas, now that was a good small truck.

I wish they'd bring the Australian utes over to the states. They're smaller for those of us who don't need the capability of the full size trucks yet they still have the bed to throw your junk in.

Three words: Diesel Ford Ranger. Try three more: Toyota HiLux Diesel.

Hello? Not everyone who wants a smaller pickup needs a compact commuter car (got one, thanks) or a V8 glamor truck (yeah, that will work on our farm). I use my old F-150 on our farm and need to replace it with a 4WD hauler. Bulk goods and 16' lumber can go on the trailer.

The European Rangers get up to 40 mpg on the highway. Ford, do you read these posts?

Can't wait for the Volkswagon Amarok to hit the shores of Australia, nice economic diesel engine as well as a petrol/gas. Crew cab and regular cab to come, what a package that will be.
Maybe this is why they didnt decide on bringing it to the USA, everyone here thinks that if it doesn't come with a V8 the American's want nothing to do with it. It's a stereotype, I know, don't get angry.

We seem to get all the good midsize and small utes here, Mitsubishi Triton, Toyota HiLux, our own Ford Ranger, Holden Rodeo (ro-dayo, not ro-dee-o), Mazda BT-50, Nissan Navara and the Toyota Land Cruiser Ute. All midsize pickups, what a range, lol.

Yeh didn't mention the Aussie Utes, Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore because they are a different vehicle, based on the chassis of a car, Ford has better payload then the Holden because it still uses leaf springs which means it has a 1 tonne payload over Holdens 700 (I think) this is unless you buy the sport models like XR6, XR6 Turbo, XR8, or Ford Performance Vehicles F6 Tornado (Turbo I-6) or the Pursuit (317KW V8) these use coils for better handling, even though they still slide out with the slightest of fast acceleration, which makes them the Ultimate Hoon Vehicle.

Ford is making a huge mistake dropping the Ranger. It has always been a very good seller despite their prehistoric engine choices. If Ford would offer the 2.5L diesel and the new Ecoboost 4 cyl. with a manual transmission they would sell like crazy. Not everyone likes to be forced into a automatic.

Honda is another one who is missing the boat in the compact truck segment with their 2.2L diesel engine that gets 65+ mpg in their European Civic. Honda needs to make a full frame chassis though and not a uni-body.

I've always wondered why Kia/Hyundai hasn't ventured into the compact truck market.

I just left Afghanistan from being deployed for 4 months and right now i'm in Qatar and the only thing they have here is Ford Rangers with the 2.5L diesel and there all crewcabs and half our 4x4. These trucks are awesome. I have 6 Fords in my driveway back in the states and I would love to put another one there if they come out with a diesel and crewcab. Ford, do you read these posts? wake up and smell where the money is. Give the people an option.

Correction, there was a black crew cab 4x4 Colorado on the floor of the NAIAS last week.

""I can all ready see Gunga Din blowing his trumpet and hear the roar of the Mahindras preparing to invade the compact truck market.""


Actually, maybe it's time to face reality and recognize that Mahindra is never going to sell their pickup in North America.

They have pushed back the U.S. intro date at least 4 times over the past several years and probably just don't want to openly admit that they misjudged the potential profitability of the move when it was first announced.

The latest from Mahindra is that they're looking for a partner in the U.S. to develop the pickup and sell it here. Never going to happen.

The midsize truck segment is a shadow of its former self. In 2002 Ford sold 300K Rangers, Chevy sold over 200K S10's. Last year I dont even know if their were 300K midsize trucks sold combined from all manufacturers.

Toyota invested in this segment in '05 and gave the people what they wanted, hence why they lead in sales.

GM got blown out of the water by the new Tacoma, its inline 5 being not what the customers wanted. Also the fact that the bean counters murdered this platform by making it a no thrills, limited options, overpriced, plain jane platform.

Dodge make a fugly Dakota with limited options, then made it slightly better, but it still does not have mass appeal.

Ford has a long in the tooth design that gives a certain portion of the public what they want. Could Ford update the design, absolutely. But is it worth the investment to sell 100K Rangers a year? That is what Ford has assessed and why I think they will abandon the Ranger for a while.

Nissan, I think on paper made a great truck in the redesign frontier. High powered V6, 6 speed manual, 4 wheel disk brakes, etc.. But their quality is what is holding back the sales of this truck.

Truck sales have decline dramitically in the last couple of years and their was not a segment harder hit than the midsize segment. And I think when it all settles down the big three may very well be out of the midsize truck segment within the next 2 years.

Sad, but I dont see it any other way.

- Owner of a '02 S10 ZR2

@Chuck: Thats good to hear but during NAIAS Media Days on Jan 11-12, the Colorado was MIA. Canyon too.

"Nissan, I think on paper made a great truck in the redesign frontier. High powered V6, 6 speed manual, 4 wheel disk brakes, etc.. But their quality is what is holding back the sales of this truck."

I personally think Nissan made a big mistake by using the Sentra four-cylinder in such a big truck. Four cylinder customers were driven to Toyota because there was too little engine in too much truck. The V6 wasn't taken to because it had the same mileage of much bigger, better trucks.

"GM got blown out of the water by the new Tacoma, its inline 5 being not what the customers wanted. Also the fact that the bean counters murdered this platform by making it a no thrills, limited options, overpriced, plain jane platform."

Not to mention riddled with glitches early on that killed its reputation.

In spite of the glitches, I think the Colorado is a decent truck. The Colorado is the only crew cab compact truck available with a four-cylinder and in that configuration it gets 18/25 mpg, meaning its overall numbers break the 21 mpg mark. I think people focus on the shortcomings of the five cylinder way too much, the four-cylinder is where the Colorado shines and if you want good mileage in a compact truck the four-cylinder is the way to go anyway.

I would personally like a four-cylinder crew cab with Z71 two-wheel-drive trim. It might not be as powerful as some trucks but it would certainly fulfill most of what I would ever want to do with a truck.

Looks like no Toyota Tacoma's for me to porky , and with no respect intended for (because they suck) Toyota is only the top seller because Ford did not make a crew cab Ranger , if Ford did that they would surely decimate Toyota and if Ford had made a diesel Ranger they probably would have sold more Rangers than Tacoma or Tundra combined . I for one hope Ford does update the Ranger just to kick Toyota's arrogant ass .

You hit the nail on the spot Joe!
Not only are Mahindra's pickups rather compact but they're also diesel powered. Finally - a non-full size diesel pickup!


And on the subject of Anand Mahindra, I hear he regularly picks up leadership awards.
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/ET-Awards-Business-leader-of-the-year--Anand-Mahindra/articleshow/5423867.cms

and he has his own twitter account - definitely love its informal, yet insightful, posts. http://twitter.com/anandmahindra

I think that one reason the small pickups don't sell well any more is they all have outdated technology. A v-8 colorado is same highway mpg as a silverado, and way smaller, plus it has a 4 speet tranny vs a 6 speed. really modern GM. DUH!!!
I like the size of the Dakotas but again the milage is no better than a Ram with a Hemi. At least no enough to make a difference. I have a smaller (3000 lb. ) camper to tow, and I think the big three trailer ratings are way high. They might tow them but 0-60 times must be in minutes not seconds. A dakota would be nice if it could get some better mpg empty.
And Ford now we here how good you expect the mpg to be in future F-150s. How about some of your teriffic technology in the Ranger. You spent almost nothing on it gor 15-20 years. Have you guys ever heard of reinvesting some of your profits?

You can thank Al Gore and the "greens" and government for Kowtowing to them. That is what has killed diesels in North America. The oil companies love it because diesels have seen a 30 - 50 % deterioration in MPG, and many people are buying gas engined rigs instead. You can't blame auto makers for killing small diesel engine programs since they won't make any money. There isn't the same profit margin in a small truck as opposed to a HD pickup. Maybe they will try when times get better or when they come up with better emission systems.
I'd be perfectly happy with a small truck that costs 40% less than a full size and 40% less capacity if it had a crewcab and a decent length box.
Toyota Tacoma is too close in price to a full size for what I need.
The Ranger extended cab is useless for a family of 4.
The Ridgeline is too expensive and not enough truck.
The Dakota is ugly and is too close to full size in costs.
The Colarado/Canyon 4x4's that I've seen on a car lot are close to the price of a full size.
The Nissan trucks haven't had a dealership in my town until recently, and I don't trust them(dealership).
Perhaps Ford is correct in their research. Every time I look at the current crop of small trucks, I start comparing them to a comparably equiped 1/2 ton. Each time I do that the 1/2 ton wins.

Lou,
You said this better than I did!
Bobh

I don't specifically care about the fuel economy of the mid-size vs. full size but when you only have enough cash to own one vehicle (that you occasionally like to be able to parallel park), I prefer a mid size.

A regular cab 6 1/2 bed f-150 is almost the same length as a crew cab Tacoma.

If everyone assumes that ALL REAL truck buyers need payload weight capacity, they are wrong. I haul stuff every day and my 4cyl Tacoma has only been insufficient on two or three occasions in the last 4.5 years. Plus I like how low the bed is to ground. I load a lot of large metal frames into my bed by myself and I have no idea how I would accomplish that if my bed was 2 feet higher than it is now.

I have an 89 mazda b2200. I love the size and power. It just long enough and tall enough for me and about 6 feet tall. The engine is strong for the size lol. its a five speed. I want all that in my next truck. Small, five speed, regular cab, and strong enough. I hate that you cant get a decently trimmed small truck with a good hand shaker. WHO EVER builds this kind of truck again I will buy it! granted its cheap :)

o yea and I use my truck for work too. I haul fence post wire and other farm stuff and all my bands stuff on the weekends!

" an investment point of view, we don’t like having one global midsize pickup and a different U.S. midsize pickup."
Which is why there will be no F100, it does not make economic sense.

"Aussie " join the Forums inside the site and say why you love the Australian Utes

I had re-read my post and I thought,"I'm starting to sound like one of those paranoid government conspiracy types" . Then I read this article on the TruckTrend site:
Quote -
"Of California’s roughly 25 million road-registered vehicles, a bit more than a half-million (or about two percent) are diesels built after 1997; exact figures are elusive because even my police buddies say the motor vehicle department is six months behind. And while California has said a third of all CO2 produced in the state comes from gasoline vehicles, it has implemented emissions testing for this two percent of the vehicle population".
http://www.trucktrend.com/features/consumer/163_1004_whale_watching_california_2010_diesel_emissions_testing/index.html
Looks like "someone" is out to get diesel pickups!

Compact trucks were snubbed at the show because they are being snubbed on the showroom floor too. It's a shrinking market, and the price and fuel economy is so close to a 6 cylinder full size truck that buyers are just not that interested anymore.

It is interesting that more recent full size trucks have improved fuel economy that approach the economy of smaller trucks. This doesn't make updated small trucks obsolete. If said current small trucks were upgraded with new engines, transmissions, and requisite safety improvements they surely would sell. I do not believe that even the aged Ranger need be retired just massaged and tweaked and it is good to go for another decade.

Bring on the EL Camino. Too bad Ford isn't going to make a crew cab ranger with a diesel. I hope someone would bring out a smaller Diesel in the half ton line soon.

A small baby diesel would not sell, so they will not make them.

Prior to 2007, the small baby diesel would have been great idea. Now there is no reason to have them.

If we picked up 3,000,000 jobs suddenly, the government dropped emissions requirements, started drilling for oil, and if price of diesel was low or lower...then you would probably see new diesel.

Keep your eyes peeled for any info on the 2011's and the new EcoBoost engine. Unfortunately I doubt you'll hear anything official from Ford until much later in the year. I have a feeling that engine will be the volume seller once it hits the streets. The big question is exactly how much MPG does it get?

We've pretty much seen the other numbers (HP, Torque, etc 400+ and 400+), now just waiting on the real-world MPG implications.

And of course, if they redesign the F150 for 2012 and make it lighter, that will help the MPG's even more and outdate the need for a small pickup even more.

@Paola- I agree with you. Another reason why small trucks are dying a slow death is because the manufacturers are not spending any money on them. Where are the six speed tranny's, MDS, turbo 4 bangers, and turbo V6's, variable valve timing etc.
I just looked at a 2010 Canyon crewcab with a 5 cylinder, 4 speed auto for $38,000. Right next to it was a 1500 extended cab Sierra with 5.3 and 6 speed auto for $42,000. Both had nearly the same MPG ratings.
Why buy the little truck?

wait and see, diesel is the future for sure.

NOT convinced diesel is the future. Direct injection gasoline engines approach diesel efficiency, are lighter, cheaper to manufacture, and cleaner. Modern diesels have too much cost and complexity. Both Ford and GM are working on alternative heavy duty gasoline engines for large light trucks. They are seeing a shift away from diesel.

I buy full size, not that I need the extra capability but I'm 6'8" and compact trucks are a no go except the Dakota, but it gets the same MPG as a full size.

@Aussie--I so want one of those rigs you named. Maybe the US and Australia can strike up a deal to import/export trucks...Your Ranger looks a million times better than my Ranger.
@everyone--I like the fact that Nissan puts disc brakes on all fours of the Frontier [and the Suzuki Equator] and they don't cost too much more compared to other small trucks. Now if other compacts came with discs on all fours...
I'd buy a small pickup to fit in the garage and a large pickup to haul and tow.

@Billy- I like the fact that Nissan puts disc brakes on all fours of the Frontier [and the Suzuki Equator] and they don't cost too much more compared to other small trucks. Now if other compacts came with discs on all fours...
---------------------------------
The '98 - '04 S10 4x4's did come with 4 wheel disc brakes. This was one of my huge disappointments with the Colorado/Canyons when they came out as GM went bad to the disc/drum combo. The brake pads and rotors are still original on my '02 S10 ZR2 with over 80K miles.

The new 2010 Ranger comes with disk brakes on all four wheels. Perhaps because of its other new safety features?

I'm personally hoping to see Chevy Colorado get disk brakes for 2011.

In all honesty the Ranger needs more than a refreshing. That is all that has been done to it since it came about. The only significant change was going to IFS instead of the twin traction beam front suspension. I read somewhere the other day that there are some parts on it that were on the original Ranger as well. I think Ford is seeing what is happening to the manufacturers who go midsized. Two things seem to happen. In Dodge's case people opt for the Ram, in Toyota's case they made the Tacoma big enough that it suits many peoples wants and actually steals sales from the Tundra.

All of these manufacturers seem to be fumbling in the dark, feeling around for the winning formula in the US compact pickup market. Unitized or body-on-frame? Diesel or gas? Mid-size or compact? Obviously Toyota has the best formula of the lot (based on sales). Ford, I think, is silly. I would love to see that market research data that honestly says people debate the purchase of a Ranger versus a Focus. Time to change the bong water.

I think (or maybe hope) that the compact pickup market will split into two categories: Urban and Rural (to use these terms very loosely). Urban – compact unitized pickups along the lines of the Fiat Strada, the Scion Xp concept, el Camino, or the old Rabbit pickups. A fuel-sipping Focus or Fusion with a box if you will. Rural – compact to mid-size, rugged, body-on-frame pickups with small diesel, or hybrid powertrains like the Mahindra TR, VW Amarok, Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi Triton, and Ford T6.

I think there is still a need for a small truck in the US, but no one is building the right one… yet. I’m betting VW brings in the Amarok, and Ford eats crow and eventually gives us a US-version T6. Dodge could easily take a Strada, slap a Ram on the grill, and call it a Rampage. Flame away.

Perhaps Ford will build some ground breaking new commuter car that can easily carry the occasional bulky item... or they could take the easy way out and just sell compact and midsize station wagons again. I think they still make them somewhere on this planet.

I mostly agree MP, but the problem seams to be one they just don’t want to figure out. A smaller truck should be one that is minimalist, tough, capable, uses really less gas, and is really CHEAPER than their big brothers. I can do a potential customer list that has nothing to do with cross shoppers of Foci, Hondas, Minis, Transit Connects or any such ridiculous talk. Ford, GM, Dodge…proof read these posts…they have marketing genius in them from the people that should know - regular, everyday, truck buying Americans. This is not as complicated as you want the readers to believe. I repeat - minimalist, tough, capable, uses really less gas, and is really CHEAPER than their big brothers.

I think we have reached the end of an era of having a wide selection of vehicle choices. Ford and Toyota think anyone wanting a compact truck should be driving a commuter car! That is bunk. What about those of us who need an occasional truck to haul materials for projects or take waste to the dump, yet don't want to dedicate separate vehicles for commuting and hauling.

I've driven Rangers for years and I get worst mileage than the F150s on the highway. And for a family of 4? Forget it.
Crew cab and diesel would be welcome additions to the Ranger lineup. Ford does it in other countries, why not the US?
I do not want a full size truck. I like the size of the small/mid sized trucks (and it makes it a lot easier for the wife to drive). I personally can't wait for Mahindra's pickup trucks to hit the US.

Yep,

Ford needs to bring the T6. Give up better mileage and keep the quality high and the price $4000 under the F150 for a given configuration. I'm just not so certain ford can build a T6 with the same equipment that the F150 has in a smaller package for $4000 less. I'm sure it could be done, IF there are less overall options and the markup is less. Its that "less markup" part that probably has Ford annoyed and rightly so. If they don't build it someone else will. Opportunity and market share lost. The Real trick is how to pull it off without pulling buyers away from their cashcow F150.

"Looks like no Toyota Tacoma's for me to porky , and with no respect intended for (because they suck) Toyota is only the top seller because Ford did not make a crew cab Ranger , if Ford did that they would surely decimate Toyota and if Ford had made a diesel Ranger they probably would have sold more Rangers than Tacoma or Tundra combined . I for one hope Ford does update the Ranger just to kick Toyota's arrogant ass ."

I would like to see Ford try and make as many models and configurations as the new Tacoma does! I doubt it and Ford will be at the bottom with the Colorado and Dakota fighting for scraps.

You need to invest in your lineup to make sales and Ford is arrogant with their F-150 so expect the Ranger to die like the Dakota...

I just have to say the mid-size truck is highly underrated. People say they can buy a full size for about the same price, and whenever i look at a crew cab mid size and a crew cab full size, there's about 10-15k price difference. I also prefer the mid-size for around town drivability, the fact that a crew cab can fit in my garage, and I actually take my truck off road, which, smaller is better. A lot of off roaders (people that will actually use them) get mid-sizes so they can fit places and also for being able to make tighter turns. The SUV market for off road use is getting to be non-existent unless you buy a jeep, and you can't put a motorcycle or ATV in the back of that.

The only mid-size I feel comfortable in is the GM twins since those have the legroom, headroom and comfortable seats for my needs at 6'3". It is rather disappointing however that the newer tranny's don't make it in, nor do the newer engines like something with active fuel management.

move over el camino, meet the Ford Courier.

(from Ford Brazil's site)
https://www.ford.com.br/showroom.asp?veiculo=10

I've been waiting for years for a new compact diesel truck to be introduced, domestic or foreign-made. They went out of fashion about the time I bought my 1984 Mazda B2200 diesel. It still runs well and gets me 35 MPG after 25 years. But it's old and parts are hard to find. Yet people still tell me to given them a call when I want to sell. Lots of people want compact trucks. That's why I'm really interested in the Mahindra TR-20. I wish its introduction weren't postponed so often.

I need a truck that gets good mileage and can occasionally tow a boat or trailer. I know I am not the only one. The fact that US automakers say that there isn't a market for a smaller diesel and that the emissions standards are a challenge is laziness and complete BS. It's also one of the many reasons why most are in financial ruin. No foresight. 90% of trucks on the road are completely overpowered for their use. As soon as gas prices rise again (which has already begun) people will panic like before. It's amazing how quickly people get over this stuff and back to their glutoness lifestyles.

Detroit! Are you listening??! We like the small/mid-size truck - we just don't want to pay as much and get the same fuel economy as your full-size! Surely sales figures are skewed by those that buy big simply because they cannot justify getting less truck for the same money. I would like nothing more than to replace my Jeep CRD with a mid-size pickup - but until you, Tokyo, or dare I say Calcutta give us Americans an affordable small or mid-size diesel truck like the ones made for the rest of the world, no thanks.

I get the feeling from all the responses that people are frustrated with this segment, with its decline over the years. I’m totally there with the frustration. The segment and the existing manufacturers have no one to blame but themselves – none of them have a vision for this segment. The trucks have morphed from formerly efficient (economical and capable of carrying load) to highly inefficient (low fuel economy and minimal payload). We should welcome trucks like the Mahindra TR20 and TR40 to this mix. It is a return to what the segment was meant to be: high fuel economy and payload much closer to an F-150 than a Ranger. Bring it on.

i've posted a blog late last year after i bought my 2010 Taco PreRunner DoubleCab, and here's my update for what it's worth.

Coming with a bedliner has provided great support as my home improvement projects (inside and out) and yard work have enabled me to haul and carry my crap to the dump w/o having to wait for a friend w/a truck and/or trailer. Allows me to finish projects sooner and on my schedule.

Gas mileage - i know you don't buy trucks for their gas mileage, but getting decent mileage never hurts. When new, my Taco was getting 19-19.5mpg overall average. I've installed a K&N air filter and it went to 19.5-20mpg. I've started using the cruise control when i'm on the highway (25% of the time), and I started being easy on it from red lights and stop signs (my 3.73 rear-end just begs to be driven hard!) and it went to a solid 20-20.5mpg. Can't beat that when sticker says i should be getting 18!

Tires - my Dunlap AT20 GrandTrek's were rated at 300 (which is 30months) so i wasnt expecting good traction, especially in our torrential downpours here in Florida. But with standing water several inches deep, and plenty of afternoon showers, my Dunlaps have been a very good handling tire. I was going to change to a diff tire make when the time comes, but i'm thinking i'll just get the same tire but at 600 (60month) warranty.

My standing irritant with Toyota in general is their customer website, "Ask Toyota". I've emailed them quite a few times and get off-the-cuff responses and lukewarm acknowledgements of issues i wanted to bring up. One response of theirs pretty much blew me off which really "irritated" me.

Been driving Silverado's and S-10's for years before i bought the Taco. The local Chevy dealers wouldn't come down hardly at all on their extended and crew cab Silverado's, and the Colorado looks buttfuglinugly. the Dakota costs too much and gets the same mileage as the Ram, and the Ranger was too small and felt cheap.

So far so good.

Hoodman:
As a Taco-eater you are one of the few who consider the GM Twins ugly. Most people think the looks are one of their advantages. Of course, if you think the Chrome Carp front-end of the Taco is "pretty," well I guess that explains it. I also drive in south FL downpours and my GMC Canyon gives me a sure-footed ride, it's comfortable, handles & brakes well, and I haven't encountered a Taco that can beat me from a light, I have the 3.7 liter (I-5) and get a stone-stock 19 mpg overall, with a high of 24.8 mpg on strictly expressway driving. My tow rating of 5500 lbs. meets my needs as does the 3.73 rear-end & the G80 locking rear end. The crew cab rear is comfortable for my 90+ yr. old in-laws & they can enter/exit easily unassisted (I don't let them) if they had to. I went & looked at the Tacos before I bought a Canyon last summer, Frontiers too, but neither one could match the $ I got from the GMC dealer closest to my home. I looked on the internet all the way to S Carolina (from Key West) looking for inventory & ended up going to the closest dealer. Go figure. I am happy with my GMC Canyon and would recommend it to someone who was looking for a well-made, quiet, fun-to-drive small pickup, despite what Ram/Dakota owners say, and Taco owners too.



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