An Open Letter: Four Facts and Frustration

LE Ford_Ranger II

By Larry Edsall

Allow me to begin by pointing out four things:

1. Last fall there was not one but two Volkswagen Amarok pickup trucks at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show.

2. A couple of weeks ago, I was driving on a highway north of Detroit and was passed by a fast-moving Ford flotilla: A new Fusion, a new F-150 and a new Ranger.

3. A few days ago, I drove back to Michigan (where I’m spending much of this summer) from New York (where I attended another trade show) in my 2000 Nissan Frontier.

4. Today I received a newsletter from SEMA informing its members of three upcoming “measuring sessions” involving the Toyota Hilux. At a measuring session, aftermarket product producers get to examine new vehicles to assure that products they hope to develop will fit right and perform properly.

The SEMA newsletter noted that the Hilux is “a vehicle widely sold overseas but not available in the United States.” The same could be said of the Amarok and the Ranger.

Which brings me back to my Frontier, which, like the aforementioned models, is a compact pickup truck.

Back in Arizona, where most of my driving involves testing new vehicles, my Frontier spends much of its time inside my garage. And despite many excursions into the dusty desert and onto rocky mountain trails, the truck’s paint remains in excellent condition for a vehicle of its age and mileage. I’ve also tried to keep the interior relatively clean. In a nutshell, my truck looks so good that people often are surprised when they learn how old it is.

My Frontier has remained mechanically sound, too. Arizona’s hot weather is hard on batteries and air-conditioning components, but other than the typical brake job and such, the truck has spent little time in mechanics’ care.

Nonetheless, I have a decision to make: At 200,000 miles, my Frontier will need a new timing belt, which will cost, as I recall, between $1,200 and $1,800.  Do I make that investment in my truck and its aging technology and components, or should I consider replacing it with something newer and more up to date? And if I choose the latter, what vehicle should I pick?

LE Toyota HiLux Flex II
Here’s the real problem: I like my truck, but I see no logical replacement available in this country.

Nissan still makes the Frontier, but it’s a larger vehicle than mine. The Frontier, just like the Amarok, Ranger and Hilux, is a compact pickup truck. But the new Frontier, just like the new Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Colorado and recently departed Dodge Dakota, has become a so-called intermediate-size vehicle — longer, wider and taller, and nearly as long, wide and tall as their full-sized siblings. But if I wanted a truck that’s longer, wider and taller than mine, I’d buy an F-150, Silverado, Ram, Titan or Tundra. Why did automakers turn their backs on the compact-pickup buyer, at least in this country?

What I want -- and what I need -- is a compact pickup truck, albeit like my Frontier, with room for five people.

Sure, I’d appreciate a little more interior space than what my 13-year-old crew cab affords. However, my truck’s overall dimensions are just the right size for me, and if I need more room in the bed, I simply flip down the tailgate and flop over the bed extender. And since I’m 5-foot-8, I can easily reach into my truck’s bed. On the other hand, I need a step stool or even a stepladder to access the bed of the intermediate or full-size pickups I’ve test-driven, and some of those are so long they won’t fit into my garage.

You might have noticed I haven’t mentioned anything about the Frontier’s powertrain. My truck has a 3.3-liter V-6 that, when new, made 170 horsepower and 200 pounds-feet of torque. It’s equipped with a four-speed automatic transmission and available four-wheel drive. In typical driving, I average between 19 and 21 mpg.

In the years since I bought my truck, Nissan has updated the Frontier’s V-6 engine to 4.0 liters, 261 hp and 281 pounds-feet of torque. It’s larger and more powerful, and the newer engine and updated transmission make the Frontier cleaner and more fuel efficient. I’d like more power -- for climbing mountain highways out West and for the times I need to attach something to my truck’s trailer hitch receiver -- and another gear or two would mean even better fuel economy. So where does all of this leave me? (And please don’t make me wait for an answer from a Chinese automaker.)

Frustrated. That’s where this all leaves me, and I doubt I’m alone.

My guess is that there are a lot of folks out there who, like me, want or need a compact pickup. And they see all of these wonderfully designed new compacts being developed overseas that aren’t available in the U.S.



I'm overdue to replace my 2001 S10, stretch cab, 4wd. It replaced my 1991 S10, stretch cab, 4wd. It replaced my 1981 VW "pickup" (I use the term loosely). Do you see a pattern here? For those planning wizzards who think I'll just go with an eco-something, forget it. They won't fit in the garage, and if they do, you can't putz around at the same time. Bet the durability of an engine with boosted intake / combustion pressures will last as long as their naturally aspirated brethren also (NOT!!!). While BF ugly on the outside, the Ridgeline is looking better and better.

One of the last truly compact pick-ups you could buy was the now-departed Ranger. It was a capable little truck, albeit one that required you liked stepping back in time. I was tempted to get one, if only to be able to get a new vehicle not loaded down with a ton of electronic "stuff". But it was one of the last compact trucks that was actually "compact" here in North America. It had its quirks (like those side-mounted jump seats which gave it a ridiculous amount of rear legroom on paper, and back spasms in reality), but it was simple, and it was small.

There is still a pair of small trucks available in North America: the GMC Canyon/Chevy Colorado. Dimensionally, they are similar to your Frontier (they're longer, but narrower). But they do offer more power and better mileage that the 2000 Frontier.

I'm curious why you do not consider the Toyota Tacoma as an option? Though I'm in agreement with your article. I want something for my kids to drive in a few years and it would be great to have a new Ranger or New Colorado very soon.

Just buy a real truck already. Or buy a car and stop complaining. No one wants a small useless "truck".


My mothers neighbour has a current Tacoma. I stayed at her house only 3 weeks ago (southern tip of NJ).

What amazed me about the Tacoma and I had never realised this before is if you take all of the body panels off of it, it is a generation older than our Hilux. Just look at the rake on the windshield and the vehicle overall.

Toyota is right now developing a new Hilux, which could be 2 generations newer than the Tacoma. When I say new I don't just mean new body panels. It is supposed to be out in the near future to compete against the T6 Ranger/BT50, Amarok and General Motors/Izuzu Colorado. The current Hilux is below par against these new rivals (maybe not the Colorado from what I've read).

there is a new compact truck on the dealers lot right now, but for some reason, (not sure why) the people in the know? don't think very highly of it, the Chevrolet Colorado GMC Canyon! I perosonaly don't own one, but the people I do know that have one love them! the 4cld get good 20+mpg, and have room for 5, and one friend has a reg cab 4X4 5cyld. and he gets 20city 24hyw! and the truck screws! go like hell on the beach, and has yet to get stuck in the mud (not to deep though) but is great in the snow and is comfy, it actualy has more room than my Dakota reg cab. none of them have had any problems with there trucks, I have no idea where Consumer reports come up with there dismal predictions or serv. but these are nice small trucks, and they seem to be selling well also, Ford made a big mistake giving up on there small trucks in America. That leaves GM to fill in the gap with the new Colorado Canyon, but I'm not to keen on the new style, I'm sure they have loads of improvements but they are not looking like trucks anymore. The toyota taco is a good truck, but they are the size of the full size allmost, from 30yrs ago, they even weigh what over 4,000lbs? maybe not the 2X4 reg cab but all the others do exp. the Crew Cab 4X4!

The thing that makes me laugh is that over here in the UK lots of us are screaming out for a full size US pick-up.

@Andysnat- Seriously?

I would not buy a Colorado. Problem number one is that you cannot get them without onstar. I will never buy a vehicle with that ridiculously invasive crap attached to it.

Secondly, it has an underpowered 4 and you think it is doing well when it gets 20/24? The new Ram 1500 with the Pentastar V6 is going to get close to those numbers, and is larger and outweighs the Colorado by 1000 lbs.

"Compact" Pickups should be getting 30 on the highway. "Mid Size" pickups should be able to get 21/28.

As it stands there is no fuel economy reason to buy anything but a half ton since the compact and mid size trucks are so close to the half tons in fuel economy.

Yes, seriously, smaller trucks is a declinining market but GM and Ford are working on replacements. The fact of the matter is when people have a need for a pickup (hauling large items, working a construction jobsite, farm, or towing anything larger than a utility cart), they opt for the biggest truck they can afford. Mini-trucks need not apply.

We may see our full sized 1/2 tons slowly morph into 9/10th global sized trucks. How else are they going to be able to shave weight without making them unaffordable? My complaint with most of these trucks is box length. There needs to be a 6 1/2 foot box option like the Tacoma. Most of these "global" crewcabs look like the defunct SportTrac where the box was suiteable for a few groceries or a bag of soil. Granted, most guys rarely use the full capacity of their current 1/2 tons but we all prefer overcapacity as opposed to coping with under capacity. That also plays into the "rugged individualist" mind set many truck guys have. They won't buy a compact if once a year their load of Home Depot supplies won't fit in the box. The "hey neighbout can I borrow your trailer?" question just doesn't sit well with truck owners.

I have a 2012 tacoma sport crew, i would of liked a option of the vw or better yet a new ranger, replaced my 98 ranger. I like my tacoma but i would of much rather have a state of the art pick up.upset

Fleet buyers would be, by far the biggest consumers of global mini trucks and they only want stripped base models and definitely not diesels. When you're NOT also selling just as many, well equipped crew cab 4X4s, you're taking a loss on the entire line.

Retail consumers reject loaded up mini 4X4 crews because they cost almost as much as similarly equipped 1/2 tons, get almost the same MPG with only a tiny fraction of their payload/towing.

Why would domestic (and domesticated) automakers do that to themselves? If they already sell 1/2 tons, why would they cannibalize those profits on top of that?

Awhile back there was an article on who was buying Rangers and who bought the last one. It was Terminix, the pest control company. Well I just saw a fleet of Terminix F-150's rolling down the street this week. There were XL work trucks with the long bed. So they are transitioning nicely and these F150s should work a lot better for their cargo needs than the Rangers they were using and the Tacos people saying they were going to be buying. The next big thing will be the Ford transits. And possibly a F100 mid size. The compact pickups are a lost cause which DenverMike made several good points on.

This is to phillyguy, onstar is available on all GM vehicles but you can decline to have it activated. After one year of free service you have to pay a monthly fee if you still want it. Do you own a cell phone, well they are tracking you too. You should stay in your dwelling and hide if you are so afraid of someone tracking you.

I sense the fear again

They come in cab chassis, king cab, pickup. My twin cab has a small tub it a bit over 5'x5'. The normal pickup has a bed well over 7' long and over 5' wide.

I have the Mazda 4x4 equivalent of the T6 Ranger, mid-size truck. It gets 30mpg (I live in the outback) and weighs over 4 600lbs empty. Tonight overtaking a roadtrain it got up to 170kmph, in your speak 105mph and was still pulling. This is from a 3.2 litre diesel. Mixed driving my truck is supposed to achieve 27mpg.

Your domestic auto makers have dumped billions into these midsize trucks and very little into your trucks. Why? Here are some development figures;

VW Amarok (German)- $3.5billion (yes billions)
GM/Izuzu Colorado - $2billion
Ford T6/Mazda BT50 - $3billion
Toyota Hilux - God only knows.

Who knows what Chrysler/Fiat are upto with Mitsubishi.

The other thing to, is they are designed to compete with SUVs. When you guys get these new trucks you will be very surprised. There off road performance is superior.

In Australia per capita we have more pickups, 4x4 and SUVs than any other market. We designed and developed the T6/BT50, with Brazil we designed and developed the new Colorado. A lot of design and most development on Landcruisers, Patrols etc is done in Australia.

I love your big pickups, but I'd also love to have a Ford Falcon GTHO Phase 3 from the early 70s. But I couldn't afford the fuel bill. Google that.

Maybe the markets outside NA scaled down because of fuel prices, not because they wanted smaller vehicles. Fuel is still relatively inexpensive here and small trucks didn't really get exceptional mileage anyway. I personally don't see the draw for a smaller truck when a full size can do much more, cost about the same and be safer to drive. My F-250 fits in my garage to boot.

After 2005, "compact" pick up truck sales have declined in the US so sharply, that manufacturers found it is not profitable to design and built US specific trucks. Growing in size is one cause, and the second is the price hike. Opinions are devided about what to do; bring those mini-global pick up trucks to the US while those would probably cost even more (low profit) or developing efficient gas and diesel engines to the 1/2 tons (during testing right now)?
Mind you, the new global Colorado is about to be produced also in the States, as this site reports, so everything possible.

A good article but compacts are done, even internationally. The previous mentioned Amarok and new Ranger are midsize trucks which i believe are perfect for the majority of recreational truck enthusiasts anywhere. Anyone driving a compact truck would appreciate a midsize just as much while at the same time applauding their choice of not having to go to a full size.
Up here in Canada it looks like VW is mulling bringing the Amarok TDI to our market, something that has many small-midsize truck enthusiasts, (like myself) excited. 7k lbs of towing and a mid 30's MPG rating combined? sign me up, since ford continues to give us the cold shoulder on the new Ranger.

I would love to have a replacement for my 1994 Toyota 4x4. I love the size, would like to have more power and better mileage.

This subject is beaten to death on this site. It's very, very simple. These truck manufacturers are in business to make as much profit as possible, not to provide the perfect vehicle for each and every person. The respective manufacturers at this point have determined that there isn't enough market demand OR enough profit to be made in the compact truck segment to be worth their while to make/sell the product.

Not only are there statistics to back this up, but also look at the people that are complaining. Usually they have a 10-15 year old truck that they finally, possibly want to replace and it's probably a low level optioned truck to boot. That's not the ideal buyer for these companies. They want the buyers that want the top of the line, optioned to the hilt, high dollar trucks, and will get a new one every couple years to have the newest and greatest technology; not the penny pincher that only buys one cheap edition every decade or so.

@Greg - you seem to be forgetting an important fact (but that has never stopped you before) about OnStar, it can be remotely activated, and the same goes for the GPS tracking feature. I power down my phone and no more tracking capability. Some older phones do not have GPS or they can be disabled, again no tracking.

Back on topic....... there is a trend to sell the same products all over the world. Ford had done this with their cars and Fiat is starting to do this with their product lines. We may see the shrinking in size of full sized NA 1/2 tons whether we like it or not.

"The Frontier, just like the Amarok, Ranger and Hilux, is a compact pickup truck."

No, they are not. Amarok is a mid-size. The new Ranger is a mid-size. The new Hilux has increased in size and is now classified as a mid-size pickup.

"The Frontier, just like the Amarok, Ranger and Hilux, is a compact pickup truck. But the new Frontier, just like the new Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Colorado and recently departed Dodge Dakota, has become a so-called intermediate-size vehicle — longer, wider and taller, and nearly as long, wide and tall as their full-sized siblings. But if I wanted a truck that’s longer, wider and taller than mine, I’d buy an F-150, Silverado, Ram, Titan or Tundra. Why did automakers turn their backs on the compact-pickup buyer, at least in this country?"

At least in this country? You say you don't want mid-sizes but the vehicles you are asking for from other countries are mid-sizes. I thought you would have done a little more research before you posted this. Compacts are dead.

@ Greg, I don't know if you are being purposefully obtuse and condescending, or are just ignorant. I will assume the latter. Onstar cannot be turned "off" it can always be used to remotely affect your vehicle. The only way to turn "off" Onstar is to rip out the control module and antenna, which is not something I am willing to do on a brand new purchased truck.

Note this has nothing to do with a paranoid view of "they are watching you", but thanks for the condescending attitude. I do have very real concerns about the ability to use a remote kill switch on my vehicle. Or do you think that all companies are perfectly secure and never have data breaches?

If I truly wanted to shut my cell phone down from the network I can yank the battery or wrap it in foil to create a farraday cage. Onstar is not so easy to do away with.

I feel your pain. I too have an old Nissan pickup in need of replacement although mine is a 1986 Nissan 720 with a 4-cylinder engine and a manual 5 speed. It gets a middling 19-24 mpg but is as safe as a coffin on wheels. I've driven this truck for 20 years and it has met my needs very well. I'd like another compact pickup that's safer but there aren't any new ones sold in Northern America. Older compact pickups don't offer an advantage over what I have and I don't want or need a mid-size or full-size pickup. Where does that leave me? I'd decided to keep driving my truck until an OEM makes a compact pickup or I might consider a Mazda CX-5 if they sell one here with a diesel and rent a u-haul trailer if I need to do a lot of hauling (not convenient).

more peeps complain about not enough room..... so here it is, midsize trucks..... now peeps complain about it being too big... just stupid... everyone just wanna complain.... usa, country of complaints... it no wonder we have so many laws n rules.. its ridiculous..

Before I even look at the 25 comments ahead of this one, I'm going to say, "Hear! Hear!"

Now, admittedly the Ford F-150 I ended up purchasing was used; a 1990 XLT Lariat standard-cab, long-bed model. I also paid only $2500 for it (before repairs bringing it up to $4500). Even though this truck is physically smaller than its new cousins, it's still far more truck in size than what I wanted. It met my need when I needed it, but with the exception of carrying 20 3'x8' plastic tables from wheel well to wheel well one time, I've not carried anything of sufficient size to need such a huge bed. I also didn't have a need for a 5-litre V-8 that was lucky to give me 5mpg before replacing some common user-serviceable parts. Even now, it still needs work and possibly some tweaking to up the gas mileage more. But all this is beside the point; I have it, I'm keeping it, until what I really want comes around.

Not everybody needs a 19'-20' long vehicle in their driveway. For some, that means either the nose or the tail sticks out into traffic along some residential communities' roads which even if it doesn't get clipped by cars driving through, could be struck by a child riding a skateboard or a bike along the edge of the road. Not everybody needs seating for 6, or 5, or even 4; yet few trucks I see in the lots today have less than a full crew cab and almost none have a standard cab. Ok, I can accept and use an extended cab, but even then it doesn't need to be more than about 15" deeper; some of these carry a full bench seat back there.

Size wise? I'd be happy with something no wider than my '08 Jeep Wrangler and all told maybe only about a foot longer. A smaller rig like that far better meets my needs than the majority of trucks currently available in the US.

Speaking to several of you Big Truck lovers, I happened to like my 1983 Mitsubishi pickup. Granted, it wasn't a speed demon, but it still exceeded 20+ mpg on the open highway, had almost all the options available for its day and carried everything I needed and more. I also liked the fact that I could reach almost halfway in to the floor of the bed while standing at the side of the truck and the fact that it had built-in tie-down bars along either side inside the bed which made securing any load far easier than you see with most of today's trucks. In other words, it was the right size for me.

Now where do I stand? I can't even touch the floor of the bed from the side of the truck (with the possible exception of the Canyon/Colorado) and the current tie-down options seem easy to clog if you carry even one load of mulch/dirt/stone. Of course, if you have the bed lined either spray-in or drop-in then obviously you're not even going to pay for that system. Sometimes simple bars or loops are just more efficient and a **** sight cheaper.

Mid-size? still too large for my taste. Put one next to my 1990 F-150 and you can't really see a difference.

phillyguy:: untill you wake up in a hosp. after a wreak out in the middle on nowere you don't know what you are missing, and you don't have to use it or susctibe to it, and at last resort all you have to do is pull the fuse!

@Lou, you get all sorts of bed lengths. Toyota had a over 7 ft Pickup bed for the Hilux. Ute beds ere 7 ft plus in length
1970's Hilux with long Pickup bed.
Old Holden Rodeo Long Pickup Bed.
Holden Ute Bed
Ford Falcon Ute
@Don. Correct except for Brazil, Malaysia and Mexico they are dead. Intermediate Pickups are now the Global norm. Larry Edsall got that aspect wrong in the article.

@Tom No vehicle use, much more than fuel concerns. Large(HD ) Pickups cannot use the small backroads of Europe and Asia. They do not use Pickups on farms to haul produce to market in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the greater part of Europe.

@Robert Ryan - small trucks would sell better in NA if they had the box options present in the rest of the world. Too small and small is usually what we get stuck with. A true long box (read 8 ft) even in a extended cab would sell to the work oriented types. It is rare to see a "utility tray" on anything other than a HD 1 ton in NA. Most people have no use for a regular cab if it serves duty as a family vehicle. I got rid of my old 3/4 ton for that reason and my Ranger Extended cab with stupid jump seats was also uselss as a family vehicle. The Tacoma was the only "small" truck I liked. Problem was that in Canada A Tacoma DoubleCab TRD with 6.5 box 4x4 was 37,000 with rebates and an F150 SuperCrew 5.4 4x4 6.5 box XLT was 35,000 with rebates. No contest in my mind once price was factored in. Sure the size is noticeable around town or in tight spots but it is more stable at speed on a gravel road or icy roads than any compact I've ever owned. It also is more comfortable, roomy, and capable than any compact I've ever owned.

No, there are no mini-trucks and the outside world pickups now are much larger. My truck with the roobar and tow bar is nearly 19' long.

No, the Frontier/Navara, Amarok, Hilux aren't compacts. The Amarok, global Ranger/BT50, Navara are larger than the Hilux.

Why would any company build 2 nearly identical vehicles ie Hilux, Tacoma. And one step further T6 Ranger/F-150?

A quick historical guide on pickups.
Europe made little pickups in the 50s and 60s. Japan made mini trucks in the 50s and 60s, exported them to the world. They scared the big three and hence, 25% chicken tax.

The rest of the world still needed pickups. Lots of emerging economies are becoming more affluent. Australia/NA has always been a ute/pickup society (and V8s).

Mini trucks were designed for Japanese regulations 1.7 metres wide. When the Japanese moved to those 600cc, 3m long vehicles, the mini trucks in Japan died. The Big 3 tried to design and compete with mini trucks and failed. Fuel was cheap so they didn't retool to produce smaller trucks and kept the light trucks going.

But now is crunch time for NA. You guys like the rest of us need pickups and the reality is the size difference between global and NA trucks is much, much closer. Except your trucks are inefficient, less versatile, lot less safer etc. Why is it so few people in the world need something so different? The same sort of discussion occured when muscle cars dissolved. Remember they have come back in a different form. And many cars outperform them nowadays, even ones with 4cyl.

Mark I am with you on this one and if you could look at my post in the last few years you could see I was in the same boat as you. I had a 2001 Taco 4x4 crew cab, 200,00 miles, I sold it to my brother and he spent the 800 bucks on timing chain and water pump. Mine was like new inside and out with TRD wheels and a rev-tec lift I installed at 8,000 miles. I did not want a bigger truck like the newer Taco's/Frontiers. So I broke down and bought a used 2011 Canyon Z71 4x4 with the I-5 142hp, it has a lots more power and torque then the 190hp Taco plus gets better gas mileage especially around town.

@Big Al from OZ As long as they keep making full-size trucks, we'll keep buying them and continue to reject mid-size and global. Now I wouldn't mind taking one of those Falcons off your hands. Full-size development costs have been spread out over decades.

@Vulpine Current F-150 reg cabs have grown by 14" in length, steering wheel to back window, vs your '90. That makes them way more comfortable and lets not even talk about safety. Older trucks like yours, feel needlessly cramped. Like a cabover Isuzu NPR.

Current F-150s are just as wide as your with the same overall bed dimensions. Overall truck length has grown by 12" because of the roomier cab.

Interestingly, SuperDuty reg cabs are also roomier, but by only 7". They also gained 7" in overall length.

If you don't need 4 wheel drive get a 2004 or newer ranger or mazda with manual transmission. I average 24 to 25 mpg and 29 on the highway. Of course when I need to tow I have the super duty. I bought my 2004 for 4,200 dollars


You guy are not rejecting them, you just don't recieve them. You have a few similar trucks built by overseas companies within NA. But these similar trucks are inferior to our global mid size trucks. Why? Because your domestic light trucks are so uncompetitive. So why invest into a better product.

Even the SUV market that NA created is producing inferior vehicles compared to Asian and Euro SUVs.

Our V8 Falcon and Holden utes will go the same way as your market.

Bob is the one in the center.

Who is tcBob?

It had been 10+ years since I saw the Dodge Nitro M80 pick up at an auto show. What a good looking small truck. I'm still waiting!
Thanks for the open letter, I totally agreed.

@Vulpine -
1990 F150 reg cab 8 ft box dimensions are as follows:
WB......... 133 (6 ft box = 116.8)
Length.... 213.3 (6 ft box = 194.1)
height..... 71
weight....3,982 (6 ft box= 3769)
5.0 = 195 hp and 270 lb.ft.
mpg 15/19
max tow 7,500

2012 F150 Reg cab 8ft box
WB........ 144.5 (6.5 box - 125.9)
Length....231.7 (6.5 box - 213.2)
weight.....4,764 6.5 box - 4,791)
5.0 = 360hp/380 ib.ft.
mpg 17/21
Max tow = 11,300

2012 Tacoma reg cab 6ft box (no 8ft. box)
2.7 I-4 = 159 hp/180 lb.ft
mpg 21/25
max tow = 3,500

In most dimensions the 1990 truck isn't much smaller than the 2012 truck. Length and weight being the biggest differences. If you stripped out all of the airbags, and all of the other electronic safety features and conveniences, I bet the 2012 truck would be close to the 1990 truck in weight. The performance difference between the 2 is nothing short of astounding with the added benefit of a much safer truck and a few mpg more efficient.
The 1/2 ton is bigger than the Tacoma (especially in length), but obliterates it in every performance category. I can see why small trucks are a dying breed.

(Sorry, this was posted on the wrong thread).

@Big Al from Oz. Vehicle preference is regional in Australia. Car/Utes are very popular on the East Coast and other various coastal cities. European/Japanese HDT's are increasing in popularity on the East Coast. of Australia.
I think you can safely say if you overnight changed the vehicle mix in Aust/NZ, Europe, North America and Asia/Africa , EVERYONE WOULD BE complaining bitterly.

@Robert Ryan

I totally agree. I'm not talking about an overnight change. NA people and manufacturers don't have those kind of resources. Who does? I have noticed tough the cars in NA aren't much different from ours now. It took Australia a decade to change, or about 2 new vehicle owner cycles.

I remember when we shifted to unleaded all of the doomsdayers talking. But unleaded provided much more powerful cars. The Button Plan 6 car policy, the best thing to happen to the Australian vehicle market it opened us up to global competition and look at the vehicles we have to choose from. The farmers diesel rebate gave us first off great diesel 4x4s, then the farmers bought diesel landcruisers and patrols etc for their wives and look at the recreational vehicle market we have from SUVs to Campervans.

NA light pickups are like our own utes (Ford, Holden), and they will be replaced by mid size trucks 10-15 years. Like any business look at where the money is invested to see what's going on.

As the rest of the world is investing into new pickup trucks more frequently, is NA going to be forced to run the same chassis for 30 years or more. Yes they love the V8s, but so do Europeans, everyone loves hp. But in 5 years at up to $200 per barrel for oil reality will strike. You can only afford so many hp at that price. The Big 3 have been caught out once or twice before.

Their trucks are great, but they are primarily used for personal transport (like ours), hence they must be affordable. I know plumber Bob and farmer Joe use them. But they can still farm and build, like the rest of the world.

Like the NA car market, their pickup market will shift. I think NA is in for exciting times.

The main reason the compact segment is doing so poorly is because manufacturers have altered their compacts in years. Put the same RD into the small trucks as the Full sizers and manufactures might be able to come up with something people think is worth buying over a full size.

I miss the Dakota the size it was 87-96 bigger than a Ranger/s10 but no where near a full size. That is my perfect truck big enough for my little side work and my hunting and fishing but not a huge full size I love my Ram but Chrysler basically made me get it lol. I loved my 02 Dakota but it was the size of my current Ram. My next truck will either be the new Dakota if it comes in true 4x4 unless they have the 1500 diesel

Guts Glory Ram

@Every Man In The USA
I did, I bought 2011 Tundra TRD Dbl Cab 4x4 and it's an awesome truck!
And I'm glad I supported all the American's in the USA who designed and built it!

@Big Al from Oz:
Great points about our global economy.

If the Tacoma were a little bigger and its MPG was a combined 18/19, I would have bought one.
I also would have purchased a crew cab ecoBoost if modestly equiped for $32K.

I honestly think the 1/2 ton will shift to the slightly smaller full size trucks within the next 5 years or so.


Exactly the opposite has been occuring. The Big 3 (maybe, except for Chrysler) have invested their future in mid size trucks, not F-150 etc. Billions of dollars. Why invest into a market that is broke, when a viable product is available elsewhere in your warehouse?

The Big 3 have been going broke, even when the NA economy was much healthier. Why? Because they aren't selling their vehicles at a price to recover costs. Then from a business perspective they are selling the wrong product. If they sold pickups in NA to recover costs imported mid-size trucks would be competitive even with the 25% chicken tax. Your pickup market is very protected and has become inefficient.

I'm waiting for a small, RWD, SUT with a midgate and a tailgate.that can produce 200hp at 30mpg HW. I'm driving a 2010 Ram QC Hemi. It's a beuatiful truck.. but it's way too much truck for what I really need. Its a real pain to drive in the city and parking. I'm getting 11mpg averge and figure I'm throwing away about $250 a month in fuel luxury just to drive that beautiful truck around.

Guts Glory Third Place, oh wait a minute, what does this have to do with this article, nothing!!!!!

Third place but not by much. Ram is 2nd place in HD sales. Ram is taking out Chevy in 2013! Ford is next.


guts glory ram

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