Pickup truck disappointment


Active Member
Shopping for a new pickup has left me disappointed and kinda depressed. I have looked at all the new models and am just bewildered at the size, height, girth and weight of the modern 1/2 ton truck. We are old folks that don't want to use a step stool to get into our 4X, don't weigh 350# between the 2 of us and don't need to tow 11,000# or haul 2500#. Like so many other folks in this country we need a modest sized pickup that can go to Home Depot or the landfill, haul a pontoon boat or couple of float tubes and gets something north of 25mpg with AWD/4WD. In addition the $35,000+ average transaction price for a new truck is pure folly for someone on a fixed income.

Clearly the industry isn't building anything with us in mind yet retired baby boomers constitute the largest demographic out there with the most spending power. Nor are they building for the younger people who have no chance of making payments on an expensive and unnecessarily huge and thirsty vehicle.

There just has to be something better. The Ranger was a reasonable size and they sold millions over the years but failed to improve them at all for the last 11 years of production. The Dakota was a nice size truck but was also a stepchild when it came to improvements. And it cost as much as a full sized Ram so it's fate was inevitable. The GM twins were crude and thirsty and never sold to a savvy public. In their defense they are bringing in the next generation mid size Canyon and Colorado but I am expecting a $30,000 price tag on those as well. I can envision a modern Dakota with the coming 3.2 L Pentastar V-6 and the 8 speed transmission that could acheive 25mpg in a 4wd model. Not gonna happen. The rest of the world-about 88 countries I believe-can go out today and buy a Ranger size or slightly larger pickup that will deliver 30 mpg. They are sold by Nissan, Toyota, Ford, Mitsubishi, VW, and others yet the US and Canada don't make these available. I think corporate greed trumps consumer need. There is about 10,000 dollars of profit in each of the full size trucks, more in the high end models that routinely push 50K dollars. Not near as much in the downsized models so they discontinue the down sized models and try to push us all into the monsters. I am not buying it.

In much the same way as minivans revolutionized family hauling 30 years ago and SUV's became the vehicle of choice 20 years ago, the pickup needs a new formula and some enlightened engineering. Something that isn't a traditional heavy body on frame truck yet has a bed on it that will tote fertilizer, lumber, 'toons, garbage cans, furniture, etc. This could be done an a unibody chassis with all wheel drive rather the the heavier and more expensive 4WD. It could be modestly powered driving through an 8 or 9 speed transmission and get an honest 30 mpg on the highway. Remember when we all drove Datsun, Toyota, Chevy Luvs, Mitsubishi's, and Mazda trucks? They had little more than 100 hp four cylinder engines but still had 4WD. The vehicle I envision would have twice the power and get far better mileage. It would be quieter, more comfortable, have at least a 6' bed and haul more than those old rigs did and could be sold in the sub $25k range. Imagine hauling two pontoon boats from Everett to Dry Falls and back and averaging 32.4 mpg for the trip and you can see where I am going with this.

So it is no sale for the manufacturers this year, either build or import something I need or go screw yourselves. I am not amused or impressed by your billboard size grills and factory lift kits or the $10,000 worth of bullshit electronics on board that I drove for 60 years without. Meet the need, not the greed.

Rant over, Ive
+1 Ive,the current crop of pickups is,well, PU....There has been much written about this by the auto press with your exact ideas and comments expressed....What I'm planning to do as a small business owner is re-fit our older Chev Silverado. It's a '99 with a LOT of mileage on it but it's still a workable truck....Plans include a new top end,drive train improvments,possible re-chip to improve mileage.Cheap? No,not really but less than a newer used truck or the payment load of a new dog and pony show truck....
I'd say look into this for yourself...Find a used mid size truck and see what can be done with it. Even refreshing it might be worth your effort... J2

Old Man

Just an Old Man
My wife's 2000 Pontiac finally gave up and off. So we went looking for something else. We couldn't afford a new car. So we settled for a new used car. We ended up with a 2010 KIA. It's pretty nice all the way through. Good gas mileage and it's about the same size inside as the Pontiac. But smaller and easier on the gas than the other one. Mileage was 39000, not to bad on a used car.

But I'm with Ive on new pickups. Shit they are bigger that most older dump trucks. And the prices they want are out of this world. For what they want for anything new in cars and trucks, I could of bought a house for. Plus I could live in the house.

$50,000 for a new pick up. You have to be off your rocker to pay that.


Ive, I'm in the biz and you nailed it! Me and the guys at the dealership were talking about this very subject the other day on break. Ford dropping the ranger was a mistake. Not everyone wants a PU the size of a F150. Plus, they don't need to turn the inside of a truck into the inside of a car. A truck is supposed to be a truck. The more crap they add, the more chance something will go wrong and it does.

All that fancy crap does is push up the price so that's one reason the PUs are so expensive these days.

At one time I owned a Mazda PU that was actually a Ford Ranger with Mazda emblems. It got 30 miles to the gallon and while it wasn't overly large, with the canopy it was easy enough to strap a canoe on the top. ...and it was a truck. Not a car with a bed.

My old 1990 F150 gets terrible gas mileage but at least it's a truck so I don't feel bad about guys climbing in the cab wearing wet waders and muddy boots.

If I was in the market for a new PU truck I wouldn't buy any new product that is out there.

David Loy

Senior Moment
Ive, that's a good idea! How tough would it be to license?
I'm doing ok for now, between PUs, running a Pilot into the ground. My hope is that Toyota (or Detroit) starts selling turboD pickups in 2 or 3 years, when I need a new truck. But your idea is a good "plan B", worthy of consideration. Tnx.

Chad Lewis

NEVER wonder what to do with your free time
There's an F-250 beater near my house with $1650 written on the windshield. If I ever own a pickup again, this will be my solution; buy an old one I can work on myself and commit to what it takes to keep it on the road. I'll be way better off money-wise. Plus, I like the smell of oil, gas and coolant while I'm driving :D


These days, you can buy a beater pickup for a song. It may not get great gas mileage but it will be a truck with all the wonderful smells... and if it burns oil, simply add more and it won't need oil changes.
I was just thinking about this yesterday. My commuter car isn't going to last forever and I was thinking how nice it would be if I could replace it with a pickup. A 2wd that gets over 30mpg would work for me.
The auto co's keep selling the expensive new rigs because people are willing to enter into crazy loans. There's no way I'd finance a rig for 6 or 7 years.

Toyota T-100. best of the best
When I was shopping for a truck, that's what I wanted. But they're hard to find without a ton of miles. I looked at newer (still used) Silverados/Sierras and Tundras but took my time and found what I wanted in September. One owner 1997 T100 with low miles and a manual transmission. Not only is it the truck I really wanted, but it was about half the price of the other trucks I was looking at.
Not a pickup... but a Subaru with a utility trailer and a cargo rack is pretty versatile; AWD, decent ground clearance (forester, outback, crosstrek), near 30mpg, and are typically under $25,000. I sold my truck last year and went with a new Forester and have never looked back. With the utility trailer I can haul most things I ever needed to with the truck, and I can also use the roof rack for smaller boats and gear. Also, it can tow around 1,200 lbs comfortably which covers most med-small sized boats.

All in all I would still prefer to have the option of a small diesel AWD, but for now the Subie gets the job done. The VW Toureg TDI is pretty sweet, but pricey$$. 400 ft. lbs. torque, 8,000 lb tow rating, and 29 highway mpg.
I found a 97 t100 with low miles (135k) owned by an older couple in north central Washington. I jumped at it and flew up there and drive it home. I looked on cl for about 2 months before finding this one, with a 5 speed. It's built like a tank, and gets pretty good mpg. They are becoming very hard to find now a days. Hopefully ill have it forever, maybe even teach my daughter how to drive in it, she's only 2 now.

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