What's become of the small 4x4 truck?

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by Schmeds, Jan 30, 2010.

  1. Schmeds

    Schmeds scarce

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    The first couple generations of the Toyota Tacoma were beautiful things. Small, bulletproof, go-anywhere, always-start vehicles. They simply carried you and your shit. The 4-bangers had enough power and got damn good mileage. I'd get ~24mpg. They were the perfect vehicle for me. I've had two, and my heart was broken having had to turn them into Toyota for crushing due to frame rust.

    The new generation Tacos are enormous. They're not far removed from the Tundra. So having been twice bitten by bad frames, I went with a Frontier. Also huge. Great 6cyl engine/power. Rotten mileage (~19). Many annoying design/construction points.

    The small 4cyl 4x4 truck just does not exist anymore, as far as I can tell. Everybody I talk to who has or has had a Tacoma has the same lament. Seems a big hole in the market. There's no longer anything even close to fitting those requirements. I'm thinking of ditching the Frontier for something Subaru-ish, with a trailer.

    Anyone have a set up with ground clearance and that goes everywhere they want it to, can carry a bike/tow a trailer, but gets somewhere near 25mpg?
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  2. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

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    They rusted to dust.
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  3. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

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    'Suzuki SX4 with 2" suspension lift and 215/75R15 siped mudders.

    'Over 25MPG on the highway, FWD/AWD/4WD, and pulls 1000lb of trailer and bikes just fine.
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  4. Crashed Bad

    Crashed Bad Big man, little bike

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    Got any pictures of this little beast?
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  5. Schmeds

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    Yeah, that's true. Lots of 80's Toyotas end up as homemade flatbeds, that's for sure.

    Interesting...
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  6. Grainbelt

    Grainbelt marginal adventurer Super Moderator

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    The Ranger hasn't grown in size, and after over a decade without a noticeable change, they are pretty well sorted.
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  7. Schmeds

    Schmeds scarce

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    [​IMG]
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  8. Schmeds

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    Money pits, though, from several friends' accounts. (Not that that Volvo wouldn't be.)
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  9. barnyard

    barnyard Verbal tactician Super Moderator

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    They cost too much to make. Why buy a 4 cylinder, when for the same dough, you can get an 8.

    If they sold well, they would still be made.
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  10. Grainbelt

    Grainbelt marginal adventurer Super Moderator

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    I have a couple of friends that love theirs, and haven't done much of anything but scheduled maintenance. :dunno
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  11. Range Motorsport

    Range Motorsport Junk collector

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    I could have sworn that production of the Ranger was to be done last year or early '10.
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  12. Schmeds

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    But the Tacoma never stopped selling well. It just grew. The niche it used to fill is now empty, but you can't shrink a model. With fuel headed in the direction it is, a lot of buyers are going to be standing around in that niche with cash in hand.
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  13. Grainbelt

    Grainbelt marginal adventurer Super Moderator

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    It has been on the chopping block forever. My understanding is that the plant in St. Paul, MN that makes them can't really be retooled to make anything else, so as long as they sell, they just keep cranking them out. No one has come up with a feasible land use plan for the site (along the river between Mpls and St. Paul).
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  14. Schmeds

    Schmeds scarce

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  15. rapidoxidationman

    rapidoxidationman Easily trainable

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  16. Crashed Bad

    Crashed Bad Big man, little bike

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  17. tommyg

    tommyg Long timer

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    I had a 95 4x4 ford ranger, with a small 6(3 liter) great truck I put a 140k on it. It had original exhaust,waterpump,altenator, battery when I sold it. Parked outside year round. I still see it around town great truck. look for one used. I had a toyota before good engine,but not as well built as the ford. rust bucket
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  18. P B G

    P B G Long timer

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    Seems like alot of these small 4X4's had relatively terrible fuel economy. If you can only get 18 mpg with the small engine, and you're getting 16 with the V8, plus the ability to haul more weight as needed. It makes sense to purchase the standard size truck, not the small truck.

    That said, I loved the small 4X4's when set up with taller narrow tires, roll bar, and a skid plate.
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  19. tommyg

    tommyg Long timer

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    forgot to add that the ranger wasnt great on gas, maybe 21mpg. Not great for a 147horsepower engine, my gmc 5.3 liter gets 17. maybe 10 in 4 wheel drive.
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  20. SilentRay

    SilentRay Rebuilt

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    If you don't mind driving an older truck, go back to the pre Tacoma year trucks ( like the 89-94 ). They may not have some of the bling of the newer trucks, but you said you liked the older ones you had. It may be hard to find one thats not -a rust bucket there in Maine, but theres lots of em in other parts of the country with no rust and still logging big miles. I just bought a 93 with the 22r 5 sd. standard cab with 191k, 22mpg. around town and runs/handles great.

    What really impressed me was it's still all original and the thing drives like its on rails. Of course it rides like a truck, but it handles like a sporty small car. The front end and steering is still tight. No out of alignment or tie rod problems. I've had several Ford and Chevy trucks, and by 150k max, the front ends need rebuilding.

    Lots of places now are specializing on the pre Tacoma years and restoring them because of just what you said. The new Tacos (some) have rusty frames, get shitty mileage, have gotten too big, and too expensive.

    I don't know about you, but i don't want a $25- $30k truck to work out of, load fire wood in, take loads to the dump with, go four wheelin with...

    This is my third (and newest) Toyota pickup, and if/when i ever sell this one, they'll be another in the driveway.
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