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General Automotive General automotive discussion. This is intended to be a discussion about other not VW and Diesel cars you may have or interested in.

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Old August 9th, 2019, 05:40   #4936
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: St Louis
Fuel Economy: fantastic

Small trucks suffered for several reasons. Safety regulations, cost/price, and emissions regulations.

It is harder to get a tiny full frame conventional cab + bed pickup to pass crash tests reliably. Small unibody cars are MUCH easier. Once you get a giant full frame that is hard to design in the same type of crumple zones, you need size and mass. This is the main reason the Wrangler is SO HUGE now in comparison to what it used to be.

Just like tools, the same basic steps to make a big truck are needed to make a little truck. Case in point: The Ford Ranger came out in 1983. It was essentially the exact same thing as the F150 that was new for 1980. Just proportionally smaller in every dimension, aside from the cab height, as it still needed to be tall enough to fit a human. But if you lifted the two trucks up in the air, they were arranged exactly the same way underneath. The F truck got a standard I6 and optional V8, the Ranger got a standard I4 and an optional V6, again, a proportional difference. So as such, the individual pieces and steps to build the Ranger were the same. Material was (and is) cheap. So the cost difference to step up to an F150 really was not that much more. And given the fact that the few truly fuel efficient engines (all diesels, of course) that we had available to us back then were slow, stinky, etc. meant that fuel economy difference was not as vast either.

Modern emissions regulations keep the good, modern diesels either frightfully expensive or not available at all. Lack of options, or I should say, lack of options to NOT GET options, has also limited the appeal of these small trucks. You can go buy a stripper Silverado with a regular cab, long bed, and more than capable standard V6 engine... for LESS money than a Colorado, which forces you into an extended cab short bed, and a 4cyl engine which nobody has any of on the lot.

The poor Frontier gets bagged on my the automotive press as being "ancient" but I gotta tell ya, it is the ONLY Nissan product I'd consider, and it has not been ruined by the goofball French styling that the rest have (the entire Infiniti lineup is a vomit inducing failtrain). But even it is saddled with a narrow range of configurations and limited pump sucking engines.
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Old August 9th, 2019, 07:30   #4937
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Round Rock, Texas

Really doesn't matter to me anymore as I am only buying good used vehicles now. A few thousand dollars got me a one owner, 2000 Silverado LT Z71 4x4 and was in excellent condition except for worn out sun burned leather seats and steering wheel which I replaced for about $800. There was a dent in the passenger side where a deer was supposed to have hit him, right in front of the rear wheel. I just popped the dent out and you couldn't really tell it was ever dented. Most of the other trucks, including small ones, were in really bad shape in that price range. It only gets occasional use and I am not paying $20k to $80k for a new version. I wanted a good used tiny truck but couldn't find one in any kind of shape, so this one will have to do. Moving my Dad back from Wichita, Kansas to Austin, Texas this weekend and bringing all his stuff and towing his car back with it.
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Old August 9th, 2019, 09:57   #4938
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Originally Posted by Lightflyer1 View Post
I understand. Ford, Chevy, Toyota and Nissan all had them at one time. I had a Toyota and worked the heck out of that thing. But giant is in and tiny is out currently. I was hoping VW would do a mini truck with a diesel here in the US. I had even thought about the alh Jetta truck conversion at one time. Runonbeer was building one of those back some time ago.
Yes I saw Robby's Jetta ALH truck conversion. Very neat and in today's larger truck environment it would stand up, or should I say 'stand down' :-)
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