It has been so long since an automaker did a thorough redesign of a compact pickup truck that the only known record of it is on the Dead Sea Scrolls. These trucks are so old that the first buyers didn’t sign a contract they signed papyrus. Take my mother in law, please. Thanks, you’ve been a great audience and try the veal.
The Ford Ranger, Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma are all highly worthy compact pickup trucks. The perfect vehicles if you plan on starting a landscaping business. They offer 4 and 6 cylinder engine options but to be honest they aren’t all that much more frugal than larger full size pickup trucks which offer more value for the buck and far nicer interiors. If you love your options simple and can’t fathom the concept of a built-in bed step or other such full size truck cleverness these are fine options.
Clearly full size pickup trucks offer more modern engine technology and lots more gadgets and gizmos. But what if you can’t swing the payment or don’t have a garage (or parking space) big enough for a Dodge Ram, Ford F-150, Nissan Titan or Toyota Tundra? Well, then you can either get an SUV or buy one of these old geezers.
Suzuki offers a badge engineered Frontier of its own with a different grille and a superior 10 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty. So if you are interested in a Frontier and live close enough to a Suzuki dealer do be sure to have a look at that alternative. Neither Nissan nor Suzuki has much badge clout so who cares which one you buy? Not your friends or neighbors, that’s for sure.
Available with either a frugal 4 cylinder or powerful 6, prices for the Frontier can vary greatly from econo-basic to leather lined 4-door super luxurious. But what really is the point of a $30,000 Frontier (the price for a fully loaded off-road Pro-4x model with leather and moonroof) when you can get a perfectly good full size pickup for the same price? Point is, there really isn’t a point.
This compact pickup is so old school as to almost be a joke. Whereas most of Ford’s lineup now is made up of top notch offerings the Ranger is so lacking in modern safety features and creature comforts that it really doesn’t compete with anything other than used Rangers (which have looked exactly the same inside and out dating back to the 1990’s). The Ranger is so old it should seriously start looking into its qualifications for social security.
Starting at about $15,000, you can still get a basic 4 cylinder vinyl clad Tacoma for a bargain price. Good luck finding one on a dealer lot, however. Most Tacomas you will find are sold to people who use them for their active lifestyle (towing a Wave Runner to the lake) with a somewhat ancient 4.0 liter V6 with 236 horsepower V6 that owners of 1990’s 4Runner models will find highly familiar. A 4 door 4×4 Tacoma with the TRD Off-Road package and all the options stickers for over $32,000 so be prepared to part with some serious cash if you want a decently equipped Tacoma. A word of advice? Buy a Tundra instead with the new 4.7 liter V8. You will get similar fuel economy, better brakes and a far more useful truck.