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There was a time in the US when you could buy a small truck. It’s true! They usually had a modest inline four, a bench seat, and A/C and a radio if you were lucky. They weren’t the gigantic, six thousand pound, glorified station wagons that lumber their way to soccer practice and make the yearly trip to Home Depot in order to justify their existence. They were big enough to fit at least a sheet of plywood and strong enough to get it where it needed to go.

Does bigger mean better when it comes to work trucks? Do you miss the days of the Ranger, the S-10, or the Nissan Hardbody? Trucks like the Ranger and the Toyota Tacoma are still in production, but they’re fairly chubby compared to their former selves. What do you all think? Drop us a line in the comments.


62 Responses to Hot or Not? Small Trucks

  1. Keith Melton says:

    I miss my S-10. Had one about 10 years ago. Our situation dictated we be a 1 car family and the wife hated to drive it so we stick with a sensible car now. I rely on friends with big vehicles to get my lumber and big stuff around or pay to have it delivered.

  2. Wayne D. says:

    Hot. I miss the old family Chevy LUV. It could carry a lot of crap, take a beating, and if you got it stuck, was light enough to push out. I also learned how to drive in it on back-roads when I was 10. I think they should come back.

  3. Zathrus says:

    Hot. For non-pros, they’re better than the big trucks IMO — better gas mileage, cheaper, and more maneuverable. I’ve borrowed similar trucks many times for moving apartments, moving into my 1st house, hauling random crap, etc.

    That said, I don’t own one and probably never will — a traditional sedan works far better for a family of four, and on the occasions where I need something bigger I can rent a truck from Uhaul (if I need it for the day) or HD/Lowes (if I just need it for an hour-ish).

  4. So hot they’re burning up. Unless you’re a tradesman, or actually need to tow something big, they’re the only trucks that make much sense. Cheap to buy, simple to fix, robust enough to abuse, ugly enough that you don’t mind the dings they pick up, and enough cargo space that you can get anything home you need to, as long as you’re creative. Plus, they’ll fit in any small garage, which is more than you can say for a new F150.

  5. Donovan says:

    I used to have an early eighties Dodge D50, (mitsubishi mini truck rebadged) that thing was tiny, I used to feel so vunerable driving around, by hood was lower that most of the trucks around, I don’t miss that thing at all.


  6. Hot.

    Keith Milton, also miss my S-10 stick, the thing had the biggest 6 cylinder Chevy would stuff into the engine compartment. It was a joy to drive. I unfortunately had to trade it in for a “family vehicle” my Silverado. Not that I don’t love my Silverado, It just isn’t nearly as fun.

    My first truck was a ’86 ranger with a small four cylinder. I wouldn’t torture anybody with so little power — I had trouble with big hills. I’m not even sure why they make trucks with 4 cylinder engines.

    My father is a contractor and he has used a “little truck” as his work vehicle almost as long as I can remember. It’s like his rolling toolbox.

  7. Dale says:

    Warm. I traded my F-150 for a S-10. I traded the S-10 for a Tacoma, and I just traded the Tacoma for a quad cab 2007 dodge Ram with the gas guzzlin 5.7L. I don’t feel real safe driving my daughter around in a small vehicle when already bad drivers are swerving all over the road and running redlights while on their cell phones. I’ll continue to buy my wife full size SUV’s like her current Tahoe and I will drive a 6500lb truck with a big v8 while I still can.
    Besides, these are the last days of the big v8… us gearheads are going to have to redefine what being a motorhead is in the coming years!

  8. Kyle says:

    Very Hot.

    I bought ’97 Ranger this year, when we began remodeling the second floor of our old bungalow. My brother went on and on about “full sheets of plywood” and how I’d never fit them in. Guess what? It’s fine. I hauled 20+ sheets of drywall with the thing without incident. Plus, in my tiny two car garage, it actually fits, where anything longer would not have. For the “I want something for hauling random shit” kinda guys, you can’t beat an older small truck. Its worth it alone to not have to clean out the back of the SUV/minivan when you are done hauling stuff around.

  9. Jeff says:

    I would love to see one of the manufactures put a diesel engine in their small trucks.

  10. Eric says:

    Point for Jeff. Small diesel trucks for the win!

  11. jbj says:

    I just lost my 96 Tacoma (4cyl 2wd) in an accident. Loved that truck. 182k of trouble free miles and it took me everywhere from Vancouver Island (logging roads) to Baja (serious bad roads) without a hitch.

    Carried loads heavy enough to fully compress the suspension, and with a camper shell and racks, 4×8 sheets weren’t too much of a problem.

    Just a great truck, and easier to live with than a full sized.

  12. Andrew says:

    like everyone else has said, great for the person who has a need for a need for a pickup but seriously doesn’t need one of the half tons. Buddy of mines got an 88 Comanche, its great!

  13. Jake says:


    I’m driving my third Ranger. The first was an ’83. They’ve gotten bigger – the ’99 seems much bigger than the ’83. Like everyone has said, more economical and more maneuverable. I’ve moved with them more times than I can remember. My older trucks never died, the body just slowly rusted away – the cost of gravel roads and Iowa winters.

    We have a lineage of small trucks. My grandfather had a Corvair we’d overload with brush for his tree service. We’d fill it till the back bottomed out and it looked like we were driving a rolling bush. He kept that thing running till he couldn’t drive a stickshift anymore. We’d pick up hay bales with dad’s 4×4, plenty of power, put it in low and just idle along with the trailer at walking speed. *And* the light backend makes winter a helluva lot more fun.

    Fond memories…

  14. KMR says:

    We have a ’99 S10 with the 2.2L I4. This is our shop truck and it makes frequent pick-ups and deliveries. Just yesterday it had to make the hour trek down I95 to the TireRack to haul a dozen tires back to the shop. Did the job and gets better fuel economy than anything else we could find.

    On Monday it’ll be put to use delivering a completed race TR6 engine to Wash DC… about a four hour drive.

    This little S10 has hauled so much for us over the years. It hauled everything I needed to remodel and expand my home between 2003/4. I’ve had payloads in the bed approaching 1200lbs without issue. With the aftermarket CAT4 hitch it even hauls complete British cars once in a while (short distances, never more than 50 miles).

    I’d love a new small pickup with a small displacement diesel motor like a VW TDI.

  15. AndrewDF says:

    I went from a 1990 Honda civic hatchback ( which i was using to haul lumber and supplies and it did remarkably well ) to a 1992 Toyota pickup w/ 4WD. It FELT like it was huge when i first got it. Then my Dad got a 3500HD w/ the 500 cu. in. Engine and 6 speed allison tranny (he has 3 RV’s and tows alot of stuff) that took about 100 bux to fill. I went back to driving my “tiny matchbox truck” with a satisfied smile on my face.

  16. AndrewDF says:

    oh… PS. almost every lawn maintainence outfit in the Los Angeles area has a mid 80’s ot mid 90’s toyota pickup. beaten and scratched from rakes and shovels and loads of dirt inand out in and out all day every day. you can’t kill em if you try.

  17. PutnamEco says:

    Hot, To bad we don’t have trucks like the Toyota Hylux diesel, and the Mazda B series diesels (also marketed as a rebadged Ford Ranger in foreign markets)
    like the rest of the world does. Nice going EPA.

  18. Steve says:

    Hot, I love my ’93 Toyota 2wd. My wife has fought to get rid of it for years, but every time we’ve moved or bought something bigger than a breadbox what has she been suggesting that we drive… oh, and it still gets almost 30 mpg.

  19. Old Donn says:

    Looks like I’m outnumbered here, oh well. For most of us, our trucks serve as cars 90% of the time. However, the other 10% requires a truck that’s up to the job. A full size truck, long box and as big an engine as you can afford to operate. Nothing sorrier than seeing an S-10 or Ranger with any kind of a load dragging it’s bumper down the street. Load or not, try merging on the freeway with your little 4 banger while an 18 wheeler bears down on you. You’ve either got a truck, or a toy. Oh yeah, my 5.3L V-8 gets 22mpg on the highway. I’ll gladly sacrifice a few MPG for more comfort, power and towing capacity.

  20. JasonY says:

    I have a 1992 chevy S-10 extended cab V6 (2.8l). Got a shell on the back and a dirty old carpet kit that I bought (shell and kit) for $200 from some guy who totalled his truck. I love, love, love my S10. It’s become the dented, busted, A/C-barely-works, trash car that I don’t care what happens to it. It gets terrible mileage (about 18) for a small pickup, but I only fill it a dozen times per year. It’s the perfect balance between size and capability.

    My next car will be some kind of smallish pickup truck. I wouldn’t mind sacrificing a bit of power for better gas mileage, but as a woodworker I just couldn’t deal with not having a way to haul 4×8 sheets (which only hang out the back about 18 inches). You won’t find me in a gas guzzling SuperRamCharger. I’ll stick to my mini pickup.


  21. t clark says:

    wore out 3 ’82 chevy luv’s. the little diesel in them would be the only thing holding the truck together. first one the speedo cable broke at 250k drove it 3 more years til the frame rusted in two. the motor and tranny went on a knuckleboom to power the hydraulic pump. the second one lost a battle with a post oak during an ice storm. motor and tranny now run a water pump in a rice field running 24/7 for 6 months of the year. the third one dropped the drive shaft on a freeway with my ex wife driving it the tow truck then totaled it while loading. seems if the chain drags the truck sideways it will bend the frame. i still have the motor and tranny waiting for another project maybe a big generator or welder.

  22. Ken says:

    HOT!HOT!HOT! I have a Ford Ranger and it is the best damn truck around.It hauls just about everything I expect it to.

  23. Blair says:

    Hot! I just went on a little trip to Central America and am seriously lusting after a Toyota Tacoma diesel! I saw one of them navigating some windy mountain roads with a 1400lb Holstein cow in the back!

  24. Eric Dykstra says:

    Ford actually made a diesel Ranger back in the day. There was a 2.2L Perkins diesel as well as a 2.3 liter Mitsubishi turbo. Also check out this site devoted to swapping Cummings 4BT into various other vehicles. http://tinyurl.com/24zbrl In the UK the only engine choice a 2.5L duratorq that puts out 141hp. I love diesels.

    Then there was the electric Ranger produced in small numbers by Ford from 1998-2000 http://tinyurl.com/ywty3h 30 mile range though, however some of NiMH versions have over 125K miles on their original battery pack. Can you tell I’m sort of a ford fan?

    I think that a lot of the sense of security a big truck gives people is an illusion. While people in a small truck may be more likely to be injured in a serious accident (especially if someone hits you with their monster truck), i think that if you consider the kind of accidents over confident drivers in large trucks get into, like rollovers and weather related “It’s a 4X4 i can go 85 in the show” types of wrecks it’s pretty much a wash.

    Also I happen to think HP is over-rated in trucks. Actually being aware of one’s surroundings and smart driving will do far more than just flooring it and hoping that semi doesn’t turn you into salsa. Usable torque and proper gearing should be a truck designers major concern, not tire shredding.

  25. Bill says:

    Hot! My ’97 GMC Sonoma is undergoing a engine rebuild now (146k miles), and I really miss having it available. Economical enough to commute with, easy to get in and out of, nicely equipped, comfortable. Wish it had a V6 instead of the 2.2l but the four has a surprising amount of torque for it’s size. You can’t run more than 70 mph with it staying happy (oh, it will run faster but it doesn’t like it). My wife surprised me by remarking that she would just as soon drive my truck as her Olds Cutlass Supreme… I was taken aback.

    I’ve towed a single-axle enclosed rental trailer with about 1000 pounds of tools in it and it did fine. Not fast but adequately. Agree that they aren’t great for tandem trailers or bigger, or hauling a ton of gravel, but they are super maneuverable and handy as a pocket on a shirt for about 90% of the hauling jobs the average homeowner runs into. Bobcat-bucket full of mulch… no problem! Bring home a new piece of furniture or a few sheets of plywood… beats the heck out of a car for that. Doubles as a passenger vehicle too.

    I like the Dodge Dakota crew cab as a mid-size truck too… V-8 power, nice interior room but still not too big to park.

  26. Turbobrick says:


    Why punish yourself and your wallet for 363 days of the year because of features you need for 2 days.

    I’m going to have to agree with Eric about the safety and power aspects. Big vehicles are great at giving a false illusion of safety, but you’re far more likely to actually end up in an accident in one because they don’t steer or brake nearly as well as smaller vehicles.

    Old Donn’s straw man argument… if you’re cutting off 18-wheelers in ANY vehicle you’d better think about this driving thing again. Be courteous to the big boys, those guys aren’t out there for a sunday cruise.

  27. DiscoBubba says:

    HOT! I’ve been wanting an old VW Rabbit Pickup for a long time to haul simple light stuff like garbage, old oil, etc. There was even a Diesel engine available for it and I’ve seen pics somewhere of people swapping in newer/larger engines into ’em. I’ve dealt with an old S-10 a little thru a car club for alternative fuels and they’re pretty nice for a lot of mods. I saw one made into an all electric and our own was an electric/propane hybrid! There was also a 1982 Datsun 720 on Dirty Jobs that Mike helped make some Biodiesel for. The only NOT part I can see is finding a good ‘ol little truck thats not rusted out or one the owner doesn’t want a high price for because its not rusting!

  28. Mel says:

    Mostly hot. I had an ’87 Toyota Xtra-cab SR5 TURBO that I absolutely loved.
    Retired it at 225,000 when the timing chain went bad. Bought a 2000 Ranger
    ext.cab, 3.0L v-6. The Ford gets worse mileage and has less power. Planning to trade it for a Silverado within the next year for more towing capacity. Still hope to restore the Toy someday.

  29. Zathrus says:

    Old Donn — I guess the question is, if you use your truck as a car 90% of the time, and as a truck the other 10%, then how much of that 10% do you need a big truck compared to a smaller one? Maybe 10% again?

    So why not rent a big truck for the 2-3 times a year that works out to and take 25% better gas mileage, a lower payment, and better safety that the smaller truck gives you?

    Again, if you’re a pro and are using your truck as a *truck* all the time, then go for a full sized; you need it. But otherwise it’s silly.

    And yes, the smaller vehicles are safer (more so sedans than smaller trucks, but some of the issues still apply) — they have better handling, are less likely to have single-vehicle accidents, and the additional size makes relatively little difference (speed is far, far more important — a crotch rocket motorcycle can kill people in cars quite effectively despite the huge difference in mass; I’ve seen the photos). And non-trucks have much higher safety regulations as well, which makes a huge difference.

  30. :)ensen says:

    Very hot. I ran out 2 second hand Nissan King Cabs which I used for work, moving (mostly friends) and camping trips. Rings blew both times after over 200K of really hard driving, pop-starting and a lot of saggy loads. Kept the same ugly canopy the whole. As a one car family, there are day I miss it.

    I’ve driven a number of large truck and cube vans to haul stuff bigger than what would fit but I could count those time on my fingers. Never worried about it being stolen, and I could guarantee that the luxury SUVs at the mall parking lot would actually park away from the truck.

    Here’s some advice for those that currently own a small truck. Get a light canopy so you can remove it easily when needed for tall items. And put a false bottom in the bed that clears your toolboxes. That way, you won’t have to rearrange things when you need to load stuff and even have a flat level on which to put your plywood.

  31. Javier says:

    HOT! I drive a 2001 Toyota Tacoma extra cab and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. This truck has hauled it’s weight in gold since I’ve owned it. I wish Toyota had not bought into this bigger is better nonsense. Thank goodness my truck will last many years to come because I couldn’t see myself driving a bigger truck. I never have to worry about fitting in a parking spot and like the responsiveness of a smaller truck. WAKE Up TOYOTA and bring back the mini truck!

  32. Chris says:

    I call total BS on anyone claiming a V8-powered full-size pickup can get anywhere NEAR 23 MPG highway. It’s a simple matter of physics, and that full-size pickup is going to lose every time.

    By the way, a pickup truck bed is not a particularly effective crumple zone in a crash, either. If your reason for wanting a full-size truck over a small truck is safety, you’re sadly mistaken.


  33. Old Donn says:

    WHOA. I knew I was outnumbered here, but why the hate? Chris, Re:MPG, I’ve got the records and receipts to prove it, believe what you want. Zathrus. Renting sounds good if you know when you’re going to put your truck to work. Most of us amatuers don’t, so it’s nice to have it when you need it. The 10% I spoke of can expand at any time. Turbobrick. Who said anything about cutting anybody off? If your vehicle doesn’t have the stones, a safe cushion can BECOME a dangerous situation when entering a freeway. I’ve never owned a small truck, but have had a number of small 4cyl cars, which prompted that comment. Anyone who’d intentionally play bumper tag with a Kenworth is living on borrowed time. Don’t understand me so fast.

  34. Ken says:

    For Old Donn: In case you didn’t know the Ford Ranger has a six cylinder and works fine getting merging into traffic.I know I own one. Still the best damn truck even better than rice burner toyota.

  35. Chris says:

    Hot, because of the memories. In the 1970s I was homeless for a couple of summer months so I slept in the back of a friend’s Datsun PU. At least it had a camper top. I had to sleep diagonally to fit and would wake up as he drove to work. At the first red traffic light I would jump out and get in the front seat. At the time I didn’t think I would ever look back fondly on the experience.

  36. Frank Townend says:

    There once was a posting ’bout pickup trucks of the nature quite small,
    Three and Forty responses claimed loving this truck, one and all,
    Most cried out the shame, (even calling EPA to blame),
    For the gas-guzzling monsters used to drive to the mall.

  37. Patrick says:

    For bleeps and giggles: a british show a few years back tried to destroy a toyota helix (highlux, hylux, whatever) diesel truck. They tried, in order, with only minimal (duct tape and wrenches I believe) repairs between:

    Crash-Test Derby through Parking Lot??
    Head on Brick Wall??
    Ocean Submersion
    and then they blew up a skyscraper with the truck on top.

    It still ran.

    Can’t kill’m, join ‘m. Hot.

  38. Jay says:


    I’m the proud owner of a 1987 Toyota Pickup (22R engine, 2WD) with 245,000 miles on the original engine. I use the truck for everything from trips around town, to the dump and to the racetrack with my sportbike in the bed. There’s something very satisfying about cruising along the highway in a $1000 truck with a $10000 motorcycle on the back. And it still gets 28mpg.

    Most of the big truck advocates seem to focus on 1) not wanting to hurt the truck by carrying a big load and 2) being able to merge in front of the dreaded 18-wheeler. To that I say, 1) I really don’t care if the truck sags and groans, I know it will get me there, 2) I’m perfectly content to slow down on the onramp if need be to let someone go by in order to merge safely. I don’t mind at all that my truck is slow.

    And +1 to wanting a new small diesel truck someday!

  39. Teacher says:

    I still have my 1990 Dakota. It’s not as small as an s-10 but is smaller than a ful size. It’s hauled everything I can imagine. It’s sidelined now with an electrical problem…none of the headlights and parking lights will work.

    My dad had a Nissan 4 banger for years. Finally replaced it a few years ago with a Nissan Frontier that hauls firewood, dirt, plywood etc.

    A buddy of mine wanted a truck for his side business trimming/removing trees. I suggested a used Ranger/S-10. Instead he bought a Chevy 3500HD. Even used it was costing him $500+ for 6 years! He traded it back in after 4 months for a nice loss.

  40. rg says:

    Hot. Just replaced my ’87 Nissan King Cab. Resold for what I paid 8 yrs ago. Very easy to maintain, completely reliable, and parts are cheap like borscht. It has never let me down. Very tough vehicle. Wanted a 4×4, so I bought a new Mazda B4000 this year — even loaded with all the options, still cheaper than many cars. So far so good, and I hope it lasts as well as the old Nissan truck.

  41. rbb says:

    Hot. I miss my 1978 Toyota SR5 Sport Truck. Had to give it up in 91 after the rust got so bad on it. But, I had 170K+ on the engine and no major work on it. Only replaced the clutch at 100K.

    I guess it’s all relative, but to me, all of the mid 80s on “small” trucks to me are bloated and overweight…

  42. ToolFreak says:

    Hot. The import Minitrucks will never die. Even if they do go slow with a 4-banger when overloaded, they still go. If an SUV with a trailer didn’t suit my needs better, I’d probably have an old Toyota pickup or a Ranger. Oh yeah, and the 6 cylinders tow just fine without needing to be driving a gas-guzzling fullsize truck the rest of the time.

  43. brew says:

    I had the truck in the pic, same color and everything, 1986 ranger, 2wd. It was so underpowered I could not speed. To pass another vehicle I would have to slow down, slam it in to 3rd, try to get up to 50 or so, then shift in to 4rth, if I was lucky I could get to 65 to pass, then as soon as I put it in 5th it would bog down to about 55 again. The fastest I could EVER get the truck going was 72 mph and that was with the wind down a HUGE hill.

    I can see the advantage of these little trucks, but I would never consider one again. My silverado gets the same gas mileage as that little ranger did, way back then, so I don’t miss it.

  44. Adam Evans says:

    Hot Hot HOT.

    I’m on my second Ford Ranger. I didn’t need a big gas-guzzling truck. I just needed something to haul my canoe and other various junk that wouldn’t fit in a car.

  45. David says:

    The show Patrick is thinking of is Top Gear. Search youtube for “top gear toyota”


  46. Josh says:

    Hot, I bought me a 1989 Ford Ranger Ext cab 4 banger last year and really digg it. I had to out a mototr and clutch in it, but I am still under $1200 in it and they sell for $1500 + for decent looking ones in my area. They haul enough to be good for some mil work. I have a trailer if something is too large and the Jeep GC if I need a little more towing power.
    I agree with every one else on here that they should drop a the big D in them for some real towing power.

    Oh and all the Tocoma guys, you are not the compact trucks the blog is referencing. Ranger/Mazda is the only avl compact these days. Everything else is mid size these days. Not knocking the trucks as I thought about getting one later on.

  47. CW says:

    Hot. My parents had a mid-80s vintage Mazda B2000 pickup. You could barely drive it into a stiff wind but it NEVER stopped. I think it finally died with over 300k on it. And that was with us neglecting the hell out of it.
    I wouldn’t be surprise to see a reemergence of these things.

  48. Robin Wood says:

    I have purchased a 1993 Toyota T100, a 2000 Tundra and a 2002 Tacoma. The first two had V6 engines and the latter a 4. All were standard cab models, with 2WD. All very nice trucks, and I still drive the Tundra and it truly earns its keep. The Tacoma was the most fun to drive – that was an awesome truck and I lament the fact that there are models of the new Tacoma that are larger than my Tundra. That is just not right. They are way too big, and the new Tundra is an abomination – I have to lift loads into the bed and really have no desire to lift heavy things even higher than I already do.

    I would really like to have the chance to purchase a small truck with Toyota quality, but I guess those days are gone.

  49. Derick says:

    I miss my 1986 Mazda B-2000, 28 – 32 mpg (75-55mph). I drove it over 275,000 miles, and then sold it to my Dad. He drove it another 10,000 and then sold it to my brother and he drove it till a buddy of his hit a guard rail at about 450,000 miles. I bought another one used a few years later, it was nearly as good as my first. When Mazda stop making and importing the truck and started using the Ford design, I new they had made a mistake. That 1986 Mazda was nearly perfect in design and function. I wish they would bring it back, it was a economical and functional design that was reliable, and easy to repair and maintain. Not like todays that cost a fortune to fix and repair, and have gotten heavier and expensive. The manufactures have forgotten what a truck is for, and how to build them right.

  50. Brandon says:

    I miss my 91 S-10. Had a 2.8 V6 and I toted tons of stuff with that vehicle. Trailers, firewood, ply wood, supplies, iron, tools, and even the family pets.

    When I sold the truck the bed had it’s fair share of work scars. I miss that thing, should’ve never sold it. 5 on the floor and ready to go!

  51. BC says:

    I retired my ’88 Ranger 2wd, 4 cyl, 5 speed last fall for a really nice, low mile, ’89 F-150, 4×4, 302, 4 speed. Living in the boonies of Upper Michigan, 4×4 is a necessity, and my 6’4″ frame doesn’t miss the Ranger at all.

    The only trouble I had with it was an ignition module. It had 172k miles on it, no thermostat (cold as HELL in the winter!) and a radiator that was missing half its fins (explains why the PO took the thermostat out)… but by god, it ran like a champ – not even a tick in the motor.

    Hot or not? Lukewarm. Try putting two people, a dog, and a week’s worth of stuff in a mini-truck. Just like any vehicle, what works for you might not work for me.

  52. Sean says:

    Drove a Mazda 6cyl pickup for a Freightliner dealership delivering parts and doing inventory pickup, and that thing was a bloody freight train. Beautiful 5 speed gearbox, could smoothly shift without the clutch, and generally took an obscene amount of abuse. All we had to do was do oil changes, gas her up, and replace the tires once in a while.

    Hot for sure.

  53. Brad Justinen says:

    HOT!, HOT!, HOT!

    My little single cab 1989 Mazda B-2200 has about 270,000 miles on it and it still runs like a champ. Starts up every time without a hitch. I only use it now about 6 times a year and it’s only worth about $500 but I would never EVER sell it. My dad also had a 1992 extended cab version for years, he abused the crap out of it. He would haul 1500lbs, barrels of lead shot around, the back would be so low to the ground that I swear the wheels were going to shoot off any second. But they never did and he sold it with 250,000 miles on it. Pick yourself up a 1987-1992 B2200 on the cheap before the disappear. $500 – $2500 well worth the price if you just need to haul something every now and then. Or use it as your main car, like I did for years and years.


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  55. Steve says:

    I agree, I have a little 1991 Chevy S-10, and would like to buy a new small truck, but I CAN’T FIND ANY. It’s no wonder why Detroit has gone bust. They deserve to for building houses for trucks. They have tried to instill that in order to ‘feel like your worth something’ you have to drive a big ass truck or big ass suv and have gotton completely away from what the true purpose of a vehicle is which is to get around. If people have a low opinion of themselves then they need therapy, a tank for a truck is not the proper solution.

  56. Joaquin says:

    props to Brad Justinen

    I also drive a 89 B2200

    I love mini trucks. trucks nowadays are WAY to big!!! My truck does what I need and want. Point A to point B, haul furniture lumber hay and my bands stuff and off roading. gets about 27 mpg. Has enough power (now with headers and new carb)

    hell its sad that now you cant find anything CHEAP AND REARWHEEL DRIVE.

  57. 50/50 says:

    All my previous trucks were mini trucks, and I loved them, esp. the ones with V6. (My 1986 Mazda B2000 was severely underpowered for the Rockies.) The little Toyota 1-ton’s 7-ft bed was a nice touch.

    However, I also really like my midsized Nissan Frontier. Even though it has a shorter (6-ft) bed, it is wider, so I can fit more stuff inside. I always liked the size of the older Dodge Dakotas but wasn’t impressed with their mpg.

    My mini trucks had basically no side crash protection, and I do NOT miss that. Even more the case now that everybody drives distracted.

    But midsize is as big as I would ever want to go. No full-size trucks for me, esp. since they have gotten so gargantuan. And the bloated station wagon type (Avalanche, Ridgeline)–what a useless, tiny bed. Even though I do not use my truck for paid work, I appreciate and use the cargo space.

  58. Ralph says:

    I’ve been using my 69 chevy 3 cylinder diesel for years and years, still gets 35 plus mpg. but i’m now way past 70 and Ihave trouble turning corners what with no power steering. I was thinking I could do nicely with a mini-truck. But now am facing the facts, THEY don’t make a mini truck anymore.

  59. Dodger says:

    What qualifies as a bigger truck? My 85 Dodge half ton 4×4 weighs 5000 lbs and has a smaller engine than a lot of Ford Rangers and S10s (3.7l slant six versus 4.0 and 4.3 respectively) and will still pull a medium loaded 16′ trailer over the speed limit. (and also move a single wide trailer house on a rural road. ) Or would till I spun the front rod bearing running about 6 grand in 3′ deep snow in a ditch (and oh yeah, the new electric cooling fan wasn’t plugged in-doh!)

  60. Don says:

    HOT!!! I bought a ’94 Toyota standard cab 4×2, 5 spd manual, 22RE 4 cyl engine brand new. The following year, my son was born and I basically parked it for the next 16 years as it was too small for my new family. Luckily, I never sold it and it recently became my main vehicle after I gave my Nissan Xterra to my son. New rims and wider tires made my mint mini truck a blast to drive. It’s 2700 lb curb weight makes it lighter than most cars but it can haul over 1000 pounds in the bed and tow 3500 pounds making it much more versatile. I love my mini truck and with only 50k original miles and rust free body, it’ll be around for a long while.

  61. Dave says:

    I have a 1985 Ford Ranger, 4cyl, 5 spd, 84000kms, and it is being completely repainted,(built in kentucky), and I think it is s great little truck. A down sized F150–really tough!!

  62. Paul Roder says:

    I have owned three rangers after my 1991 toyta was wrecked. I feel the ranger was a superior truck at a great price with great economy. My first ranger (1996) is still running with 180,000 miles on it and it does not burn a drop of oil. My current ranger (2008) is a great truck and I hope to have it a long time. Wake up Ford and bring back the ranger. We love it and are waiting for it to come back. NO WAY WILL I BUY A 150 ! It is too big and ugly.

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