A better mousetrap?

Guys lets build a better economy pickup-
My suggestion
Front wheel drive, with a LSD
GM could make this with a 3 cyl turbo Atlas engine’
6 spd trans
3 full size passengers in cab
30 mpg highway
low platform 6-8’ stakebody
toolboxes in front of rear wheels
air suspension on back
and whatever else you care to add(curb weight sub 3000# lbs any sugesstions?-Kevin

First, unless you plan to drive backwards and never load it, it has to be rear or 4 wd. No LSD needed UN less it’s electronic as now. A rear locker would be great, but expensive to fix. The presently used off road traction control works ! And it’s cheap !
The best are the simplest.

Generally speaking, we have been making trucks for so long, I wouldn’t mess too much with what is presently offered. They get real expensive otherwise and price is at the top of the list for features. A 4 wd diesel powered Tacoma will do it for me, but it has to be imported. So nix that.

Today’s truks have all the little necessary features built in. I would make all vehicles, especially trucks, less prone to rust which costs little or nothing to do. Tacoma has grudging moved in that direction with plastic beds…no reason more body panels can’t be too like some Jeeps with a little more chromium added to the steel used throughout. The reason you won’t see Toyota compact or Tundra diesels is that the present gas motors they offer are so close to the performance of a comparable diesel, it isn’t worth the price. They have arguably the best gas 4, 6 cylinder and v8 truck mortors around.

I would really be interested in a pickup built by John Deere or Kubota or even Toro. Would be cool to see what their engineers came up with.

Kevin–While FWD is helpful when it comes to “packaging” an inexpensive car, using FWD for a truck is…not a good idea.

Think about it:
When heavily loading the cargo area of that pickup, you would be changing the weight distribution sufficiently to drastically reduce traction on the front drive wheels. Whereas the “normal” RWD pickups gain traction on their drive wheels when loaded, your idea would have the exact opposite effect on the drive wheels.

Personally, I wouldn’t want to drive “your” truck in the winter if it was carrying a load.

I would and could drive it,because notice the curb weight is low,it would have composite construction,would take the place of these un streeetable micro trucks -with the proper configuration I see no problem with it carring an honest 1200# most people carry only a hitch or toolbox on thier " trucks" any way I know dodge used to have something similar in the Rampage trucks,this isnt intended to be a heavy duty truck,this is intended for bulky items, not dense items,we have trucks that do heavy duty stuff al ready( some folks carry over 100# om bicycles)-Kevin

It was actually done many years ago by VW and worked at least somewhat well although they did not survive over the long term. They were FWD pickups that were rated as 1/2 tons although that was debateable IMO. Essentially they were VW Rabbits with a bed on the back.

They got great fuel mileage with the gas rigs getting 40-45 MPG and the diesels getting 50-60. The VW diesels of this era were very anemic and when checking the 0 to 60 times forget about the second hand on the watch and concentrate on the minute hand. :slight_smile:

These things have become collectibles and for light duty work they’re acceptable. Heavy loads or rough terrain would be out of their league though.

Kevin…I agree one could drive a fwd truck…until the first real steep hill. The wear on driving the turning wheels while carrying heavy loads and towing would cause maintenance problems like you wouldn’t believe over time for the average low cost pick up. You just couldn’t afford to incorporate the industrial strength components into such a vehicle. Cheaper is better and nothing beats the efficiency of rwd for trucks.

An example comes from the wear and tear on the front drive components of trucks used for plowing. Nothing reveals the weakness of a design in a small pick up like throughing a plow on it, putting a half ton of sand in the back and smashing into frozen snow, over and over again. Fwd can’t do it when even the front drive components of a 4wd truck can’t. So, your ideal truck had better be able to take a little friendly abuse !

Well Dag you are right,but I insist it has to be a light duty vehicle( bet a Toronado would have made a good EL Camino) and like somebody said back up the hills if you have to(used to do it all the time with the wifes Focus)-Kevin

Kevin…I think our definitions of light duty truck may be different. Light duty seems to be a trash hauler ? Light duty to me is hauling a 4k boat up a step incline and not a 10 k load. When I finish, throw the snow mobile, 4 wheeler or hunting gear in the back, then head off through a woods road which gradually turns to no road. Later, we throw enough firwood in the back till the springs bottom out. That’s light duty !

The biggest reason no one makes them IMHO, is fwd handles poorly and trucks handle poorly. . Put them together and you have a vehicle that handles dangerously while trying to be a truck.

Kevin, are you sure we are not talking about the ideal minivan ? ;=)

I Owned A 76 Toronado With The 455 C.U. V-8. It Was Pretty Impractical. It Was Over 2 Tons, 2-Doors, Small Trunk, Small Gas Tank, Poor MPG And Range, But It Was HEAVY With Lots Of Weight Over The Drive Wheels In Front And A Better Traction Winter Car Didn’t Exist.

I’d send my wife off to work on a really bad winter morning and wasn’t too worried she’d get there. I did feel bad for anybody who might crash into that tank, though. Handling freezing drizzle or freezing rain were a specialty of that behemoth.

I sometimes miss the old Olds.


@CSA, check 'em out. I think that I prefer the 1970 at the top.


JT, Thanks.

Forgive me for being slightly off topic, but this is absolutely the best utube CR review I have seen them do. Tell me a fwd anything could turn a normally sedate, pompous reviewer into jelly like a rwd car. Watch the guys face during the first minute of the review.

@kmccune , just drop a diesel into existing models. I’m sure that Toyota and Nissan have diesel engines that would work. GM could import Isuzu D-MAX trucks and sell them as Isuzus or as a Colorado. They are basically the same truck anyway. But remember that the manufacturers would have to spend a great deal of money to get the new engines qualified to sell here. Toyota and Nissan aren’t hurting for compact truck sales, so why should they spend the money?

Americans will line up days in advance to see a movie based on the hype that is pitched on the www and television. The majority of Americans live pay check to pay check and many do so because they are unable to defer self gratification from purchasing fobs, trinkets, gizmos and garb to feed their vanities and egos. Marketers have learned to take full advantage of the “I want mine now” mindset of the American consumer and those who have learned to endure being ‘frugal’ and ‘practical’ are off the radar of corporate design teams and marketers. We must make do with the discards of the 'A Team" shoppers. But we will survive. And possibly have a few dollars left each month to splurge on a meal at Cracker Barrel and leave a handsome tip even after throwing a few bills in savings.

If any of the automobile makers were to care, a VW 181 and the VW pickup would suit me.

Dag,I dont care if its a minivan,little trucks have got so big now,my little 92-D21 Nissan was a pretty good little pickup(around 26 mpg) I think we can do better.The Tacomas now look huge,The older Tundras were about right for a big truck,but the gas mileage was terrible.The new Chevys are ridiculously huge(but the gas mileage isnt that bad-how come we cant make a small truck that gets proportional mileage)-Kevin

Well Dag, thanks for the Video,that certainly looks like fun!(maybe the most fun you can have with 200HP)-kEVIN

I was really happy with my 2wd in the rear with anti spin differential. Cheaper and easier to work on, Sure I live in I and we get some snow, but we have plows that clear the streets. So my bud ended up buying a full size pickup because there are no more midsize trucks.

BD,I love the size of my Dakota-its heavy enough to pull a good size tree in low range,Dakotas are common around here I dont know why Dodge dropped them,now it seems the choice is big and humongeous-Kevin

Here’s the Dakota’s US annual sales. I think it’s obvious why Dodge discontinued it.

Year Sales
1999 144,148
2000 177,395
2001 154,479
2002 130,712
2003 111,273
2004 105,614
2005 104,051
2006 76,098
2007 50,702
2008 26,044
2009 10,690
2010 13,047
2011 12,156

too bad, the later ones were pretty ugly and the way Dodge did thier marketing .PO d some folks.They could have gave you a great standard engine but decided to go with mediocre and the prices for even a V-6 with a couple bells and whistles was outta hand,you paid handsomely to get a HiPo V-8 (well it finally was kinda high performance,but the 8s and 6s got similar mileage so they sort of did thier selves in on that department) Kevin