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Quarter Ton 4-cylinder Pick-ups

Are there ANY 4-cylinder stick shift standard cab 2 WD pick-ups being sold in the U.S. today?

Fords new Ranger is a hot seller overseas but they have no plans to sell it in this country…

You can option a Tacoma that way. Don’t know if you can find one…

Chevy makes a Colorado WT (work truck) that’s pretty basic…Nobody buys them…

I see a lot of these trucks over the years as delivery trucks. Recently, 2wd autos have taken over for obvious reasons. Why would you let an inconsiderate employee drive a standard he probably doesn’t own himself. In these type vehicles, like rentals, fleet requirements drive a lot of what is offered in cheaper vehicles, just my opinion.
It becomes apparent that for many, trucks used for what they were intended need 6 cylinders with an auto. The days of using a 4 cylinder pick up as an Eco mobile are over. A car based suv does everything a cheapo 4cylinder pick up will do, and more economically too.

But yes, Tacoma and Nissan Frontier can be had. But why ? A rough ride and comparably poor gas mileage ?

@dagosa, I can think of one reason why. A small or midsize pick-up with a four cylinder engine is the most efficient way to tow 1,000-1,200 pound loads, and if you only plan to tow light loads with it in the 500-800 pound range 10-12 times a year, you might consider getting a truck with a stick shift, although I’d probably go with an automatic for this set-up.

Small and midsize trucks are better than car-based SUVs for the guy who wants to use a trailer to drop his motorcycle off at the shop, or for the guy who wants a small pop-up trailer camper for weekend getaways.

Over the long run, body on frame construction, rear wheel drive, stick shift result in a repairable vehicle that can be kept on the road for a long time…All vehicles with automatic transmissions come to that fork in the road where you must replace/repair the transmission or scrap the vehicle. With a stick shift and RWD, you can keep it on the road for less money…

I have a 91 Toyota P/U, 22R engine, 4-speed…It can and does pull a single snowmobile and its trailer and gear into Colorado’s mountains uphill at 60 mph (6000’ elevation and up to 10,000’) without any trouble…It delivers 26-32mpg…When not doing that, it makes numerous Home Depot and dump runs month after month, year after year…I’ve got about $1000 in it, total…Yet I see people who feel they need a crew-cab double diesel dually one ton ($45,000) to do exactly the same thing…

I found other things to do with the $44,000 I saved…But my prized little Toyota won’t last forever and there is nothing in the pipeline waiting for me! But I’m not going to last forever either…

@Whitey I did exactly that for more then thirty years with my 4 cylinder Toyota and Mazda pickups. Now I find, my wife’s RAV tows nearly as much and my 4 Runner tows three times and is more economical while doing it and nearly so the rest of the time. Both are infinitely more comfy as the traditional bench seat and limited adjustments need a lot of built in padding. Sorry Whitey. Too many comfy sacrifices for me now. I’ll take an SUV with a Utility trailer. I envy you still, young at heart truckers.

One thing that 4cylinder, manual transmission trucks but in 4 wd are absolutely the best at ? With oversize high flotation tires and better balance then a six and short wheel base they are off road champs. The 4wd Toyota short beds with 4 cylinder and manuals would eat up and spit out Wranglers in deep mud. They are one of, if not the most popular off road, off the rack truck you can buy

@Caddyman. I have had 5 Toyota trucks and one Mazda. All 4 cylinder except one. It was an 89 2wd extra cab v6 and the sweetest, most comfortable cruiser and light hauler I ever had. It made frequent 600 mile plus college student deliveries for which it was ideal. While towing my sailboats to regattas, it was ideal and much better then the great but under powered 22R motor. Toyota arguably makes one of the best 4 cylinder truck motors there is. The problem is, they make one of the best v6 compact truck motors too for very little more. BTW, I envy your light foot. The best I have done highway with my 2 wd 4 cylinder Toy, was 28. The best I do at steady 65 and under with my 4Runner, is 26 mpg. My butt still likes the 4. runner better. But you have a great truck…!
You are absolutely right about people “over trucking” for their use.

I’ve owned two compact Toyota pickups for a total of 25 years. I loved them. They were perfect for me and my applications. And they can do far more than a car-based SUV. Hauling garbage to the dump, hauling brush, hauling cordwood, concrete blocks, gravel, hauling tree stumps through fire roads…and even in the woods with no roads, hauling loam, I challenge anyone to be able to do the things I’ve done using a car-based SUV without destroying it.

The only reason I don;t still have one is that I gave my last one to my daughter. And I miss it.

They still make 4 cylinder 2WD tacos and 4 cylinder 2WD Canyon/Colorados, as well as 4 cylinder Frontiers. The thing is though, they don’t get hugely better mileage than their full sized V6 counterparts.

If you look here
fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=31845&id=33185&id=31838&id=33353

You can see that F-150 and Ram V6’s only give up 2-3 MPG overall to the smaller less capable trucks. Aside from cost there’s not a whole lot of compelling reasons to get a compact/midsize trucks these days. The manufacters have been spending alot of time and effort making their full sized trucks more fuel efficient, but in alot of cases just carry over the same compact/midsize trucks year after year.

I have an old 1997 F-150 4WD that I use for hauling stuff to the dump and getting around when it snows, a compact truck would certainly meet the requirements I have, but since I only drive the thing maybe 1000 miles a year at most, fuel economy really doesn’t matter, and I’m set if I ever decide to get a boat.

@theSamemountainbike.you are right about their utility. In the old days I really enjooyed the trucks you speak of too. But, I will take your challenge. My 2000 lb capacity utility trailer will handle as much crapola my tractor can dump on it…including rocks when I throw in a wood base or my generator wheeled up on a ramp. More practical moving these things then with any truck…and much less prone to damage. Nothing beats a trailer. All this is moved easily with my wife’s car based suv with no damage to the bed of any truck. And, I can drive away from the smell if we move manure. ;=) I can then transfer the loaded trailer to an other vehicle with out reloading…how we doin? But, if you have a 4wd pick up, I conceded it’s much easier to move loads off road with w truck.

FoDaddy is right about the mileage of these mid sized trucks with 4 cylinders. They are harder to justify.

@dagosa
Well, I do have a trailer, old and so ugly that hurting it is truly impossible. But a small work truck is indispensible, at least in this rural region. I had to give mine up just over a year ago when it was not worth the engine rebuild it needed, though in retrospect I wish I’d tracked down a used mill. It was a Nissan, 86, carb version, 4cyl, 5 speed, standard cab, 2wd. As Caddyman says, these can be kept on the road a long time. Mine made it to nearly 400k.

The thing with a truck is that it’s a rolling tool box. When I worked as a carpenter, that’s where I kept my tools (in a camper shell). Now with rental property, I still need to schlep tools, often a combination of yard equipment like digging tools, wheelbarrows, mowers and other machines, sometimes carpentry tools, sometimes assorted things for inside work, and of course materials of all kinds. I now only work out of a vehicle a few days a month, but I could still keep the tools in there most of the time. And doing that kind of work means tracking dirt and mud into the cab, not practical in a nicer rig with carpet etc.

Running around with a trailer all the time is far too complicated, except when absolutely necessary, like for a mountain of tools and materials to take to my rental, or for hauling firewood, compost, broken concrete, etc.

In other words, I want a trailer …and a truck, but a small truck is plenty. Given the money, I’d buy a newer fuel efficient one, but facing the $ reality, my elderly minivan has become my “truck”…(and tow vehicle) except that it lacks the pulling power of the 4 cylinder Nissan.

Dag, one question: would you tow your utility trailer fully loaded through the woods with your car-based SUV?

I’ve done that more times that I can count. 500 acres near me was being cleared for development, and I got permission from the owner to drive in and collect the oak limbs that the loggers left after they took out the large trunks. I heated with those oak limbs for a couple of years.

In that project they also blasted away rock in developing the roadways. I also drove in every evening and hauled out a load of stone to build a stone wall.

The first generations of car-based SUVs were definitely not designed to be off-road vehicles, but the newer generation of the Honda CRVs and Toyota Rav 4s are not really car-based SUVs anymore. They are cross-over vehicles. Does anyone still make a car-based SUV?

Interesting point, Whitey. When I hear “car-based SUV” I generallly think of something with the ease of entry and low profile of a car. But I guess it’s fair to consider a car-based SUV as being a vehicle with an SUV-type profile built on a unibody (no frame). And today’s unibodys can be structurally stronger than frames…by a longshot.

It muddles the debate, but your point is a good one.

@WesternRoadtripper "In other words, I want a trailer …and a truck, but a small truck is plenty. Given the money, I’d buy a newer fuel efficient one,

I used that same line with my wife…she wasn’t “buying” it either. I like you, am a man with a utility trailer but without a truck. But, she has let me buy a couple of tractors. So, I DON’T COMPLAIN TOO LOUDLY.

Ah,but the little Toyotas were unsurpassed off road with good floating tires and light footprint with good ground clearance,you keep the oil changed in those little buggers and you had them around till you got tired of them.The only thing I didnt like about them was the way the cabs pinched in at around shoulder level,these narrow earlier trucks were a lot easier to squeeze through the woods then their bigger siblings.Some of these newer crossover SUVs are hard to get back in some places.I think if the demand was there,manus could produce a new more efficient 4 or turbo 3cyl pickup that could get 30 mpg-Things have grown so bulky now,it makes me wonder when I see a 5-6000# Suv toting around one 120# soccer mom-Kevin

Absolutely kevin. When my neighbor informed me we would have to walk out to the main road, a mile the back way because his dozer was stuck in the mud and we couldn’t get by, I promptly put my “Toy” truck with 37" tires in reverse, went home, got my chain saw, cut down a few saplings in the way and drove a hundred yards through the woods to clear his dozer. I was the only vehicle of our three neighbors to successfully make it in and out daily during mud season. Taking my neighbors out to their cars and trucks at the end of the road became routine. Our road is much better now…I don’t need my “little” Toy truck. It was an absolute animal though. As I stated before, Toyota went big mainly for handling and ride and the competition. They won’t go back. The newer Tacoma short bed is close and just as good (better) off road.

I’m small of frame, so the little trucks fit me perfectly. But the cabs were tight for larger people.

I have always maintained that one of the " big" reasons for bigger cars is “bigger” drivers. People of our generation need only look at their high school yearbook at the group pictures and compare them to the kids in the yearbooks of today’s kids.

From 1990 to 2010, the Tacoma in creased it’s base 2wd wheel base by 6 inches (103 to 109 approx.) and it’s weight by about 600 lbs. The highway mileage rating went up ( to 26 mpg) from just over 20 mpg for the old one. The newer 4 cyl. motor still has 50 more horsepower and dramatically more torque. It looks like the change was for the better. It moves a bigger truck more economically. The new 6 cylinder has a similar mileage rating in 2wd as the old 4 cylinder.

@thesamemountainbike. I gave you cred. for being able to move stuff over rough ground with a truck vs. trailer. I just use my tractor with a 2000 lb rated carrying platform on back. Of couse, I’m restricted to where ever I can trailer the tractor. As far as traveling off road. I will put my wife’s old RAV up against any basic 2wd Toyota truck without modifications. Don’t underestimate some of these car based SUVs. Toyota does a good job with ground clearance and under body protection, even with these modified cars. Mercedes, Jeep, Pathfinder etc. are some examples of manufacturers who, with just a few options, can make a unibody run at some framed 4wd. Trucks off road.

You got a point there Dag,people are getting bigger(what happened to our kids? when I was in school a obese kid was an anomoly).
But Dagosa remember stiffness sometimes is a liabilty the wheel not in contact with the ground provides no traction-Kevin