Best Compact PU - Toyota, Nissan, Chevy, Ford?

danz28danz28 Member Posts: 19
edited February 2014 in Toyota
I am kind of curious of what people think about
the four compact pickups on the market, ( I lumped
the Mazda with the Ford and the Isuzu with the
Chevy) Tell me what yall think


  • JTOJTO Member Posts: 28
    Toyota! Now that the rust problem has been taken care of there's no stopping them!
  • gazdeckrgazdeckr Member Posts: 4
    I am with JTO. The Tacoma 4X4 with TRD and the V6 is one hot tamale!! The Ford is nice, but the engine is underpowered. The Chevy is also underpowered. The Frontier needs a bigger engine. All in all they are COMPACT pickups and are for Light truck use, Don't expect them to pull tree-stumps for you!! (Although the Toy can!!)
    My $0.02.
  • delmontedelmonte Member Posts: 2
    I have the '98 Tacoma 4x4 Limited. I don't have the TRD upgrade, but it was the best overall performer against all the compact pickups I test drove. Oh, by the way, it is FUN to drive! I've already racked up 6K since I bought it 3 months ago.
  • danz28danz28 Member Posts: 19
    Well, here are some thoughts on my topic.
    1. Chevrolet S10 - I had one so I know what I am talking about. I question the safety and reliability. It has the WORST four cylinder on the market today.
    2. Ford Ranger - I like the styling ( opinion) but its four banger could use some horses.
    3. Nissan Frontier - I used to think this was the best value in the compact pickup line. My opinion again is that it is ugly but its four cylinder has power
    4. Toyota Tacoma - Probably the best compact out there but also by far the most expensive. For what you would pay for the V6 4x4 you could get a full size Ford,Chevy or Dodge.

    When I think of compact trucks, I think of regular cab four cylinder 2x4 pickups. The V6s are good for extended cabs and 4x4s but I personally cant justify the added expenses of all three (four wheel drive, extended cab, V6)

    Tell me what yall think.
  • ecoffecoff Member Posts: 1
    Talking about the reliablity of the truck in market now, Toyota truck is still the best.
    What do you think ?
  • gazdeckrgazdeckr Member Posts: 4
    I'm with you. The Toyota's are much more expensive and comparable to the full-size domestics. The conveinence of driving and PARKING a compact far outweighs the advantages of a full-size. I have a small garage, and I can't fit the full sizes in it, but the compact's squeeze in. I really like the Toyota and I am biased against Ford (my Ranger sucks) so I am saving my pennies to pick-up an expensive Toy. BTW You get what you pay for!
  • BrutusBrutus Member Posts: 1,113
    The real test for Toyota will be the to see how the new T-150 stacks up to the F-150, Ram 1500 and Chevy/GM 1500s. That will be a real "apples to apples" test for Toyota.

    The full size vs compact debate all depends on your needs and preferences. I've not seen many fifth wheel trailers behind Toyotas. On the other hand, I've seen a lot of full size trucks jumping from gas station to gas station not pulling anything. Everybody has a different cost/benefit point of equilibrium.
  • danz28danz28 Member Posts: 19
    As for full sized trucks, I have always liked the Chevys the best. I am looking forward to seeing the performance tests on their new LS1 derived engines. Ford makes a good truck but I think they need to get some more horses out of their 8 cylinders (the same goes for their Mustang). Dodge also makes a great truck and if I am not mistaken they are about the come out with a new family of 8 cylinder engines (4.7L ??).
    Nothing against Toyota but unless they bring their new T150 prices out of the upper atmosphere, which is where the T100s are, they will be fighting a loosing battle, even if their trucks are superior to the big three.
    It wasnt too long ago that "mini" or compact trucks were the craze and SUVs were just Suburbans and Jeeps.
  • BrutusBrutus Member Posts: 1,113
    Someone in one of these other chat areas mentioned that the T-150 will be made in the US so they won't be subject to the big import fees, which should correspondingly bring down the price. I suspect if the price is close, Toyota will probably do fine in the light duty truck market, but I certainly wouldn't expect any quality difference from the Big 3 to be significant. The pride of the Ford Motor Company is their F-Series. I just don't see Toyota ever coming near to challenging the sales figures of the F-Series. Then again, I'm partial to Ford trucks.
  • MirloMirlo Member Posts: 3
    I'm a Toyota fan. This has nothing to do with "buy American", my bottom line is value for the dollar. In my 54 years in "earth school" I've owned 50+ (so old I can't remember) vehicles. Many good, even more bad! First Japanese vehicle a Toyota Corona in 1969. Also Opel, BMW, SAAB, Honda etc. The real truth (obviously from my perspective) is the Japanese caught on early that "quality" versus what the manufacturer determined the consumer wanted, was a key to selling vehicles!

    Quantum leap to here and now. We (America) finally caught on! Vehicles produced in our country today are competitive with Japan. Bout time! I think the Toyota V8 pickup(Lexus engine origin) will be a competitor in the "transportation" segment of the market. "Real trucks" are still dominated by U.S. big three.

    I own a 1992 Lexus LS400 (one of the best but we're gaining) and a 1994 Chev C1500. I also have a 1990 Winnebago Class C Motorhome (Ford C350 460 ci). Presently I'm looking to purchase a new HD pickup to pull a 5th wheel (selling motorhome). The new Ford F250/350 Powerstroke vs Dodge diesel is my delima! Gut feeling is Ford but I'm not convinced. 5th wheel will be in 32' to 40' range.

    Comments appreciated!
  • BrutusBrutus Member Posts: 1,113
    I think your gut feeling about Ford is right, but there are people on this site who have owned more than one of the big free and tow fifth wheeler trailers. They can give you better advice.

    I, kind of, like to think that the foreign competition got the edge because they saw the mpg being a factor quicker than the US market and then had more money to improve quality......Alright already, I know I'm reaching. Still, it's hard to imagine them being competitive in the full size market, much less the HD market. But the track record is good. I'm counting 0n Ford, Chevey and Dodge rising to the occasion. If they don't, the only reason they will stay on top is if they lease their trucks to rent-a-car places like Ford did with the Taurus.
  • richflynnrichflynn Member Posts: 147
    Let me relay a story with a point. My son, 6'4" and about a 32" inseam, (i.e. A very tall torso.) had to get a new vehicle. He did not want another Wrangler due to leaks and squeeks. He went out and looked at everything. He definitely did not want the same brand that dad drives. (He's a kid, would you expect anything different?) I kept telling him to find something that he fits in, is comfortable and meets his needs for passengers. The final decision making was a 'must have' option and the Explorer's 6 way power seat. We joked that the decision maker was the 6 way power seat. His word was 'pitiful'. Now a month and a half later he loves the Explorer. (Dad drives an F-250).

    We really can't tell you what truck to buy. Decide the functionality that you need. Figure out which brands provide that functionality. Look and drive those brands. Check out the little things. Like, the location of the A/C vents, the rake of the seat back, the comfort of the seat belts, the shape and location of the radio knobs, etc. There are little things that turn out to be so anoying that make you hate the vehicle. I had one car where the handle for the window was always just above my knee. After 10k miles I went out and bought the removal tool for the handle and adjusted it so it was more comfortable. The car that I hated last week suddenly became a pretty good car teh following week.

    If there is some little thing that anoys you on the test drive, at 1500 miles you'll hate the feature. At 10k miles you'll hate the truck and at 15k miles a dealer is going to get another truck sale at your expense.

  • richflynnrichflynn Member Posts: 147

    Before you spring for a F-350 or Dodge 3500(?) you want to check out your 5th wheel specs. Length is usually unimportant when choosing truck capacity. The two things that are important are hitch weight and total trailer weight.

    Typically I would expect the 5th wheel hitch weight (i.e. The weight placed in the truck bed by the 5th wheel trailer.) to be in the 1000-1500 range. For a 35-40 foot 5th wheel I would estimate that 10,000 pounds empty and 13,000 loaded.

    Here is the rationale between F-350 and F-250.
    Both have a towing capacity (From memory as I'm 2500 miles from home.) of 13,600. With diesel, auto trans and 3.73 rear end. The difference between F-350 and F-250 is about 1000 pounds of bed capacity. The F-250 can easily handle 1500 pounds. Why get the F-350 when the '99 Heavy duty F-250 will meet your needs? It's a little more money, same power but rougher ride, especially when empty. Remember you're going to go some place and then un-hitch. You really don't want to have a rough riding vehicle for your running about.

    BTW - As I remember, when I looked at the Dodge, the capacities were about the same or less. (I may be wrong as the right coast has me leaning West towards home.)
  • FriskFrisk Member Posts: 2
    I am looking to buy a new 98 Tacoma extra cab. It
    anyone has some feed back on the 98 Tacoma I would greatly appreciated it.

  • MirloMirlo Member Posts: 3

    Thanks for the excellent feedback! Got the specs for the new Ford and it's 6" longer than my garage! Arizona sun is "not" kind to vehicles.

    Glad I'm not in a hurry!

    The thought of F250 vs F350 is certainly valid. Methinks I'll probably go with a 3/4 ton when I figure out what to do with the garage situation.

    Appreciate the comments!
  • richflynnrichflynn Member Posts: 147
    When I lived in Phoenix the trick was alrenate direction parking. (i.e. On M-W-F at work, park heading north and on T-TH heading south.) That way you sun-bleach the whole vehicle in twice the time it takes to do one side, unevenly. It took 4 years to do it to my metalic gold '69 chevy. Paints have gotten better since then. Here in LA my '92 is just starting to show signs of sun bleaching.

    The other thing is, don't order metalic colors. My brother-in-law works for a paint manufacturer. He tells me of the matching grief that the auto body shops go through and that metalics are the worst, with silver being the absolute worst.

    The new 250 that I've ordered is white with the rocker panels silver. I expect that the silver will be bad in 3 years, but there is so little of it that it wont really matter. If I were in Phoenix now, the color would be three tone, white, white and white.

  • danz28danz28 Member Posts: 19
    Interesting stories about full size pickups but what does that have to do with compact trucks?
  • MirloMirlo Member Posts: 3

    Started out on Toyota, just got carried away! Once I found someone interesting to chat with, without an E mail address this is the only forum to continue communication.

    P.S. I like compact trucks, that's how I ended up here in the first place. However, basically I enjoy any and all trucks. Will try and stick to subject of header.



  • mihalemihale Member Posts: 1
    I'm about to buy, the choices are 96 4x2 Tacoma @$9.3K w/17K miles, clean or a new (88) striped down Ranger @$8.9K. Both are fair deals but I'm missing key info for both. Safety for the Toyota and reliability for Rangers.

    I'm a light duty user of light duty vehicles, I schlep myself and a few carpentry tools. Though I will try to yank an occasional stump or haul green manure loaded by over zealous Bob Cat operators.

    Which do you think is the better choice?
  • RoclesRocles Member Posts: 982
    Okay- Roc is here to finish off this annoying debate. Toyota makes a great small truck,however if you don't like the price or Japan--go with a Ranger. Ford has the best safety results along with the reliability.
    Chevy has cheap interiors with a STUPID HIGH PRICE. Dodge is also expensive but looks good. Nissans are ugly and how can one buy it after those idiotic commercials? Why Mazda when Ford is the same? Isuzu? Well, you get the picture.
    Basically decide between Ford or Toyota for there is no others.
  • DanGDanG Member Posts: 1
    Has anyone out there driven the new 98 Ranger? It seems to have basically the Explorer front suspension and supposedly drives well.

    I can't say I love the new grille but overall styling is good. Current customer incentives are $1K off for a 4X2. How do you get a dealer to order the exact truck you want--in my case, a LWB regular cab w/3.0L V6 and standard tranny--while still getting the incentives? My local dealer says you gotta take what they got on the lot.

    I tried Autobytel a couple of weeks ago. Can't say I'm too impressed so far. Any advice would be appreciated.
  • rite3rite3 Member Posts: 69
    Toyota means alot of things to me but mostly it means resale value. I bought my 1990 extracab v6 4x4 5 years ago, it had 37k on it and I paid 10500 bucks for it. I am in the full size hunt now, because my needs have changed and I need more room. I have researched the value of my truck in the real world for months. I will ask 10k for it, and with 80k miles on the truck I am sure I'll get close to that for it. Buy the toyotas.
  • RoclesRocles Member Posts: 982

    You are nuts! If any idiot pays 10k for your old TOY than I will surely kiss your rear-end. Get real. You wouldn't get close here in Delaware. MAYBE In California but then again, the people out there are different.
  • rite3rite3 Member Posts: 69
    Rocles, Well your right I dont live in Delaware, as a matter of fact I dont even know where Deleware is. Just kidding, I remember your state from history class. I live in Washington ST in the north west and around here the v6 4x4's like mine go for 8k to as much as 13k. I know that may seem a little steep, But our market here is honestly that steep. Dont take my word for it, check out and see for yourself. Oh yeah, I am a little nuts, you have to be to want to spend over 30k on a truck.
  • jdwojdwo Member Posts: 1
    Dan, I've been checking into several vehicles lately and found that AutobyTel will give me 500 over dealer invoice and they will order the truck like I want it (Toy4x4v6xcab5spd). Look around. Even if you must drive a little ways to find a cooperative AutobyTel or dealership in which he/she works, do it.
  • dssdss Member Posts: 1
    Just bought a Toyota Tacoma, 4WD x-cab because my last one was destroyed in a 50 mph broadside collision in which I sustained no injury .. built like a tank, 105K miles and looked like it was just off the show room floor before we got hit ... I looked at the others, but came back to Toyota; although a little high, if this one's as sturdy and the last one, it'll be worth it. Now, I have to decide if the $900 extra warranty plan is worth the price???? anybody got any ideas on that??
  • BrutusBrutus Member Posts: 1,113
    If you're looking into a warranty, you might check out the FWI conference. I personally am not a big fan of extended warranties, but I read some things in that area that were interesting. It sounds like you can get more coverage for longer periods for less money from companies like Warranty Gold and their competitors than you can get from the manufacter. One plan will refund you 85% of your premium at the end of your warranty if you never use it. I think they also have payment plans. It's probably worth taking a look in that conference if you're considering an extended warranty.
  • wantaf150wantaf150 Member Posts: 19
    I would not get the warranty- especially on a Tacoma. Although I'm more of a Ford Ranger fan, the Tacoma is a great truck and a warranty on it ($900 out of your pocket) would be a waste of your hard-earned moola.
  • thor_0thor_0 Member Posts: 1
    I like toyota trucks
  • BrutusBrutus Member Posts: 1,113
    In topic #5, "goofyfoot73" referenced an article in Motortrend Magazine that compared the Ford Ranger Splash, the dodge Dakota, the Tacoma, and the Sonoma. The article can be found at the Motortrend site at When the first page pops up, scroll through the articles and select "Sports Truck for the Buck".

    The criteria for the test was a V-6 Extended Cab. This eliminated the Nissan Frontier and the S-10. The S-10 was replaced by the Sonoma. The Ranger covered the Mazda and Ford. The Dakota and Sonoma were both EPA classified as midsize pickups, while the Ranger and Tacoma were classified as small pickups.

    Although the testers set the criteria as a V-6, they tested the Dakota with the V-8 and it appears to have been the 5.9L V-8. Needless to say, the Dakota won hands down. The other three trucks scored fairly similiar overall. The Dakota was also $3,000-$6,000 more expensive than the competition when equiped with similar equipment (sport truck price identified by Motortrend).

    Based on the article, if I were in the market for one of these four trucks, I'd buy the Dakota. Then again, I'm a full size truck person. Testing a pricier, midsize V-8 against a more economical, small size V-6 seems a little odd. Still, the article is worth the read for anyone interested in buying a less-than-fullsize pickup.
  • toymantoyman Member Posts: 4
    As you can tell, I'm a toyota fan. I'm currently on my second truck and have 171K on my '85 model. I'm going to buy a new truck because I now need an extended cab.

    Although, I'm a Toy fan, I will probably buy a Dodge Dakota. I do feel the toyota is more reliable but the dodge seems to be built better (body is more sturdy), rides better, has more room, and I can probably get the v6 for the same price I would pay for the 4 cyl tacoma ext. cab.

    I agree the toyotas have the reliability and resale value locked up. I'm just willing to take my chances on a dodge.

    Any comments on the new dodge would be appreciated.
  • MotormouthMotormouth Member Posts: 99
    Edmunds has an excellent article, chocked full of info regarding compact pickup trucks. You might want to check it out in addition to reading each others comments...

    Here's a hot link you can click on to take you there:

    1998 Compact Pickup Truck Shootout
  • MotormouthMotormouth Member Posts: 99
    If your search goes beyond simply "Ford vs GM" you can find lots of other Road Tests here:
    Other Truck Road Tests

    Check 'em out.
  • iceman2241iceman2241 Member Posts: 1
    I recently purchased a V-6 Extended Cab 4x4 automatic...and I flat love it....I researched a total of 2 months and discovered that vehicles vary in their ability to hold their value and that careful consideration would need to be taken. The largest consideration in a vehicle is it reliability, cost, and lastly the supply and demand of that vehicle in the market. It was extremely hard to find used Toyota trucks in the market. It was also hard to locate new 4x4 V-6 Ext Cabs with the SR5 Packages with CD and the I was patient and found the truck...THE 1998 V-6 4x4 Automatic Toyota...if you can find it! "Your gonna flat love it" I guarantee it!
  • bhohstabhohsta Member Posts: 3
    There is no shortage of used Toyota Pickups around here, but are they really so much better that they are worth the 10-20% higher cost than the other makes?
  • bhohstabhohsta Member Posts: 3
    How about some feeback on the 98 Nissan Frontier? I mean something more than "don't buy it because it is ugly." Also the 4 cylinder now has 154 horses, which is plenty for my needs. I am thinking seriously of buying one because right now they are going for 2000 less than invoice! Any Nissan owners out there?
  • lwflwf Member Posts: 223
    I used to be. If you look again, you'll find that it's 143, not 154 HP. But if you drive one, it'll feel more like 103 HP. In my opinion it's grossly under powered, and every review of it I've read says the same thing. I had an '87 Nissan V6 pickup, and I liked it so much I thought I'd be buying Nissan pickups for the rest of my life. Then I test drove the '98 Frontier. It's no coincidence they use dogs in their ads. It is one. It's also no coincidence they're giving large rebates. No one wants them, and Nissan knows that so they have to drop the price to unload them. I ended up buying an American-made truck, but the advice from this ex-Nissan pickup enthusiast is to buy anything but a Frontier.
  • bhohstabhohsta Member Posts: 3
    Yeah the Frontier is no hot rod, but then I was looking for a mountain goat, not a race horse. You were right about the HP, 143. I got it mixed up with the torque, 154. And in 4L, that motor works fine, and I do spend time in 4L. And it cruises the freeway at 70-80 no problem. And its a really nice truck other than the motor. Great seats, standard includes Air and a good stereo, cloth buckets, dual airbags you can turn off, nice trim. I know all this because I bought one today, an xcab for $3900 below sticker. I immediately took it for an off road test, and it was real sturdy (I have owned 4 different 4 wd's) and plenty torquey enough. Anyway, as you said, you liked Nissans great execept for the engine in the Frontier, so for someone who isn't offended by the 4 cylinder, its a great deal.
  • danz28danz28 Member Posts: 19
    When will GM and Ford put some REAL horses in their compact regular cab pickups.

    1. Ford/Mazda base engine - 2.5L SOHC 117 HP
    2, Chevy/GMC/Isuzu base engine - 2.2L OHV 120hp
    3. Nissan Frontier - 2.4L DOHC 143hp
    4. Toyota Tacoma - 2.4L DOHC 142hp

    GM could easily put the 2.4L DOHC found in upscale Cavaliers/Sunfires rated at 150hp and blow the competition away! Ford builds an excellent truck but they lack any real power.

    As for V6s, for the price you pay for these options you could get a nice full size pickup.
  • lwflwf Member Posts: 223
    The best of luck with it bhohsta. I'm sure it will serve you well. Mine did for close to 11 years and almost 140,000 miles and one of my kids took it over (a couple of months ago) and it still has no problems. It has the original clutch too. Sorry for venting like that, but I thought Nissan really screwed up by dropping the six cylinder a couple of years ago. Why couldn't they leave well enough alone or at least make up for it by bringing back the six when they introduced the new (Fontier) body style? There was an article in the news a couple of months ago that three vice presidents of Nissan here in the States got fired because of the Frontier and Altima blunders, so it's clear I'm not the only one who was upset about that.

    And to danz28, I completely agree with your statement regarding the V6 option in these pickups, and I've been waiting for someone else to say it. I had mentioned in another topic that I had picked out a V6 XLT Ranger for myself, but it was only $1500 less than an F150 with what I considered to have superior options, so I got the F150. It was well worth the slightly extra cost.

    You also mentioned that you didn't care for the low-powered 4-cylinder engines in Ford and GM PUs.
    I also consider the GM and Ford fours to be relics from what should be the long-forgotten past. But I just don't understand why anyone would buy a four-cylinder pickup anyway, so it doesn't seem all that important for them to upgrade them to current engine designs. I do think, however, that Dodge, Ford and GMC should all offer a V6 with DOHC. Since this technology seems to have been proven over and over, it's kind of hard to understand why we still have push rods in those pickup engines.
  • squonksquonk Member Posts: 2
    Why buy a 4 cyl. pick-up? How about real life 25 mpg city/30 hwy. Most people haul air in the beds of their trucks, 120 hp is actually quite adequate for that.

    As for DOHC engines, beyond making cool sounds, I don't see that they offer any great advantage over OHV engines, especially in a low end torque desiring trucks. The are more costly to make and repair and they generally get attrocious mileage. As for proven technology, the things that GM continues to do with the pushrod 350 (in the corvette and camaro), now that's technology.
    Tell me again why we need DOHC engines in trucks?
  • danz28danz28 Member Posts: 19
    I still say that GM could ditch that pathetic 2.2L OHV and put in the far better 2.4L DOHC 150hp engine, just to keep up with the Toyota and Nissan.

    As for Ford, it needs another cam and about 35 more horses.

    GM should stick to their pushrod V6s and V8s (by the way the Corvette/Camaro engine is 347 cu. in. but I know what you were trying to say.)
  • lwflwf Member Posts: 223
    I appreciate squonk's remark about wanting good fuel economy, but I assumed most people who buy a pickup want to haul or tow something with it. If all one is going to do is "haul air in the bed or their truck", why buy a truck? Why not something like a Civic which will get even better economy?

    As for DOHC engines getting atrocious fuel mileage, I don't think that has been proven. I believe that the opposite is the case and that the 4-cylinder Toyota and Nissan will do better than the lower-powered 4-cylinder Ford and Chevy. One thing we'll have to admit about the Japanese pickups, they are not ashamed of their fuel consumption figures and publish them in their catalogs. I wish the American companies would do the same.
  • puttyputty Member Posts: 1
    I own an '82 Toyota longbed that I bought dirt cheap. It has been extremely reliable, but I'm thinking about getting a newer truck. 92-93 Toyotas are too expensive. My question is, will I be satisfied with the reliability of a Ranger or Nissan? I'd really like to know if there's something as good--or almost as good--as a Toyota for less money.
  • BrutusBrutus Member Posts: 1,113
    The new Ranger is considered a really good truck, with one exception. And it's a big exception for alot of truck owners. It's considered underpowered compared to some of the other trucks it competes with. The critics say the problem could be resolved if they offered the same engines for the Ranger as they do for the Explorers. I think I heard that the Ford V-6 is different in the two vehicles. Anyone know why they would use an inferior V-6 when they already have a replacement.
  • BrutusBrutus Member Posts: 1,113
    I was watching the news tonight and the insurance industry just issued crash ratings for the top five compact trucks. None of them received a "good" rating. That seems to take away some of the incentive of owning a truck.
  • enyaw24enyaw24 Member Posts: 1
    I used to have a '93 Nissan 4x4 with the 2.4 L 4-cylinder. It was so underpowered it took 2 days to get up to 60mph. Then, after owning it for 3 years, I've had to replace the front wheel bearings twice. I heard some pretty scary noises coming from the transfer case (at least that's where I'm guessing it was coming from) which sounded like metal rubbing against metal every revolution, whenever it was in 4WD or even if it was still in 2WD with the hubs locked. Other than that I loved it. It was an eyecatcher too with the factory polished steel wheels. It just looked better than it performed. In fact, the only vehicle I could ever beat to 60 mph was a geo metro, and it was a close one, too. (not that I drag raced the thing, I was just trying to keep up with everybody else.) However, I am convinced that the engine itself would have lasted forever. It ran like a top, just didn't move like one. I've since traded it in for a '98 Malibu with a V-6. I now feel like I can keep up with everybody, but it's not as eyecatching as my lil pickup ever was, and I bought it based on looks, not for hauling. I think if I would have started out with a Toyota 4x4, I'd probably still own it to this day, based on a lot of the postings I see.
  • timztimz Member Posts: 1
    Last year I bought a new Chevy S-10 LS 3 door ext cab. At the time, I also needed a vehicle that I could tow behind my RV and wanted a manual transmission to simplify that process. My only real complaint with this vehicle is a lack of power, but that is my fault. I opted for the 4 cyl motor with the 5 speed transmission. The ext cab is fairly heavy and the little four provides only marginal acceleration. The real selling point was the third door. Most of my hauling is of the few 2 X 4's or two sheets of plywood variety so I didn't need a lot of load capacity. The s-10 rides fairly well, is relatively quiet and with the LS trim and air conditioning is comfortable enough. The truck has a 4:10 rear end making for a lot of rpm at highway speeds but still averages 24-25 mpg making it economical to operate. Had the third door been an option on either the Ranger or Mazda, they would have been my choice with the 3.0 engine and an automatic transmission. Chevy would be well advised to offer either the 3.1 V-6 or the 3.4 in their little trucks. The jump to the 4.3 kills any hope of fuel economy.
This discussion has been closed.