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Home / History / Is The Age Of The Small Truck Upon Us (Again)?

 

GM recently revealed plans to make a new Chevy Colorado truck, a small size passenger truck. This has prompted rumors of the return of the Ford Ranger and the introduction of the VW Amarok on American soil. Is there enough demand to spark a second coming of the compact truck? Maybe.  

Vintage Compact Truck

With upcoming CAFE regulations and the common acceptance that fuel prices are never really going to go back down, automakers and drivers alike are looking back at the small truck and wondering if they made a mistake.

Interestingly enough, three trucks dominated January 2014 sales: Dodge Ram (3), Chevy Silverado (2), and Ford F-Series (1). Sure, those are all full-size models, but the sentiment is the same — people are in love with their trucks right now and would be more receptive than ever to new models. Plus, the Toyota Tacoma, a smaller truck, surpassed Sierra sales in 2013 and could easily become the 4th best selling truck in the United States.

A New Day for the Compact Truck

Currently, the Honda Ridgeline, Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma account for this class of vehicle in the United States. Two models aren’t enough to spark a new small truck movement, but maybe a few new models from one of the Detroit three could do it? This is where it gets really interesting — there are two exciting compact trucks coming to the market soon.

Chevrolet Colorado Pickup

GM recently revealed plans to release new Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon models. These trucks are most definitely going to give Toyota and Nissan a run for their money when production begins.

Canyon Pickup

Not a GM truck fan? That’s okay because the release of these two models will likely force the other big auto manufacturers (back) into the niche. Rumors about the Ford Ranger’s return or a compact F-100 model have been circling since this time last year.

Ranger Pickup

Then there are compact trucks out there like the Amarok that don’t exist in North America, but people sure wish they did. A 25% “chicken tax” that still exists for imported small trucks has kept that model from reaching state side, but VW might still bring it to this country if sales of American models do soar.

Compact Trucks Are Unlike Any Other Vehicle…

Smaller sized trucks are very interesting creatures — they’re certainly not cars, but they don’t have a ton in common with the full-size pickups either. Their construction makes them extremely versatile but also limits their function. Once upon a time, people used to drive small trucks as commuter vehicles, family vehicles, and they even functioned as light-duty work trucks (think contractors, handymen, not so much hard labor workers) — but the age of the big trucks and full-size SUVs changed that. However, those same reasons people used to love small trucks are very much still valid.

Here’s a breakdown of the good and the bad when it comes to compact trucks…

Pros: 

  • Better on fuel than larger trucks
  • More room for hauling than cars or SUVs
  • Great off-road potential
  • Their light weight has prompted people to make track vehicles out of models in the past
  • More affordable insurance rates overall
  • Most people find them easier to drive than full-size pickups

The cons are kind of obvious, but I’ll list them out anyways to be fair.

Cons: 

  • Little appeal to construction workers
  • Not as much room to haul/smaller truck beds
  • Much lighter towing capacity

Personally, I’m excited about the idea of the return of the small truck and I think a lot of people agree with that notion, do you?

 

About the author: ElizabethE

 

Elizabeth Puckett is an automotive enthusiast with a special interest in racing and performance. She is also a professionally trained writer and reporter who always has one eye on the industry and the latest trends.

 

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