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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, so as the title suggests, I need (well, want) to get a pickup truck. I would like a compact truck for several reasons. So the Ram's, F150's, etc. are not an option.

Doing some research, it appears the general consensus is the domestic market has pretty much 'given up' on the compact line-ups. While much reworking & improving has been done to Ford, Chevy & Dodge's 'flagship' models, the 3 compacts, Colorado, Ranger and Dakota have not really been touched by them in about 10 years. And the preowned reliability in Edmunds, Consumer Reports, etc. shows them all to be Ok to poor.

The only other 2 options I see are the Toyota Tacoma and the Nissan Frontier. There's also the Honda Ridgeline which I like, but though classified as a compact, a compact it ain't and it's not an option.

So I'd like peoples opinions and hear inputs. I realize there's probably owners of the Ranger, Dakota and/or Colorado here, and would like your inputs too. I know these car ratings can sometimes be skewed, but I also know there's also cases where some people have a great model, but the overall model could be prone to problems. So any first hand knowledge of any of the models is very good to have.

Couple "Have to Haves":
  • Compact. No full-size. I do not have room in the garage for it, do not need the extra space / towing and want better MPG's than they give.
  • 4 door crew cab. I need the 4 doors. Extended cab or "2+2 cabs" not an option.
  • V6. It won't get much tow-time, but it will have some boat duty. Plus when I go diving I could have 1,000+ pounds of gear and tanks in the back.
  • Looking at '07-'10. Don't really want new as I prefer someone else take the initial depreciation. However, if there's been serious changes to a model to make it worth looking at a new one, I'm not against it.


That's pretty much it for have to haves, the rest is wants and is open.

I'm leaning to the Toyota, simply because I had one of their 4x4 pickups (albeit 15 years ago) and it really was reliable. But not completely sold yet, the one thing I've read in reviews is the ride is not that comfortable, so I need to verify that.

Final note, I haven't driven any of them yet. Plan to do that this weekend.

Thanks everyone!
 

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I drive a 2009 Frontier SE 4x4 and love it! I bought it new. I really like the Toyota's, but the Nissan truck is just "beefier". It uses a lot of steel and performs much more like my Ford F150. About the only drawbacks are the turning radius (which is slightly larger than that of an aircraft carrier) and the lack of a way to plug my iPhone into the factory stereo. I've to just under 40,000 miles on mine and have had zero issues.

Very capable tower for anything under 7,000 lbs and you'll not have a problem when loaded with 1,000 lbs of gear. I've hauled lots of wood flooring in mine without any issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the info banker! I'm going to go drive them this weekend, so that's good input.

I've also considered opening up the selection to smaller 'full-size', so we'll see. Need to check some size specs, but some of the fullsize aren't much longer than the compacts.

As to the mp3 input, yea I have that problem today. But I've pretty much decided whatever I get I'll be replacing the stock radio with a new radio with USB & mp3 direct input and iPhone direct control.
 

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I will say that the Toyota's have a nicer interior. Just a bit better finish... more "car like". Nissan make a crew cab long-bed version of the Frontier. I must say that I wish that I'd have gotten that option.

Let me know what you end up doing. I'd like to hear your impressions of both.
 

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Well, it's not V6, only 2 seater, and probably not available in the US, but the Holden Special Vehicles Maloo V8 ute is a fantastic product!! (HSV is to Holden what AMG is to Mercedes) My brother in law has an HSV Clubsports, a great big V8 4 door power machine. The Maloo is a great option for those wanting a 2 door sports car, as holden stopped making the Monaro (which was rebadged and resold as a Pontiac GTO in the US a few years back)


 

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Depending on the boat size and whether or not you have trailor breaks, good breaking would be on my short list. Years ago I briefly trailored my 19' boat (no trailor breaks) with a '73 El Cameno (car with a bed :lol:)... breaking was **** poor and unsafe... baught a used C2500 to take care of that :001_smile: I'm not familiar with compact trucks, are their breaks equal to say a 1/2 ton full size?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey Houdini,

Breaking should be OK. For boat towing I'm about 7 miles from the ramp I use and the highest speed limit in the route is 35mph. The boat loaded up to the hilt is just under 2,800 pounds, and honestly it'll see very little boat action as I usually tow it with the Honda Pilot. But, it'll see some.



Wombat,
That's pretty cool looking! Never heard of them so I don't think they're available here either. Kinda looks like a new version of the old El Camino (what Houndi mentioned) a bit.
 

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Well for MPG you wont get what you want. I too prefer the toyotas based on personal ownership, but several of my friends still have them, newer models like you speak of.

MPG, well my 1ton 5.9L diesel Cummins (4x4 mega cab) gets better MPG (slightly) than both my friends Tacomas, both of which are crew cab 4x4s, and that's hand calculated, not the "lie-o-meter".

I think they ride nice, but then both my trucks are heavy duty diesels 3/4ton 7.3 ford 4x4 and the above Dodge which basically ride like tanks compared to a car.
 

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Hey Scott. I highly recommend a Toyota Tacoma Pre-runner edition, at least in SR5 Trim. Fits your requirements and they are hard to kill. They'll tow 5K no problem and still fit in the garage. My co-worker has one and loves it!

I just bought a truck myself, and I am a domestic driver (Bought a Ford F150) BUT as you have already found out, when it comes to the compact or midsize trucks, the imports have the big 3 beat IMO.

 

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Sooooo. How were the test drives?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Unfortunately the classes ended up running long over the weekend and I didn't get a chance... :cursing:

I found a Tacoma here at a dealer close by, so I may get out there this afternoon.


Hey Banker, one of the things I noticed on the Nissan is it appears the back seats (or at least the doors) are smaller than they are on the Toyota. How much back room is back there? Is there enough legroom for a 6' tall guy to ride comfortably on a long drive?
 

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Unfortunately the classes ended up running long over the weekend and I didn't get a chance... :cursing:

I found a Tacoma here at a dealer close by, so I may get out there this afternoon.


Hey Banker, one of the things I noticed on the Nissan is it appears the back seats (or at least the doors) are smaller than they are on the Toyota. How much back room is back there? Is there enough legroom for a 6' tall guy to ride comfortably on a long drive?
NO the rear seat room is VERY small, Nissan has slightly more. I'm 6' and one hour was my maximum...just as bad as an extended cab, but no way for a long trip....too bad because it would be my prefect hunting vehicle...but not for adults
 

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My 6'1" son has been on several 5+ hr drives with us without complaint. He and his wife drive a Chrysler 300M and he's commented that the back row in the Nissan is much roomier than he would have thought.

It's not exactly the back seat of a '73 Buick, but I don't feel like I'm cramming my guests in a Yugo's glove compartment either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks again everyone! :thumbup1:

Well spent ALL day Saturday (and part of Sunday) with a stack of trucks to check out. 97 degree air temp and 90%+ humidity made for a fun 2 days of truck shopping. I have never been so glad to get back to the work week!

Looked at a minimum of 20 Saturday and the best of the bunch was actually the 1st one I'd looked at (on Thursday). Funny how that always seems to be the case. Anyways, it was a pretty good deal - '06 double cab in my #1 preferred color (red), 80K miles, tow-kit and the 6' bed. It had the SR5 treatment, but not much else in upgrades, but that was OK. The driver seat was comfortable, but as I was warned the back not so much. Fine for an around town drive in the back seat, not sure I'd want to be sitting in the back on an all day road trip though.

While the truck price wasn’t bad, the trade value they offered was not quite what I was asking for. However all said it wasn’t a bad deal, but I decided to sleep on it, maybe see a few more options Sunday and then see what I thought. But it was looking good.

Sunday AM headed out to get a 2nd quote on my trade at a CarMax. I thought if nothing else it would give me something to compare, and if they were good enough a second option maybe sel to them & take the cash to get the other one. Though they’d have to be much higher to make it worth selling to them then buying the other (in Ga. Your entire trade value is tax-free on the purchase). Well after the appraisal they ended up offering me over 2K more! Hey OK! So, decided to look at what they had. No Tacoma's, but they had a great looking Tundra. '07 with 50k, my 2nd choice in color (black) and loaded to the hilt with options. I think it has everything it can without being a limited version. And the seating was like sitting in an airliner 1st class seat, nice! More front seat room and definitely more back-seat room than the Tacoma. The only downsize is I’m looking for a compact, not a fullsize. And this one even had the 8' bed!!

Well, after thinking it over there I did the math on the Tacoma and realized that the Tacoma won't fit in my main garage either without doing a lot of moving around of shelves & such and would probably end up being parked outside anyways. Considering the Tundra gives me leather, JBL audio system, navigation, factory backup camera, bluetooth and a tone of extra storage room, stability control, traction control, better comfort, much more room in the back seats, a more powerful motor and all for less than $3,000 difference with the trade difference, I had to give it some serious consideration. The gas mileage is a little less (1 mpg), but everything I've read says the Tacoma is good without any weight, but start adding cargo or a trailer & mileage drops off the cliff, where the Tundra stays more consistent. But considering I drive 5,000 a year, a mile or two per gallon isn't going to make a huge difference.

So after some serious consideration decided to go with the Tundra and it’s sitting in the driveway now. I'm still surprised. I started out going one way and ended up 180 degrees in the other direction. But with the add-ons, more comfortable seating and more room front and back, and the extra storage / bed size I think it'll be a great truck to last me for the next 10+ years. And the backup camera will come to be a big plus when hitching up the boat. Plus once I finish the basement remodel at the house, all the boxes I have stored in the basement garage will be cleared out, and the Tundra will fit in there. So it’ll eventually still get a roof over its head.

So far (all 24 hours into it) I’m very pleased. Looking back I know if I’d bought the Tacoma only to end up parking it outside or in the basement garage I’d have been kicking myself saying “I should have gotten a full-size” and not been as happy in the end.

Couple quick pictures…












The seats actually have more leg room than it seems in these pics. I can set the drivers seat to where I like it and then climb in the backseat and be perfectly comfortable (at 6'2").






Taking on its first road trip over to Alabama this weekend, so looking forward to it. :thumbup: :thumbup:
 

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Nice truck!


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Wow, that thing is hooooooooooge!! No wonder it won't fit in your garage. But a nice looking truck, and sounds like a great deal that you got. I'm sure you are going to enjoy skippering that liner around for a while to come.
 

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Nice one Scott - looks like a great deal :thumbup1:.
Pity I came in late - I was going to suggest the new Ford Ranger - it's been getting rave reviews everywhere I've read, but I'm not sure this model is available in the US just yet? It's been designed by Ford in Australia but it's to be released as in international model from what I believe.
Check out the pic in this URL (you can click and drag to get a 360 degree view of it.

http://www.ford.co.nz/servlet/Satel...pper&site=FNZ&WT.ac=Hotspot_RHS_360View_P375\http://www.ford.co.nz/servlet/Satel...apper&site=FNZ&WT.ac=Hotspot_RHS_360View_P375


(I've just checked the Ford USA website & the Ford Ranger in the images there look nothing like the one I've linked to above - I think the US model is still the 2011 version).
 
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