By on August 31, 2012

 

Ford Ranger. Volkswagen Amarok. Toyota Hilux. Chevrolet…err…Holden Colorado. These are the mid-size pickups that are unavailable to us Americans, a once thriving segment now hollowed out by market economics and unfavorable CAFE regulations. But the crew at PickupTrucks.com managed to wrangle the four up in Australia, and pick a winner in the segment. Read all about it here. We won’t spoil the surprise.

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40 Comments on “PickupTrucks.Com Tests New Pack Of Global Mid-Size Trucks...”


  • avatar
    gkhize

    Wish Ford would bring the Ranger to the States assuming it would get some decent gas mileage. I’m a die-hard Ford guy currently driving a Chevy Colorado that I traded an F150 FX4 for. The Ford felt like driving a box car around it was so big and on a good day on the highway got maybe 15 mpg. Looked at 4×4 Rangers and their mileage was only marginally better than the F150. My 4×4 Colorado with a 2.9 4 cyl pulls as much as 24 mpg and is way easier to get around town in. Granted it won’t win many drag races, but it’s a truck. Now I know the new Ford trucks get pretty decent mileage right up there with my Colorado so it’s a step in the right direction. Why don’t they take one of their 30+ mpg car engines and put it in this Ranger? Even with truck gearing it should still pull at least high 20s. Not everyone wants or needs a full size truck. I’d think a 30 mpg truck would sell like crazy with today’s gas prices. If they don’t want to lose f-series sales just call it the F100.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Well written article by TTAC’s counterparts. All four of these mid-size trucks should be available in the US. Only GM has the foresight to bring the Colorado. I’m surprised Toyota doesn’t make the Hilux the one world truck. I’m surprised VW doesn’t sell the Anorak in their goal of total world domination. A lot of current/former Ranger owners have drank the hateraid over Ford killing the Ranger. A 4X4X4 mid-size truck would sell here. 4X4X4?, 4 cylinders, 4 speeds, 4 tires.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      Two words: “Chicken Tax.”

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        To the extent that any of these trucks are made in Australia, the Chicken tax does not apply to Australia anymore.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        The Amarok is built in Argentina, the other three are all built in Thailand.

      • 0 avatar
        ezeolla

        Can’t they not install the bed until it gets to US shores and then avoid the chicken tax? I feel like I remember reading somewhere that that is one of the work-arounds.

        If so, I will take a Ranger extended cab (or whatever they call it) with the 3.2, 4×4, and the stick shift.

        Please and thank you

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Three words: “Knock Down Kit”. If there was a market for it here, it would be here.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        When did the chicken tax stop applying to Australia? Isn’t it what keeps car-based utes out of the US? As said above, these trucks are Thai or Argentinian anyway. That being said, the chicken tax doesn’t apply to trucks with two rows of seats, so none of the trucks would be subject to the chicken tax as they were tested.

      • 0 avatar
        BrianL

        US has a free trade agreement with Australia. So, no more chicken tax on products made there.

        But, even so, the Hilux doesn’t have to be made overseas to be sold here. We have a Tacoma being made here. Why not make it the same vehicle is the better question.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        No market in the US for $50K compact trucks would be one reason. A friend bought a Tacoma SR-5 ‘Prerunner’ 2wd with a V6 in 2008 for what I believe was less than $20K. He liked it so much that the next year he bought one with 4wd. The Tacoma emphasizes comfort, ride, and affordability while the HiLux is a work truck for places where there are no 3/4 ton turbo diesels.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      I think the next variant of the Hilux(a Lot of work being done on it in Australia), will replace the Tacoma, as long as the US Diesel regulations are inline with Euro V1

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    Will any of these toy trucks get better gas mileage than the new Pentastar Ram or haul more than a minivan?

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      “Toy trucks?” No bias there, eh? In any case, if you read the article, they have a payload of over 2000 lbs. A Dodge Caravan has a payload of 1700 lbs in mid-level trim. And a RAM 1500 has a payload of only 1500 lbs.

      The Amarok will tow a 6000+ lb trailer whereas the Caravan does 3600 lbs.

      • 0 avatar
        Dubbed

        But are those trucks rated the same as if they were sold here.

        For the longest you couldn’t directly compare the towing and hauling capabilities of the trucks from GM, Furd, or Dodge because their methods of testing to get the numbers were not comparable.

      • 0 avatar
        billfrombuckhead

        The American Tacoma’s payload is rated at 1310 its and Grand Caravan will kick a Tacoma’s ass from shore to shore on 1800 lbs payload, performance, handling, enclosed cargo, gas mileage and safety. Yes, I’m prejudiced, compact trucks are a hoax and Honda agreed with me since their truck is a minivan in disguise.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        “But are those trucks rated the same as if they were sold here.

        For the longest you couldn’t directly compare the towing and hauling capabilities of the trucks from GM, Furd, or Dodge because their methods of testing to get the numbers were not comparable.”
        Yes what you can compare is the payload and US 1/2 tons have a lot less. Towing is another issue entirely as the GCWR is downrated outside NA, so they can have substantially lower towing ratings than in NA.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    I didn’t check out gas mileage in the report. The Anorak can haul two Australian pallets FWIW. Australian shipping pallets might be a tad bigger/smaller than US ones. An obscure measurement that might be critical for US buyers who will buy an Anorak to haul things.

    • 0 avatar
      outback_ute

      I think they are referring to Euro pallets, repeating a claim from VW, because standard Australian pallets are approx 4′ square and you wouldn’t fit two of those unless perhaps with the tailgate down – would want to be lightly loaded pallets with 90% of the load behind the axle.

      The Amarok is the only one that will take a pallet between the wheel arches though, the rest are <1200mm wide there.

  • avatar
    JMII

    (sound of phone numbers being tapped into iPhone) Hello Ford… I’ll need to replace my Dodge Dakota in a few years and would love to buy a diesel Ranger, I know you make one… (sound of crickets) (sound of dial tone)

  • avatar

    Hi Derek,

    I’ve driven all four and agree with the magazine. On an objective and subjective level the Ranger is just better.

    The other I’d rank differently. In second place I’d flip a coin between Chevy and Toyota. Depends on your priorities. I place the Amarok dead last.

    To sum up: The Ranger is by a slight margin better. Better handling, interesting internal and external design, as comfy as a PU can be. For some the Chevy is too soft, so the Hilux would be second, but I think that the Toyota just looks old. Inside and out. Add that to the scarcity of equipment with a high price tag and the Chevy comes in second. The VW is last ’cause I think the design is boring, the engine is weak and it competes with the Hilux in offering less for more.

    All of the above from my Brazilian POV.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Nope. There’s no more chicken tax. This was argued last week or the week before last on TTAC. Some dude kept quoting a Melbourne newspaper article and the B&B quoted government sites on trade regulations. It turned into a mockery of a parody of a sham. I doubt there’s any chicken tax on any country we have free trade agreements with. I’m too lazy to look up trade regulations and I gotta go buy some steaks.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Does Ford still ship Transit Connects with seats that they pull out and scrap before sale?

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        D’oh, I stand corrected. Being intellectually lazy and waiting for the office to empty out.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @CJinSD: “Does Ford still ship Transit Connects with seats that they pull out and scrap before sale?”

        What was hashed out last week was that there is no chicken tax for vehicles made in Australia.

        The Transit Connects that you’re referring to are being made in Turkey, and imports from Turkey are charged the chicken tax.

        Back when I was looking at a transit connect, I’d heard that they were going start making them in the US at some point. Maybe that’s happened? I’ve certainly been seeing a lot of them around. I really like that simple truck-like minivan for what it is.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The chicken tax doesn’t apply to Australia, the NAFTA zone, South Korea, Chile, Israel and several other countries, but it still exists.

      However, the tax isn’t really that important, given all of the other loopholes. The US car market is not really impacted by it in any meaningful way.

  • avatar

    Guys, I am investigating this matter for a story…it looks like the real enemy is CAFE, not trade barriers.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      But GM goes against the flow and will bring the Colorado?

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The real “enemy” is the lack of a market.

      Compact trucks caught on during the early 70s because of the OPEC crisis. They morphed into a sort of hipster form of transportation, since they were cheap but didn’t carry the stigma of being cheap.

      The yen is no longer 300 to a dollar and safety standards were increased, so those compact trucks are no longer a bargain. Meanwhile, the buyers who didn’t die got older, and moved up into SUVs, etc.

      By the early 80s, the OPEC crisis ended, and Americans could go back to buying heavier vehicles, since they no longer had to worry about odd-even rationing schemes or waiting in gas lines for hours, only to find that the gas station had run out of gas when it was their turn. The taste that had been acquired for those compact trucks would evolve into providing demand for a broader based consumer SUV market; some buyers simply lost or never acquired a taste for regular passenger cars, and opted to replace their small pickups with larger truck-like vehicles that could carry their families.

      People seem to have forgotten the OPEC crisis and the impact that it had on the US car buying market. Gas just didn’t get more costly, it became hard to find. Consumers’ interest in reducing consumption intensifies when they simply can’t buy fuel at any price, since there isn’t enough of it for sale.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        The “Real Enemy” is their diesels which do not meet US Tier regulations. In many cases these Pickups do not have gas options. The Overseas Ranger certainly does not. Yes they have much heavier payloads, better fuel economy, great off road ability (see the Dakar Rally results), tow more using a gooseneck or 5th wheel hitch. In Australia you can have a ute bed attached(A lot do) than can stretch to 8 ft 6 inches in length.
        Downside is the Diesel engine and a much narrower width(favored in Asia)that would make them cramped “SUV’s with Beds” that NA drivers like. The ride is firmer than the F150, but far from harsh.

      • 0 avatar
        outback_ute

        Not quite true Robert, the base Ranger comes with a 2.5 4cyl gas engine and 5sp. Single cab 4×2 only, $19,790 RRP.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    I’m guessing Aussie diesel emission regs are much more Euro-like than US-like. So they get diesels that work like “good old” US diesels with nice high compression, non-monster amounts of EGR, and lean AFR at part throttle for good economy.

    Nice looking trucks, but @ 50 grand maybe my value system is irreversibly off.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      Cars are taxed heavily in Australia.

      Direct currency conversions of prices are always dangerous.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Yes they are more Euro like in fact they will be Euro V. US Pickup Diesels have always performed poorly on fuel economy in Australia.
      US Tier compliant diesels cannot be imported by an off shoot of one of the “Big 3″. An individual can import under the restricted quota scheme.

    • 0 avatar
      outback_ute

      indi500fan – these are not “work trucks” at those trim levels and prices. They start below $20k but when you add diesels, 4×4, autos, lots of fluff & all the toys that’s what you get – or at least it is until Great Wall sell more diesel 4×4 crew cabs at $25k. Toyota has had to cut their prices in response the the new models already, also most of these pickups would be sold on fleet pricing discounts.

  • avatar
    thx_zetec

    CAFE is not the only thing going against non-huge trucks, but it is one thing.

    Making a smaller vehicle is simplest way to increase efficiency. You can avoid expensive, complex technologies like Aluminum, hybrids, etc. with a lighter, more streamlined, smaller-engine vehicle. The new CAFE law penalizes smaller vehicle by applying higher mpg mandates to smaller vehicles (“foot print”, wheelbase * track).

    Do google search under “Ford f150 wsj” you’ll see that Ford is planning to use a large amount of aluminum in future F150 to meet CAFE. This is expensive and costs more to repair. What if Ford had achieved weight savings with a smaller truck made of simpler less expensive materials? CAFE would let them, it would have required an even higher mpg and thus means you gotta use exotic technology on all vehicles.

    As mentioned diesel regulations also hurt, but incentive to add diesel to small truck is less. Modern diesels add 3-4 k$, this is easier to justify with a giant truck. You save a lot more going from 15 to 20 mpg then going from 24 to 32 mpg.

    Where the new CAFE discourages small trucks it encourages HUGE trucks. The super-duties etc will not be regulated. Get ready for lots lots more 6500 lb F350’s.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Not to mention the return of the Excursion on an F350 chassis.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      “Where the new CAFE discourages small trucks it encourages HUGE trucks. The super-duties etc will not be regulated. Get ready for lots lots more 6500 lb F350′s.”

      Would not call that HUGE in this part of the world. A F350 with a reasonable 6,500lb payload would make a nice TV for a 5th Wheeler.

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    ” The Tacoma emphasizes comfort, ride, and affordability while the HiLux is a work truck for places where there are no 3/4 ton turbo diesels.”

    Hilux’s are the same. A Lot are bought as “cars” The Upmarket Hilux is very similar to the Upmarket Tacoma

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    “outback ute said
    “Not quite true Robert, the base Ranger comes with a 2.5 4cyl gas engine and 5sp. Single cab 4×2 only, $19,790 RRP.”
    You are right forgot about that offering. I would say very few would take it up and it is bit of an anomaly with most of the new Pickups dropping their gas options entirely.


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