By on June 2, 2014

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Next Wednesday, Nissan will unveil a new compact truck, presumably the all-new Frontier/Navara.

 

Our resident compact diesel truck lovers have extoled the versions of the oil-burning Navara as a superior alternative to our full-sizers. With the next Titan getting a 5.0L Cummins V8 diesel, the smaller truck may be in line for one as well. Nissan did show off a Frontier “concept” with a diesel engine not long ago…

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60 Comments on “Compact Trucks Still Alive At Nissan...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Without looking, I’m going to say the current Frontier dates back to… 2000. That means it was due for replacement about nine years ago, which didn’t happen. Damn you, post 04 Pathfinder!

    • 0 avatar
      cwallace

      I’ll bet there are still some old D21 bones in there somewhere too.

    • 0 avatar
      Josh_Howard

      Actually, you’re wrong. The Frontier back in 2000 used warmed over D21 bones. The redesign back in ’05 actually used a scaled down Titan platform. There are pretty much 0 parts shared with a D21 these days. That being said, the Frontier needed a ton of updates around 2-3 years ago. I’m hoping they just update the mini-Titan platform with a ton of new features that add value. Overall, the truck is solid. Unfortunately, it just never got the updates it needed over the years. I mean, seriously, isn’t it about time to get rid of that interior? What I hated about them was that it was impossible to find a 4cyl 4×4 up here in Michigan. There’s no need to have a V6 in that truck when a 4cyl can put down similar power and efficiency numbers. From what I hear, the Titan is once again going to move up and be unveiled in Detroit 2015. Here’s to hoping they make real improvements.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    So new Colorado/Canyon.

    New Ridgeline (which is more midsize than fullsize) comes in 2015.

    Apparently new Frontier.

    The Tacoma needs an upgrade.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The Tacoma uses an old platform, old mechanicals and an old body style. It’s sold around the world, under various nameplates. Here in the States, it probably enjoys higher profit margins than the full-sized domestic trucks. It probably just prints money for Toyota at this point.

      I bet you they’ll stick it out and see how much longer they can get away with selling the same truck.

      • 0 avatar
        SpinnyD

        The Tacoma is only sold here, You’re thinking of the Hilux that the world gets. The Hilux is a much beefier truck than the “Americanized” Tacoma.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          This – and don’t get me wrong, I’ve posted many times in the B&B that the Tacoma is IMHO the only choice if you’re buying a “compact” truck in the United States.

          But with a refreshed Ridgeline coming, Colorado and Canyon with a small diesel option, and the equal ancient Frontier getting refreshed, the Tacoma can only ignore the competition for so long before it’s going to hurt.

          GM probably makes near pure profit on those W-Body Impalas they still sell to fleet (admittedly an extreme example) – doesn’t make it a good decision long term.

          For example regular cab 4-bangers still get a 4-speed automatic, V6 models get a 5-speed automatic.

          When you consider trucks are now sporting 8 and 9 speed automatics, 4 speed is ancient.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            “But with a refreshed Ridgeline coming”

            Was crawling around a Ridgeline in the showroom Saturday when we bought our Fit. It was very impressive there among the sedans and an Odyssey.

            I’ve never before seen anything so bloated and dorky looking manage to also be effete. Worthless vestigial bed on ’em. Like something that embarrasses the rest of the vehicle.

            I don’t know how much they’ll be able to refresh *that*.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @Kyree
        The Tacoma isn’t sold around the world.

        It is slightly different from the Hilux in that the Tacoma is based on a SUV chassis via the Surf.

        There are many interchangeable parts between the two vehicles, sort of like comparing a Tundra to a Landcruiser.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      +1

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    What compact truck? The Frontier as it currently stands is more mid-sized. The most recent compact truck was the Ranger.

  • avatar
    BunkerMan

    If they can keep the price reasonable, these should sell well in Canada. Unfortunately most people will go for a full sizer from the D3, just based upon price alone.

    A stripper 4.0L 4×4 king cab is currently just a hair under $26k (after discounts) in Canada. You can get a 4×4 quad cab RAM with a Hemi for $2k less than that (after discounts). Ford and GM are about the same for their full sizers, depending on how much cash is on the hood.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Hopefully Nissan comes up with some serious upgrades. That would put pressure on Toyota to improve the Tacoma.

    Companies that still make small trucks need to widen the mpg gap between them and 1/2 ton trucks. There isn’t enough of a gap between the 2 classes to justify the small truck other than reduced dimensions.

    I rarely ever see base model small trucks roaming around in my neck of the woods. Most are loaded Tacoma doublecab 4×4 TRD trucks. That fact indicates that price isn’t a primary consideration. I’ve done product searches through Cars.com and that confirms my anecdotal evidence.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Well, I remember that my neighbor was considering an F-150, but it couldn’t fit in his garage. He ended up with one of the last Explorer Sport Trac units.

      • 0 avatar
        BuzzDog

        Yes, the issues of garagability and urban parking lots are driving my decision to return to a smaller pickup. But I’m not everyone, as I just use a truck as a suburban homeowner who likes to garden and DIY on an old house, and for when I don’t want to take my black convertible out in the weather (such as when it’s hailing, or when I’ve just washed it). For those who really need a truck, a full-size is necessary.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Base trucks aren’t even for sale in your area. At least not the regular cab, small trucks. The rest is just your perception that most are loaded crew cab 4X4 TRDs. Sometimes I think most trucks in my area are Raptors for that’s the only ones I really notice. But researching what’s for sale (or current dealer inventory) isn’t a direct indicator of what was produced/sold. Fleet Sales aren’t considered “inventory”, and they may not even be considered “Fleet Sales”.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @DiM
        The other day you wanted to debate the viability of diesel lawn mowers.

        How would you know what is sold in Lou’s neck of the woods, when you can’t even get a handle on what is going on in your own backyard?

        Come on, DiM, sit back, listen and learn.

        It was only a couple of months ago that you stated most Tacoma’s sold were strippers when manufacturing evidence points otherwise.

        Maybe you are learning, but you still have a few more lessons to go.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          @BAFO – What “manufacturing evidence” do you speak of? More ghost links? Again???

          Despite their shrinking market, if all midsize pickups were high end loaded, most OEMs would be P!$$!NG themselves to get a piece of that action. Even if half market sold like that! Or even 1/4!!!

          But midsizer regular cabs banned themselves from Canadian misers a while ago.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @DenverMike – I don’t live in a metropolis. I tend to see the same vehicles every day on my commute to work and I drive past various car dealerships several times per week. I roam around my neighbourhood with my kids and see what is out there.
        What I see on the road or in driveways compares to what I see on car lots.
        What I have seen in big cities or what we refer to as the “lower mainland” also jives with what I see on car lots there.

        You have your little opinion of small trucks and that is what it is………. little.

        I still haven’t seen any evidence posted by you proving that small trucks are the exclusive domain of cheapskates and bottom-feeders.

        just to pre-empt your frequently used Orkin comment – all of the one’s I’ve seen lately are 2014 GM trucks.

        and no, I don’t see a sh!t load of small truck fleets in any other jurisdiction either.

        You should get your house tested for radon gas………. there has to be a rational explanation for your lack of it.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          @Lou_BC – You’d have to completely bypass commonsense to imagine anything above 5% of midsize trucks are hard loaded, luxury and off-road packaged 4X4 crew cabs.

          Midsize pickups are the lowest common denominator that still qualifies as a pickup. It’s not just the cheapskates and bottom feeders that fully embrace mid-size trucks, but the fleet buyers you mentioned and try to downplay.

          Orkin has an ongoing contract with Toyota for the next few years. It has to be different in Canada since they don’t offer a regular cab Tacoma up there. I’m not sure which is better for them, but Orkin will be forced extended cab midsize or full-size eventually. So will all the other exterminators. And that’s just one industry. Hundreds of industries buy the smallest/cheapest pickup available to them. And up to dozens at a time. Orkin alone buys about 2,000 Tacomas a year.

          And mid-size trucks aren’t big sellers in Canada anyways. Without a regular cab, there’s not real draw. Your best selling midsize is the Tacoma and it barely cracks the top 60 cars up there. One month it was outsold my the Hyundai Veloster! Could that be from lack of a regular cab Taco? Can you do ANY math???

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @DM: You bypassed common sense a long time ago with your arguments. Every statement you have EVER made about compact pickup trucks has been pure opinion, most often using unrelated facts to illustrate your position.

            True, “Midsize pickups are the lowest common denominator that still qualifies as a pickup.” TODAY. But compact pickup trucks that were more the size of a compact station wagon with a 6′ load bed DID exist and may exist again in the US. Certainly the new GM C-twins are not an example of this, however.

            Nor will they be as you like to put it, “It’s not just the cheapskates and bottom feeders that fully embrace mid-size trucks, but the fleet buyers you mentioned and try to downplay.” You don’t even know how well (or badly) the new C-twins will do and you’re already making conjecture as though it were fact. I am willing to wager that the C-twins will do far, FAR better than you want to believe AND that the majority of them will NOT be “strippers owned by cheapskates and bottom feeders” or fleet sales.

            As for the regular-cab/extended-cab argument, who cares if regular cabs are no longer made. Quite honestly they were all rather crowded and uncomfortable for anyone of greater than average height. My wife, at 6′ tall, isn’t comfortable driving our 1990 F-150 because the pedals are too close to the seat with the seat as far back on its track as it can go. Meanwhile, she’s quite comfortable behind the wheel of our Jeep Wrangler simply because the seat goes farther back. By comparison, my legs are notably shorter than hers, and I drive that truck with the seat in the next-to-last notch while I drive the Jeep about 4 to 5 notches forward of hers. An extended cab simply offers more space to allow more leg room for the driver. I know that wasn’t its original design purpose, but it is one of its most-used capabilities.

            Finally, your argument, “And mid-size trucks aren’t big sellers in Canada anyways,” totally ignores the fact that theres’ almost no choice in that class. Canadians are much like Americans in that they prefer an American brand name on their trucks. It’s certainly not, “from lack of a regular cab Taco”. Rather, I expect to see a HUGE initial surge for the C-twins which may trigger Ford into bringing the global Ranger back sooner than they want.

            Meanwhile, it appears possible that FCA may bring a SMALLER truck into the western hemisphere, though still larger than the Fiat Strada. We’ll just have to wait and see.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Vulpine – Did I just get triple-teamed by SPaM*?

            “Wait and see” is right, but it sounds like you’re suggesting, if midsize pickups somehow return to ‘true compact’ trucks, they’ll see a renaissance like we haven’t seen since the ’80 mini-truck craze/fad/invasion.

            Except the market segment started dying off when small pickups were still small.

            But the cheapskates, bottom feeders and fleet, will always seek the cheapest, smallest, simplest, stripper pickups available. If that choice will be (starting next year) full-size regular cabs, then the midsize pickup market will see a huge drop in sales. The midsize market is $CREWED either way.

            Orkin went the fullsize route in Canada and also take a look at how dismal midsize pickup sales are up there. Without the regular cabs, there’s not much reason for midsize trucks to exist. Once OEMs are only willing to sell crew cab midsize pickups in North America (if at all), they be a tiny niche market, outsold by compact roadsters. That’s if midsize trucks still exist in NA in the near future.

            Yes, the extended cab is (shockingly!) better in many ways. Except the cheapskates, bottom feeders and fleet don’t care. Like at all…

            But C-twins won’t add much new fire to the segment. Initially, maybe, but they likely cannibalize the Tacoma mostly. But Ford likely won’t care either way.

            But the only real difference in “choices” the US has, vs Canada, is the regular cab Taco is still available down here.

            *Small Pickup Mafia

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “”Wait and see” is right, but it sounds like you’re suggesting, if midsize pickups somehow return to ‘true compact’ trucks, they’ll see a renaissance like we haven’t seen since the ’80 mini-truck craze/fad/invasion.”
            Yup.

            “Except the market segment started dying off when small pickups were still small.”
            Nope. The segment was being killed off even then by the slightly larger American made products.

            “But the cheapskates, bottom feeders and fleet, will always seek the cheapest, smallest, simplest, stripper pickups available.”
            Leave out one word. “SMALLEST” is not one of the factors for that group; all the other ones are. “Smallest” only comes into play when what they NEED is ‘smallest’. With some fleets, like Orkin as you so like to crow, they simply don’t carry that much bulk and don’t NEED a larger truck. Most other fleets need carrying capacity in both size and weight, which means full-sized base models are still the most common FLEET truck.

            “Orkin went the fullsize route in Canada and also take a look at how dismal midsize pickup sales are up there.”
            As I said above, the full-size truck is effectively cheaper than mid-sized for their purposes. Among other things, Orkin is one of those brands who insists on using AMERICAN-branded trucks.

            “Yes, the extended cab is (shockingly!) better in many ways. Except the cheapskates, bottom feeders and fleet don’t care. Like at all…”
            True, they don’t care. However if Fleet is the ONLY standard-cab customer, why not go ahead and make the extended cab standard and save money on production costs? On two cab styles to build instead of three.

            “But C-twins won’t add much new fire to the segment. Initially, maybe, but they likely cannibalize the Tacoma mostly.”
            You base this WAY too much on opinion with almost no data to support it. People who buy the Toyota for the BRAND will not change. People who buy the Toyota for the SIZE, might–especially if they would prefer an American BRANDED truck. On the other hand, those people who have been forced to buy full-sized trucks when they wanted something AMERICAN and SMALLER will likely swap to the Canyon/Colorado–IF it’s small enough.

            “But the only real difference in “choices” the US has, vs Canada, is the regular cab Taco is still available down here.”
            Which means there IS NO CHOICE. Giving us two or three Japanese-branded trucks and claiming their sales represents the WHOLE of the American market for that size insults many Americans who want nothing to do with FOREIGN brands whatsoever; a group, by the way, that is extremely vocal both here and on PUTC.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Vulpine – I don’t know where heck you were in mid to late ’80s, but that’s when the mini-truck fad started to die out. Yes they were still “compact” at the time.

            And it’s also the time when compact to mid-size SUVs hit the scene in a big way. You remember the Samurai, Trooper/Trooper II, Amigo, Tracker and many others? This on top of the Wrangler and Explorer dominating the segment. Plus the ever popular S10 Blazer (and GM variants), Durango, Pathfinder and 4Runner to name a few.

            Perhaps mini-truck buyers vanished, never to be heard from, and compact/midsize SUV buyers came from out of nowhere. But it would actually indicate American consumers just jumped from one tired old fad to the next big thing. But before either of these fads, there was the molester van movement. And before that, the muscle car fad.

            American consumers are just fickle and have to keep trying new things. Mini-trucks were just a stepping stone of popular culture. Sorry you were left wanting more. I was there smack dab in the middle of the mini-truck craze. I owned a few of them, some highly modified (sky lifted and laying frame). I don’t miss mini-trucks, but they were a blast. Mini-truck jamborees? The club events? The truck shows? Sound-offs?

            You really missed out…

            But I am actually sorry I missed out on the molester van craze. I was too young, but I do remember my aunts and uncles were custom van fanatics.

            But there’s no way any of these fads are coming back. It’ll never happen. There’s a better chance that molester vans make a big comeback, than mini-trucks. But this time, based on Trasits, Ducatos, Spriters and other Euro van fwds. One can only hope…

            Orkin is more concerned with the size of service trucks. Tech need to maneuver between outbuildings, trees, decks, pools and other obstacles. But if they’re contracting with Toyota, they can’t be too loyal to American trucks.

            But fleet customers are by no means the only buyers of stripper trucks. The bottom of the midsize pickup market is a tremendous target for those really shopping for a newer used car, but manage to step up to the cheapest of the cheapest new cars. And the regular cab Taco is about as cheapest a new car you can get, without resorting to subcompacts. Base midsize trucks are usually the better idea, if they can swing the payments. But base full-size stripper pickups are outside of (base midsize stripper) price range and fuel economy.

            You still don’t get it? Canada has the same truck choices we do, except less reason to be loyal to US OEMs. And of course having no regular cab Taco kinda kills the mood for cheapskates, bottom feeders and fleet, so they must look elsewhere. Like to base full-size trucks (Orkin). And full-size USA truck sales in Canada have bigger, over all, market share than in the US. Figure that one out???

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “@Vulpine – I don’t know where heck you were in mid to late ’80s, but that’s when the mini-truck fad started to die out. Yes they were still “compact” at the time.” — I was driving a Mitsubishi Sport pickup.

            “And it’s also the time when compact to mid-size SUVs hit the scene in a big way. You remember the Samurai, Trooper/Trooper II, Amigo, Tracker and many others?” — Actually, some of those were compact, not “mid-sized”. The Trooper was the biggest of the bunch you named while the Samurai/Tracker was the smallest.

            “This on top of the Wrangler and Explorer dominating the segment.” — Wrangler yes, Explorer, no. That was still in the days of the downsized Bronco. The Explorer didn’t even come out until 1990.

            “Plus the ever popular S10 Blazer (and GM variants), Durango(1997), Pathfinder(1985) and 4Runner(1981) to name a few. (Dates added by the fox) — Aside from giving credit to some vehicles that didn’t even exist during the time you mention–you might also note that each and every one of them during that time period still qualified as “compact” as they were based on the compact pickup trucks of their initial year.

            “Perhaps mini-truck buyers vanished, never to be heard from, and compact/midsize SUV buyers came from out of nowhere.” — or maybe their vehicle of choice vanished without any option for those who preferred the smaller models. By 1990 they’d grown a minimum of 10% over their 1980 dimensions. Granted, they were still smaller than the full-sized trucks of the day, but they didn’t stop growing either, did they? Meanwhile, those who truly wanted compact trucks saw their available choices disappearing. People like ME.

            “But it would actually indicate American consumers just jumped from one tired old fad to the next big thing.” — See above. They weren’t given a choice. In my own case, I went from a compact truck to a mid-sized CAR because I simply did not WANT a full-sized truck.

            “But before either of these fads, there was the molester van movement. And before that, the muscle car fad.” — Both of which still exists, though the “molester van” is now called a Class-B motorhome with all the concurrent appurtenances. Muscle cars? Still exist as exemplified by the Camaro, the Mustang and the Challenger, among others.

            “American consumers are just fickle and have to keep trying new things.” — More fickle than any other society, apparently.

            “Mini-trucks were just a stepping stone of popular culture.” — … for some.

            “I owned a few of them, some highly modified (sky lifted and laying frame).” — Now THAT, was a fad; and most of those were downright ugly and certainly non-functional.

            “You really missed out…” — Nope, I enjoyed it while I had it and was VERY disappointed when I couldn’t replace it with a similar-sized truck. Even the S-10 and Ranger had grown significantly larger by then. The Dakota started at that larger size.

            “But there’s no way any of these fads are coming back. It’ll never happen.” — Never say “never”; your words have a habit of coming back to haunt you when you do.

            “There’s a better chance that molester vans make a big comeback, than mini-trucks. But this time, based on Trasits, Ducatos, Spriters and other Euro van fwds. One can only hope…” — They already are, as the base platforms for Class-B and Class-C motorhomes.

            “Orkin is more concerned with the size of service trucks. Tech need to maneuver between outbuildings, trees, decks, pools and other obstacles. But if they’re contracting with Toyota, they can’t be too loyal to American trucks.” — They buy what’s available to meet their needs. Tell me this, why didn’t they buy Toyota or Nissan BEFORE the Ranger was cancelled?

            “But fleet customers are by no means the only buyers of stripper trucks.” — Never said they were; they ARE the dominant buyers of ‘stripper’ trucks, however.

            “And the regular cab Taco is about as cheapest a new car you can get, without resorting to subcompacts.” — False. There are a number of truly compact (but not sub-compact) SUVs that are even less expensive.

            “Base midsize trucks are usually the better idea, if they can swing the payments.” — If that’s what they want. Most people at least want a few comforts. Businesses don’t care and really prefer the employee to be less comfortable, so they’ll get their work done and move on more quickly.

            “But base full-size stripper pickups are outside of (base midsize stripper) price range…” — True, but if you need the size…?

            “… and fuel economy.” — Interesting you would say that when so many PUTC arguments are about how the full sized gets as good or better economy over the mid-sized models.

            “Canada has the same truck choices we do, except less reason to be loyal to US OEMs.” — Meaning none. Since many American products are still built in Canada (even if it’s not our trucks) they still have some loyalty to the American brands. Meanwhile, there are NO choices right now for an American mid-sized truck and even less choice for an American compact truck.

            “And of course having no regular cab Taco kinda kills the mood for cheapskates, bottom feeders and fleet, …” — Don’t see why. If what they’re after is the cheapest and the cheapest they can find is an extended cab, they’ll buy the extended cab. No problem.

            “… so they must look elsewhere.” — And can’t, because there’s no available choices.

            “Like to base full-size trucks.” — Which are also losing their standard-cab configuration.

            “And full-size USA truck sales in Canada have bigger, over all, market share than in the US.” — Can you show me that one with real numbers? I’m not disputing it overall, but I WOULD like to see the numbers. After all, Canada has a much smaller overall population and much of that population lives out in the ‘boonies’. A 4×4 truck of any size offers an advantage over the typical sedan or SUV (I said typical–some are actually quite capable). Even so, gross truck sales in Canada probably (I’m looking for numbers again) fall significantly short of American truck sales. Maybe, just maybe, they have a practical reason for buying trucks BUT suffer the same issues we in the States have over choice of compact, mid-sized or full-sized–which is minimal at best.

            If you don’t offer a product that covers a certain ‘market’, how do you know a ‘market’ even exists for that product? Are you still using a flip-style cell phone or a smart phone?
            * What if Apple had listened to everyone who said, “nobody outside of the enterprise would ever want a smart phone” and never released the iPhone?
            * What if they had listened to the people who said, “Oh, Sony and Creative have the portable music market covered”? We wouldn’t have the iPod.
            * What if they had listened to the people who said, “Oh no! If a tablet doesn’t have a full desktop operating system, nobody will use it!” Yet the iPad is the largest selling tablet-style computer on the market–even when compared to tablets running full versions of Microsoft’s Windows.

            To be quite blunt, you don’t KNOW what will sell until you put it out there for people to see. You can’t ASSUME a market doesn’t exist just because nobody is addressing it.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Vulpine – Regardless of what you were driving, you were not aware of the mini-truck craze/fad/invasion getting soft and losing momentum, starting around ’87. Mini-truck prices were rising fast and Americans were looking to the next new thing and hot trend.

            Yes some of SUVs I mentioned were around before the trend reached epic proportions, and others showed up later on. I’m not saying they all landed in unison, but the fact remains, they took over where mini-truck left off. And none of this had anything to do with the growing size/mass of mini-trucks. This happened later on.

            And I did mention some of these SUVs were “compact”. Read this sentence again:

            “And it’s also the time when compact to mid-size SUVs hit the scene…”

            And you proved my point by dumping your mini-truck for a Wrangler.

            So it doesn’t matter if, by the ’90s, some consumers had little “choice” and were left wanting midsize trucks to shrink back to early ’80s proportions. The party was over by then.

            If American consumers had kept the mini-truck craze/fad going strong, instead of moving on to the next craze/fad, there would have been zero reason for mini-truck OEMs to change up the formula that works. OEMs changed the formula only after consumers largely went elsewhere.

            OEMs increased the size of remaining mini-trucks, while misreading the market. They tried to chase or lure full-size pickup buyers with something bigger. It was a desperate attempt that backfired on them. They upset much of the only buyers that were still willing to buy ‘small’ pickups.

            But you’re crazy if you think class B/C motor homes replaced molester/custom vans. These vans were used for everyday cars with a fun side, combined with family/utility duty. And they were hardly self-contained. Maybe you’re thinking van conversion/RVs? Still no. Van conversion/RVs still exist, as before.

            I don’t agree fleet buyers are the dominant consumers of stripper midsize pickups. Plenty of private/noncommercial cheapskates and bottom feeders to go around. And they’ll go for the lowest common denominator of pickups, almost every time there’s a pickup to be bought.

            Although it’s clear Orkin, as well as most service industries, lean towards American, Big 2.5 OEMs, but the size of the trucks obviously ruled out full-size for Orkin, as long as Toyota still made a midsize regular cab. There was no reason to opt for Tacomas as long as Ford made the Ranger. And Nissan killed off their regular cab Frontier about a decade ago.

            It’s unclear which base compact SUVs are cheaper than stripper Tacomas, but I’m sure wouldn’t want one over a base Taco. Would you???

            Here’s some numbers to digest, while I scan the rest of your rant:

            goodcarbadcar.net/2014/05/canada-vehicle-sales-figures-by-model-april-2014-ytd.html

            goodcarbadcar.net/2014/06/usa-30-best-selling-vehicles-may-2014-sales-figures.html

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @DM (I’m REALLY trying to keep this on a courteous basis, but you’re making it difficult):
            * Had you left out the addendum, you would have been correct. What you CAN’T know is whether or not “Americans were looking to the next new thing and hot trend.” That’s pure conjecture.

            * Then why did you mention them since you KNEW that several different models you named had no relevance to the discussion?

            * Ok, I’ll give you the “compact to mid-size” statement. On the other hand, the Explorer had no relevance to any part of the discussion since it hadn’t been built yet.

            * No, I didn’t prove your point by, “dumping your mini-truck for a Wrangler.” You proved MY point by demonstrating that what I WANTED was no longer available and as such was forced to select several different types of vehicles between letting go of that mini truck and buying the Wrangler–NONE of which was a full-sized or mid-sized truck.

            * The party was over because the OEMs didn’t want to play any more. That, and the fact that some OEMs couldn’t afford to compete with their smaller products as they simply couldn’t sell enough after adding the 25% “Chicken Tax” to their invoices. (I just know how much you love to see that statement.)

            * Conjecture. Because you don’t KNOW if it was a fad, or the market intentionally shut down. Actually, there was very GOOD reason for it to get shut down, because for a while the mini truck had a huge impact on American purchases to the point you saw two mini trucks to every full-sized truck–when you included the Ford Courier, the Dodge D-50 and the Chevy LUV in the mix. Once the Detroit Three managed to bring their home-grown products in the mix, they dropped their import partnerships and worked to drive the imports out. The only way Toyota and Nissan were able to keep anything over here was by building assembly plants in the States and used American designers who themselves played ‘follow the leader’ as compacts grew to mid-sized. Since the majority of those “mid-sized” trucks are now as large as a 1990 full-sized truck, they are no longer in the same category as when they began.

            I also re-emphasize that it was a COMBINATION of factors that killed the compact truck, not just one; and your “fad” argument is the least of them.

            * “OEMs increased the size of remaining mini-trucks, while misreading the market.” — They had a reason that had nothing to do with the market, and still do. Whether you call it by the acronym “CAFE” or simple fuel economy regulations, the best way to avoid very strict economy rules is to simply bypass them. Trucks grew bigger and are still growing bigger simply so they don’t have to suffer the complaints of “under-powered” that came after the original gas crunch of ’72 that to some extent triggered the massive influx of mini trucks in the first place. If you listen to the majority of pundits for full-sized trucks today, it’s still all about POWER, not economy.

            Want to see surprising power? How about sticking that 2.7L EcoBoost into an ’80 Courier? By simply cutting the weight of the base vehicle itself in half, the city economy should jump over 50% while its smaller size and lighter weight should offer a minimum of a 25% boost on the highway. And it certainly wouldn’t struggle as much as it does/will trying to push a 5,000# behemoth around.

            * “Van conversion/RVs still exist, as before.” — Really? Do you remember a brand of conversion van by the name of Elkhart Conversions? While such conversions are still going on, I’ll grant, they’re nowhere near as popular as they used to be. That may change now that we’re getting some decent-sized Transit, Sprinter, Ducato and other full-size-equivalent front-drive vans, but on average those really were a fad–customizing is now almost exclusively for those who can afford it, not like the ‘good ol’ days’ when people did their own work on so many of them. How many vans of any type today do you see with fantasy scenes airbrushed across every exterior surface?

            * “I don’t agree fleet buyers are the dominant consumers of stripper midsize pickups.” — It’s your right to disagree. But just because you disagree doesn’t mean you’re right. To prove the correctness of your statements, you should offer at least some verifiable evidence. I at least express it as an opinion but I base that opinion on personal observation. And my personal observation says that there are very, very few PRIVATE individuals going for “strippers”. Oh, and to me “commercial” use is almost the same as Fleet use as where I live anybody with a “commercial” business operates at least five vehicles. Electricians, plumbers, HVAC and yes, even pest control. If they operate fewer than that, they appear to buy what is most readily available–which certainly isn’t a “stripper”.

            * On your Orkin argument, you just proved my point. There is still an OBVIOUS demand for smaller trucks, for which Orkin is just one example and not even the best. Many non-commercial private buyers would much prefer a small truck over even the Tacoma–if it were available.

            * “It’s unclear which base compact SUVs are cheaper than stripper Tacomas, but I sure wouldn’t want one over a base Taco. Would you???” — I’ve been tempted by the Kia Soul more than once. It would meet my minimum needs as a city car while still offering SOME carrying capacity, but it doesn’t have a decent AWD capability. Then again, most ‘stripper’ trucks do either in the nearest price range. Where I live, 4×4 automatically adds US $4K to the price and the more common AWD adds a minimum of US $2K.

            * On your first link… Hmmmm… So 11,000 F-series trucks (in April 2014) is more than 50% of 176,151 total vehicles for the month in Canada. Even taking the Ram into account (8,300 trucks) that adds up to about 11% of the overall Canadian market. The different GMC models may push that to 20% overall. So I’ll grant that’s a pretty good market share.

            The best we can figure from your second link is that full-sized trucks in the US carry about 10% of the market–without putting all those numbers into a spreadsheet AND getting details that site’s US article leaves out when compared to the Canadian one which detailed all of the top 250 vehicles (ok, 245) vs only 30 for the US. In other words, your second link lacks some pertinent information even though it comes from the same site. While I doubt that the added information is unlikely to refute your point, I also pointed out WHY the Canadian numbers would be higher–which you apparently don’t want to acknowledge.

            My point there? They have more NEED for full-sized trucks than we do and I’m willing to bet that most, if not all Canadian full-sized trucks are 4×4 while there are many states in the US where it’s simply not needed. Need at least helps define a market and if there is no product to meet that need, people go elsewhere. I’m still of the opinion that a significant proportion of mid-size SUV owners would far prefer a smaller pickup truck with an American brand name on it. I am one of these people and I personally know several others who would quickly trade for a true, compact, pickup truck.

  • avatar
    segfault

    The Frontier and (related?) Xterra are both very dated. Had an Xterra as a rental last year, and it didn’t have Bluetooth or audio controls on the steering wheel, and there was a violent rattle from the cargo area. It drove okay, but the interment cluster and radio reminded me of the ones in my 2002 Altima.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Lack of steering wheel controls and Bluetooth was likely how the rental agency configured.

      According to the Nissan USA website, Bluetooth for phone (not music streaming) and backlit steering wheel controls are standard on both the S and X models.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Nissan is looking at a common chassis. previously the Navara was based on the Titan, unlike the Frontier.
      Another player in the Global Pickup market who was non-existent before is Fiat. Rumour is they will be using the new Mitsubishi-PHEV Asa basis for their Pickup.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Hehhehheh. And I haven’t said a word about RoadWhales™ until now. If you want to make a compact truck, bring it back down to the ’80s in size. Otherwise, they’re simply too big.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I’m sort of a Navara fan. But I do think the D40 wasn’t the best a vehicle could be.

    Off road it isn’t good, that’s because it’s designed from a 2WD platform and like most US pickups they have relatively poor off road attributes.

    Toyota learnt in the mid 80s that to design a successful pickup it had to be designed as a 4×4 fisrt. That’s what gave the Hilux the edge over many for a while.

    Now, Nissan with the next Navara/Frontier will hopefully design a midsize pickup with the global market in mind and not the US.

    I would like to see the ISF Cummins in the next Navara as well. I do believe the performance will be almost identical to the VM based diesel in the Colorado.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    We won’t see a compact, light duty pickup until somebody re-invents the El Camino, maybe putting a bed and leaf springs on an AWD compact CUV. Even then, the high belt line craze rippling through the small CUV class will make it unusable for most who need a light duty compact truck.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Except for the AWD I think you’ve pretty much described kei trucks. Their completely separate and interchangeable beds obviate the beltline problem.

      Fashon-ah-blay, no. But utility in spades. Beefing them up a little to match American safety standards and highway speeds would result in essentially a Transit Connect pickup.

      • 0 avatar
        Roland

        I would have bought a kei truck had they been sold new in my market back in 2011. Instead I got one of the last Rangers.

        Here in Vancouver BC we see a few 15+ year old JDM light trucks that have been imported. In my own neighbourhood there’s a one-ton Suzuki 4×4 cab-over pickup. A one ton with high ground clearance, that parks almost as easily as a Yaris! Very cool.

        A friend of mine who runs a mining support service company up north tells me that he is thinking seriously of getting some kei trucks for jobsite use. Better than having a bunch of his bush-crazed employees thrash the crap out of the $80 K pickups he’s buying for the company right now–no matter how generous the tax write-offs. Not to mention that anyone with common sense becomes revolted by the sheer waste.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          I couldn’t imagine a better environment or use for kei trucks than your friend’s company. I’m fastidious about property now, but back in the day I had no compunction about hooning the steel mill’s pickups around the plant.

          Employees just plain *will* do that so best give them the bare minimum that can crawl and haul enough to do the job. And I just love the complete function-over-form nature of keis.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        You know what’s funny? Those ‘kei’ trucks look a lot like our Polaris, John Deere and other brand off-road utility vehicles in both size and shape. As an on-site truck I could well see their functionality. Not so great as an on-road hauler though.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I recently looked at a Frontier. It’s one of the few vehicles sold with a manual transmission and a tow rating. MPG are 19 city/23 highway.

    The Mazda CX-5 (now *there’s* an apples to oranges comparison!) also has a tow rating and a manual transmission. It gets 26 city/35 highway.

    The Nissan does weigh 500 lbs more, though. Still, one would think they could squeeze out a few more mpg.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I do hope that the new Frontier is more global in design. It would make more sense for the Frontier and Navara to basically be the same. I do agree with Vulpine that these are not small trucks and they have grown in size. The globals have grown as well. I think that if the globals continue to grow and if the full size American half tons end up shrinking a little to meet the new EPA standards both will become one size and the midsize truck will no longer exist. Maybe a true compact truck could be made from a compact AWD CUV otherwise I can’t see it happening.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The next Navara/Frontier will be measure against the Ranger, BT50 and Amarok.

    Expectations will be high, I hope Nissan can produce a worthy vehicle.

    GM couldn’t match it with the new Colorado.

    http://www.caradvice.com.au/247083/ford-ranger-review-xlt-4×4-dual-cab/

  • avatar
    JohnnyFirebird

    I have some interest in getting an end of production Frontier Pro-X, but that depends on some work situation stuff. I like mid-size / compact trucks.

  • avatar
    Defender90

    I heard that diesel Navarras (the only type we have here in the UK) suffer “catastrophic engine failure”. So let’s hope you guys get a Cummins instead of the Renault unit they used here.
    Sounds like the French have sprinkled a little of their magic into Nissan.

  • avatar
    guevera

    Just bring back the Yota Hilux from back in the day….I would buy a new one, for cash, tommorrow…but until then, I’ll just keep my 1990 running :(

  • avatar
    NewLookFan

    “Compact Trucks Still Alive at Nissan” Not with this. Mid size, maybe. Like some others here, I don’t see any more compact trucks offered until somebody combines compelling style with the economy of sharing structure and components from a mass market compact vehicle. Though some rejoice in the death of the compact truck, they will be back.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Yes there are those that rejoice in the death of the compact truck and they are on PUTC. I don’t know if we will ever see them in the US again but if we do they will share a platform. First let’s wait and see what this Frontier is like.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    @Jeff S – PUTC no longer represents the voice of pickup truck owners. That site is populated by fanboys and trolls with the IQ scores approaching the mpg numbers of a heavily loaded Ecoboost let alone the numbers of a Ram ecodiesel.

  • avatar

    I bought a 2014 Frontier this last Saturday. I found one of just two King Cab SV 4x4s in Northern California. There were plenty of Crew Cabs, very few KCs, and I wanted a 6 foot bed. It also needed to fit in my garage.

    The last new vehicle I bought for myself was a 1985 Toyota SR5 Xtra Cab. I stood staring at the Frontier this evening and the stature reminds me much more of an early 60s Chevy pickup than my old Toyota, which had the 2.4 liter 4 banger and a 5 speed. I know I’ll be pumping plenty of go juice now, but I need the utility and towing capacity. Every truck has bloated beyond recognition.

    Not much choice out there right now, and I wasn’t impressed with what I was reading about the Canyon/Colorado, so I didn’t want to wait. Nor do I want to pay $6-7k more for the diesel Nissan is teasing us with. I just don’t drive enough miles to make that pay off.

    It is a good sign there is some new blood in the segment. Maybe small can be the new big….

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    @Lou and Jeff S
    I think the problem started when I blogged ‘stuff’ about the smaller an ‘alien’ global pickups.

    There are a dedicated group as Jeff has described on PUTC who just want to maintain PUTC as a full size site.

    I don’t mind full size trucks as I’m interested in the new Titan diesel. A full size would work in the Northern Territory, but it has to be a capable off roader. Also, I need to justify a pickup that size, when I have a pickup that will do more than what I currently require.

    I unfortunately believe the US full size pickups aren’t the best 4x4s around. They are good for a building site or unimproved road. But are to large for any real off roading.

    I think that’s why Jeep Wranglers are more popular in the US compared to here. We have a good range of midsize 4x4s to use that provide more utility and comfort.

    From what I can gather our new diesel midsizers are very comparable to a small V8 full size in capability overall.

    The US doesn’t 4×4 the way we do in Australia. It seems 4x4ing is more or less a one day activity in the US and then you go home for tea (supper), or at most a weekend.

    Where as here a 4×4 trip can go for a couple of months or when you have your 4 weeks annual holidays. I think this is why we don’t get ‘factory enhanced’ 4x4s. We have them tailor made for what we are going to use them for. Our market size will also play a role. But looking at our muscle car market, you’d think the size of our 4×4 pickup market which would be 10 times the size factory enhanced pickups would be profitable.

    I will bet my balls that this new Navara/Frontier will be aimed at the global market. Nissan will not make the same mistake twice regarding the D40 which was designed for the US market. I think the D40 has cost Nissan many sales to Toyota and the others.

    I envisage Nissan will again become equal to the Ranger/BT50 and Amarok. We just have to wait and see what Toyota has in store with the next Hilux, which I think the US will receive considering it’s the size of the new midsizers.

    I do think the next Mitsubishi midsizer will not be as good. Mitsubishi seem to produce pickups on par with GM. Okay products that are never a step in front of the competition. They mostly seem to be marginally sub par like GM pickups in comparison the competition.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Lou & Big Al–I like to have a good discussion about vehicles regardless of size or type. I agree that PUTC is full of fan boys who have to have a large pickup with a high horsepower V-8. There is a place for every type of vehicle and those that want or need a larger size should be able to buy that and those that don’t should be able to buy a little smaller. A market with more brands and types of vehicles benefits all consumers. Big Al having had a Mitsubishi Mighty Max several years ago I would have to agree with you that it wasn’t bad but it was not on par with much of the competition. I would also say that GM pickups were much more competitive a generation ago than they are now. That is the good thing about a more competitive market is that it forces the competition to make a better product. I would like to see the Nissan Frontier become a better truck, not to say it is bad but it is very dated. I hope you are correct about the Frontier that it is aimed at a global market.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Jeff S – the Power Wagon thread on PUTC is an example of big truck ideology and fanboy ideology all mixed together.
      I have owned every class of pickup and have done some extreme stuff off-road in all sorts of vehicles. That is why I end up debating those morons. I know what various machines can do and I am all for having the right tool for the job.
      If extreme off road access is one’s goal then the pecking order as far where you can go is as follows:
      1. hiking/horses
      2. dirtbikes/mountain bikes
      3. standard 4×4 quads
      4. side by side quads
      5. small 4×4’s i.e. Jeep or Samurai
      6. small-mid 4×4 SUV i.e. keep unlimited
      7. small 4×4 truck i.e. Tacoma
      8. small crew 4×4 i.e. Tacoma double cab
      9. reg cab 1/2 ton short box 4×4
      10. Hd pickup reg cab
      11. crew 4×4 HD or 1/2 ton
      The Raptor or Power Wagon adds capability offroad but is still limited by length and width.

      I’ll add the caveat that my list is based on Northern BC forest which can vary from dense spruce to open pine and go from swamps and intermountain plateau to mountains. I can head south and find desert like terrain and even with that being said, my list isn’t going to change much.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @Lou
        That’s a pretty good and very accurate list. Size and weight matters off road.

        I think Nissan has learnt it’s lesson. Myself a Nissan man (I bet you didn’t know that) would like to see Nissan create a good midsizer finally.

        Nissan’s move to Cummins is good and this appears to be a global move. China has just built a Cummins factory to punch out god knows how many ISF’s.

        The US hasn’t been good at designing midsize pickups. That’s why they are done overseas. I think the heart and soul in midsize design isn’t in Detroit. Why build and design something to outdo your bread and butter?

        I pointed out the other day that Australia of late has been more or less the US’s biggest competitor in pickup, muscle car and SUV design. It sounds hard to believe but we do this stuff quite well, as good as any other nation.

        Like I’ve always stated the future of vehicle is at it’s most exciting right now. I just hope the correct decisions are made, because with the massive changes occurring it wouldn’t be hard to make the wrong step and have a huge company go under.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Lou–That was kind of my point about the true off roaders build their own and most of the ones I see where I live are old Toyota trucks (pre Tacoma). Being a former motorcyclist but not a dirt biker I can see that the dirt bike would be better yet especially for small trails. My nephews have a couple of dirt bikes and quads at the family farm in N KY. My one nephew bought a 2006 F-250 4 x 4 extend cab with a gas V-8 from the company he works for in Denver 4 years ago for $4,500 to use on the farm (he drove it from Denver to N KY and my brother bought it from him for the farm). Truck is high mileage but very little rust and perfect for when the family is at the farm (it has a tool box bed). If I wanted something to go off road in I would have my nephew buy one of those trucks, they are always coming up on auction and his company replaces their trucks on a regular basis. It is silly to buy a new 40k to 50k truck just for off road use. This truck is only used when family visits the farm so it is a waste of money to invest too much in a truck, but in runs like a new truck.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Jeff S – there is a reason why companies buy the cheapest bid truck they can get their hands on. My brother works in the forest industry and every brand of truck he has had is pretty much worthless at 100,000 – 120,000 km (62-75k miles). They can go further if you want to start fixing them. Guys on PUTC talk about durability and what is supposed to last offroad but in reality plain old gravel roads will kill them that fast.

      Statistically there is a slight difference in durability and to consumers it will make a bit of difference but it isn’t enough of a gap to warrant the fanatical loyalty to brand.

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