QOTD: Are Compact Pickups Worth Pursuing?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd are compact pickups worth pursuing

True compact pickups don’t exist in any showroom near you or I, but that doesn’t stop some of us — your author, for example — from eyeballing the black, regular cab Mazda B2600 4×4 that just blasted past on a snowy city street, motoring unimpeded to its destination like a boss that it is. (This recent event may have elicited a lustful “Mmmmm…” from yours truly.)

While we can’t scratch that compact pickup itch at any new car retailer, that won’t be the case forever. In two year’s time, we could have two compacts on the market. The question today is: will there be a receptive audience when they arrive?

Ford confirmed its plans for a sub-Ranger pickup last week, though the 21st century version of the little rigs we loved in the ’80s now boasts unibody architecture. In Ford’s case, a platform likely borrowed from the overseas-market Focus. That means front wheel drive (as a starting point) and an independent rear suspension.

Hyundai’s protracted process of turning the Santa Cruz concept vehicle into a production model should bear fruit before too long, with the four-door (probably clamshell-doored) pickup aimed at the sporty/youth market. Better price it accordingly, guys. The reason Hyundai sat on the fence for so long is that company brass viewed the prospect of carving out a new niche in a big truck-loving America as daunting and risky. No kidding. Still, the Santas Cruz will have company, and it’s possible others may join.

Possible, but, barring two surprise hits, maybe not probable.

Certainly, recent growth in the midsize market shows the desire for something smaller than an F-150 or Silverado, though one wonders at what point the public’s enthusiasm dries up. A modern-day compact pickup must be able to handle a certain amount of abuse while tackling sporadic truck-like duties, even if its day job involves getting a lone occupant to a suburban office park. A Baja-like bed won’t cut it. And if that occupant has kids, their vehicle needs to handle those hauling duties, too.

Pickups are now the family car, and we like our family cars big and non car-like. Ideally, with all-wheel drive, cavernous cabin, and maybe a third row.

Is there hope for the currently nonexistent compact pickup, or have the public’s tastes and expectations strayed too far?

[Image: Wikimedia Commons ( CC BY-SA 3.0)]

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  • JD-Shifty JD-Shifty on Feb 01, 2019

    Try picking up a second generation Colorado with the 5.3. Very expensive still.

  • JD-Shifty JD-Shifty on Feb 02, 2019

    spotted in parking lot of about 40 cars. 2 second gen 4wd S-10's one 2nd gen crew cab Colorado, 1 square body S10 lifted and primered, 4wd. midwest state.

  • Ehaase 1980-1982 Cougar XR-7 shared its wheelbase and body with the Thunderbird. I think the Cougar name was used for the 1977 and 1981 sedans, regular coupe and wagons (1977 and 1982 only) in an effort to replicate Oldsmobile's success using the Cutlass name on all its intermediates, although I wonder why Ford bothered, as the Granada/Cougar were replaced by the Fox LTD/Marquis in 1983.
  • Ken Accomando The Mark VIII was actually designed before the aero Bird, but FMC was nervous about the huge change in design, so it followed the Thunderbird a year. Remember, at this time, the 1983 Thunderbird was the first new aero Ford, with the Tempo soon following. It seems so obvious now but Ford was concerned if their buyers would accept the new aero look! To get the Lincoln buyers warmed up, they also debuted for the 1982 auto show season the Lincoln Concept 90…which really previewed the new Mark VII. Also, the new 1983 Thunderbird and Cougar debuted a little late, in Nov 1982, so perhaps that’s why they were left out of the full line brochures.
  • Tassos This is yesterday;s news, or even the day before. I reported it here yesterday, and commented on it. Do wake up.
  • 2ACL As far as manufacturers with US operations go? Current Focus or Fiesta. Honda e.As for those with no US operations, I've been intrigued by the Peugeot 508 Sport Engineered and Vauxhall Corsa Electric.
  • Tassos SNAAB shot itself in the foot when it BASTARDIZED its unique brand by BADGE ENGINEERING its vehicles with GOD DAMNED GM, OPEL, CHEVY, LANCIA and who knows what other automotive RIFF RAFF. I know of no Saab Enthusiast (they do exist) who felt sorry when the stupid maker went BANKRUPT.