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Does anybody make a 4WD truck with 'good' MPG?

Post in 'The Green Room' started by whenley, Aug 10, 2007.

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  1. whenley

    whenley Member

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    The wife has finally broken me. She does not want to over-winter with my beloved '82 Datsun KingCab 4WD truck. It has the rust cancer pretty bad, and can be a bit finicky. So I am looking for a new truck. 4WD is a must to get to our place in winter. I prefer manual transmission.

    Problem is, all of the trucks I have seen, Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, Big4, etc, have what I consider very poor MPG ratings. Only Toyota makes a 4cyl 4WD - and it is only rated at 19/23 (2007 EPA). That is pathetic! The Nissan Frontier is 6cyl (they do not offer 4cyl in 4WD) and is 17/21. And none of the trucks available are really 'compact' anymore. What has happened to the 'small' truck market?

    These MPG's seems very poor to me, and I can't find much other choice. I prefer to buy new, because I plan to keep this thing for quite a while. Also, I have found it very difficult to find Manual Transmission models on the lot. Nissan only made 14% of their Frontiers in 2007 with the Manual Trans.

    Advice or comments?

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  2. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

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    Oh yeah...4 WD truck with good MPG ratings...hahaha...

    You definitely need a mid 90's Dodge Dakota 4X4 with V8 - I get awesome mileage when it's not running. On the unfortunate occasions when I do drive it (usually only to get firewood), I get a whopping 12 MPG. I'd stick to the 4WD Toyota 4-cyl if you can afford it. At least you won't have any preoblems with it.
  3. thephotohound

    thephotohound New Member

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    I agree... coming from someone who looked under every rock, the Toyota 4 cyl is the best when considering dependability and MPG...
  4. cbrodsky

    cbrodsky Member

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    I have a 98 Tacoma V6 4x4 manual trans. - no matter how I drive it, what season, what load, it's always 20-20.5 MPG. The only time it dropped was when my O2 sensor died at 130K miles - after replacement, right back to 20.5. It's more consistent than any car I've ever owned but also frustrating that I can never do better :)

    I test drove a 4-cylinder version and didn't see the point - way less power and you might get 1 MPG better based on EPA ratings.

    I think the Rangers at one point were listed in the upper 20s but not sure they offer 4WD.

    -Colin
  5. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I've got an '04 Ranger with 4WD and manual trans, the 6 cyl engine and the beefed up hauling package. I consistently get between 22 and 23 mpg which ain't bad, considering that it's full of firewood half the time. Of course, that's the downhill part of my haul. I always push the clutch in on the long hills. I go from about 1,700 feet (where I cut the wood) in elevation down to around 500 (where I burn it).

    I should add that when my wife drives it, she gets around 15 mpg.
  6. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    The very poor mileage of these anemic engined compact pickups is exactly why I traded my 1985 Toyota 4x4, manual, 4cyl, for a 1998 full sized chevy with a 350 V8 auto and mucho more capability for only a very small drop in mpg. The full size easily passes 20 mpg on the highway and is always better than 15 in the city. Towing the tractor (7000 lb trailer) I get 11. The full sized truck is extremely comfortable, fast, dependable, safe, and worlds more capable for towing/hauling than the compact. The new chevy full sized trucks have a 5.3 liter v8 and are producing even better mpg than my 98.

    Don't assume that sacrificing for a small truck will get you much mpg, unless you have a need for a minitruck then look at the half ton GM products.

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  7. zzr7ky

    zzr7ky Minister of Fire

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    Hi -

    Here is a link to GM's offerings and fuel economy figures. They match my experience.

    http://www.gmbuypower.com/pages/shopBy/Pick_Up_Trucks_byFuelEconomy.jsp
    If you are shopping GM let me know. I'd be happy to arrange a Friends & Family discount for board members.

    The Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon are true mid-size.

    All the best,
    Mike P (Live from GM)
  8. My_3_Girls

    My_3_Girls Member

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    I've got to back up Highbeam on this one. I went from a 2002 4 door s10 at 20 to 21 mpg to a full size Silverado extra cab that dropped to 19.5 to 21mpg!!! I'm a sales guy, traveling about 65,000 miles a year, so these are highway miles, but on the weekends, a wood cutting maniac. Compare the full size to the smaller trucks and there's not much difference. Oh, and the only reason I got rid of the S-10 was that it had 170,000 miles on it, and the dealer gave me $10,500 for a trade! The Silverado's got 105,000 miles after one set of tires and about 15 oil changes. Still runs like a new truck.
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    My old, totally manual Ford Ranger would get 33 on the highway. Fifth gear was strictly for over 60mph. My newer Ranger gets 30 on the highway. But neither are 4WD.
  10. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    My dad has an older Chevy S10, std., 2WD, 4CYL that I bet gets upwards of 30 mpg. No guts whatsoever, but it'll get your freight from Point A to Point B just like any other pickup.
  11. bruce56bb

    bruce56bb New Member

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    zz and my 3.......
    how dare you praise something that is NOT an import!! this is an import (yugo,datsun,honda,etc.)board only!!
    both of you are now on double secret probation:)
    by the way, the gmt900s(new series) are getting ever better fuel economy than their predecessors in real world conditions.

    edit, sorry i left you out highbeam. it was an accident.
  12. saichele

    saichele Minister of Fire

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    If you're really looking for a truck, it's tough to argue for the little ones. The GM V8's get very respectable mileage and are capable of just about anything you'd expect.

    My own wood hauler is a 93 F150, 5 spd, 4WD (big lever through the floor and manual hubs) gets about 15 around town (usually hauling firewood, plywood, drywall, etc.) and about 20 on the highway. Also does a nice job of pulling stumps - 300CID inline 6.

    I don't know if Ford puts the 4liter OHC engine from the Explorer in a Ranger, but that's good for 16/22 in real world driving, and a very nice smooth engine. Likely a tick or two better with a manual.

    Steve
  13. whenley

    whenley Member

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    Wow, thanks everybody. I had not even considered a full size truck thinking the MPG would be really poor - But I guess they are not that much worse than the Jap trucks. I will look into them. Is the Chevy Colorado a new truck? They list a 3.7l I5 engine. That is new to me. I also may take a look at the Silverado. Opinions?
  14. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    My Ranger has the 4 litre six and it's a very smooth-running engine. Like I said, most of my driving is loaded on the highway, and it gets 22/23 pretty consistently.
  15. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    My father's full size Dodge 4x4 with the Hemi gets 18 to 19 on the highway... not flat land either... driving in the Adirondack Mtns.

    The new 4x4s don't have the mileage problems the old ones do. I believe the Dakotas are in the low 20s.

    Matt
  16. saichele

    saichele Minister of Fire

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    If the choice is between the colorado and the Silverado, I'm with the Silverado every time. The engine is solid (maybe the on thing GM did right in the last 40 yrs), the other major pieces are solid, the capability is there, and the mileage is decent. The couple colorado's I've ridden in really feel tinny, and I'd be a little reluctant to load half a cord of firewood inthe back.

    Steve
  17. bruce56bb

    bruce56bb New Member

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    katoom, i have been driving this truck most of the summer.

    http://www.wilsonsalesco.net/127015.jpg

    it's an 04 model with the 5cyl. and i really like it. it gets decent mileage (18)for the type of driving that i do,
    lots of 1 to 2 mile trips and few highway miles.
    being relatively short (5'10), i love the low bedrail height, decent ride and it is comfy.

    but............
    for my money i would go with the silverado. for the minimal fuel and initial cost savings the fullsize is the way to go.
    with some of the deals they have right now i think you can buy a fullsize 2wd for $21k and a 4x4 for $23500.
  18. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Do they still manufacturer the 4 cyl 4x4 with the long bed (7') without the king cab

    I believe most Ford rangers have Madza engines and trans especially the 4 cyl's

    Me I have two trucks the 1992 GMC 3/4 ton 4x4 for heavy hauling and plowing and everyday 1998 Iszu ( chevy S-10)
    gets mid 20 around town and upper 20 on the hwy but two wheel drive... If loading a truck having it lower to the ground is real nice.

    What' up with these F150's you need a 6'step ladder to reach over the sides.. Makes it real hard to load over the sides even at the tailgate.
    They are way higher than My 1992 GMC k2500
  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That's for sure, some of these trucks are getting just silly. I like a truck with the tailgate waist high.
  20. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    I know Elk.. I laugh at the guys with the Dodge Ram 4x4's with the optional Circus package. The bed height must be 4'6. Try loading a bunch of big rounds in that. I think the load floor of my Safari is a groan sometimes... That's like 2'

    I've spoken to several people who have the Colorado's and I've yet to hear a complaint.

    All Dodge's suck gas like the queen mary. I'd avoid them. Can't go wrong with a Yoda. My BIL has a lot of trucks in his insulation business, and he does say the GMs require a lot of care and feeding... not the Toyotas. Toyota's just work.
  21. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    1994 Dodge Dakota 4WD and I get close to 20 MPG driving 65 on the highway
  22. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    You're the first one I've heard of who got more than 16 on the highway. Must be a 6 cylinder.
  23. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    6 banger with a K&N;air filter and Mobil1 oil

    280,000+ and still runs great.
  24. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That's impressive bab, you've got a winner.
  25. Burn-1

    Burn-1 Feeling the Heat

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    It's been the automotive equivalent of vaporware for a number of years now but it looks like
    a few Crosslander dealerships may be popping up around the country.

    I practically drooled when this Crosslander 4x4 was going to be offered a few years ago. It was a diesel with decent mileage and lots of off-road ability. They're built in Brazil off the Romanian ARO platform and parts. I was always a bit skittish of this since there probably aren't a lot of trained mechanics or parts for these yet.

    They couldn't make the diesel work for emissions so the current ones will have a Ford V6. They hope to work a diesel in eventually. I couldn't find the specs for the Ford mpg, but assume it would be equivalent to what has been discussed on this thread. It's trying to be sold for about $20K. I don't think the initial ones will have airbags or ABS but they're sort of old school 4x4's with manual shift and a Land Cruiser meets Land Rover look. Do a web search for Crosslander and you'll find more links.

    Also Mahindra & Mahindra of India will supposedly be offering a turbo diesel Scorpio model and possibly some diesel pickups, also to be either side of $20k. If Detroit or Japan aren't going to offer these here, it's only a matter of time before someone else does.

    I looked at the Jeep Liberty CRD but it's a bit small for the price, but very nice and decent mpg. There's a Cherokee CRD but more car than I want.
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