Are Pickup Trucks Too Big?
Years ago my brother, a carpenter, worked on a house on The Filbert Street steps on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco. There was a lot of construction activity on Telegraph Hill at that time so parking was at a premium. My brother drove an '85 Toyota truck and he could always find a place to park. Many contractors were either forced to park blocks away or double park and pay the tickets.
There is more to a pickup truck than fuel economy. I really don't understand the "need" for a huge pickup. First off so many have such a high lift over height to load anything into the bed. Maybe every modern pickup owner is a muscle man but I'm not and neither is my brother. Why does anyone want a pickup bed that is shoulder high?
Then of course there is the parking problem. Whether anyone wants to admit it or not a huge number of people live in our cities. That means a huge number of over sized pickup trucks are in our cities trying to drive in lanes that are too narrow or park in a space that is too small.
And the fuel economy argument isn't as simple as it seems. Yes modern pickup trucks get much better economy than even a truck ten years ago, and equal or better than many of the mini-trucks available. But wouldn't a mini-truck of today benefit from the same technology that the full-size trucks use? My '87 Toyota truck was rated at 27 mpg on the highway. It would seem to me that with modern technology a similar size pickup should be capable of at least 30 mpg.
Auto makers argue that they are giving the people what they want. I find that a strange argument. Ford introduced the Transit Connect as a smaller, urban friendly van. Yet they killed the Ranger because no one wanted it. Maybe part of the problem, as with all the remaining mini-trucks, is that the Ranger grew to non-mini proportions.
Not to pick on Ford. My '87 Toy, a regular cab, short bed, weighs 2,800 lbs., has a wheelbase of 103", is 174.6" long overall, 63.8" wide, 60.8" high, and its 2.4-liter 4-cylinder is rated at 27 mpg highway. A current base Toyota Tacoma weighs 3,315 lbs., has a wheelbase of 109.6", is 190.4" long, 72.2" wide, 65.7" high, and its 2.7-liter 4-cylinder is rated at 25 mpg highway. I am sure a modern truck built the same approximate size as my '87 would get much better economy and still be parkable.