Small VS Large Trucks

Which one?

  • Yes! I'll sacrifice comfort and crash survivability to save money

    Votes: 3 25.0%
  • No! I like a smooth ride and the safety of a full sized vehicle

    Votes: 9 75.0%

  • Total voters


Administrator Emeritus
Mar 6, 2005
As gas approaches $5 a gallon I find myself tossing around the idea of downsizing from my full sized truck down to a smaller, more economical model. However, when I look at the mpg there's hardly a difference! I mean, my 6 cylinder automatic 4.3 liter Silverado is supposed to be 15 and 20 mpg and it appears that is about as good as it gets. The smaller trucks add only 2 or 3 miles extra per rating, and that doesn't seem like that would make much of a difference at all.

Also, it seems that the Ford Ranger is the ONLY true compact truck out there, all the rest are mid-sized. And the Ranger is the only truck with a substantial MPG increase. I assume that has to be because of the 4 cylinder engine? Is that what it takes? Dropping down to a 4 cylinder? That sure seems small.

So what do ya'll think? Also, what small truck would ya'll get if you had to buy one? I'm picking the Ranger just because of the numbers.

And bear in mind that I don't need the full sized bed, a smaller one will do just fine. I understand needing a larger truck if that's what's required. I just don't need all that space.
I have an old 92 toyota.....mileage aint that great. Is it gonna be your work truck? Most folks are raising prices or charging a fuel surcharge here.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3
It's gonna be my ONLY vehicle.

I have an old 92 toyota.....mileage aint that great.

That's the part I don't get. I thought the smaller trucks got better gas mileage. It seems I'm better off just sticking with the Silverado.
convert to propane? heard it's good.....seems like a PITA to fill up though. Mileage is a big part on how you drive....around here the steep hills burn the gas like there is no tommorrow.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #5
Mileage is a big part on how you drive.

You damn skippy! And that's another thing I think I want to increase mpg, a manual transmission. Then I could coast and use different gears. Automatic transmissions are gas hogs, IMO.
I was under the impression that the modern automatics with the torque converter lockup and the computer controlled shifting are pretty efficient. I voted for the big pickup as I do a bunch of towing and hauling with mine.
automatic wont make much difference in fuel milage till your hauling heavy. stick with what you got. im thinking about a used toyta just for the cheaper fuel when im just running around bidding.
The gains from "small" pick ups are just too small. It seems that in order to have any payload capacity they can't decrease base weight enough or drop engine size without changes in gearing that tend to negate much of the smallness advantage. For some people 20% less fuel usage swings the balance but when I consider the loss in capability and the decrease in safety/driver protection it is a loser FOR ME.
If I guy wanted to haul; ropes and saws and be a fuel miser he could get a Suzuki Samurai.....but it won't be a truck.
Chevy Colorado/S10 is another smaller truck.

I'm diggin my Civic, I work out of it if all it is is climbing/flopping work (like yours).

Hard to beat 40mpg, and be air conditioned for $7400.
I got a 93 pickup like nobivy. I can get 20-24 depending on how I drive, but the hills kill. I would just keep your truck, a friend of mine has a similar truck with teh v6 and gets 20-22. It's nice to be able to put a semi heavy load in that truck too if need be.

A bit part of it is how you drive IMO.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #15
Civic? That wouldn't work for me cuz I need an outside toolbox to keep my gas/oil/saws in. I don't wanna smell that stuff in the cab.
That can be one down side for working out of it. I normally put the gas/oil in a sealed box. If I could find a suitable sized box for the saws as well, it'd be primo.
A Ranger would work well for what you do but they haven't put a 4 cylinder in them for years that I know of . The last of the US made 2.5 liter ohc engines ceased production at 4-5 years ago .Fact is ,my name is written on the last one ever built along with the last 460 V8 and last 3 liter Vulcan V6 .

Mine,which is a '86 gets about 20 miles per gallon ,maybe 24 on a long haul .

The ones that used a 3 liter V6 or that south American 2.9 [I think ] don't do all that much better than your Chevy ,if that good .

Geeze I only drive about 15 or so miles dailey but still about every 10 days ,two weeks I still dump 40 bucks worth of gas in that little thing . Of course were it a 3/4 ton I would be pumping at least that amount weekly .
I put about $36-38 in my car every week or two or so depending on how many bids I have to give and what else I do.

If all I did was make the 50 mile trip to school school and back, one tank would last me a month
just bought one, full size, I need the bigger pickup for the work I do. Thinking about changing the insurance on the wife's civic and using it for estimating, consulting and such.

I have had a little toyota ('82), sidekick (92) and a few other rides, mostly the choice thereof was based on usage so mileage was irrelevant.
I have seen some chevy full size hybrids I think. some with a tag that says 'flexfuel', not sure what that insinuates tho.
Flex fuel means it can do ethanol.

The 08 or 09 Tahoe can be a hybrid, although it only boosts the mpg's about 20% (like 4mpg).
Butch, I am driving a 2008 Silverado 1500 4x2 W/T, with the 4.3 as well. The only difference is that I have a regular cab, and a work topper and shelving kit(scantily loaded at the moment). I am still averaging about the same as you- 16.5-17 city/highway combined).

Here are my variables. I do a lot of starting and stopping, stop and go driving, idling, with some periods of highway (2-3 times per day of sustained 55+ mph driving for over 45 minutes), and a lot of less than 30 minute highway trips. I also have a bit of a lead foot off of the line. I also do a lot of driving. I am filling up 2-3 times per week, and averaging about 1000-1200 miles per week.

I think pretty much, what we are seeing out our trucks is going to be about the same, except for times of heavy hill driving, and/or towing.