Latest Reader Question: Diesel Trucks (May 8, 2018)

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Jeff asks: Are there any small, older pickups with diesel engines?

My reply: Yes, but you have to go way back. The Chevy Luv of the late ’70s through about 1980 (IIRC) was available with a diesel engine. Also, the Datsun 620 of the same era. VW also made a Rabbit pickup that could be ordered with a diesel engine. Again, same era.

Unfortunately nothing recent – not in the U.S.

The closest thing you can currently buy is the Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon – which is a mid-sized truck, bordering on full-size because the diesel requires the four door bodystyle. It is a much larger truck than the compacts we’re talking about. Also – unfortunately – much more expensive. The same is true of the pending (2019) Ford Ranger, which is a much larger truck than the previous Ranger.

Diesels are making something of a comeback in full-size trucks. The current Ram 1500 offers one and both the Ford F-150 and the Chevy Silverado will as well.

But – I’m with you – I’d really like to see a compact-sized truck with a diesel engine return to the U.S. market.

. . .

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. I would like to see a diesel in a compact pickup but first, I would like to see a compact sized truck return to the market. The so-called compacts of today are the size of the big ones 10 years ago.

  2. Toyota made them, Ford in square body rangers, Isuzu, Chevy Luv and S10, Datsun/Nissan, etc. I owned several, all grossly underpowered, rock solid reliable, and cheaper than dirt to run.would love another Isuzu pup or Toyota. Even a 6.2 in a half ton chevy can top 25 mpg highway and I’ve seen an original with 800k miles untouched.

  3. First time I changed oil on my 84.5 Nissan the parts guy ask gas or diesel. He had both filters. I compared them. Both would fit either. I always bought the much larger diesel filter for my gas pickup.

    I would have bought a diesel had I known they existed.

  4. There’s another option if you’re willing to go through the hassle: find a non-US truck that is at least 25 years old and import it. That opens you up to anything made worldwide up to 1993. The biggest catch is that it has to be original, e.g. no upgrades, when it passes through customs. Once it’s here, though, do what you want to it.

  5. Thank you for taking the time to reply Eric. jfyi I have the Ram 1500 w/ eco-diesel. The best truck I’ve ever owned (6 GMC’s prior).


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