Re: Best Light Duty Truck
One of the reasons the diesel PU's of that era were poor sellers was that they were grossly underpowered, even by the standards of the day.
Some were very under-powered and some were fine. I suspect the BIG problem with sales was collective diesel ignorance. Not only with the people who bought the trucks, but also the many mechanics who were clueless with diesels (and many still are). That's why we had to fix many GM diesel problems in the late 70s and 80s at our John Deere dealership. The local GM dealers were pretty much clueless on certain types of diesel repair and diagnosis. Many diesels got blames for failures that did not exist from "mechanics" who did not know what they' were doing.
Myth #1 about diesels having more power than gas engines caused many problems. The opposite is true. Gas engines will always have more power then diesel engines if same size and same aspiration. That's why GM had to make a 379 cubic inch diesel (6.2 liter) to make the same power and torque as a 305 gas engines (5 liter). I know of many new truck buyers back in 1982 who were used to the power of their 350 Chevy gassers. When they got the new 379 diesels with much less power - it was hard to convince them that it was normal and to be expected.
The turbo Isuzu 2.2 diesel truck had lots of power. So did the turbo-diesel Ford Ranger, turbo-diesel IH Scout, and the turbo-diesel Dodge Ram 50. Great running trucks, very reliable, and did not sell. Now the S10 Chevy and S15 GMC diesel truck WAS a dog ,but that was GMs fault. My non-turbo 81 diesel Chevette and non-turbo 91 Volkswagens both have all the power I need -but not what we're calling "trucks."
The last 1/2 ton full size diesel truck or SUV ever offered in the USA was from GM and they were also poor sellers. Turbocharged and plenty of power for normal use with the 6.5 turbo in a light truck, Blazer, or Suburban.
I worked off and on as a diesel mechanic for near 50 years. I saw the same consumer mistakes and misgivings over and over. Generally speaking, USA-Americans do not like the smell of diesel fuel, don't like the sound of a diesel engine, don't like to deal with cold starting issues of diesels, are clueless about diesel fuel gelling in cold temps, and expect diesels to have more power then gassers instead of less. That was the problem. So, to sell - the USA consumer wants a diesel that acts NOTHING like a diesel. Why bother? It's also the reason why the newer small common-rail diesels do not get better MPGs.
Makes you wonder what kind of mileage the Ranger would have had if it got the Ecoboost. That was the problem I think, there was not enough difference in gas mileage to justify not getting the larger truck. .
I suspect it would be a great little truck. From what I gather, there is not enough profit involved with sales of small trucks and the reason why Ford dropped the Ranger. Kind of a shame. Even in the used market it's very hard to find Rangers that were actually made with economy in mind with small engines. Most I come across have 3 liter or 4 liter V6s. Four cylinder versions are rare.
Toyota has always had the best small truck and still does. Reliability and fuel mileage if you pick the 2.4 or 2.7 engine.
As to the reports and 17 MPG with the F150 Ecoboost? I know a few people that have clocked 24 MPG consistently. But that is flat highway driving with no "stop and go." Stop and go driving and hills is what kills fuel mileage in truck. My Dodge Grand Caravan AWD with a 3.8 gets 23-24 MPG on the highway but can get as low as 7 MPG pulling hard up a hill. If I only drove it "around town" it would average 15 MPG at best.
That's why I'm been so impressed with the new Ford Escape AWD 2.5 liter. Great mileage either way. I'll never buy one new, though. Spending $25-$30K to up MPGs by a few numbers doesn't add up in my calculations. If you have to buy a new rig anyway -it makes more sense.
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