A Little Pick-Me-Up

Consider a small truck for all your light-load needs.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the July 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Most compact pickup trucks can handle your business's light hauling and towing chores efficiently and inexpensively. Average cargo length is 6 feet; seating ranges from three to six. Benefits include prices starting under $20,000 and better gas mileage than their big brothers. Downsides are limited power and payload capacity. Let's look at three popular small pickups--the Dodge Dakota, Ford Ranger and Toyota Tacoma.

The rugged $19,585 Dakota is an upscale club cab truck with the only optional V-8 engine in its class. Full-swing rear doors ease entry and exit. The standard engine is a V-6; the transmission, a six-speed manual. The Dakota's safety features include ABS, energy-absorbing steering column, knee bolsters and side-curtain air bags. Payload: 1,700 pounds. Mileage: 16 city/22 highway.

Ford's Ranger has been around for almost two decades. This year's base model is priced at $15,085. The Ranger's regular cab has a 6-foot bed, though its Styleside model has a 7-foot bed. The powertrain on the base pickup is a 2.3-liter I-4, with 143 horsepower and a five-speed manual transmission. The extended-cab version has half-size swing doors and small rear seats with limited knee room. Payload: 1,260 pounds. Mileage: 24 city/29 highway.

For the budget-conscious, Toyota's sturdy Tacoma is priced from $13,980. With a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission, the base pickup puts out 159 horsepower. If you visit off-road sites, you'll need the optional suspension package. With ABS standard, another fine option is electronic stability control. Seating is for three. The pricier four-door model won top crash-test scores from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Toyota offers many practical Tacoma accessories, including cargo dividers, crossbars, racks and bed extenders. Payload: 1,410 pounds. Mileage: 21 city/ 27 highway.

Other compact pickups include Mazda's B-Series, sister to Ford's Ranger; the Chevrolet Colorado; and the GMC Canyon.

Jill Amadio is an award-winning automotive journalist and author.
More from Entrepreneur
Our Franchise Advisors are here to help you throughout the entire process of building your franchise organization!
  1. Schedule a FREE one-on-one session with a Franchise Advisor
  2. Choose one of our programs that matches your needs, budget, and timeline
  3. Launch your new franchise organization
Make sure you’re covered if an employee gets injured at work by
  • Providing us with basic information about your business
  • Verifying details about your business with one of our specialists
  • Speaking with an agent who is specifically suited to insure your business
Discover a better way to hire freelancers. From business to marketing, sales, finance, design, technology, and more, we have the freelancers you need to tackle your most important work and projects, on-demand.

Latest on Entrepreneur