I absolutely love trucks. I used to sit in the back seat of my mom’s Ford Escort and marvel up at all the trucks like the ones my dad drove. Hell, my pop drove the same ’88 F-150 for almost 20 years. I am older and wiser now, and I know all the drawbacks to driving a big pickup, but I still love them. I just wish someone would come out with a small, affordable diesel pickup…
Oh wait, somebody has. It is an Indian company called Mahindra, and they have been working on bringing their aptly-named Pickup to the U.S. for some time now. The vehicle has finally won EPA approval for sale in the U.S., bringing it one step closer to actually making it to dealerships.
Let’s not jump the gun though. I’ve followed the Mahindra saga closely, and they’ve made plenty of missteps so far. Their retail partner, Global Vehicles Inc., is suing them for failing to deliver the Pickups on a promised schedule. The Pickup’s release has been delayed again and again with little communication from Mahindra. They’ve got to step up their game if they hope to succeed here, though getting certified by the EPA is a step in the right direction.
That said, the Pickup has a lot going for it. Its tiny 2.2 liter diesel engine promises 30 mpg on the highway with a 5,000 pound towing capacity. I’ve towed a lot of cars in my day, so towing capacity is key for anybody who plans to use a truck like a truck. It isn’t a very good looking truck, but it will be affordable (starting around $22,000), and it will come with a bevy of standard features, including ABS, CD player, and a six-speed automatic transmission. $22,000 may not sound cheap, but you can’t get any other diesel pickup for less than $30,000 right now. Plus there is a definite dearth of small pickups in America right now. The Ford Ranger is on its way out with no replacement forthcoming, the Chevy Colorado isn’t very small (and the best mileage it gets is 20 mpg on the highway). So Mahindra might really corner the market, if they’re smart about how they market it.