The USA and pickup trucks go together like, well, pickup trucks and the U.S.A. The trucks built by the Detroit Three, and by foreign automakers here in the U.S.A., are among the best in the world. But there are still several incredible foreign market pickup trucks not available in the U.S.A. Here are four that I sure wish you could buy here. Sadly, a vehicle not licensed for sale in the U.S. must be at least 25 years old before you can legally import it. We’ll have to wait a few years before cruising around the U.S.A. in any of these trucks.
Toyota Land Cruiser 79
Toyota replaced its iconic FJ40 in 1984. It built the slightly more luxurious FJ60 for the North American market and the barebones 70-series for foreign markets. The 70-series SUV was known as the Prado in Japan, and later in Europe. It also came as a long-wheelbase truck version. The 70-series truck was rebadged as the Land Cruiser 79 in 1999–and it’s still available in African markets today, according to Gear Patrol. Though the Land Cruiser 79’s sheet metal may look almost forty years old, its internals are not. It is now available as an AWD with a center-locking differential in some trims. But it still has a manual transmission. You can even get a Land Cruiser 79 with both a four-door cab and a pickup bed.
Read how the Toyota Land Cruiser may be more iconic than the F-150.
Holden is General Motors’ Australia division. A ute (short for utility) is Australian slang for a pickup truck. Therefore, it makes sense that the Holden Utility/Ute was a tiny coupe utility. You can think of it as a modern El Camino. And it was almost sold in the U.S.A! The Ute was originally based on the Holden Commodore sedan, and thus shared components with the Pontiac G8. In Australia, you could order the Holden Utility as a stretched four-door, the “Holden Crewman.” You could even order a chassis/cab “Holden One Tonner.” General Motors made plans to sell it in the U.S.A. as the Pontiac G8 ST, but the 2008 recession forced the company to reduce its lineup. South Africa and the Middle East did get a Holden Ute badged as the Chevrolet Lumina SS. Sadly, Holden discontinued the Utility after 2017. There’s no word yet whether the automaker is planning a new coupe utility to replace it.
Fiat Strada/Ram 700
With the Hyundai Santa Cruz and Ford Maverick selling like hotcakes, the compact pickup truck is having quite the moment of fame. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was ahead of this trend, because Fiat has been selling its little “Strada” truck since 1998. This compact truck enjoyed several redesigned generations built in both Brazil and Europe. Then in 2015, FCA began selling it in Mexico badged as a Ram 700 (half of a ram 1500, get it?). The latest version of the Fiat Strada/Ram 700 (2020-present) offers both two-door and four-door configurations. Its capacity is up to 1,590 pounds. Every Strada has a I4 engine, though you can choose between a CVT automatic and a 5-speed manual. I think this little Ram could give the Santa Cruz and Maverick a run for their money.
See the true compact trucks available in the U.S.A.
There is another unique Ram for the Mexican market that could not be any more different from the Ram 700. The Ram 4000 is a chassis/cab powered by the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 paired with a Tremec TR4050 manual five-speed transmission. It also has a higher payload capacity than the Ram 3500, thanks to its heavy overload springs. This may seem like an odd configuration, but the manual transmission allows the driver to compensate for the Ram 4000’s relatively small engine by shifting early and often. Buyers can transform these chassis cabs into anything from box trucks capable of tackling mountain roads to small buses. It has the distinction of being the final manual transmission full-size truck available anywhere, and unfortunately you can’t buy it in the U.S.A.
Next, read up on the Mexican Ram 4000 or watch