Trucks & SUVs

Are Small Pickups The Next Big Thing?

Smaller than a Ranger or Colorado, this is the Wuling Motors 2021 Zhengtu from China. Though small, based on capacity figures there is plenty of cargo and passenger space. And surprisingly, they look pretty stylish. The question is, “Would a truck like this sell in the US?” Could these small pickups be the next big thing in trucks?

Some Wuling vehicles are sold outside China as Chevrolets

2021 Wuling Zhengtu pickup truck | SAIC

Some Wuling vehicles are sold outside of China as Chevrolet products. GM and Wuling’s parent company SAIC is a joint venture in China. So if these met US safety and emissions regulations they could conceivably be sold here. However, while we wouldn’t think it could meet US crash standards, it does meet China’s National 6 standard. That is one of the most stringent emissions standards in the world. 

Wuling did export some micro-trucks in 2005 and 2006 to the US. But these were sold for private property use and not registered for highway usage. But keep in mind that Wuling is not a small company. It makes millions of vehicles each year mostly for China. 

Overall the Zhengtu is right at 200-inches long

2021 Wuling Zhengtu pickup truck | SAIC

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Overall the Zhengtu is right at 200-inches long with a 124-inch wheelbase. As a comparison, the Ford Ranger comes in at almost a foot longer at 211-inches with a 127-inch wheelbase. So there are much longer overhangs on the Ranger than with the Zhengtu pickup. That explains the capacity similarities while coming in much shorter. 

With a bed length of 78.7-inches and a width of 78.7-inches, it is longer and wider than the Ranger bed which is at 72×44.8-inches. It beats the Colorado bed length at 74.4 but falls short in width at 57.8-inches. Still, the 2021 Zhengtu has a surprisingly competitive cargo capacity to larger US midsize pickups. 

Power comes from a 1.5-liter gas-powered engine rated at 99hp. While no powerhouse we wonder if it could use a turbocharger to spice things up were it to be sold here. But nobody would buy a Zhengtu for racing. Fuel economy is listed at 62 miles per gallon, so where you lose in power you make up in the economy. 

We would love to test one of these Zhengtu pickups

2021 Wuling Zhengtu pickup truck | SAIC

In all, we would love to test one of these Zhengtu pickups just to see how it performs on the highway and hauling. Both emissions and capacity are covered by Wuling so if it could meet crash standards the Zhengtu has a chance of being sold here. With the volume of vehicles that SAIC sells worldwide sales in the US would probably be small potatoes. 

But with pickups selling like crazy here it makes sense that something quirky like the 2021 Zhengtu just might sell more than would be expected. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?