There are some great pickup trucks out there that we can’t have in the US. A lot of the reason has to do with the “Chicken Tax” that adds 25% to the price of any pickup imported into the US. For that reason and mostly that alone if the pickup isn’t made here it can’t be competitive. But that doesn’t mean we can’t show you our top eight picks for pickups we wish we could have but can’t.
Mazda has been all over the place with platform sharing with its pickup. An earlier version shared the Ford Ranger platform. Now, it shares the Isuzu D-Max pickup’s bones. The sheet metal follows Mazda’s Kodo design language, so you’ll see similarities to the CX-5 and CX-9. While it would need some kind of gas or combo hybrid power if it was sold here, it offers either a 1.9- or 3.0-liter diesel engine. The BT-50’s largest market is Australia but it is sold worldwide except for North America and Japan.
Nissan feels that American tastes dictate a more sophisticated pickup than the rest of the world. That’s why we have the Frontier while everyone else gets the Navara. Since it must be built here the Frontier is tailored to US buyers, while the Navara is a more rugged truck with a completely different suspension. We understand that our new Frontier does share frames with the Navara, but that is about as close as the two get.
The Stellantis merger makes anything from Peugeot much more interesting. Speculation is that many a Peugeot will be rebadged as a Ram, Chrysler, or Dodge for the US. But don’t forget that Chicken Tax. It would also need to be built here if it’s a midsize pickup. So we won’t be seeing the Landtrek. Besides the US this truck is not available in Europe. Instead, its main markets are Latin America and Africa. In Chile, it is the same truck but it is called the Changan Hunter. Power comes from both gas or diesel four-cylinder engines.
With the way Mitsubishi vehicles are selling in the US, you would think it could find assembly plant capacity to build the Triton here. That would be how Mitsu could have a competitive truck here. As it stands now it is available in other parts of the world but not North America. It’s available in a number of different trims that increase luxury appointments with each trim. A more aggressive version of the Triton along the lines of a smaller TRX or Raptor. We can’t wait to see that.
Utilizing the bones of the Jeep Renegade and Compass the Fiat Toro is a unibody lifestyle truck as opposed to the rest of the trucks featured here. Among its many distinctions from our eight shown here is that it is front-wheel-drive. All-wheel-drive is an option. Power comes from either a gas or diesel banger. The Toro is called the Ram 700 in Mexico and there has been talk it may come up stateside as a competitor to the unibody, front-wheel-drive Ford Maverick. It’s a good-looking pickup in spite of its limited hauling capabilities.
We really think the Amarok would do well in the US. Right now it is only available in Europe, South America, and Africa. It is outfitted with higher-end materials and features which make it more of a premium truck. And its body-on-frame construction. Both four-cylinder diesel and gas engines are available along with a V6. With Ford and VW collaborating on a new Ranger-type pickup we may see an Amarok someday in the US. We may have to wait until 2023 but we think it might happen.
The Toyota Hilux is the work truck of the working class. You’ll see it pop up in news footage all over the world. It is a completely different truck from the Tacoma but does share some engines. A single cab version is available besides the crew-cab we mostly see in those news clips. Towing capacity is around 1,000 lbs., and beyond that, you would likely move up to a full-size truck with a much larger price tag. As with Nissan, we think that the reason we get the Tacoma instead of the Hilux comes down to US perceptions by Toyota marketers. And they can’t be too far off because the Tacoma sells very well in the US.