I assumed this search for a small pickup would be a cinch. Most of my car searches are for at least somewhat limited production German cars, and I always have a super specific set of boxes to check. On top of that, the smallest thing will have me turn my nose up at cars in this segment. Cheap wheels, cheap exhaust, weathered interior...later.

There are about a bazillion pickup trucks. I just want a small one, that’s fun to drive, has 3 pedals, a 6ft+ bed, and is deemed at least somewhat good lucking my me. Contrary to internet beliefs, a lot of pickup trucks have actually been used for work and thus are beat to shit! Which is making this search difficult.

I drove a 2008 Ranger, 4.0L V6, 4x4 with 51k on the clock last weekend. I didn’t like it...it was nothing like my 1987 (obviously), in that it was rigid with terrible clutch feel. There may have been something weird going on, as it felt terrible in reverse when in 4x4. The air conditioning was barely even cool on max there were nics and scratches all over and a big dent in the drivers door with the paint flaking off. They wanted $13,500. I got the guy down to $12k which I was initially comfortable with, but then backed out saying I wasn’t even sure at $11k. He’s emailed me a few times, but I’ve never gone back if I couldn’t make a deal the first time. So I decided I would look for an older, cheaper truck that was a little more fun to drive.

Now I’m deciding between a 99 Ranger 4cyl, xcab, stepside, with 177k on the clock for 3k...and a 2002 Taco V6 4x4 xcab with 166k on the clock for 7k. It seems as if comparable Tacos are about twice the price of a comparable Ranger. Are they twice as good?

The Ranger looks like this


The Taco looks like this

Some more variables. The Ranger is close, the Taco is 2 hours away. I’m leaning hard toward the Taco at this point. but 4 grand is 4 grand... The price of the Taco seems good according to my research and the truck looks to be in really nice shape.


I’ve kicked around the Frontier, S10, and Dakota. I don’t like the look of the Dakota or S10, and manual Frontiers are tough to find.

So Oppo whats good about/bad about the Taco, and which truck would you ring up out of the two mentioned?