Sunday, December 26, 2010

Truck: I Suppose I'm Crazy

Nevertheless, Mahindra's "little big trucks" look awfully interesting. If they're serious about 'em, they're probably rugged little devils; India picked up the British tradition of mechanical engineering and their stuff, while it may be smallish and quirky by U.S. standards, has to hold up to heavy use.

At one time, Indian build quality could be generalized as more about function than form and perhaps more about budget than either of those. That seems to be a-changin'. The Mahindra tractors sold here have a decent reputation and it is clear they're after the global market.

A local Ford dealer will be selling the trucks and I believe I'll have to go for a test drive. I drove my ex's Samurai for years and loved it -- the growly little diesel minitruck could be a lot of fun.

(On the other hand -- I do luv these. Not practical, alas.)

25 comments:

Alan said...

I used to have a Samurai. Loved that thing, put almost 200K miles on it.

Ed Rasimus said...

Here in N. Texas we've got billboards around the county plugging Mahindra tractors. Apparently the users are quite pleased with them.

The rise of quality products from unusual places is surprising. I've driven Infiniti for 15 years, through a series of five of them. Loved everyone, but next month I will find myself in the surprising position of buying a Korean car. Top quality marks per JD Power, top performance in all the road tests, and a great price.

CGHill said...

I might be with Ed on this one: I'm an Infiniti driver, but the Koreans make a compelling case for their new models.

That said, Mahindra keeps running into delays: the importer and the manufacturer are seemingly constantly at each other's throats. Which is a shame, since "compact" trucks have pushed into the full-size category, and the bigger rigs are now properly classified as Leviathan.

perlhaqr said...

I just hope they use better materials than Royal Enfield does on the models out of India. The fins on the head have an alarming tendency to snap off, from what I hear.

perlhaqr said...

That said, little 4 banger diesel with 4 wheel drive, and a 2700 lbs bed capacity... it's pretty much what I've been daydreaming about building out of a mashup of toyota and volkswagen parts ever since I got my first TDI jetta.

And it's even kinda cute, in an ugly sort of way. Or ugly, in a cute sort of way. Given what I drive now, it would not be out of character, and it could grow on me pretty fast, I think.

I think I'd want to know how long they've been making this or similar models for sale elsewhere. I've had the 'pleasure' of owning first year vehicles before. I'd rather let someone else get to work out the bugs.

The real question is... at 6'5" and 275 lbs, will I fit in it?

og said...

I have been wanting one of these for a very long time. Lord knows, I can torture test one longer than most.

Roberta X said...

I've driven Korean vehicles since shortly before I bought my house and my motorscooter's Indian; Bajaj is a bit less technologically conservative thatn Royal Enfield, though.

Mad Saint Jack said...

As long as you drive it around with an Ishapore Enfield in the back window...

Tango Juliet said...

Diesel! Diesel! Diesel!!

Robin said...

I saw one of these being driven locally, probably as an altitude test vehicle.

Ugly as sin.

Jeffro said...

Mahindra teamed with International Harvester in the sixties to build lower horsepower tractors based on IH designs. When Case bought out IH, they had to divest the Mahindra partnership. So, they've been making quality tractors for a long time.

They've also got a very strong dealer network. This was not the case with Belarus, who also produced far cruder designs than Mahindra.

I'd bet if and when they finally get those little trucks over here, they'll be supported with a decent network - Mahindra has a well earned reputation they won't want to lose.

Joseph said...

Depending on price, I might by this as a secondary vehicle. I agree that vehicles in the 3rd world have to be more rugged; otherwise the people there are just not going to buy them.

B.S. philosopher said...

Dad has a 4WD Mahindra tractor with a front loader and a rear backhoe. It's got a 3 cylinder turbocharged Mitsubishi diesel. He's used the hell out of it for the last 4 year and it's still going strong. It was less than half the price of the cheapest differently colored tractor.
Heck, it cost less than a used 10 year old 2WD John Deere with similar specs.

If their trucks are as reliable as that tractor I'd buy one in a heartbeat.

Comrade Misfit said...

Not a Unimog?

rickn8or said...

The Mahindra people REALLY need to sit down with a U.S.-based marketing company.

Are ALL the mountain range names taken, and the only choice left was "Appalachian"?? I understand "Edsel" isn't being used anymore, maybe they should try that one.

And re: the Scammell Explorer. You ought to get one just to watch the hippies cry when you go zipping down to the grocery store.

Roberta X said...

Aw, heck, E.B., everyone's got a Unimog! ;)

ZerCool said...

A clarification for those calling this a compact truck... It is dimensionally nearly identical to a Nissan Frontier or Toyota Tacoma.

Mahinda: 120" wheelbase. 205" overall.

Frontier: 125" wheelbase. 205" overall.

It does outdo the Japanese offerings with nearly double the cargo capacity, though... interesting.

PA State Cop said...

How about this One? Top Gear totally schredded this one for a couple of episodes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:TGHiluxDestroyed.jpg

Rabbit said...

As much as I love the whole concept behind a small four door turbodiesel that carries a ton and a half and gets 30 mpg, I'll believe it when I see them delivered to the dealerships. Mahindra has done a fine job with their farm equipment, but this whole deal with their agent in the US reeks of snake oil, just sayin'.

D.W. Drang said...

I note that Mahindra got their start building Willy's Jeeps. And say they make their tractors in the US of A. And that I am looking for a vehicle I can rig out as a radio truck for ARES/RACES use.

And I can't help wonder if Indian company's use US call centers...

Tam said...

Zercool,

"It does outdo the Japanese offerings with nearly double the cargo capacity, though... interesting."

That's because trucks like the Frontier are only available in King Cab and Crew Cab variants anymore.

ZerCool said...

Actually, Tam, I was comparing crew cab to crew cab. Mahindra claims "up to" 2,600lb, while my Frontier Crew Cab is rated to about 1,250lb. Since the Mahindra doesn't tell whether that rating is for 2- or 4-wheel drive, we'll even be conservative and say that a 4wd version will lose 250lb of capacity.

Speaking from experience, however, the springs aren't happy with a payload much over 600lb, and airbags would be necessary to carry the full rated capacity.

The other question, of course: how will it fare with the Amurkan buying public? A 2.2L CRD will have oodles of torque but may not satisfy the 0-60 time preferences of the US market.

Roberta X said...

I would expect them to be less than super-zippy -- and I wish there was a manual transmission version. And they probably don;t ride like a Caddy, either.

It's a truck. If it is noticeably less effete than other mfrs current offerings along those lines, all the better.

D.W. Drang said...

"It's a truck. If it is noticeably less effete than other mfrs current offerings along those lines, all the better."
OTOH, I've reached a point of decrepitude that I want comfort, too.

Anonymous said...

As soon as Consumer Reports comes out with their "top-heavy, turnover-prone" hatchet job, I'll grab one of these.

In '88 their article on the Samurai had the dealership in Fort Pierce, FL running a giant "YOUR CHOICE $5999" ad. I asked the salesman what's the catch, and he said, well, you gotta choose what color you want and whether you prefer the convertible or hardtop.

I grabbed a gunmetal grey hardtop for better security since I toted quite a few long guns back and forth back then, and I truly loved that little skate. All the redneck boys around here with their superlift pickups with swamper tires watched in awe as my flyweight floated right over the sugar sand and mudholes without digging in. It also holds a special place in my heart due to the video we have of my son who is 27 now and was 3 then, driving that thing by himself all over the lakeshore near our home after I put it in creeper 4X4 mode.

Of course doing sixty down US 27 with windwash from 18-wheelers passing by was a bit of a thrill, but whaddaya want for 6K? Wish I'd bought two or three of 'em.

Looking forward to checking out this Indian diesel...thanks for the heads-up RX!

AT