How to Find the Best Mini Truck Dealers

How to Find the Best Mini Truck Dealers

 You’re ready to put your money to work in a mini truck.

But before you drop your hard-earned bucks into one, there are a few things you’ll want to check out when deciding which importer/dealer to buy from . . .

First off, buying a mini truck is quite a bit different than getting say, a Tahoe, from your local Chevy dealer. With a traditional truck purchase, you can find the model you’re looking for at any authorized dealer. Your biggest decisions are normally what color to get and your choice in options.

With a mini truck, however, you’re limited to the vehicles that are available with each importer/dealer, unless you want to import a specific mini truck directly from Japan.

And one dealer may carry different makes and models than another dealer. This adds a little “spice” to the process, but once you know the ropes, you’ll find that buying a mini truck (used or new) is actually pretty straightforward.

If you’ve read our blog article then you know that most Japanese mini trucks (“kei” trucks) available for sale are used vehicles.

This is due to import restrictions and federal DOT and EPA standards for mini trucks.

New models of mini trucks can be purchased, of course, but there are fewer to choose from than with used models. If you want a new mini truck that you can’t find in stock in the U.S., most importer/dealers can order you a new Japanese mini truck from Daihatsu or Suzuki, for instance, directly from Japan. The importer/dealer will walk you through the steps. Usually it involves a 50% deposit (cashier’s check) and the balance upon delivery (2-4 weeks). Some importers require full payment up front.

On the other hand, if you’ve got your eye set on a Chinese mini truck, there’s more to choose from in new models, either through [link to Vantage] or [link to Tiger Trucks].  You can also get used Chinese mini trucks from these dealers, as well as through ads on the Internet from individual owners, such as on Craigslist.

  1. Importer or Dealer?

Most companies selling Japanese mini trucks keep a modest inventory on hand. A few are strictly importers, which means you’ll be looking at 2-4 weeks for delivery once you’ve decided on your mini truck. The upside to going the import route is that you have more options, since the importer has access to the entire mini truck market in Japan!

In the states, larger mini truck dealer/importers typically have 10-20 vehicles in stock (most are used). Smaller companies and “mom-and-pop-shops” carry fewer mini trucks, perhaps 4-8 vehicles at any time.

We recommend that you go through the list of dealer/importers at the end of this blog post and check out the individual websites to see what mini trucks are offered for sale. Keep in mind that inventories are not always updated timely on some websites, so you’ll need to contact the companies by phone or email to find out if a particular mini truck is available.

  1. Buying In-Person vs. Buying via the Internet

It goes without saying that when you’re buying a vehicle, you want to kick the tires, check the engine, and take if for a quick spin around the block.

But because there are only a dozen or so primary mini truck dealer/importers in the entire U.S., you could be looking at traveling hundreds of miles to inspect your future mini truck. If you have to travel to another state to physically look over your mini truck before buying it, you could rack up $500 or more in travel costs.

This is why some people buy their mini truck “sight unseen” as it were. By asking a lot of questions of the dealer/importer, and having them send you a bunch of photos showing every part of the mini truck, inside and out, you should be able to get a good handle on its value.

You can also ask the dealer/importer to allow you to take possession of the mini truck, and then if you’re unhappy with it, ship it back for a pre-agreed-to fee. Not too many dealer/importers are willing to do this, but it never hurts to ask!

Beyond this is the shipping cost. Since it’s illegal to drive a mini truck on interstate highways, your mini truck will likely need to be shipped to you. This could cost as little as $100 if you live only a few miles away from the dealer/importer. But if you live hundreds of miles away, shipping your mini truck could make you dip into your pocketbook a $1,000 or more.

Be sure to ask this in advance, so you know ALL of your costs beforehand.

Have the dealer/importer send all information and costs surrounding your mini truck to you via email so you have a record.

  1. Warranty, Service & Parts.

Each Importer/Dealer has its own level of sales support. As a general rule, don’t expect much in the way of warranty! You may find a 30-day warranty on parts from one dealer, a 30-day warranty on the entire vehicle with another dealer, and no warranty at all with yet a different dealer.

Since parts are sometimes hard to come by in the Japanese mini truck market, be sure to ask the dealer/importer about any repair service and access to parts that they offer.

  1. Paperwork & Licensing.

Japanese mini trucks can have confusing vehicle identification numbers, which may create problems at your DMV when you’re registering it (particularly older models). Ask the dealer/importer about all relevant documentation you will need, and be sure to get it by email prior to your purchase. That way you can verify whether or not you can register and insure it in your state.

Japanese Mini Truck Dealers and Importers (USA):

Duncan Imports & Classic Cars

2300 Prospect St.

Christiansburg, VA 24037

(540) 808-6433

http://www.duncanimports.com

 *   *   *

Star Truck Enterprises, LLC

12432 4050 Road,

Paonia, CO 81428

  • 261-0438

email:  startruckenterprises@gmail.com

http://www.coloradominitruck.com

   *   *   *

G&R Imports (Eaton Mini Trucks)

155 Bamboo Ln.

Jackson, MO 63755

855-484-8342

contactus@grimports.com

https://www.grimports.com

   *   *   *

Bogue Innovations Group

(America’s Mini Truck Center)

202 S. 19th St.

P.O. BOX 487

Beresford, SD 57004

(605) 763-2945

http://www.americasminitruckcenter.com

   *   *   *

Cape Portable Buildings

902 S. Kingshighway

Cape Girardeau, MO 63703

(573) 321-8110

http://capeportablebuildings.com

   *   *   *

Mayberry Mini Trucks, Inc.

North Carolina

  • 337-5725

email: mayberryminitrucks@gmail.com

https://mayberryminitrucks.com

   *   *   *

Fremont Mini Trucks

960 State Route 300

Gibsonburg, OH 43431

  • 308-8622

email: sales@fremontminitrucks.com

http://www.fremontminitrucks.com

   *   *   *

Weatherford Mini Trucks

1899 NW Ric Williamson Memorial Hwy 

Weatherford, TX 76088 

(817) 565-6103

http://www.weatherfordminitrucks.com

   *   *   *

Houston Mini Trucks

726 Herkimer St.

Houston, TX 77007

(281) 660-8270

http://www.houstonminitrucks.com

   *   *   *

Super Mini Trucks

Oklahoma City, OK

(580) 443-5500

https://www.superminitrucks.com

   *   *   *

http://twinriversatv.com

Twin Rivers Mini Trucks

1763 US Hwy 70 East / US Hwy 71

De Queen, AR 71832

  • 642-8701

   *   *   *

West Coast Mini Trucks

7055 Speedway Blvd. Building E. Ste. 102

Las Vegas, NV 89115

(702) 823-5033

sales@westcoastminitrucks.com

http://www.westcoastminitrucks.com

   *   *   *

Magic Valley Mini Trucks, LLC

5421 US Hwy 93

Jerome, ID 83338

(208) 410-0280

http://magicvalleyminitrucks.com

   *   *   *

Bluegrass Mini Trucks

Elizabethtown, KY

(270) 737-1889

http://bluegrassminitrucks.com

   *   *   *

West Main Sales

10405 West Main Road

North East, PA 16428

(814) 725-5864

http://www.westmainsales.com

   *   *   *

Yamagin Corporation (import direct from Japan only)

310-498-4465 (CA)

email Contact: info@minitruckdealer.com

http://www.minitruckdealer.com  (strictly importer)

 

 

 

Chinese Mini Truck Authorized Dealers:

 

Tiger Truck International

(Authorized US dealer of Chinese mini-trucks made by ChangAn)

100 Tiger Drive

Poteau, OK 74953

(918) 647-4000

(918) 649-0226

email: info@tigertruck.com

 

http://tigertruck.com

 

 

   *   *   *

 

Vantage Vehicle International, Inc.

1740 N. Delilah Street

Corona, CA 92879

(951) 735-1200

email: info@vantagevehicle.com

 

https://www.vantagevehicle.com

 

 

 

How to Find the Best Mini Truck Dealers

 You’re ready to put your money to work in a mini truck.

But before you drop your hard-earned bucks into one, there are a few things you’ll want to check out when deciding which importer/dealer to buy from . . .

First off, buying a mini truck is quite a bit different than getting say, a Tahoe, from your local Chevy dealer. With a traditional truck purchase, you can find the model you’re looking for at any authorized dealer. Your biggest decisions are normally what color to get and your choice in options.

With a mini truck, however, you’re limited to the vehicles that are available with each importer/dealer, unless you want to import a specific mini truck directly from Japan.

And one dealer may carry different makes and models than another dealer. This adds a little “spice” to the process, but once you know the ropes, you’ll find that buying a mini truck (used or new) is actually pretty straightforward.

If you’ve read our blog article then you know that most Japanese mini trucks (“kei” trucks) available for sale are used vehicles.

This is due to import restrictions and federal DOT and EPA standards for mini trucks.

New models of mini trucks can be purchased, of course, but there are fewer to choose from than with used models. If you want a new mini truck that you can’t find in stock in the U.S., most importer/dealers can order you a new Japanese mini truck from Daihatsu or Suzuki, for instance, directly from Japan. The importer/dealer will walk you through the steps. Usually it involves a 50% deposit (cashier’s check) and the balance upon delivery (2-4 weeks). Some importers require full payment up front.

On the other hand, if you’ve got your eye set on a Chinese mini truck, there’s more to choose from in new models, either through [link to Vantage] or [link to Tiger Trucks].  You can also get used Chinese mini trucks from these dealers, as well as through ads on the Internet from individual owners, such as on Craigslist.

  1. Importer or Dealer?

Most companies selling Japanese mini trucks keep a modest inventory on hand. A few are strictly importers, which means you’ll be looking at 2-4 weeks for delivery once you’ve decided on your mini truck. The upside to going the import route is that you have more options, since the importer has access to the entire mini truck market in Japan!

In the states, larger mini truck dealer/importers typically have 10-20 vehicles in stock (most are used). Smaller companies and “mom-and-pop-shops” carry fewer mini trucks, perhaps 4-8 vehicles at any time.

We recommend that you go through the list of dealer/importers at the end of this blog post and check out the individual websites to see what mini trucks are offered for sale. Keep in mind that inventories are not always updated timely on some websites, so you’ll need to contact the companies by phone or email to find out if a particular mini truck is available.

  1. Buying In-Person vs. Buying via the Internet

It goes without saying that when you’re buying a vehicle, you want to kick the tires, check the engine, and take if for a quick spin around the block.

But because there are only a dozen or so primary mini truck dealer/importers in the entire U.S., you could be looking at traveling hundreds of miles to inspect your future mini truck. If you have to travel to another state to physically look over your mini truck before buying it, you could rack up $500 or more in travel costs.

This is why some people buy their mini truck “sight unseen” as it were. By asking a lot of questions of the dealer/importer, and having them send you a bunch of photos showing every part of the mini truck, inside and out, you should be able to get a good handle on its value.

You can also ask the dealer/importer to allow you to take possession of the mini truck, and then if you’re unhappy with it, ship it back for a pre-agreed-to fee. Not too many dealer/importers are willing to do this, but it never hurts to ask!

Beyond this is the shipping cost. Since it’s illegal to drive a mini truck on interstate highways, your mini truck will likely need to be shipped to you. This could cost as little as $100 if you live only a few miles away from the dealer/importer. But if you live hundreds of miles away, shipping your mini truck could make you dip into your pocketbook a $1,000 or more.

Be sure to ask this in advance, so you know ALL of your costs beforehand.

Have the dealer/importer send all information and costs surrounding your mini truck to you via email so you have a record.

  1. Warranty, Service & Parts.

Each Importer/Dealer has its own level of sales support. As a general rule, don’t expect much in the way of warranty! You may find a 30-day warranty on parts from one dealer, a 30-day warranty on the entire vehicle with another dealer, and no warranty at all with yet a different dealer.

Since parts are sometimes hard to come by in the Japanese mini truck market, be sure to ask the dealer/importer about any repair service and access to parts that they offer.

  1. Paperwork & Licensing.

Japanese mini trucks can have confusing vehicle identification numbers, which may create problems at your DMV when you’re registering it (particularly older models). Ask the dealer/importer about all relevant documentation you will need, and be sure to get it by email prior to your purchase. That way you can verify whether or not you can register and insure it in your state.

Japanese Mini Truck Dealers and Importers (USA):

Duncan Imports & Classic Cars

2300 Prospect St.

Christiansburg, VA 24037

(540) 808-6433

http://www.duncanimports.com

 *   *   *

Star Truck Enterprises, LLC

12432 4050 Road,

Paonia, CO 81428

  • 261-0438

email:  startruckenterprises@gmail.com

http://www.coloradominitruck.com

   *   *   *

G&R Imports (Eaton Mini Trucks)

155 Bamboo Ln.

Jackson, MO 63755

855-484-8342

contactus@grimports.com

https://www.grimports.com

   *   *   *

Bogue Innovations Group

(America’s Mini Truck Center)

202 S. 19th St.

P.O. BOX 487

Beresford, SD 57004

(605) 763-2945

http://www.americasminitruckcenter.com

   *   *   *

Cape Portable Buildings

902 S. Kingshighway

Cape Girardeau, MO 63703

(573) 321-8110

http://capeportablebuildings.com

   *   *   *

Mayberry Mini Trucks, Inc.

North Carolina

  • 337-5725

email: mayberryminitrucks@gmail.com

https://mayberryminitrucks.com

   *   *   *

Fremont Mini Trucks

960 State Route 300

Gibsonburg, OH 43431

  • 308-8622

email: sales@fremontminitrucks.com

http://www.fremontminitrucks.com

   *   *   *

Weatherford Mini Trucks

1899 NW Ric Williamson Memorial Hwy 

Weatherford, TX 76088 

(817) 565-6103

http://www.weatherfordminitrucks.com

   *   *   *

Houston Mini Trucks

726 Herkimer St.

Houston, TX 77007

(281) 660-8270

http://www.houstonminitrucks.com

   *   *   *

Super Mini Trucks

Oklahoma City, OK

(580) 443-5500

https://www.superminitrucks.com

   *   *   *

http://twinriversatv.com

Twin Rivers Mini Trucks

1763 US Hwy 70 East / US Hwy 71

De Queen, AR 71832

  • 642-8701

   *   *   *

West Coast Mini Trucks

7055 Speedway Blvd. Building E. Ste. 102

Las Vegas, NV 89115

(702) 823-5033

sales@westcoastminitrucks.com

http://www.westcoastminitrucks.com

   *   *   *

Magic Valley Mini Trucks, LLC

5421 US Hwy 93

Jerome, ID 83338

(208) 410-0280

http://magicvalleyminitrucks.com

   *   *   *

Bluegrass Mini Trucks

Elizabethtown, KY

(270) 737-1889

http://bluegrassminitrucks.com

   *   *   *

West Main Sales

10405 West Main Road

North East, PA 16428

(814) 725-5864

http://www.westmainsales.com

   *   *   *

Yamagin Corporation (import direct from Japan only)

310-498-4465 (CA)

email Contact: info@minitruckdealer.com

http://www.minitruckdealer.com  (strictly importer)

 

 

 

Chinese Mini Truck Authorized Dealers:

 

Tiger Truck International

(Authorized US dealer of Chinese mini-trucks made by ChangAn)

100 Tiger Drive

Poteau, OK 74953

(918) 647-4000

(918) 649-0226

email: info@tigertruck.com

 

http://tigertruck.com

 

 

   *   *   *

 

Vantage Vehicle International, Inc.

1740 N. Delilah Street

Corona, CA 92879

(951) 735-1200

email: info@vantagevehicle.com

 

https://www.vantagevehicle.com

 

 

 

Like this article?



Share on facebook


Share on Facebook



Share on twitter


Share on Twitter



Share on linkedin


Share on Linkdin



Share on pinterest


Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment

Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment

Tricking Out Your Mini Truck: Options & Customizing

Tricking Out Your Mini Truck: Options & Customizing

There’s no denying that a mini truck is a versatile workhorse.

With the right accessories, it can be even more versatile . . .

Plus your mini truck can also be a great source of recreational fun.

So let’s check out some of the many options available for both work and play.

Custom Vinyl Wraps.

The most commonly used vinyl wrap for a mini truck is a camouflage pattern . . .

And there are a ton of patterns to choose from, as well as a ton of suppliers. Whether you want to apply it yourself, or have the dealer/importer do it for you, the choices are practically endless.

Quality vinyl wraps are UV resistant, and use an airless adhesive so you can apply it yourself if you want for a smooth finish with little risk of trapped bubbles, even if you’re a novice.

Patterns can be purchased in squares or rolls (typically 24-inches or 48-inches wide) and will run you anywhere from $7 – $30 per linear foot, depending on pattern and supplier. You might find a supplier in a town near you, or you can order online.

Upgraded Wheels & All-Terrain Tires.

There is a dizzying array of wheels and tires available for your mini truck. The standard wheel size is 12-inch, but many upgraded all-terrain wheels/tires are 14-inches (you can also find some 13-inch wheels and tires).

Many mini truck owners want the ability to handle all weather conditions for not only work-related reasons, but also for the sheer fun of trekking in the great outdoors!

You can also get many different tires and wheels for your mini truck.

One of the many suppliers of mini truck wheels, tires, and accessories that you may want to check out is Super Mini Trucks.

Lift Kits, Hitches & Winches.

Mini truck lift kits are very popular! You can find information about them, as well as buy them, on the Internet from a number of suppliers. A simple Google search will net you a variety to choose from. Many importer/dealers also offer the service of installing a lift kit on your mini truck for you. If you decide to install one yourself, make sure you have all the correct information, as it can be trickier to get right than you might think. Expect to pay around $200-$300 for a DIY kit, and up to $600 for an installed lift kit.

Due to the specific dimensions of a mini truck, when it comes to buying a winch or a hitch, be sure to get the correct one. By contacting a reputable supplier of mini truck accessories, such as Super Mini Trucks, you can avoid a lot of headaches.

Roll Cages, Brush Guards, Racks, & More.

When it comes to roll bars, roll cages, brush guards, and similar accessories, you have a wide range of choices. There are both custom-built and off-the-shelf brush guards, bumpers, racks, and more. By spending some time on the Internet, you’ll be able to track down different designs of these popular accessories.

Mini Truck Truck-Bed Accessories.

It goes without saying that the truck bed is one of the most important features of your mini truck, for work and for fun. Bed liners are available, as are various bed add-ons, such as high-wall extensions. Again, the Internet is your friend in finding the right set-up for your mini truck.

You can also make your mini truck a versatile dump truck!

Or even with a bed lift!

Snow Plow & Arctic Track Kit.

One of the more useful add-ons for your mini truck is a snowplow blade. Not only is a mini truck ideal for handling confined areas, it’s lightweight construction allows it to do things and go places heavier trucks can’t. Mini truck owners I’ve spoken with who have a plow say it is indispensible in the winter months.

If you want an even more aggressive approach to attacking snowy weather, you can put an Arctic track kit on your mini truck, although this is quite a commitment!  Be ready to shell out a bit of cashola for this!

But if you need it, the mini truck gets it done!

We could go on and on looking at the variety of possibilities for accessorizing your mini truck. When you consider the customized approaches that mini truck owners have done to their mini trucks, quite literally your imagination is the limit!

 

Tricking Out Your Mini Truck: Options & Customizing

There’s no denying that a mini truck is a versatile workhorse.

With the right accessories, it can be even more versatile . . .

Plus your mini truck can also be a great source of recreational fun.

So let’s check out some of the many options available for both work and play.

Custom Vinyl Wraps.

The most commonly used vinyl wrap for a mini truck is a camouflage pattern . . .

And there are a ton of patterns to choose from, as well as a ton of suppliers. Whether you want to apply it yourself, or have the dealer/importer do it for you, the choices are practically endless.

Quality vinyl wraps are UV resistant, and use an airless adhesive so you can apply it yourself if you want for a smooth finish with little risk of trapped bubbles, even if you’re a novice.

Patterns can be purchased in squares or rolls (typically 24-inches or 48-inches wide) and will run you anywhere from $7 – $30 per linear foot, depending on pattern and supplier. You might find a supplier in a town near you, or you can order online.

Upgraded Wheels & All-Terrain Tires.

There is a dizzying array of wheels and tires available for your mini truck. The standard wheel size is 12-inch, but many upgraded all-terrain wheels/tires are 14-inches (you can also find some 13-inch wheels and tires).

Many mini truck owners want the ability to handle all weather conditions for not only work-related reasons, but also for the sheer fun of trekking in the great outdoors!

You can also get many different tires and wheels for your mini truck.

One of the many suppliers of mini truck wheels, tires, and accessories that you may want to check out is Super Mini Trucks.

Lift Kits, Hitches & Winches.

Mini truck lift kits are very popular! You can find information about them, as well as buy them, on the Internet from a number of suppliers. A simple Google search will net you a variety to choose from. Many importer/dealers also offer the service of installing a lift kit on your mini truck for you. If you decide to install one yourself, make sure you have all the correct information, as it can be trickier to get right than you might think. Expect to pay around $200-$300 for a DIY kit, and up to $600 for an installed lift kit.

Due to the specific dimensions of a mini truck, when it comes to buying a winch or a hitch, be sure to get the correct one. By contacting a reputable supplier of mini truck accessories, such as Super Mini Trucks, you can avoid a lot of headaches.

Roll Cages, Brush Guards, Racks, & More.

When it comes to roll bars, roll cages, brush guards, and similar accessories, you have a wide range of choices. There are both custom-built and off-the-shelf brush guards, bumpers, racks, and more. By spending some time on the Internet, you’ll be able to track down different designs of these popular accessories.

Mini Truck Truck-Bed Accessories.

It goes without saying that the truck bed is one of the most important features of your mini truck, for work and for fun. Bed liners are available, as are various bed add-ons, such as high-wall extensions. Again, the Internet is your friend in finding the right set-up for your mini truck.

You can also make your mini truck a versatile dump truck!

Or even with a bed lift!

Snow Plow & Arctic Track Kit.

One of the more useful add-ons for your mini truck is a snowplow blade. Not only is a mini truck ideal for handling confined areas, it’s lightweight construction allows it to do things and go places heavier trucks can’t. Mini truck owners I’ve spoken with who have a plow say it is indispensible in the winter months.

If you want an even more aggressive approach to attacking snowy weather, you can put an Arctic track kit on your mini truck, although this is quite a commitment!  Be ready to shell out a bit of cashola for this!

But if you need it, the mini truck gets it done!

We could go on and on looking at the variety of possibilities for accessorizing your mini truck. When you consider the customized approaches that mini truck owners have done to their mini trucks, quite literally your imagination is the limit!

 

Like this article?



Share on facebook


Share on Facebook



Share on twitter


Share on Twitter



Share on linkedin


Share on Linkdin



Share on pinterest


Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment

Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment

Mini Truck Pricing– A Quick Buying Guide

Mini Truck Pricing– A Quick Buying Guide

Time for the fun part–choosing your mini truck!

If you’ve read our other blog articles on mini trucks, and done a bit of web searching, you ought to have a pretty good handle on the ins-and-outs of mini trucks . . .

  • Durability
  • Versatility
  • Low Operating Costs
  • Utility Functions
  • All-Terrain Capabilities
  • Options & Customizing
  • Recreational Uses
  • Comparison to other ATVs and UTVs
  • Licensing & Regulations
  • Makes & Models

So, which mini truck is right for you . . . ?

Here are a few questions to consider . . .

  • Do you buy a new mini truck, or go the used route?
  • Japanese or Chinese?
  • If a used mini truck is on your docket, which make, model, and year?
  • What’s your price range?
  • What about options, such as a hitch, lift package, snowplow, or bed liner?

These questions, and others, will impact your decision, as well as the final price of your mini truck. Whether you buy a mini truck on the east coast, in the heartland, or the west coast, you’ll find that prices for mini trucks are about the same. You’ll also find that there’s usually not much wiggle room off the list price! As for delivery, most importer-dealers will ship your mini truck directly to you for a reasonable fee.

Let’s quickly go over the questions of new or used, and Chinese or Japanese . . .

  1. General Price Range.

New Japanese Mini Truck Pricing:

The main Japanese automaker offering new mini trucks (Kei trucks) for the US market is Daihatsu (Toyota). This is due to several factors, such as import laws and restrictions, costs, distribution logistics, etc.

But the good news is that Daihatsu mini trucks are superbly built.

2018 models are about $17,000 to $19,000 depending on the specific model and its options, shipping costs, etc.

Duncan Imports in Virginia and Cape Portable Buildings in Missouri are dealer/importers that sell new Daihatsu mini trucks. They will walk you through the steps of getting a new mini truck. (There are other dealer/importers as well, which you can check out on the Internet).

Here’s one new mini truck from Duncan Imports, late September 2018:

2018 Daihatsu, 4 WD, 4-speed automatic transmission, air, heater, and all the basics. Asking price is $17,900.

So you know, there aren’t many new mini trucks in the US at any one time, and it takes 6 weeks or more to import them to the states.

Used Japanese Mini Truck Pricing

As you might expect, the price for a used mini truck is based on year, model, condition, mileage, and related factors.

Most used Japanese mini trucks for sale have between 5,000 and 40,000 miles, even mini trucks that are 25-30 years old. Once in a while, you’ll find one with over 50,000 miles on it. But you won’t often find a mini truck with more than 70,000 miles.

Which is good news for you, because Japanese mini trucks are built to last – designed to go over 200,000 miles.

In general, you’ll find older Japanese mini trucks priced as shown in this table:

Years                          Price Range

1990-1995                 $5,000 – $8,000

1995-2000                 $6,500 – $10,000

2000-2010                $8,000 – $12,000

2010-2017                 $10,000 – $15,000

This is of course only a rough gauge. It’s a good idea to visit the importer/dealer websites listed in our blog article and compare the various models offered for sale. Keep in mind that availability changes all the time, and what’s available today may not be in a week.

Here are some examples from dealer/importer websites in late September 2018:

1992 Daihatsu HiJet 4WD 4-speed manual transmission, 39,707 miles $6,400 offered by Duncan Imports.

1992 Honda ACTY 4-speed manual transmission, 14,346 miles $6,990 offered by Duncan Imports.

1996 Daihatsu HiJet 4WD H/L 5-speed manual transmission, 657 cc 3-cylinder engine, 31,536 miles, camo-paint, 4-inch lift, 26-inch all-terrain tires, tinted windows, $7,650 offered by Cape Portable Buildings.

New Chinese Mini Truck Pricing

The other option for a new mini truck is to buy a Chinese model.  The two primary Chinese mini truck manufacturers are Tiger Truck International and Vantage Vehicle International.

With Chinese mini trucks, you can choose a wide range of models and options in both mini trucks and vans (also called “micro-vans” to distinguish them from the US-made mini-vans).

Vantage offers both gasoline and electric models. Both Vantage and Tiger Truck will help you through every part of the purchase process. It’s worth your time to check out their websites and become familiar with the various models and styles.

Expect to pay $13,000 to $20,000 depending on model and options for a gas-powered mini truck (or van), and up to $26,000 for an electric mini truck from Vantage.

For example, a 2018 Vantage V7X with 998 cc gas engine, 40 HP fuel-injected, power steering & brakes is priced around $14,000 – $15,000 base.

The 2017 Tiger Truck Standard Cab comes with a 1.2 liter engine, 60 HP, 5-speed manual transmission, power steering & brakes, plus all the standard equipment, and sells for around $13,000 – $14,000 base.

The 2017 Tiger Truck Passenger Van (doors open) has 1.2 liter engine, 60 HP, power steering & brakes, lots of standard equipment, and is around $15,000 base.

Used Chinese Mini Truck Pricing

Because Japanese mini trucks have been in the US market longer than the Chinese-made models, there are far more used Japanese mini trucks available for purchase than there are Chinese. The oldest Chinese model you will find for sale in the States is 1999, but most are 2002 or newer.

Used Chinese mini trucks are offered for sale mostly by individual owners through the Internet (sites such as Craigslist). For this reason, nailing down a price range for them can be tough to do. Basically, you’ll have to do your homework, talk to the Vantage or Tiger dealers to get their input, and then give it your best shot.

  1. Japanese or Chinese Mini Truck?

There is little argument among mini truck owners that the Japanese models are the more durable and reliable. But getting parts for repairs is often easier with Chinese mini trucks, mostly because Vantage and Tiger have fully-stocked inventories, so you won’t have to wait for parts to be shipped from Japan. That said, several Japanese mini truck importers/dealers advertise a solid inventory of parts in stock as well.

Another consideration is left-hand steering wheel (Chinese) vs. right-hand steering wheel (Japanese models). Most mini-truck owners I talked to said that right-hand driving takes a little getting used to, but that it’s no biggie in the long run.

Now that we’ve covered pricing and makes of mini trucks, there’s a prickly issue that applies to all mini trucks, new or used (under 25 years), Japanese or Chinese, that you need to be fully aware of when buying a mini truck . . .

 The speed-limiter.

DOT and EPA standards require that all mini trucks less than 25 years old be sold with “speed limiters” (governors), which set the top-end speed at 25 mph. However, if you’re more concerned about having a mini truck that can go 60 mph than you are about complying with federal standards, then removing the governor is fairly simple to do. Not only can you find reliable info about this on the Internet, but importers can also key you in to the process (though they won’t make the change for you, due to compliance with regulations).  

Chinese-made mini trucks are a bit trickier to “fix” the speed limiter, but it can be done. Just keep in mind that it is technically illegal to drive in the United States with a mini truck that does not have a functioning governor on it.

That said, police officers are mostly concerned about local laws, and are less picky on compliance with federal standards. You may find that they’re willing to overlook it, or are unaware of the regulations.

In summary, finding the right mini truck takes patience and is a learning process.

Mini Truck Pricing– A Quick Buying Guide

Time for the fun part–choosing your mini truck!

If you’ve read our other blog articles on mini trucks, and done a bit of web searching, you ought to have a pretty good handle on the ins-and-outs of mini trucks . . .

  • Durability
  • Versatility
  • Low Operating Costs
  • Utility Functions
  • All-Terrain Capabilities
  • Options & Customizing
  • Recreational Uses
  • Comparison to other ATVs and UTVs
  • Licensing & Regulations
  • Makes & Models

So, which mini truck is right for you . . . ?

Here are a few questions to consider . . .

  • Do you buy a new mini truck, or go the used route?
  • Japanese or Chinese?
  • If a used mini truck is on your docket, which make, model, and year?
  • What’s your price range?
  • What about options, such as a hitch, lift package, snowplow, or bed liner?

These questions, and others, will impact your decision, as well as the final price of your mini truck. Whether you buy a mini truck on the east coast, in the heartland, or the west coast, you’ll find that prices for mini trucks are about the same. You’ll also find that there’s usually not much wiggle room off the list price! As for delivery, most importer-dealers will ship your mini truck directly to you for a reasonable fee.

Let’s quickly go over the questions of new or used, and Chinese or Japanese . . .

  1. General Price Range.

New Japanese Mini Truck Pricing:

The main Japanese automaker offering new mini trucks (Kei trucks) for the US market is Daihatsu (Toyota). This is due to several factors, such as import laws and restrictions, costs, distribution logistics, etc.

But the good news is that Daihatsu mini trucks are superbly built.

2018 models are about $17,000 to $19,000 depending on the specific model and its options, shipping costs, etc.

Duncan Imports in Virginia and Cape Portable Buildings in Missouri are dealer/importers that sell new Daihatsu mini trucks. They will walk you through the steps of getting a new mini truck. (There are other dealer/importers as well, which you can check out on the Internet).

Here’s one new mini truck from Duncan Imports, late September 2018:

2018 Daihatsu, 4 WD, 4-speed automatic transmission, air, heater, and all the basics. Asking price is $17,900.

So you know, there aren’t many new mini trucks in the US at any one time, and it takes 6 weeks or more to import them to the states.

Used Japanese Mini Truck Pricing

As you might expect, the price for a used mini truck is based on year, model, condition, mileage, and related factors.

Most used Japanese mini trucks for sale have between 5,000 and 40,000 miles, even mini trucks that are 25-30 years old. Once in a while, you’ll find one with over 50,000 miles on it. But you won’t often find a mini truck with more than 70,000 miles.

Which is good news for you, because Japanese mini trucks are built to last – designed to go over 200,000 miles.

In general, you’ll find older Japanese mini trucks priced as shown in this table:

Years                          Price Range

1990-1995                 $5,000 – $8,000

1995-2000                 $6,500 – $10,000

2000-2010                $8,000 – $12,000

2010-2017                 $10,000 – $15,000

This is of course only a rough gauge. It’s a good idea to visit the importer/dealer websites listed in our blog article and compare the various models offered for sale. Keep in mind that availability changes all the time, and what’s available today may not be in a week.

Here are some examples from dealer/importer websites in late September 2018:

1992 Daihatsu HiJet 4WD 4-speed manual transmission, 39,707 miles $6,400 offered by Duncan Imports.

1992 Honda ACTY 4-speed manual transmission, 14,346 miles $6,990 offered by Duncan Imports.

1996 Daihatsu HiJet 4WD H/L 5-speed manual transmission, 657 cc 3-cylinder engine, 31,536 miles, camo-paint, 4-inch lift, 26-inch all-terrain tires, tinted windows, $7,650 offered by Cape Portable Buildings.

New Chinese Mini Truck Pricing

The other option for a new mini truck is to buy a Chinese model.  The two primary Chinese mini truck manufacturers are Tiger Truck International and Vantage Vehicle International.

With Chinese mini trucks, you can choose a wide range of models and options in both mini trucks and vans (also called “micro-vans” to distinguish them from the US-made mini-vans).

Vantage offers both gasoline and electric models. Both Vantage and Tiger Truck will help you through every part of the purchase process. It’s worth your time to check out their websites and become familiar with the various models and styles.

Expect to pay $13,000 to $20,000 depending on model and options for a gas-powered mini truck (or van), and up to $26,000 for an electric mini truck from Vantage.

For example, a 2018 Vantage V7X with 998 cc gas engine, 40 HP fuel-injected, power steering & brakes is priced around $14,000 – $15,000 base.

The 2017 Tiger Truck Standard Cab comes with a 1.2 liter engine, 60 HP, 5-speed manual transmission, power steering & brakes, plus all the standard equipment, and sells for around $13,000 – $14,000 base.

The 2017 Tiger Truck Passenger Van (doors open) has 1.2 liter engine, 60 HP, power steering & brakes, lots of standard equipment, and is around $15,000 base.

Used Chinese Mini Truck Pricing

Because Japanese mini trucks have been in the US market longer than the Chinese-made models, there are far more used Japanese mini trucks available for purchase than there are Chinese. The oldest Chinese model you will find for sale in the States is 1999, but most are 2002 or newer.

Used Chinese mini trucks are offered for sale mostly by individual owners through the Internet (sites such as Craigslist). For this reason, nailing down a price range for them can be tough to do. Basically, you’ll have to do your homework, talk to the Vantage or Tiger dealers to get their input, and then give it your best shot.

  1. Japanese or Chinese Mini Truck?

There is little argument among mini truck owners that the Japanese models are the more durable and reliable. But getting parts for repairs is often easier with Chinese mini trucks, mostly because Vantage and Tiger have fully-stocked inventories, so you won’t have to wait for parts to be shipped from Japan. That said, several Japanese mini truck importers/dealers advertise a solid inventory of parts in stock as well.

Another consideration is left-hand steering wheel (Chinese) vs. right-hand steering wheel (Japanese models). Most mini-truck owners I talked to said that right-hand driving takes a little getting used to, but that it’s no biggie in the long run.

Now that we’ve covered pricing and makes of mini trucks, there’s a prickly issue that applies to all mini trucks, new or used (under 25 years), Japanese or Chinese, that you need to be fully aware of when buying a mini truck . . .

 The speed-limiter.

DOT and EPA standards require that all mini trucks less than 25 years old be sold with “speed limiters” (governors), which set the top-end speed at 25 mph. However, if you’re more concerned about having a mini truck that can go 60 mph than you are about complying with federal standards, then removing the governor is fairly simple to do. Not only can you find reliable info about this on the Internet, but importers can also key you in to the process (though they won’t make the change for you, due to compliance with regulations).  

Chinese-made mini trucks are a bit trickier to “fix” the speed limiter, but it can be done. Just keep in mind that it is technically illegal to drive in the United States with a mini truck that does not have a functioning governor on it.

That said, police officers are mostly concerned about local laws, and are less picky on compliance with federal standards. You may find that they’re willing to overlook it, or are unaware of the regulations.

In summary, finding the right mini truck takes patience and is a learning process.

Like this article?



Share on facebook


Share on Facebook



Share on twitter


Share on Twitter



Share on linkedin


Share on Linkdin



Share on pinterest


Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment

Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment

Rules Of The Road For Mini-Trucks: How Your State Laws Impact You

Rules Of The Road For Mini-Trucks: How Your State Laws Impact You

All right, you’ve done your homework and discovered the outlandish pricing of ATVs and side-by-side utility vehicles (UTVs) . . . and after comparing the features to a mini truck–and the overall value–you’ve decided that a mini truck is the workhorse for you.

A good choice, by the way…

But where do you go from here?

How do state regulations (and federal laws) impact your choice in a mini truck?

What about safety and insurance?

First of all, let’s face facts: Regulations affecting a mini truck can seem daunting . . . licensing, importing, taxation, vehicle inspection, DOT safety specs, EPA emissions standards, insurance, registration, etc.

 It’s quite a list…

 But in spite of this, when you’re armed with the right information, it’s actually a fairly simple and painless process to get your mini truck up to snuff.

 Fortunately, importer/dealers usually handle the nitty-gritty of import regulations for you, and can guide you along the path to getting your mini truck properly registered with minimum hassle, and can even help you find one that’s right for you.

 That said, it’s worth the time to learn the basics of regulations involving mini trucks, along with a quick background on how they came into being.

 Through the lobbying efforts of major automobile manufacturers, Congress has passed laws over the past decade or so that regulate mini truck imports with respect to DOT and EPA compliance. It’s a slick way for traditional truck manufacturers to try to limit competition in the US.

 But have no fear . . . exemptions are here.

state-laws-for-mini-trucks

Mini trucks that are 21 years or older are exempt from EPA restrictions, and those older than 25 years are exempt from DOT regulations. This is the main reason why many of the mini trucks in use in the United States today are 25 years old, or more.

But don’t let that deter you…

Because of their stellar track record of dependability, older model mini trucks are often still in their prime.

Built by powerhouse automakers like Toyota (Daihatsu), Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki, and Mitsubishi, they’re designed to run for well over 200,000 miles.

Newer model mini trucks, or Japanese “Kei-trucks,” are also sold in the US, of course. Like all mini trucks, they’re classified as off-road vehicles, and newer models typically come equipped with speed limiters in order to meet DOT and EPA specifications. So if you have your eye on a newer model mini truck, be sure it meets the speed allowances of your state’s specific regulations. (See state list below). 

Needless to say, it’s not as much fun to top out at 25 mph when the engine is built to go 65…

(For more details see Federal Register 73 FR 59053).

As “off-road” vehicles, mini trucks are legal to drive in all 50 states on most unpaved roads, in rural areas, and on private property. Some states allow on-road use as well, such as in Maine, where they can be registered as “low-speed vehicles” and can legally travel on public roads with a posted speed of 35 mph or lower. 

Below is a list of state-by-state regulations taken from the Insurance Instituted for Highway Safety (IIHS). Their site has a handy map you can check out as well.

These 21 states allow mini trucks to drive on public roads (some restrictions):

 

Alabama                    25 mph speed restriction; not allowed on interstate highways

Arkansas                    55 mph speed restriction; not allowed on interstate highways

California                  No speed restriction; allowed in certain specified areas

Florida                       35 mph speed restriction

Idaho                         No speed restriction; access per Idaho Transportation Board

Illinois                       Under 35 mph speed restriction

Indiana                      No speed restriction; any public road except interstate highways

Kansas                       No speed restriction; not allowed on interstate highways

Kentucky                   No speed restriction; local ordinances apply to specific roads

Louisiana                  55 mph speed restriction; no interstate or multi-lane highway use

Maine                         35 mph speed restriction

Minnesota                 speed and access restrictions applied via local ordinances

Missouri                    45 mph speed restriction; local ordinances

Nebraska                   No speed restriction; no access on interstate highways

New Hampshire       35 mph speed restriction; use within 25 miles of residence

North Dakota            55 mph speed restriction; no access to roads over 65 mph

Ohio                           35 mph speed restriction

Oklahoma                 No speed restriction; not allowed on interstate highways

Tennessee                 35 mph speed restriction; local ordinances apply

Utah                           50 mph speed restriction; no access on interstate highways

Wyoming                   No speed restriction; no access on interstate highways

All other states not listed above have no specific laws governing the use of mini trucks on public roads, but most of these states allow “limited” or “incidental” use of mini trucks on public highways. It’s a good idea to contact your state public transportation department and find out what those limitations are for a mini truck.

Nowadays, you see mini trucks pretty much everywhere . . . hauling goods on farms to market, or at government buildings, golf course maintenance, airports, or even movie sets! Some are fully licensed and tagged, while others are strictly for off-road use. Your specific business and recreation uses will determine what registration and licensing you will need, depending on which state you reside in. 

drive mini truck freeway

There’s an important point about safety that you should be aware of when buying a mini truck or other UTV. Namely, mini trucks are constructed lighter than traditional trucks, and are not as “crash-durable.” And because Japanese models of mini trucks have a right-hand-side steering wheel (which can take some getting used to) they have a higher crash rate (statistically) than left-hand driven trucks.

One way to lower this risk is to get a Chinese-made mini truck, which has the steering wheel on the left side of the cab. But the issue of lighter construction and safety is the same as with Japanese mini trucks. Whichever way you go, it makes sense to take all factors of safety and performance into consideration when choosing your mini truck. 

As far as insurance goes, dealer/importers commonly suggest Geico, which should be able to insure your mini truck for around $40 per month. (Depending of course on how wild your driving record is…)

In summary, you’re better off buying a mini truck through a dealer/importer and letting them handle the “paperwork nightmare” of import regulatory compliance. Unless, that is, you don’t mind the headache and risk of importing a mini truck for yourself directly from Japan.

 

Rules Of The Road For Mini-Trucks: How Your State Laws Impact You

All right, you’ve done your homework and discovered the outlandish pricing of ATVs and side-by-side utility vehicles (UTVs) . . . and after comparing the features to a mini truck–and the overall value–you’ve decided that a mini truck is the workhorse for you.

A good choice, by the way…

But where do you go from here?

How do state regulations (and federal laws) impact your choice in a mini truck?

What about safety and insurance?

First of all, let’s face facts: Regulations affecting a mini truck can seem daunting . . . licensing, importing, taxation, vehicle inspection, DOT safety specs, EPA emissions standards, insurance, registration, etc.

 It’s quite a list…

 But in spite of this, when you’re armed with the right information, it’s actually a fairly simple and painless process to get your mini truck up to snuff.

 Fortunately, importer/dealers usually handle the nitty-gritty of import regulations for you, and can guide you along the path to getting your mini truck properly registered with minimum hassle, and can even help you find one that’s right for you.

 That said, it’s worth the time to learn the basics of regulations involving mini trucks, along with a quick background on how they came into being.

 Through the lobbying efforts of major automobile manufacturers, Congress has passed laws over the past decade or so that regulate mini truck imports with respect to DOT and EPA compliance. It’s a slick way for traditional truck manufacturers to try to limit competition in the US.

 But have no fear . . . exemptions are here.

state-laws-for-mini-trucks

Mini trucks that are 21 years or older are exempt from EPA restrictions, and those older than 25 years are exempt from DOT regulations. This is the main reason why many of the mini trucks in use in the United States today are 25 years old, or more.

But don’t let that deter you…

Because of their stellar track record of dependability, older model mini trucks are often still in their prime.

Built by powerhouse automakers like Toyota (Daihatsu), Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki, and Mitsubishi, they’re designed to run for well over 200,000 miles.

Newer model mini trucks, or Japanese “Kei-trucks,” are also sold in the US, of course. Like all mini trucks, they’re classified as off-road vehicles, and newer models typically come equipped with speed limiters in order to meet DOT and EPA specifications. So if you have your eye on a newer model mini truck, be sure it meets the speed allowances of your state’s specific regulations. (See state list below). 

Needless to say, it’s not as much fun to top out at 25 mph when the engine is built to go 65…

(For more details see Federal Register 73 FR 59053).

As “off-road” vehicles, mini trucks are legal to drive in all 50 states on most unpaved roads, in rural areas, and on private property. Some states allow on-road use as well, such as in Maine, where they can be registered as “low-speed vehicles” and can legally travel on public roads with a posted speed of 35 mph or lower. 

Below is a list of state-by-state regulations taken from the Insurance Instituted for Highway Safety (IIHS). Their site has a handy map you can check out as well.

These 21 states allow mini trucks to drive on public roads (some restrictions):

 

Alabama                    25 mph speed restriction; not allowed on interstate highways

Arkansas                    55 mph speed restriction; not allowed on interstate highways

California                  No speed restriction; allowed in certain specified areas

Florida                       35 mph speed restriction

Idaho                         No speed restriction; access per Idaho Transportation Board

Illinois                       Under 35 mph speed restriction

Indiana                      No speed restriction; any public road except interstate highways

Kansas                       No speed restriction; not allowed on interstate highways

Kentucky                   No speed restriction; local ordinances apply to specific roads

Louisiana                  55 mph speed restriction; no interstate or multi-lane highway use

Maine                         35 mph speed restriction

Minnesota                 speed and access restrictions applied via local ordinances

Missouri                    45 mph speed restriction; local ordinances

Nebraska                   No speed restriction; no access on interstate highways

New Hampshire       35 mph speed restriction; use within 25 miles of residence

North Dakota            55 mph speed restriction; no access to roads over 65 mph

Ohio                           35 mph speed restriction

Oklahoma                 No speed restriction; not allowed on interstate highways

Tennessee                 35 mph speed restriction; local ordinances apply

Utah                           50 mph speed restriction; no access on interstate highways

Wyoming                   No speed restriction; no access on interstate highways

All other states not listed above have no specific laws governing the use of mini trucks on public roads, but most of these states allow “limited” or “incidental” use of mini trucks on public highways. It’s a good idea to contact your state public transportation department and find out what those limitations are for a mini truck.

Nowadays, you see mini trucks pretty much everywhere . . . hauling goods on farms to market, or at government buildings, golf course maintenance, airports, or even movie sets! Some are fully licensed and tagged, while others are strictly for off-road use. Your specific business and recreation uses will determine what registration and licensing you will need, depending on which state you reside in. 

drive mini truck freeway

There’s an important point about safety that you should be aware of when buying a mini truck or other UTV. Namely, mini trucks are constructed lighter than traditional trucks, and are not as “crash-durable.” And because Japanese models of mini trucks have a right-hand-side steering wheel (which can take some getting used to) they have a higher crash rate (statistically) than left-hand driven trucks.

One way to lower this risk is to get a Chinese-made mini truck, which has the steering wheel on the left side of the cab. But the issue of lighter construction and safety is the same as with Japanese mini trucks. Whichever way you go, it makes sense to take all factors of safety and performance into consideration when choosing your mini truck. 

As far as insurance goes, dealer/importers commonly suggest Geico, which should be able to insure your mini truck for around $40 per month. (Depending of course on how wild your driving record is…)

In summary, you’re better off buying a mini truck through a dealer/importer and letting them handle the “paperwork nightmare” of import regulatory compliance. Unless, that is, you don’t mind the headache and risk of importing a mini truck for yourself directly from Japan.

 

Like this article?



Share on facebook


Share on Facebook



Share on twitter


Share on Twitter



Share on linkedin


Share on Linkdin



Share on pinterest


Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment

Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment

Mini Truck vs ATV vs UTV: Which is Best?

atv-vs-utv-vs-mini-truck

Mini Truck vs ATV vs UTV: Which is Best?

Let’s face it . . . choosing the right All-Terrain Vehicle or crossover Utility-Terrain Vehicle is no easy task. ATVs and UTVs come in a seemingly endless variety of models, sizes, styles, capabilities, and price ranges.

But before you plop down ten to fifteen thousand smackers (or more!) on one, there are some important factors to consider. And there’s a surprising alternative that you may know almost nothing about, but which just might be the best option for your utility vehicle needs . . .

The surprisingly versatile Mini Truck.


I know, I know.

You’ve probably seen one of those “goofy-looking” small trucks driving by on a rural road somewhere…

…or puttering around a school as a maintenance vehicle, or at a golf course, or carrying a load of produce on a farm.

If you’re anything like me, you had a good laugh and dismissed them with a wave of your hand.

Here’s what you should do:

Take a closer look at one. 

Why?

!hen we compare the 6 key factors below for choosing a utility vehicle, it’ll make more sense.

First, let’s quickly check out the distinct uses of ATVs and UTVs to make sure you’re looking at the type of utility vehicle that’s best for you.

A local power-sports dealer I know says that the main difference between ATVs and UTVs boils down to “fun or function.”

For off-road recreation, handling tight corners and quick turns, or negotiating your way through throngs of trees in the hills, or plowing over sand dunes, an ATV is the ticket.


If your purpose is more utility-minded, such as hauling or plowing snow but you still want some off-road action, then a UTV is the way to go.


Most buyers customize their UTV, decking it out with “personalized add-ons” which can push the sticker price past $20,000.

The brands of UTVs ( also called side-by-sides, due to their two-passenger front-seat arrangement) this dealer carries are:

·        Arctic Cat

·        Kubota

·        John Deere

·        Can-Am

·        Kawasaki

·        Polaris

·        Yamaha

Now, if you don’t care about “showing off” with a sporty UTV, but you DO want to be able to handle a broad range of utility-related tasks while not giving up the off-road fun, then your best option might very well be the little-known Mini-Truck


These peppy, 4WD mini trucks (and micro-vans, believe it or not!) are not only versatile, they’re made by world-class manufacturers, such as Honda, Toyota (Daihatsu), Nissan, Subaru, and others. Their stellar durability over 60 years of service is legendary. 

 

So, if you’re thinking about getting a crossover UTV (not the more limited ATV), then here are 6 Key Factors to consider when comparing a “sporty” UTV to a mini truck:

UTV VS Mini Truck Prices

The base price of a new UTV varies depending on make and model. In general, you’ll be looking at $10,000-$15,000. As mentioned earlier, if you go the customized route, you can top $20,000. As far as used UTVs go, expect to pay between $5,000 and $10,000 for one that’s in good shape (which can be a challenge to find with the kind of off-road hammering they often get subjected to).

New Mini Trucks range from $15,000-$23,000. However, because of their renowned durability, most people opt to buy used mini trucks, which are less pricey of course. Expect to pay $3,000 to $11,000 for a used mini truck in good condition (fairly easy to find because they are well-made to begin with).

Thousands of mini trucks more than 25 years old are still in service in the US.

Mini Truck VS UTV Durability

The mini truck stands head and shoulders above other UTVs when it comes to durability. Mini trucks have a long history of durability – designed to run well over 150,000 miles.

By comparison, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a UTV in good condition with 50,000+ miles on it. On top of that, mini trucks hold their value better than other types of UTVs, especially those more than 10 years old. 

Mini Truck VS UTV Operating Cost

Mini Trucks win this battle too.

UTVs range in gas mileage from about 12-25 mpg. A mini truck gets between 40-55 mpg depending on model and driving terrain.

This is a big factor in $ savings over time. Both have similar engine sizes, from 550 cc to 800 cc with 35-55 horsepower (some newer UTVs have 1 liter or bigger engines).

Repair and maintenance costs are also less for mini trucks (overall) than UTVs, in part because of their well-built construction.

Off-Road/ On-Road Crossover Versatility

This one is a bit of a toss-up. For off-road, uneven terrain, a UTV’s clearance and roll-bar “open-cab” design can be an advantage. That said, mini trucks can tackle most of the same off-road terrain that UTVs can – and do it in the comfort of a closed cab (heated or air-conditioned). 

When it comes to transitioning to on-road use, the mini truck gets the nod. Although mini trucks are sold and licensed as “off-road” vehicles in the USA, 21 states allow them to drive on portions of public roads.

The owners of a landscaping company I know drive their mini trucks back and forth between San Diego and Las Vegas on I-15 . . . at nearly 50 miles per gallon! Find another UTV that can do that!

All-Weather Comfort

If having an enclosed cab with a full instrument panel is important to you, then a mini truck is the only way to go. Most come equipped with A/C, heater, wipers, radio, etc., even many older models.

This is a real plus when you’re facing nasty weather, or a sudden storm rolls in.

The only thing to get used to is the steering wheel on the right side of the cab (except Chinese models, which have the steering wheel on the left side).


Cargo Capacity and Hauling

Mini trucks are pretty much made for hauling. Cargo capacity is typically 700-900 pounds; and the beds are about 6.5 feet long by 4.5 feet wide with foldable walls for easy access.

Most UTVs have a hard time stacking up to the hauling versatility of a mini truck; but a few pricier models actually have a larger capacity bed than mini trucks, and can go toe-to-toe with a mini truck’s hauling capabilities. 

And there you have it . . . a quick, basic comparison. There are obviously other things you may want to consider, but this should give you a solid starting point for choosing the right utility vehicle.

 

Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment

Finding a Mini Truck: Put Serious Bucks In Your Pocket

Finding a Mini Truck: Put Serious Bucks In Your Pocket

You know how it is . . .

You’re working hard to grow your business and beef up your bottom line . . .

And then the high cost of running your vehicles jumps in to chop away at your earnings:

·        Vehicle loan payments

·        Insurance premiums

·        Fuel Costs

·        Service & repairs

·        Registration costs

·        Property Tax

·        Regulations and Fines

Are You Tired of Throwing Your Hard-Earned Greenbacks into the Black Hole of Vehicle Costs?

 

Well then… a mini-truck (or van) might just be the surprising solution. 

OK… but what in the heck is a mini truck?

Mini trucks have been a workhorse staple in Japan and Asia for over six decades.

japanese mini truck

Believe me, if you visit Japan and China like I have, you’ll see mini-trucks and vans bustling around on city streets, at industrial centers, government facilities, on rural lands . . .

Pretty much everywhere – handling all sorts of jobs.

And mini-trucks come in all sorts of different models.

But what few of us in America know is that nearly 150,000 of these trucks are doing the same tasks right here in the good ol’ US of A . . .

. . . and putting serious bucks in their owners’ pockets over conventional trucks!

Whether it’s transporting goods on rural byways . . .

Working at docks and warehouses…

Delivering produce and other farm goods…

Doing landscaping and nursery care…

Maintaining hotels, resorts, and golf courses . . .

Servicing schools and college campuses . . .

Or performing an endless list of other projects . . .

You can find the tough and surprisingly durable mini truck on the job.

Mini-trucks might be smaller than traditional trucks, but they’re by no means less dependable. Fact is, mini-trucks are really well-made, manufactured by blue-ribbon automakers:

  • Honda
  • Mitsubishi
  • Nissan
  • Toyota (Daihatsu)
  • Subaru
  • Mazda
  • Suzuki

Even better, they’re durable – engineered to run for over 200,000 miles. And their compact size offers a versatility that larger trucks can only dream about.

(On top of all that, a mini truck is a blast to drive! Just wait until you take one out for a little off-road fun . . . vroom-vroom!)

In short, mini trucks are a small package that carries a big punch.

Okay, that all sounds great, but what you want to know is . . .

Is a mini truck right for me and my business?

To find out, let’s look at some of the nuts and bolts of mini trucks, which are also called “kei” trucks (like the letter “K”) from “keitora” – Japanese for light-weight.

Kei-class mini trucks come in both 4WD and 2WD, and they can handle almost any normal work setting. They can reach 55 mph (though most sold in the USA have a governor for a 25 mph top speed to meet federal regulation standards).

Their 2, 3, or 4 cylinder engines are 550cc – 660 cc in size, run on gasoline, have between 35-50 horsepower, and average 40-50 miles per gallon or better – which beats the socks off of any traditional truck or ATV.

The cargo capacity is about 775 lbs, and they have fully-enclosed cabs with the steering wheel on the right side, which takes a little getting used to. (On Chinese models, it’s on the left side. See below).

Other than that, they come equipped with the same basics as traditional trucks – wipers, heater, headlights, independent front suspension, full instrumentation, optional air, etc.

Many accessories are available for mini trucks including hitches, winches, and plows.

So, how do you go about buying a mini truck . . . ?

In America, mini trucks are sold mostly by small, local dealers such as Duncan Imports. They’re sold as “off-road” vehicles only, so that federal safety regulations don’t apply, except in 5 states (NH, ME, IL, TN, KS). In 22 states, limited use on public roads is allowed.

Chinese mini trucks, which have been in the USA for less time than their Japanese counterparts, are sold through a more standard dealership approach. The two largest dealers are Tiger Truck Industries International and Vantage Vehicle International.

That’s all good info, you say, but how do mini trucks perform in the “real world?”

A crew of landscapers I know with four mini trucks in service in San Diego said they would never go back to using full-size trucks. The mini trucks save them “a ton of dough” on gas, repairs, and insurance (only about $30 a month with Geico).

It was amazing to see how much the mini truck beds could hold (two had custom cargo walls about 5 feet high that gave them more carrying capacity for cut branches and bags of cut grass). The mini trucks were licensed in California, but they even drove them back and forth to Las Vegas on I-15!

How Much Does a Mini Truck Cost?

Most mini trucks sold in the USA are used vehicles (to limit regulations) but you can also buy them new. You’ll be looking at between $3,000 to $15,000 for a used mini truck in good working order, and from $16,000 to $23,000 for a new model – many thousands of dollars less than a traditional truck.

And as far as operating costs go, let’s see how much moolah you can save over three years with a mini truck . . .

Fuel (12,000 miles a year for 3 years) = 36,000 miles

Mini Truck: 45 mpg @ $3.70 / gallon = 36,000 miles / 45 mpg x 3.70 = $2,960

Traditional truck: 20 mpg = 36,000 miles / 20 mpg x 3.70 =  $6,660

Savings = 6,660-2,960 = $3,700

About $4,000 just in gas. That’s not chump change!

And insurance . . . ? This obviously varies somewhat, but you can expect to see an annual cost of about $400 with a mini truck, compared to about $2,000 or more with a regular truck – a savings of around $5,000 over 3 years!

Combined, that’s about $9,000 extra dollars in your pocket! And with less expensive repairs, fees, and property tax, you’ll likely see even bigger savings.

Imagine what you’d do with all that extra cash!

So . . .

Are mini trucks unconventional? No doubt!

Is a mini truck good for you and your business . . . ?

Very possibly.

Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment