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    1. Back To Top    #1
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      Mini-truck vs UTV

      Hi guys. First time poster so please be gentle.

      Not sure if this has been discussed before on here or not but I was curious if anyone has owned or used a Japanese mini truck and what their opinion of it is vs a UTV? I’m talking about the ones with lift kits in them and off road tires.

      I’m having a hard time justifying the $25k it costs to buy an enclosed cab Ranger with heat and AC. Those mini trucks cost $5-12k and get like 30mpg and are supposed to be super durable. I think most of them are 700cc engines with around 45 hp.

      Anybody have any experience with them?

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    2. Back To Top    #2
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      Can I ask what you would be using it for mostly. Ice fishing rig, farm stuff, hunting rig?????
      Quote Originally Posted by LabMan View Post
      Hi guys. First time poster so please be gentle.

      Not sure if this has been discussed before on here or not but I was curious if anyone has owned or used a Japanese mini truck and what their opinion of it is vs a UTV? I’m talking about the ones with lift kits in them and off road tires.

      I’m having a hard time justifying the $25k it costs to buy an enclosed cab Ranger with heat and AC. Those mini trucks cost $5-12k and get like 30mpg and are supposed to be super durable. I think most of them are 700cc engines with around 45 hp.

      Anybody have any experience with them?

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    3. Back To Top    #3
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      Sorry I forgot to mention that part. I’d say majority of the time it will be used on the farm checking crops and hauling some tools around. Maybe carrying some stuff in the box off and on. A little ice fishing in the winter possibly and also carrying decoys for duck hunting in the fall. Kind of a little of everything I guess

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    4. Back To Top    #4
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      link to equipment?

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    5. Back To Top    #5
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      Had one for about 5 years, just sold it. It was a manual 4 speed, four wheel drive, ATV tires, rhino lined bed, and two inch lifts. Just a few observations.....

      The Good: Has a cab with heater/AC. Good gas mileage. Nice size bed to haul stuff (on dry level ground), Very durable and road ready. Fairly easy to work on and kind of cool to drive one around.

      The Bad: Steering wheel on the right side (Interesting at first, especially with a manual transmission). VERY SMALL CAB (Uncomfortable for anyone over 5'10 or 220 lb) Max speed is about 45 to 50 (60 downhill with a good stiff tailwind) Uphill speed.....crappy. With ATV tires it's even worse. Small gas tank. Snowmobile engine burns oil so you need to check it often. Noisy cab and the suspension is midlin so you feel lots of road stuff. Not a lot of power in the engine.

      THE TRULY UGLY... TOTALLY weight foreword. The engine weight is completely on the front tires. The transmission is mostly on the front tires. The operator and occupants weights are totally on the front tires. Getting stuck in an a couple of inches of mud/snow is all to common. Forget 6 inches of mud or a foot of snow. Even with tracks, if you drop the front end in, you are going to be there a while. The back end weighs about 250 lbs. I could pick it up and turn it with just a bit of effort. Even with 4 wheel drive, the back end is pretty much useless. Towing is questionable given the lightness of the back end and even then the tongue weight capacity for the truck is fair at best. I tried to use it for goose hunting and got stuck in the field with morning frost and worked ground (eye roll). Tried it for ice fishing, but didn't even make it to the lake before I needed the shovel. Drove it right back home, never to see the ice again.

      My thoughts if you haven't figured it out yet......Get the UTV and a solid trailer. You will be much happier with doing your "little bit of everything".

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    6. Back To Top    #6
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      Not a pickup, but have a Suzuki sidekick with Mattracks that works great!Name:  FB_IMG_1565642437970.jpg
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    7. Back To Top    #7
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      I'd think they have some significant advantages over the UTVs, especially in the durability and longevity categories. These things have been around for a really long time, they were quite common when I lived in Japan.

      I guess I'd think of them as having been built primarily for the road whereas a UTV is built primarily for off the beaten path. E.g., the UTV has more forgiving suspension for bouncing off of rocks, but the mini trucks are highway legal out of the box and while they're 4x4, they might not stand up to the abuse some put on their UTVs. That and their cabs/doors/glass are better designs in general.

      For farm use, the mini-truck isn't a bad idea.

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      "Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself." Mark Twain, speaking on Congress.

    8. Back To Top    #8
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      Thanks KDM. This is exactly the kind of response I was looking for. I was concerned about the lack of power and smaller cab. But I had never given thought to the weight distribution ratio. Really appreciate the thorough review. You just saved me money and cost me money at the same time! Haha!



      Quote Originally Posted by KDM View Post
      Had one for about 5 years, just sold it. It was a manual 4 speed, four wheel drive, ATV tires, rhino lined bed, and two inch lifts. Just a few observations.....

      The Good: Has a cab with heater/AC. Good gas mileage. Nice size bed to haul stuff (on dry level ground), Very durable and road ready. Fairly easy to work on and kind of cool to drive one around.

      The Bad: Steering wheel on the right side (Interesting at first, especially with a manual transmission). VERY SMALL CAB (Uncomfortable for anyone over 5'10 or 220 lb) Max speed is about 45 to 50 (60 downhill with a good stiff tailwind) Uphill speed.....crappy. With ATV tires it's even worse. Small gas tank. Snowmobile engine burns oil so you need to check it often. Noisy cab and the suspension is midlin so you feel lots of road stuff. Not a lot of power in the engine.

      THE TRULY UGLY... TOTALLY weight foreword. The engine weight is completely on the front tires. The transmission is mostly on the front tires. The operator and occupants weights are totally on the front tires. Getting stuck in an a couple of inches of mud/snow is all to common. Forget 6 inches of mud or a foot of snow. Even with tracks, if you drop the front end in, you are going to be there a while. The back end weighs about 250 lbs. I could pick it up and turn it with just a bit of effort. Even with 4 wheel drive, the back end is pretty much useless. Towing is questionable given the lightness of the back end and even then the tongue weight capacity for the truck is fair at best. I tried to use it for goose hunting and got stuck in the field with morning frost and worked ground (eye roll). Tried it for ice fishing, but didn't even make it to the lake before I needed the shovel. Drove it right back home, never to see the ice again.

      My thoughts if you haven't figured it out yet......Get the UTV and a solid trailer. You will be much happier with doing your "little bit of everything".

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    9. Back To Top    #9
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      Just drive it in reverse, only problem is a stiff neck.

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    10. Back To Top    #10
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      I have a 04 Suzuki carry mini truck. It is a mid engine so the weight is pretty centered. It is not a utv. I think it is a lot handier than a utv. it is pretty impressive in 2wd let alone 4wd. I only have the stock tires on it with a 3 inch lift kit. going to put atv tires on it this fall.

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    11. Back To Top    #11
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      I have been on the fence with utvs for a while too so thanks for the topic! My wheeler just doesnt get the use i think a utv could with having a family. Not to highjack but what to do with trailer situation? Already have an enclosed trailer but not tall enough for a utv to fit. So buy a way bigger trailer? or find a flatbed which is okay but exposes the unit to all the elements and how do you get decoys/ice fishing equip to the sight? Wheeler just goes in the back of the truck right now

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    12. Back To Top    #12
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      You also need to decide if you are done having kids or not. If you arent, I would go with the UTV. But if youre done procreating, a mini truck would be a good option---Cuz aint nobody gonna have sex with you after you get out of one of these things!!

      - - - Updated - - -

      Name:  mini truck.jpg
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    13. Back To Top    #13
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      I would go with good used utv, especially if you plan to pull stuff. Parts can be issue for the mini truck. I got a tall enclosed trailer for my utv and love it. It is so nice drive it in and close the door. You don’t have to unpack, clean snow off it or anything. I just store it in the trailer year round.

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    14. Back To Top    #14
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      [QUOTE=IndigenousWalleye78;258844]You also need to decide if you are done having kids or not. If you arent, I would go with the UTV. But if youre done procreating, a mini truck would be a good option---Cuz aint nobody gonna have sex with you after you get out of one of these things!!

      - - - Updated - - -

      Yeah, but I bet nobody is flinging small penis jokes at the non-white framed sunglasses guy driving one of these modern marvels.

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    15. Back To Top    #15
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      I know guys who groom nordic ski trails with 4WD Kei mini trucks on tracks. There is a turbo version that is said to be plenty powerful. They love them. But, I have heard horror stories about the 2wd's. FYI they paid 12k for the turbo 4wd version.

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    16. Back To Top    #16
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      Quote Originally Posted by Traxion View Post
      I know guys who groom nordic ski trails with 4WD Kei mini trucks on tracks. There is a turbo version that is said to be plenty powerful. They love them. But, I have heard horror stories about the 2wd's. FYI they paid 12k for the turbo 4wd version.
      To add to this, I have also heard the automatics are the way to go if running tracks. Owners say the short pauses while shifting a manual tranny on a machine with tracks also leads to situations where they sink down slightly in deeper snow.

      Also there are 4WD machine that have locking differentials and some that don't.

      So a guy really needs to find the 4WD, Automatic Transmission, Locking differential machines if you want to maximize the track performance off road in snow.

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    17. Back To Top    #17
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      Quote Originally Posted by pluckem View Post
      To add to this, I have also heard the automatics are the way to go if running tracks. Owners say the short pauses while shifting a manual tranny on a machine with tracks also leads to situations where they sink down slightly in deeper snow.

      Also there are 4WD machine that have locking differentials and some that don't.

      So a guy really needs to find the 4WD, Automatic Transmission, Locking differential machines if you want to maximize the track performance off road in snow.
      Then you are in good used ranger price range, I bet the ride when offroad of the utv vs the minitruck is worth the extra money.

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      you can trust them with your woman just not your waypoints

    18. Back To Top    #18
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      Anyone know what the average life expectancy is of a UTV vs mini-truck?

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    19. Back To Top    #19
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      i can't imagine the UTV will outlast the Mini Truck. seems like i always know someone with a utv in the shop for some reason or other. and they certainly aren't cheap to fix. plenty of mini trucks still on the market from the late 80s and early 90s that are auto 4x4s. just armchair observations though.

      - - - Updated - - -

      actually... most of the older ones seem to be manuals...

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    20. Back To Top    #20
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      As far as longevity goes, I’ve seen some of them advertised with upwards of 70,000 miles. If you get 10k on a Ranger, it seems you have to practically give it away.

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