Indian automaker Mahindra received bad news from the EPA last week, as it got a lower-than-expected fuel efficiency rating on the TR40, a diesel-powered compact truck it hopes to introduce to the U.S. market next year. Mahindra has been working with its U.S. distributor in Marietta, Ga., to develop a fuel-efficient compact pickup truck, reports Autoblog. The website said that the automaker had been counting on good fuel economy numbers to help the TR40 stand out in the waning compact pickup truck market. While the company’s goal had been 30 mpg on the highway, the truck only achieved 19/21 city/highway, only just outstripping American mainstays like the Dodge Dakota, whose V8 gets 14/18 city/highway, or the Ford Ranger, whose four-wheel drive model gets the same. Mahindra’s American distributor Global Vehicles USA had told PickupTrucks.com, “Good fuel economy will be an important part of the truck’s appeal, and we’re eager to see the fuel economy for all of the models, especially the two-door, two-wheel-drive model, which Mahindra told us to expect would achieve close to 30 mpg.” However, the TR40’s lackluster fuel economy ratings combined with its small, 120-horsepower four-cylinder diesel engine may end up making it a tough sell in the compact pickup truck category.
According to Left Lane News, Mahindra and Global Vehicles have not set a North American release date due to legal battles and infighting. However, if the TR40 finally makes it to the States, it would be the only compact pickup truck with a diesel engine. Diesel engines are known for greater durability and reliability than gas-powered engines, although sometimes diesel fuel costs more at the pump than regular gasoline. If you’re shopping for a compact pickup truck, now is a good time to be in the market. Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge, Toyota, and Nissan all offer compact and mid size pickups with good fuel economy and towing capabilities, at fairly low prices within the overall pickup truck category. Additionally, a few automakers may discontinue their compact pickup truck line, the way that Ford has been considering dropping the Ford Ranger, which has not been redesigned in more than a decade. That makes it a good time to be in the market for a small pickup, as manufacturers offer better incentives to move these small trucks off dealer lots to make space for their higher-priority offerings.