In this week’s Ask Nathan:
- Will BMW/MINI build a tiny Mini Cooper pickup truck?
- The a “Ike Gauntlet” with a Volkswagen Touareg TDI?
- I saw an older full size Ram SUV. Will they ever build a modern one?
This first question comes from a viewer who wants a Mini Cooper Pickup truck!
Q: Oh please, please, please post my question Nathan! I don’t need it to be on the video page, I just want a good answer to my question. I love Minis and I even own a 2011 Mini Cooper Clubman S manual. It’s the best car I’ve even owned!
Years and years ago I visited my Grammie in Cardiff (Wales, UK) and her neighbor had an original Mini Cooper pickup truck. It was the craziest thing! I think it was a mid-60s model and it was used every day by its owner who’s a plumber. I mean it hauled pipes and boxes and tools every day and it was as cute as a bug!
I was wondering, do you think BMW-Mini would build something like that? I know it’s not practical and all, it would be pretty fun and I bet they would sell, especially in SoCal! I would definitely buy one to haul my bikes or my pottery!
Let me know and let the fellas know that they have a lot of fans in Fresno, California!
A: Hi Cami!
I agree with you, those old Mini Cooper pickup trucks were awesome. They are a tad cramped inside for tall drivers as the rear bulkhead restricts seat placement, but it’s still a cool looking little runabout. I drove a left-hand drive version in the U.S. about 20 years ago and it was a hoot!
As for a modern-day Mini Cooper pickup truck? Well, there have been concepts, including the ones pictured. That concept was based on the unloved Mini Paceman and it was a “one-off” design. There have been others, including a bunch of owner-built pickups, but nothing official from Mini regarding production.
Currently, Mini is updating or replacing their entire line of vehicles. The skuttlebutt has it that a three-row Mini crossover or van is in the works on a larger platform. Who knows? Maybe Mini could use this larger platform and build something cool – like a Mini Cooper pickup truck.
For now, it’s just wishful thinking.
Any Mini fans out there that might shed some light on any additional rumors?
Check out this tiny Jeep pickup concept!
This next question is from a new boat owner who wants to know if we ever filmed a towing video with the Volkswagen Touareg diesel.
Q: Hi Guys,
I’ve been enjoying watching your various videos about 4WDs and towing capabilities. I just bought a boat, which I’ll be bringing from the San Francisco Bay Area to Lake Tahoe and back probably a few times a year.
(I’m) towing with a 2007 Volvo XC90 V8 (which does a bangup job, by the way, even at altitude and towing up hills). I’ll probably be in the market to replace it within a couple of years, and have really appreciated watching lots of your vids. So here’s my question: I don’t see that you have reviewed the VW Touareg diesel for towing on the Ike Gauntlet (or anywhere else). Did I miss something? If not, do you have any plans to do so?
Thanks for all of your play! I mean work!
A: Hi David!
Sadly, we never had the opportunity to tow with the Volkswagen Touareg diesel. It’s a real shame as the potential for a damn good towing machine was there. Still, I do have a little bit of insight as I drove a 2009 Volkswagen Touareg 2 V6 TDI that was towing a 3,100 lbs trailer in Moab, Utah.
It was terrific. There is very little lag, even under the extra load. Despite having a full vehicle with four adults, luggage, bikes on the roof and a few cases of (adult) beverages, the V6 TDI was solid and fairly frugal. I felt the only issue was a bit of squat, but we were a bit overloaded.
It did so well, I wish I knew how the V10 performed.
If you are looking for another vehicle with a smaller displacement diesel 4X4 that tows well, I would recommend the GMC Canyon diesel. It’s an outstanding mix of capability, grunt and economy. Also, Volkswagen is coming out with a 7-passenger vehicle (the Volkswagen Atlas) and, even though it’s not a diesel, it may be a good tow vehicle.
We hope to find out soon.
Hope that helps!
The last question comes from a viewer who saw a Dodge Ramcharger from Mexico and wondered why Ram/Dodge/FCA didn’t try competing with full sized SUVs like the Chevrolet Tahoe.
Q: Guys, I watch your channel all the time. But PLEASE, don’t send me any junk mail or put me on your email list, or I will fight back!!!
Here is my question.
I have been wondering for years, why Dodge or Ram never came out with a full-size SUV. Their Dodge Durango is really a mid-size SUV, which competes with Ford Explorer. I have been told that Nissan Armada’s engine was built in collaboration with Dodge and therefore, Dodge doesn’t need a full-size SUV of their own. I don’t know if this is true.
Recently I spotted this Ram truck in Los Angeles with a Mexican license plate! I almost had a conniption! It looks like a Ram 1500, modified into a full-size SUV!!! (See pics in the attachment)
Why do you think Dodge (or Ram, or Chrysler) never came out with a full-size SUV to compete with Ford Expedition or Chevy Tahoe?
A: Hi Sam!
We’ll keep your email address free of pesky junk-mail and off our mailing list – promise!
Thank you for providing the photos of your discovery. What you saw was a Dodge Ramcharger that was built in either Mexico or Canada. It’s a hodgepodge of parts-bin components that was never meant for our market. It was popular in Mexico and South America and built on the short wheelbase, second-generation (Dodge) Ram 1500.
The tailgate came off a Dodge Caravan minivan, there was an additional seat in the cargo area to maximize seating for up to seven, it was only available in rear-wheel drive (unthinkable that there was no 4X4 version) and it was available with either a 318 cu-in (5.2 L) V8 or the 360 cu-in (5.9 L) V8. Build quality was poor and, while it was produced for seven years, the demand in the U.S. was minimal.
The two-door, fullsize SUV segment began to die-out before the end of the 90s.
I’ve asked FCA (Ram) folks about building a modern, full size, modern SUV several times. Some feel that, with GM owning the market, it would not make fiscal sense to build one. Others feel that there may be room to compete when the next Ram 1500 platform enters production. Still, others claim that between the Dodge Durango and the upcoming Jeep Grand Wagoneer, it would create too much internal competition.
There are concerns about CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) numbers too.
Still, there is a buzz floating around that FCA is looking into the possibility of building a full size SUV with a Cummins diesel. It’s just a rumor, but its one that makes sense. No other competitor in North America offers a diesel option on their full size SUVs.
I hope that helps!
Here’s the next video episode of “Ask Nathan!”
Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and name will be omitted – leaving your initials or nickname, your preference.
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