Subaru Pickup Truck, EV Pods for All and Car vs Scooter? [Ask Nathan]

No, this is not a Subaru pickup truck. It’s a Kaicene F70 Pickup Truck by Chinese automaker Changan. Still, those headlights… [Photo: Changan]

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 full name will be omitted – leaving your first name, initials or nickname, your preference.

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • Is there ever going to be a Subaru pickup truck?  
  • Save the planet and drive EV pods! 
  • Super cheap used scooter vs. cheap used car?

The first question comes from a Fuji Heavy fan who wants to know if there will ever be a Subaru pickup truck in the USA.

Q: Via Twitter (@NathanAdlen): See this photo (too fuzzy to post)? Is this a secret Subaru pickup truck!!!????

Head they were thinking about it. What do you think about that? We have three Subies and my dad’s Baja has 200,000 miles on its original engine. Is this a secret truck they are developing for the USA? God I hope so!

— MrBlueGroot

(Photo: Changan)

A: It’s a Kaicene F70 Pickup Truck

This is a midsize pickup truck made by Chinese automaker Changan. Unlike other Subaru pickup trucks, this is an actual truck. Subaru’s past pickups were more like cars with pickup beds – or “Utes.”

The F70 will be powered by an inline, four-cylinder 2.5T diesel engine from Isuzu. It will come standard with a manual transmission. Not exactly on board with Subaru’s boxer design, nor is it in line with their CVT addiction either.

(Photo: Changan)

Maybe – one day?

It’s possible that Subaru will jump back on the car-based pickup trend – IF the sales numbers dictate. Right now, the only competitor in this country is the Honda Ridgeline. Sure, we hear rumors about a Ford Courier, Hyundai Santa Cruz and others – but nothing has shown up in our market as of yet.

Maybe their new Ascent would be the right size for a pickup of some sort. It’s hard to say and, honestly, I doubt Subaru is thinking that way. They are pragmatic and rarely produces things that are unexpected. I think you would have better luck seeing this Chinese pickup truck getting imported… but I could be wrong.

Thanks for the message!


Unity One (Photo: Uniti)

The next question comes from an angry viewer who feels we should be more environmentally friendly.

Q:  Why do you guys refuse to see the writing on the wall!? Every time you start your thirsty trucks, you murder the planet!

I know you are slowly moving to reviewing EVs but you still play around in useless pickup trucks that are terribly wasteful! WE NEED TO CONVERT TO ALL ELECTRIC RIGHT NOW!

Half the people who drive Jeeps should be in small electric cars (pods) because they never leave the city! Jeeps are the worst, but there are pick up trucks too! How wasteful and NO ONE uses them like trucks! They are glamorized cars that are so wasteful.

Do you think about the damage you do when you encourage people to buy wasteful vehicles? Do you even care!?

Michelle G

A: Hi Michelle.

You neglected to mention that TFL has been on the forefront of reporting on every EV product that’s slated to come out in the United States. I think you missed that we owned (and fully evaluated) a Tesla Model 3 and currently own a Tesla Model X. Also, we are trying to show every advantage and disadvantage to owning an electric vehicle.

Sure, we review everything – trucks, 4X4s, sports cars, economy cars, EVs and more. Our focus is on ALL consumers, including those who prefer green vehicles. We test them all and give our opinions regarding driving impressions along with technical and economic data. That’s what we do.

I think it’s our opinions that upset you. Sorry.

Not ready for primetime.

Just so you know, I totally get it – you want to get the word out and embrace green living. That’s fine with me; however, you should think about all consumers and not some myopic perception that you have regarding their needs. You should research how consumers use their vehicles, rather than make blanket statements about all consumers.

LOTS of people need trucks for work. Many need to haul a load or tow something. I’m surprised you’ve never seen this. Sure, Jeeps are not very clean, but it’s a lifestyle vehicle that people use for utility, off-road fun and regular transportation.

Now, once EVs can match the utility and capability of modern trucks – which may happen in the next few years – I’ll happily report it. Once we have an EV replacement for a Jeep Wrangler (maybe Bollinger – if they can match a Wrangler’s price) – I’ll happily report it.

When there’s a charging network that works nationwide, for all consumers – more people will look at EVs. I’m looking forward to a time when I can report that too.

Right now, for many consumers, EVs are not quite there. City dwellers can make the most out of EVs with short range – but there are limits. Some folks can afford the high-end EVs with long range capabilities, but they are far too expensive for many. That’s a small percentage of the driving public.

Teach rather than preach.

Become informed on what’s available, what’s coming and what ALL people need. I cannot park my car in a dealership lot, plop $35,000 (plus a home charger) on an EV that has the range I need and expect to remain married.

It’s just too much of a sacrifice for a lot of people. In time, we will be able to find ways to help many transition from gas to EV.

In my opinion, it’s too much to ask… to DEMAND… that all people simply stop using their daily drivers and get EVs. I think your approach is all wrong. People need to learn for themselves and work their way over to EVs.

I think it will happen in time, but when you yell at people to make a change, they are bound to be resistant.


Jinlun JL50QT-5 Inexpensive Chinese Scooter (Photo: TFLcar)

The last question comes a college student who wants to know if he should get a newer scooter or an older car.

Q: Via Twitter (@NathanAdlen): Second year of school Nathan and I need some advice.

Going to either buy a $1,000 scooter or car. I need something cheap and frugal to get me to classes and to the store occasionally. Which one would you get?

Biggs W

CalState Fullerton

geo metro diesel
Cheap and cheerful may be the way to go.
(Photo: TFLcar)

A: Hi Biggs!

I know the idea of a scooter is compelling. It’s a lot cheaper to run, insure, maintain and license over a cheap car. I’ve seen a lot of students on them and they make some sense in certain circumstances, but they are limited.

Cargo space, passenger space, basic shelter and a bit of safety are all lacking. Scooters are rarely capable of safe speeds on California roads. In most cases, highway-capable scooters (which have larger engines) require a motorcycle license – which is more dough out of your pocket.

I would look for a cheap and simple car.

Best of luck!


Speaking of car safety…

From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that, as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.Got a question for Nathan? Drop him a line at: