I've been looking to trade in my 2wd 2003 Tundra on a USED 4wd truck and would welcome all suggestions. Last year I drove about 15,000 miles split almost 50/50 between the truck and a civic vx, but I have driven the truck 25K miles in one year when it was my only vehicle and when i sometimes travelled on weekends. The truck would be used mainly on weekends for towing a small boat and for home projects. I'm leaning towards a similar year Tunda, but want better fuel mileage, especially when towing. Last year I looked into diesel-wvo, but I really don't see myself collecting wvo.
I don't want a new truck or payment, so cost needs to be under $10K. And I should mention that i want a 4wd so i can launch the boat on some icy/muddy ramps and some off-roading.
The manual transmission is what makes that Ranger do well. I had a 1997 Ranger 4.0 4x4 automatic. It was a beast as far as stock configurations go but certainly small and light compared to anything "jacked up with big tires". It got 14-15mpg.
Anything can go fast in the snow, but you still have to keep your speed low because all that power still does not stop you. In the heavy snowstorms my big V-8 4wd pickup was passed by many a hatchback. Sure, I had the power to go faster, but I knew that I would not be able to reliably stop at 50 MPH, so I didn't go that fast.
more power don't make it possible to go fast in the snow, if you tryed to use what you had you'd just spin out. The advantage a V-8 has in the snow over a V-6 is the extra mass of the block pushing the tires in deeper.
I've found a 2wd Dakota (i don't recommend, I had many problems) to feel safer in snow at higher speeds than my subaru due to the extra weight, better at turning and stopping, just not as good with going up hills and very slow speed stuff.
I had a 1974 Chevy C-10 Custom Deluxe with a 350, 4bbl, AT, and A/C that would do over 20 MPG on the highway. I drove it like grandma on her way to church though. The only mods to the truck were I upgraded it to electronic ignition, platinum plugs, and I added cruise control.
The new ones are heavier, but late model GM full size 4x4 pickups have gotten FE improvements and plenty of non-hypermilers are breaking 20mpg. They have displacement on demand and 6 speed automatic transmissions, for example. The 5.3 has been GM's most fuel efficient engine in full size pickups for over ten years now (even compared to the 4.3 V6).
My 98 Sierra tips the scales at 2.5 tons, has nearly 170,000 miles, and has an old school 350 in it. All things considered I don't think I do too bad. I know the gaslog doesn't look good, but that's because 95% of my driving is short trip city, and lately I've been using 4wd a lot. I can still usually manage to meet or beat the EPA combined estimate. The best Rusty (my regular cab 86 2wd C-10) ever did on the highway is about 18 or 20, so this is a bigger, heavier, 4wd truck with a larger engine and it gets better mileage than Rusty ever did.