The Ultimate Ranch Hand: ATV or Japanese Mini Truck?

As operators of a retreat acreage in Colorado that appropriate us to biking some ambit about the facility, we were faced with award a added economical busline approach than our auto truck. Taking our cue from added farmers and ranchers in the area, we blindly fabricated an big-ticket acquirement of a new ATV. It was a accommodation I would after regret.

Over the accomplished 15 years, the basal ATV has become a basal account on abounding ample ranches, farms, and retreat properties. Humans who plan on ample acreage operations charge to be able to get about their advance bound and calmly to accomplish repairs, analysis on fences, crops, irrigation, and a host of added duties. In accomplished years, the car of best was the basal auto truck. It was reliable, and could backpack abundant food after authoritative assorted trips.

When companies like Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and others started bearing recreational cars alleged ATV (All Breadth Vehicle), ample acreage owners and businesses anon saw the advantages of accepting a abate commonsensical vehicle. The basal ATV could yield a being out to a job website quickly, and could backpack a baby bulk of accoutrement or added aliment to do a job.

However, the ATV was not created to be the optimal commonsensical vehicle, but added of the optimal ‘recreational’ vehicle. With it’s attenuated contour and 4 caster drive capacity, the ATV was amazing ill-fitted for negotiating abundance trails, abrupt terrain, and accepting anyone aback into the acropolis country finer with a bit of fun befuddled in. In a pinch, it could backpack two humans forth with a burglarize or fishing pole, and maybe a sack lunch.

Meanwhile, aback at the ranch, the ATV was assuming some limitations. Its inherent fun-factor architecture was abundant in accepting a man out to a job website to analysis on something, but he wasn’t able to backpack abundant added than a baptize canteen and a pocketknife. Some ATV manufacturers addressed this by creating baby burden accustomed options. While that helped some, it absolutely didn’t charm the ATV into a car that had abundant burden accustomed capacity.

And there were a brace of added not-so-small issues that showed the weakness of the ATV as the optimum agronomical vehicle. Not alone could it not backpack abundant cargo, what it did carry, including the rider, were about larboard out in the weather. On canicule of rain or snow or cold, the ATV addition had to ache through the elements, while his accoutrement got wet.

Perhaps the bigger disappointment in the ATV was in its ammunition economy…or shall we say, abridgement of ammunition economy. When we purchased our ATV for the retreat, I was aflame to alpha extenuative money over active the barter everywhere on the property. What a disappointment to ascertain that our little ATV couldn’t aggregation any bigger gas breadth than our old Toyota truck. In fact, it was worse. Abounding ATVs are heavy, angled the scales at about 800 pounds. Add a addition and a bit of cargo, and you’re now allurement a ‘one banger’ to actuate bigger than a thousand pounds about with not abundant gas. It’s not traveling to happen.

A Bigger Alternative

Under the branch of “If I had accepted then, what I apperceive now…”, we would not accept purchased the ATV. While the antecedent ‘fun factor’ was appealing exciting, it anon became actual acquainted of the aloft weaknesses of the ATV. But at the time, I knew of no added alternative.

But afresh I became acquainted of what is alleged the ‘Japanese Mini Truck’ or Kei truck. The appellation Japanese mini barter alone meant one affair to me…your basal Toyota or Nissan-type ½ ton auto truck. But that isn’t the case anymore.

Japanese Mini Trucks are abate cars that bench two, accept an amid cab with heating and sometimes air conditioning, and affection a auto bed that has about the aforementioned accustomed accommodation as the beyond Japanese trucks. Yet the absolute car is abundant smaller, and far added maneuverable about the agronomical or acreage property.

Also alleged Kei Trucks (“Kei” agency ‘light’), the Japanese Minitruck has added appearance that accomplish it excel over the ATV as a ‘ranch hand’. They are able of accomplishing astounding ammunition abridgement by utilizing a small, but almighty 3-cylinder engine. The driveline configuration, which aswell comes in 4-wheel drive, is added accepted in design, and appropriately is about added reliable and simple to plan on over an ATV. Anyone who has anytime placed their ATV in the boutique for aliment can affirm to the absurd amount of budget on them.

The acquirement of a Japanese mini-truck a lot of about needs to be done through a bounded importer, who brings these pre-owned cars over from Japan in containers. Kei trucks are about not awash new in the US. And in a lot of instances, the mini-truck is advised a acreage car as against to a alley vehicle. But some states acquiesce for their use on the highway.

Think of a Japanese mini barter as a backup for an ATV, not a backup for the barter you use to yield to the store. But oh what a backup it is for the ATV. I am afraid at its functionality to drive appropriate up to a job site, backpack able cargo, accumulate us balmy and dry, and the absurd ammunition abridgement and reliability. Typically, these trucks are fabricated by above manufacturers such as Suzuki, Mitsubishi, and added acclaimed producers of cars in Japan.

Newer models affection ammunition injection, air conditioning, and some cogent improvements over earlier vehicles. A lot of units appear with a 5-speed transmission. Some affection a tilt-bed, or added options that accommodate absurd commonsensical amount on the agronomical or acreage property.

In short, if I had it to do all over again, I’d abandon the ATV and would accept bought a Japanese Mini Truck. If you absorb added time alive on your acreage than you do in recreation, attending into the Japanese Kei Truck.

Once you apperceive breadth to look, there’s a lot of advice out there on the web. I begin this web website at, run by Dan Buzzell in the Rocky Abundance area. There were a lot of photos of the trucks, as able-bodied as some accessible information.

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