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1989 Toyota Pickup; Putting the Fun in Functional

1989-Toyota-Pickup - From Darrel Reilly - CRO Member
From Darrel Reilly – CRO Member

Although the 1989 Toyota Pickup did not have a fancy name, it was still among the most memorable small trucks of its time. The Toyota Pickup’s legendary reliability and versatile design made it a great option. Here is an overview of this rugged performer.


Capable Workhorse

Toyota allowed buyers to choose from two rock-solid engines. The base power source was an efficient 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine. It pushed out a quite peppy 116 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque. With the basic maintenance, this engine has been known to last for more than 300,000 miles. For the drivers who needed to haul a heavier load, the optional V-6 engine was a must-have feature. Toyota tuned it to produce a satisfying 145 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. The Pickup’s brawny 4WD system took its off-road capabilities to the next level.


Compact Appearance

In contrast to some of the full-size trucks of the late 1980s, the 1989 Toyota Pickup benefited from a compact design. It had a far more modern appearance than the previous generation. While the long-bed version was convenient, the short-bed version looked especially sporty. Featuring chrome exterior trim and attractive graphics, the top-of-the-line SR5 model proved to be a true head-turner. Toyota also designed the Pickup with a refined interior. Front bucket seats came standard. The extra cab model could squeeze in a couple of extra passengers when needed.


Fun-to-Drive Character

The 1989 Toyota Pickup rewarded truck enthusiasts with a sportier driving experience. Because of its small size and athletic chassis, the Pickup could carve a twisty road like a two-door coupe. For good reason, it was chosen as Motor Trend’s 1989 Truck of the Year. The small truck could haul a load of firewood while still serving as fun daily-driver. When equipped with four-wheel drive, the SR5 model could easily churn through a muddy off-road trail. Conveniences such as power brakes and tilt steering made it an even more fulfilling truck.

Although the Toyota Pickup was not the top-selling truck of its era, it still offered an exciting overall package. Was there a better all-around truck available?


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