For many, a compact truck will provide all the capability they'd need. It can tow a good-size boat or trailer, lug half a ton of payload, and, as a plus, fit in most garages and provide decent fuel economy while doing it. What's not to like? Add to that the opportunity to try out one of the rare new models in this segment and we were eager to sample an Equator for the long haul. (Okay, in all honesty, a rebadged Nissan Frontier does not a new model make, but we were curious to see how the Suzuki version differs from the Nissan.)

The truck we selected is powered by Nissan's 261-horse, 4.0-liter V-6, backed by a five-speed automatic. Suzuki's crew cab comes only with the V-6/automatic combination, with the choice of short or long bed and two- or four-wheel drive; ours is a short-bed four-wheel-drive crew cab. If you want a stripped-down compact pickup, you could opt for the base model -- a rear-drive extended cab with a 2.5-liter,152-horsepower I-4, five-speed manual transmission, and short bed -- which would set you back a mere $17,995, before factoring in any rebates.

This long-termer is a bit of an odd duck because it came from Suzuki's internal accessories department. Thus, our topline RMZ-4 Sport ($31,375) showed up already equipped with several features from the big book of Suzuki accessories, including a Garmin portable nav system ($600), a moto-style bed extender ($399), floormats ($119), side window visors ($94), and a set of front splash guards ($51). All crew cabs come with a spray-on bedliner, a track-type tie-down system (read: Utili-track), and a tire-pressure-monitoring system, all of which are sure to come in handy over the next year. Suzuki's Sport package comes with hill-hold and hill-descent controls, VDC, sunroof, and Rockford Fosgate six-disc/AM/FM/XM audio with subwoofer, and more, and our long-termer's total price came out to $32,638.

We haven't had the Equator for all that long, but it's already received high praise from several staffers for its capability (6100-pound towing capacity, 1100-pound payload capacity) in a vehicle that's easy to maneuver and park, even for those of us with small garages or carports. The bed extender makes the short bed a non-issue, and the tie-downs and bedliner enable worry-free cargo hauling. We're expecting this truck to become a favorite on photo shoots, furniture moves, and mulch runs. We'll let you know how the small but mighty Equator fares.


Our Vehicle
Base price $31,375
Price as tested $32,638
Vehicle layout Front engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door pickup
Engine 4.0L/261-hp/281-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6
Transmission 5-speed automatic
Curb weight (dist f/r) 4521 lb (55/45%)
Wheelbase 125.9 in
Length x width x height 206.6 x 72.8 x 70.1 in
0-60 mph 7.5 sec
Quarter mile 15.8 sec @ 85.8 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 135 ft
Lateral acceleration 0.71 g (avg)
MT figure eight 29.3 sec @ 0.55 g (avg)
EPA city/hwy econ 15/19 mpg
CO2 emissions 1.17 lb/mile
Total mileage 6656 miles
Average fuel economy 16.0 mpg