Every 2023 Compact Pickup Truck Ranked from Best to Worst
Pickup trucks make up among the best-selling vehicles on the market. There’s a lot of convenience and fun in having access to a truck from day-to-day, but not everyone can easily drive a large pickup or has the need for one. And for many people these days, the mileage is a pretty big concern too. Compact pickup trucks offer a more manageable option for those who don’t need such a large vehicle.
The Best Compact Pickup Trucks of 2023
When you don’t need a truck for heavy hauling and towing, compact pickup trucks are an excellent choice for drivers who need the utility of a truck but also want the convenience of a smaller vehicle. These trucks are ideal for hauling light loads, going off-road, and navigating tight spaces. But what is the best compact pickup truck? If you’re in the market for a compact pickup truck, here’s every option ranked from best to worst.
9. Ford Ranger
The Ford Ranger strengths lie in its fuel efficiency and its 270-horsepower turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine. The Ranger can tow up to 7,500 pounds, making it a versatile choice for both work and play. It’s available starting at $27,400, but ultimately that’s a lot for a vehicle that is barebones in terms of features and has a cheap quality interior.
8. Toyota Tacoma
The Toyota Tacoma is one of the most popular compact pickup trucks on the market today and is more worth the $27,750 starting MSRP. It’s known for its reliability, durability, and off-road capabilities. On the downside, the Tacoma comes with a weak base engine. And even with the more powerful optional engine, it can only tow up to 6,800 pounds, which is less than the Ranger.
7. Chevrolet Colorado
The Chevrolet Colorado is a sporty and capable truck, but drivers will be disappointed to learn that it only comes with one cab and bed combination. On the plus side, the Colorado comes with an available 310-horsepower turbocharged engine that delivers impressive fuel economy and driving performance. However, it only has a maximum tow rating of only 6,000 pounds. It starts at $29,200.
6. GMC Canyon
The GMC Canyon is basically the premium version of the Colorado. The compact pickup truck offers a refined and luxurious interior, and comes with a range of high-tech features. Its four-cylinder engine that boasts 310 horsepower, and like the Colorado, the Canyon can tow up to 6,000 pounds.
5. Nissan Frontier
The Nissan Frontier offers a range of features and capabilities. It’s equipped with a V6 engine and can tow up to 6,720 pounds. The Frontier also comes with a quality cabin and satisfying driving performance, perfect for longer road trips. On the downside, the second-row seats can be cramped for anyone other than children. The Nissan Frontier starts at $29,190.
4. Hyundai Santa Cruz
The Hyundai Santa Cruz suffers from a relatively weak base engine that can tow up to 2,000 pounds but you can upgrade it and tow up to 5,000. Where it shines is with its long list of standard features. It also offers a luxurious cabin and unique cargo storage that’s unlike any other compact pickup truck on the market. It starts at $25,700.
3. The Honda Ridgeline
The Honda Ridgeline offers a roomy interior with upscale materials and a peppy 3.5-liter V6 engine that generates 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. It comes with all-wheel-drive and a nine-speed automatic transmission. It’s not the best in terms of off-roading, nor even fuel economy, but it does offer incredible reliability and a decent list of features. The downside is that it starts at $38,800. It’s still one of the best compact pickup trucks on the market.
2. Ford Maverick
The budget-friendly Ford Maverick starts at just $22,195, and for that price, you get quite a bit in terms of build quality and features. The stylish interior borders on luxury. It’s also fairly roomy for a compact truck. It’s hybrid powertrain comes standard with a 191-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that gets an impressive 42 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. Don’t get this one for towing though as it can only tow up to 2,000 pounds.
1. Jeep Gladiator
The Jeep Gladiator starts at $38,775, comparable to the Honda Ridgeline. The Gladiator is essentially a compact pickup version of the Wrangler. And as you would expect with that statement, you get stellar off-road capability and a quality interior. Its 3.6-liter V6 generates 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. While driving this beast can take some getting used to; nonetheless, it’s our top pick as the best compact pickup truck of the year.