Best Compact Pickup Trucks for 2024 and 2025

In America, choosing the best compact truck used to be a difficult task. In the past, you could find small pickup trucks in almost every car showroom.

These days are gone. Offerings like the Ford Ranger (and later Colorado), Nissan Hardbody, and Toyota Tacoma have grown in size or been discontinued over the years.

In 2022, two automakers have reentered this segment with surprising new approaches to the small truck formula. The United States currently sells only two small pickup trucks.

The two compact pickups are positioned below the midsize segment, which the Toyota Tacoma dominates. The two compact pickup trucks in the small pickup truck segment are the Ford Maverick and the Hyundai Cruz.

Which of the two compact trucks is the best in America? Ford Maverick is the best option for buyers who want a truck that can be used to transport people and goods.

The Hyundai Santa Cruz, on the other hand, feels more luxurious, especially with its turbocharged engine. There’s much more to consider than just that. If you want the full scoop, read our reviews of the Ford Maverick or Hyundai Santa Cruz.

Best Compact Pickup Trucks for 2024 and 2025

Best compact trucks for 2024 and 2025

In our introduction, we pointed out that buyers looking for a compact pickup truck have only two choices. Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz are both excellent choices. The decision between them may be based on styling, incentives and pricing, or personal preferences.

2023 GMC Canyon — Score: 8.4

MSRP: $36,900 – $55,500

2023 GMC Canyon

Exterior:

  • Rugged and aggressive design with a wider stance and prominent grille
  • C-shaped LED signature lighting
  • Available sunroof (a first for the Canyon)
  • 17-, 18-, 20-, and 22-inch wheel options
  • Spray-on bedliner, soft roll-up tonneau cover, and EZ-lift/lower tailgate available

Interior:

  • Crew cab configuration only
  • Plush seating materials, including cloth, CoreTec, or perforated leather
  • Heated and ventilated front seats available
  • Standard 11.3-inch infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Available 8-inch or 11-inch digital instrument cluster
  • Optional 6.3-inch head-up display

Performance:

  • Standard 2.7L turbocharged engine with 310 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque
  • Best-in-class towing capacity of 7,700 lbs
  • Two-speed transfer case and automatic locking rear differential available
  • Off-road-tuned suspension with up to 10.7 inches of ground clearance (AT4X trim)

Technology:

  • GMC Premium Infotainment System with intuitive interface
  • Bose® premium sound system available
  • Advanced camera system with up to 10 available views
  • Teen Driver system for added safety

The GMC Canyon 2023 is a midsize pickup truck with a high-output 2.7L turbo engine, an offroad suspension package and other features that help it overcome obstacles and difficult terrains.

The price ranges from $38,395 to $64,845 based on trim and options. Canyon trims AT4, Elevation and Denali have a maximum towing capacity of up to 7700 pounds.

GMC Canyon Elevation rear-wheel-drive model gets 20 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway, according to EPA estimates.

The Canyon features a redesigned crew-cab midsize pickup truck with a turbocharged engine, off-road suspension and next-generation infotainment.

It also has new safety technologies. The GMC Canyon 2023 offers good power, an agreeable driving experience, unstoppable capability off-road, a quiet interior, and much more.

2023 Honda Ridgeline — Score: 8.4

MSRP: $38,800 – $46,230 

2023 Honda Ridgeline

Interior:

  • Spacious and comfortable cabin for five passengers
  • High-quality materials and finishes
  • Tri-zone automatic climate control for everyone’s comfort
  • Standard 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Available features like heated and ventilated seats, moonroof, and Bose premium audio system.

Exterior:

  • Bold and aggressive styling with a chiseled front end and muscular fenders
  • Standard LED headlights and taillights
  • Lockable and drainable in-bed trunk for secure storage
  • Available features like a spray-in bedliner, LED bed lighting, and a power tailgate.

Performance:

  • Standard 3.5-liter V6 engine with 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque
  • 9-speed automatic transmission
  • All-wheel drive with Intelligent Variable Torque Management for optimal traction
  • Towing capacity of up to 5,000 pounds
  • Fuel economy of 18 mpg city/24 mpg highway.

Technology:

  • Honda Sensing suite of safety features, including collision warning, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control
  • Available features like blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and parking sensors
  • Wi-Fi hotspot capability.

The 2023 Honda Ridgeline midsize truck is stylish and versatile. It comes in several trim levels, including the RTL Sport and AWD RTL.

The 2023 Honda Ridgeline features a sleek design and comes in a variety of vibrant colours, including Modern Steel Metallic, Crystal Black Pearl and more.

The Ridgeline’s unibody design sets it apart from other body-on-frame trucks. Edmunds consumer reviews indicate that the 2023 Ridgeline has been well received, with an overall rating of 4 out of 5. This truck is a great choice for its segment, offering a balance between utility, safety and reliability.

2023 Jeep Gladiator — Score: 8.1

MSRP: $38,775 – $50,995

2023 Jeep Gladiator

Exterior:

  • Bold and iconic Jeep design with a short pickup bed
  • Available in multiple trim levels, each with its own distinct look (Sport, Willys, Overland, Mojave, Rubicon)
  • Removable roof and doors for an open-air driving experience
  • LED headlights and taillights

Interior:

  • Comfortable and spacious cabin with durable materials
  • Available cloth or leather upholstery
  • Standard 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Uconnect 4, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto
  • Upgraded 8.4-inch touchscreen with navigation available
  • Removable Bluetooth speaker for outdoor adventures

Performance:

  • 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine with 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque
  • Optional 3.0L EcoDiesel V6 engine with 260 horsepower and a whopping 442 lb-ft of torque (no longer available for 2024 models)
  • Eight-speed automatic transmission
  • Command-Trac or Rock-Trac 4×4 systems for exceptional off-road capability
  • Fox shocks on Mojave and Rubicon trims for improved off-road handling

Technology:

  • Uconnect 4 infotainment system with intuitive interface and voice control
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for smartphone integration
  • Available features like blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control
  • Optional head-up display for keeping your eyes on the road

The 2023 Jeep Gladiator has a crew-cab mid-size pickup truck that can accommodate five people. The standard 3.6-liter engine produces 285 horsepower and is paired with either a 6-speed manual or optional 8-speed automatic transmission.

The Gladiator offers a long list of features that are available and standard. You can customize your vehicle, enjoy open-air freedom and take advantage of advanced technology.

The maximum towing and payload capacities are 7,700 pounds, respectively. Gladiator Rubicon models have up to 11.11 inches of ground clearance.

They also feature a special water seal and a high-air intake, which will help you cross streams and creeks up to 31.5 inches deep. The 2023 Jeep Gladiator is priced from $41,515 to $56,855 based on trim.

Ford Maverick — Score: 8.0

MSRP: $26,640

2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid XLT

Interior:

  • Spacious and comfortable for its size, with ample head and legroom for front and rear passengers.
  • Practical cabin with features like the Flexbed™ system for versatile cargo configurations.
  • Available features like power moonroof, heated seats, and an eight-speaker sound system.

Exterior:

  • Compact pickup truck design with a stylish and modern look.
  • LED headlights and signature accent lighting.
  • Available features like 17 or 18-inch wheels, power tailgate lock, and bed lighting.

Performance:

  • Two engine options: a 2.0L EcoBoost four-cylinder with 250 horsepower and a hybrid powertrain with 191 horsepower.
  • Standard front-wheel drive with available all-wheel drive.
  • Fuel efficiency of up to 42 mpg for the hybrid model.

Technology:

  • SYNC® 3 infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen.
  • Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ compatibility.
  • Available features like wireless charging pad, Wi-Fi hotspot, and an eight-speaker Bang & Olufsen® premium audio system.

The Ford Maverick can tow up to 4,000 pounds, which is sufficient for small trailers, dirtbikes or jet skis. The Maverick is capable of towing 4,000 pounds.

This is enough for small trailers and jet skis.  However, it is less than the Santa Cruz Maverick, a small, maneuverable pickup that can be used in the city. The ride is also good, although the Santa Cruz feels sportier and more like a cross-over with the truck bed.

The standard powertrain includes a turbocharged, four-cylinder, 2.0-litre EcoBoost engine with 250 horsepower and 277 pounds-feet of torque.

It is connected to an eight-speed transmission. This combination achieves 23 mpg city, 30 highway, and 26 combined mpg with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive reduces these figures to 22/29/25.

The optional Hybrid is a combination of a four-cylinder 2.5-litre engine and an electric motor that delivers 191 horsepower via e-CVT.

Unfortunately, the hybrid does not offer all-wheel drive. The hybrid is a compromise between power and capability, but it compensates with excellent Fuel Economy.

It gets 42 mpg in the city, 33 on the highway, and 37 combined. We found that it was easy to achieve or exceed these figures when driving in the real world.

Ford Maverick Tremor is a good option for buyers who plan to use their small pickup truck off-road. The package is an extra $3,495 on top of the XLT and Lariat models. It includes a more advanced 4-wheel drive system, including a locking rear differential and twin-clutch rear drives.

2024 Chevrolet Colorado — Score: 7.9

MSRP: $29,500 – $46,800

2024 Chevrolet Colorado

Exterior:

  • Bold and rugged design with a chiseled front grille and muscular stance.
  • Available in Crew Cab configuration with a 5-foot-2-inch bed.
  • ZR2 trim boasts enhanced off-road features like skid plates and knobby tires.

Interior:

  • Functional and comfortable cabin with improved materials compared to previous models.
  • Standard 11.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
  • Available features include heated leather seats, sunroof, and Bose premium audio.

Performance:

  • Standard 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 237 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque.
  • Optional 310 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque tune available on select trims.
  • Eight-speed automatic transmission and choice of rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.
  • ZR2 offers best-in-class off-road capability with features like locking differentials and Multimatic DSSV dampers.

Technology:

  • Standard Chevrolet Infotainment 3 Plus system with intuitive interface and voice recognition.
  • Available features include head-up display, surround-view camera, and trailer brake controller.
  • Advanced driver-assistance features like automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning are available.

The 2024 Chevrolet Colorado midsize pickup truck comes with an inline-four turbocharged engine and an eight-speed transmission.

The Colorado has a towing capacity of up to 7,700 pounds. It is available in different trims, including the ZR2 Bison, an off-roading trim.

The ZR2 Bison, which is an off-road-intensive ZR2, gains 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler territory mud tires, a wide track, and sufficient LED lighting.

The 2024 Chevrolet Colorado is priced from $31,095 to $60,540, depending on trim. Colorado is up against newer trucks like the Ford Ranger or Toyota Tacoma. MotorTrend Truck of the Year for 2024 is the Chevy Colorado.

Hyundai Santa Cruz — Score: 7.5

MSRP:: $27.985

Hyundai Santa Cruz

Interior

  • Spacious and comfortable five-passenger cabin with high-quality materials
  • Available heated and ventilated front seats
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Optional power sunroof and sliding rear window
  • 64-color ambient LED lighting system (Limited trim)
  • Fold-down 60/40 split tip-up rear seats for flexible cargo space

Exterior

  • Stylish and sporty design that blends SUV and truck elements
  • LED headlights and taillights
  • Available 18- or 20-inch alloy wheels
  • Open bed with lockable tonneau cover (optional)
  • Maximum cargo capacity of 52.1 cubic feet

Performance

  • Two engine options: a 2.5L four-cylinder with 191 horsepower and a 2.5L turbocharged four-cylinder with 281 horsepower
  • Front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD)
  • Eight-speed automatic transmission
  • Fuel economy ranges from 19 mpg city/27 mpg highway (turbocharged engine) to 22 mpg city/26 mpg highway (non-turbocharged engine)

Technology

  • Standard 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Available 10.25-inch touchscreen navigation system
  • Hyundai Bluelink connected car system with remote start, lock/unlock, and vehicle diagnostics
  • Standard driver-assistance features include forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and lane keep assist

Hyundai Santa Cruz is similar to the Ford Maverick, the pickup truck it competes with, in that both are built on a unibody chassis rather than the ladder frame upon which most other pickup trucks rely for strength and durability.

There are many differences in terms of execution and driving experience between the two compact pickup trucks that are currently available in the United States.

Santa Cruz may be more of a compact sporty SUV with a bed, while the Maverick looks like a mini truck. Even at a glance, you can see the differences between their designs. The Hyundai has sharp angles, while the Ford is more subdued.

Santa Cruz is a better choice for towing because it can pull 5,000 pounds (1,001 lbs more than Maverick). Santa Cruz has a 4-inch shorter length and less space behind the back seat. Maverick’s 37-mpg hybrid powertrain is superior to the Santa Cruz, but Hyundai has more features and a better interior.

It also offers a generous warranty. Santa Cruz SE and SEL are equipped with a standard 2.5-litre 4-cylinder engine, which produces 191 horsepower.

It also has 181-pound feet of torque.  The Santa Cruz SE and SEL come standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 191 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque.

All-wheel-drive is an optional feature. The Santa Cruz is rated at 22 mpg in city driving, 26 mpg on the highway, and 23 mpg for combined driving with FWD or 21/25/23 with AWD.

The base engine is adequate, but the turbo option is much more powerful, with 281 hp and 311 lb.-ft. And fuel economy is comparable to the base engine, at 19 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg when combined.

2024 Nissan Frontier — Score: 7.5

MSRP: $29,770 – $42,640

2024 Nissan Frontier

Exterior:

  • Bold and rugged design with a chiseled front grille and prominent fenders.
  • Available in Crew Cab and King Cab configurations.
  • Crew Cab offers spacious seating for five, while King Cab provides ample cargo space with folding rear seats.

Interior:

  • Comfortable and functional cabin with durable materials.
  • Cloth, premium cloth, or leather upholstery options available.
  • Standard features include an 8-inch touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a six-speaker sound system.
  • Available features include a 9-inch touchscreen display, navigation, heated seats, and a Fender premium sound system.

Performance:

  • Powered by a 3.8-liter V6 engine that produces 310 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque.
  • Nine-speed automatic transmission is standard.
  • Rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive available.
  • Maximum towing capacity of up to 6,640 pounds and a maximum payload capacity of up to 1,620 pounds.

Technology:

  • Nissan Safety Shield 360 suite of driver assistance features is standard, including automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and blind spot monitoring.
  • Available features include adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and rear cross-traffic alert.

The Nissan Frontier 2024 is a midsize pick-up truck with robust strength, utility and advanced offroad technology.

The 2024 Nissan Frontier is equipped with a naturally-aspirated 3.8-liter engine, which generates 310 horsepower. It also has a nine-speed transmission with the option to drive in either four-wheel or rear-wheel.

Starting at around $31,540 for the 2024 Nissan Frontier, it has a towing capacity ranging from 6,640 to 6,720 lbs, depending on trim. The Nissan Frontier is available in a variety of trims.

The base model starts at $29 770 and has a bed that measures 73 inches. The Frontier is also equipped with a variety of tech features and rugged durability, making it ideal for off-road adventures.

2023 Ford Ranger — Score: 7.3

MSRP: $27,400 – $40,945

2023 Ford Ranger

Interior:

  • More upscale and comfortable than the previous Ranger, with soft-touch materials and a focus on ergonomics.
  • Available in three trim levels: XLT, Sport, and Wildtrak.
  • XLT trim has cloth seats, while Sport and Wildtrak trims get leather or simulated leather.
  • Standard features include an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a six-speaker sound system.
  • Available features include a 10.1-inch touchscreen, a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, heated and ventilated seats, and a moonroof.

Exterior:

  • Bold and aggressive styling with a large grille, C-clamp headlights, and a muscular stance.
  • Available in a variety of colors, including Oxford White, Lunar Blue, and Magnetic.
  • Three bed sizes are available: 5-foot, 6-foot, and 7-foot.
  • Standard features include LED headlights and taillights, 17-inch alloy wheels, and a black plastic bed liner.
  • Available features include LED fog lights, 18-inch alloy wheels, a spray-in bed liner, and a bed extender.

Performance:

  • Powered by a 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque.
  • Paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and available in both rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive.
  • Can tow up to 7,500 pounds and haul up to 1,560 pounds.
  • Fuel economy is rated at 21 mpg city and 26 mpg highway for the rear-wheel drive model and 20 mpg city and 24 mpg highway for the four-wheel drive model.

Technology:

  • Standard Ford Co-Pilot360 driver-assistance features include forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
  • Available features include adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and parking sensors.
  • The SYNC 4 infotainment system is easy to use and features voice recognition, navigation, and a variety of apps.
  • A Wi-Fi hotspot is available, as is a wireless charging pad.

The Ford Ranger 2023 is a midsize pick-up truck available in either a SuperCab extended cab with a 6-footbed or as a SuperCrew crew cab.

The new Ranger has just been unveiled, but this is the global version. Not all of the features you see will be available in the U.S. Ranger, but they are available with the Tremor package.

A Raptor, a model that’s more dedicated to mud, will likely be added to the Ranger lineup. The 2.3-liter EcoBoost motor delivers plenty of power, with 270 horsepower and torque of 310 pound-feet.

The 2023 Ford Ranger is priced between $28,895 and $36,995, depending on trim. Ranger is equipped with the latest in entertainment and safety technology, but its ride can be choppy and stiff. The handling is awkward, and the engine noise at low speeds is very loud.

2023 Toyota Tacoma — Score: 7.2

MSRP: $27,750 – $49,890

2023 Toyota Tacoma

Exterior:

  • Bold and aggressive styling with a wide stance and prominent grille.
  • Available in a variety of colors, including the new Solar Octane exclusive to the TRD Pro.
  • LED headlights and fog lights are available for improved visibility.
  • Different bed lengths and cab configurations to suit your needs.

Interior:

  • Spacious and comfortable cabin with seating for up to five people.
  • Soft-touch materials and available leather-trimmed heated front seats.
  • Standard 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
  • Available features like a moonroof, JBL sound system, and wireless charging.

Performance:

  • Choice of two engines: a 2.7-liter four-cylinder with 159 horsepower and a 3.5-liter V6 with 278 horsepower.
  • Six-speed automatic transmission is standard, with a six-speed manual available on some models.
  • Rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive available.
  • Maximum towing capacity of up to 6,800 pounds.

Technology:

  • Toyota Safety Sense™ 3.0 suite of driver-assistance features, including forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control.
  • Available features like a surround-view camera system, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.
  • Wi-Fi hotspot capability and SiriusXM satellite radio.

The official Toyota website has information about the 2023 Toyota Tacoma. The 2023 Tacoma has a power-adjustable 10-way driver’s chair, a TRD Pro unique skid plate and a bed made of a fibre-reinforced Sheet Molded Composite surface.

The Atkinson-cycle, 3.5-liter V6 engine with direct injection is available in the Tacoma and can tow 6,800 lbs. Or carry a payload of up to 1685 pounds.

It also comes in two new color options and has a new SX package. The Road Beat reviews the 2023 Tacoma and says it has a noisy interior, a rough ride and a poor ride.

FAQs

What is a compact truck?

Compact trucks are vehicles with pickup beds that have the same general appearance, utility, and attitude as pickup trucks but are on a smaller scale.

How much can small trucks tow?

Depending on the model, trim, and equipment, compact trucks can tow between 2000 and 5000 pounds. Hyundai Santa Cruz with AWD, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and optional turbocharger is the compact truck that has the highest towing capability.

How many passengers can a small truck carry?

Five people can fit in a small truck. Two seats are available in the first row: one for the driver and another for a passenger. A bench seat can accommodate three more passengers in the rear.

Are small trucks safe?

Small trucks, like passenger vehicles, must comply with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s strict rules regarding safety equipment and impact protection. This means that features such as airbags and crash structures are standard. Compact pickups benefit from a higher ride height, which means that the first point to be hit in a side impact is the sill of the door, not the door. This reduces the risk of injury.

What is the difference between compact trucks and midsize trucks?

Compact trucks are usually built on a chassis that is similar to the one found in a sedan, crossover or SUV, while midsize pickups use a chassis with a body-on-frame, which is more like a full-size truck. Midsize trucks tend to be larger and have more payload and pulling capacity.

What size truck bed do compact trucks have?

The bed length of compact trucks ranges from 4 feet for the Hyundai Santa Cruz up to 4.5 feet for the Ford Maverick.

How much do small pickup trucks weigh?

Compact trucks can weigh between 3720 and 4132 pounds, depending on the model, trim, and equipment.

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