Small But Mighty Trucks for Drivers Who Don’t Want a Massive Pickup

Rivian R1T


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2022 Ford Maverick
The Ford Motor Company

Pickup Line

Whether you’re doing home improvement, pulling a trailer, running a business, or helping a friend move, a pickup truck is undeniably handy to have. But if you’d rather not buy a massive gas-guzzler, you’re in luck. Many small trucks are ready to be put to the test, and U.S. News and Kelley Blue Book have done much of the hard work for you. The list even includes an inexpensive pickup with a hybrid option that's so popular, Ford has had to suspend new orders until this summer. 

Related: Reasons to Buy a Truck Instead of a Car

Ford Maverick
Ford Motor Company

Ford Maverick

Starting Price: $19,995

  • Power: 191 to 250 horsepower

  • MPG: 23 city and 30 highway 

  • This all-new truck feels like a throwback to the days of old. It's much smaller than most modern-day pickups, but it provides the best of everything: good gas mileage, a smooth ride, and the power and capability needed to tow up to 2,000 pounds. You can even opt for a hybrid version that boasts up to 40 mpg in the city. The economical Maverick has become so popular that Ford is suspending custom orders for the vehicle since it has maxed out capacity on what can be built. The automaker expects to resume new orders for the 2023 model this summer. 

    Related: America's Most Loved Trucks

    The Rivian R1T

    Rivian R1T

    Starting Price: $68,145

  • Power: Up to 800 horsepower

  • Range: 300 miles

  • The Rivian R1T is unlike any other truck on the market. Not only did startup Rivian beat big names such as Tesla and Ford to market as the first company selling all-electric trucks, it also nabbed the coveted MotorTrend Truck of the Year award for 2022. Don’t let the R1T fool you, though: It’s more powerful than most trucks its size, gas or no gas. 

    Related: Every Electric Truck and SUV on the Market — and More Expected Soon

    2020 Toyota Tacoma
    Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

    Toyota Tacoma

    Starting Price: $28,155

    Power: 159 to 278 horsepower

  • MPG: 17-20 city and 20-24 highway 

  • Everyone loves a good taco, and the Toyota Tacoma — which owners refer to as “tacos” — is no different. This truck is especially popular for its off-road capabilities, and its stock version comes with desirable features that you have to pay extra for with other trucks. 

    Related: Most Trusted Toyotas of All Time

    2020 Honda Ridgeline
    American Honda Motor Co., Inc

    Honda Ridgeline

    Starting Price: $36,490

  • Power: 280 horsepower

  • MPG: 18 city and 24 highway 

  • The roomy cabin and under-bed storage makes this truck comfortable yet functional. Multimode terrain response ensures optimal performance across a variety of conditions. Although some trucks outperform the Ridgeline for off-roading, it is still a capable truck. 

    Related: The Most Popular Trucks in America

    2020 Ford Ranger
    The Ford Motor Company

    Ford Ranger

    Starting Price: $25,285

  • Power: 270 horsepower

  • MPG: 19-21 city and 18-26 highway 

  • The Ford Ranger is a solid choice that has been around for a long time. Ford fans rejoiced when it made a reappearance in 2019 after being off the market for a number of years. The higher gas mileage than other trucks is also a bonus. 

    Related: Most Reliable Trucks of All Time

    2021 Chevrolet Colorado
    2021 Chevrolet Colorado by Chevrolet (CC BY-SA)

    Chevrolet Colorado

    Starting Price: $25,200

  • Power: 200 to 308 horsepower

  • MPG: 16-20 city and 18-30 highway 

  • Depending which trim package you choose, you can get some seriously amazing gas mileage, especially for a truck. The smooth ride makes the driving experience feel more like a crossover but without sacrificing power. 

    2021 GMC Canyon
    2021 GMC Canyon by GMC (CC BY-SA)

    GMC Canyon

    Starting Price: $26,800

  • Power: 181 to 308 horsepower

  • MPG: 17-20 city and 24-30 highway 

  • A comfortable ride and optional diesel engines are some of the preferred features of the GMC Canyon. Off-road and luxury upgrades will, unsurprisingly, jack up the price tag. If those features are important to you, though, you’ll enjoy the 4WD, off-road suspension, hill descent control, and all-terrain tires of the AT4 model. 

    Related: 2021 GMC Canyon AT4 is Built to Handle Anything on the Road (or Off of It)

    Jeep Gladiator

    Jeep Gladiator

    Starting Price: $35,315

  • Power: 260 to 285 horsepower

  • MPG: 16-22 city and 22-28 highway 

  • For its class of truck, the Jeep Gladiator comes in a close second for towing capacity at just 50 pounds shy of the leaders. Its boxy, classic Jeep look makes it unlike any other truck on the market. Being a Jeep, its off-road capabilities are top-of-the-line. 

    Related: Timeless Jeeps Everybody Still Loves

    2020 Nissan Frontier

    Nissan Frontier

    Starting Price: $28,995

  • Power: 310 horsepower

  • MPG: 17-18 city and 22-24 highway 

  • This small truck is definitely mighty, with more horsepower than most pickups its size. For 2022, the Nissan Frontier has been almost entirely redesigned to offer the most modern features. It is also just the right size to not sacrifice on any aspect of the driving experience. 

    Related: “Foreign” Cars That Are Made in America

    2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz
    Hyundai Motor America

    Hyundai Santa Cruz

    Starting Price: $23,990

  • Power: 191 to 277 horsepower

  • MPG: 19-21 city and 26-27 highway 

  • Although the bed of this pickup is quite small, it still gives you room for hauling things you don’t want inside a vehicle. The Santa Cruz also has a high-end interior and a smooth ride. Compared with the Maverick, which is a similar size, it offers more towing but comes at a higher base price. 

    Related: Reasons Why You Shouldn't Buy a Truck

    Ford F-150
    Ford Motor Company

    Ford F-150

    Starting Price: $29,640

  • Power: 290 to 430 horsepower

  • MPG: 15-25 city and 18-26 highway 

  • Another classic Ford truck, this is still on the smaller end compared with many pickups. It is the leader in its class for towing capability and is highly customizable. You really can’t go wrong when you buy America’s bestselling vehicle. 

    Related: Surprising Things You Didn't Know About the Ford F-150

    2020 Chevrolet Silverado
    2020 Chevrolet Silverado by General Motors (CC BY-SA)

    Chevrolet Silverado 1500

    Starting Price: $28,600

  • Power: 28 to 420 horsepower

  • MPG: 14-23 city and 18-33 highway 

  • The various trim packages have a wide range in gas mileage. The Trail Boss, while excellent for off-roading, is going to make you feel the sting at the pump, while the diesel model gets some of the best gas mileage. Overall, the Silverado 1500 is a superb all-around truck. 

    Related: The Most Popular New and Used Cars and Trucks in America

    2019 GMC Sierra 1500
    2019 GMC Sierra 1500 by GMC Sierra 1500 (CC BY-NC)

    GMC Sierra 1500

    Starting Price: $29,700

  • Power: 277 to 420 horsepower

  • MPG: 15-23 city and 18-30 highway 

  • You get what you pay for with the GMC Sierra 1500. While the starting prices aren’t too bad, costs can quickly reach closer to $70,00 for a fully loaded Denali version. Whether you plan to use this truck for work or play, you’ll be pleased with its capability. 

    Related: Cars That Cost More Used Than New

    2021 Nissan Titan
    Nissan USA

    Nissan Titan

    Starting Price: $36,550

  • Power: 400 horsepower

  • MPG: 15-16 city and 20-21 highway 

  • This full-size, half-ton pickup truck is small only by comparison with some pickups on the market. The Titan packs a lot of power into a smaller truck and includes many desirable features such as a 5 year, 100,000-mile warranty. 

    Related: These Cars Are the Most Likely to Surpass 200,000 Miles

    No. 7: Ram Pickup 1500 Class

    RAM 1500

    Starting Price: $35,890

  • Power: 260 to 702 horsepower

  • MPG: 10-22 city and 14-32 highway 

  • If you want horsepower with a small truck, you want the Ram 1500 TRX. The base price for this fully loaded bad boy is a whopping $72,000. But according to Kelley Blue Book, it gives the Ford Raptor a run for its money. Even the base model holds its own against similar pickups. 

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