There were few options for those looking for a small truck five or six years ago. But today, many competitors populate the space, as automakers have realized that lots of consumers are looking for something smaller and less expensive than a full-size truck. Fortunately, today’s small pickup trucks are more capable than ever. Keep reading to find out which are the best small trucks for 2020.
2020 Chevrolet Colorado – $22,395
This is the ultimate well-rounded small truck. It performs better than most competitors when it comes to ride refinement, maintaining composure even on poorly maintained roads. It benefits from agile handling and strong engines, particularly the 308-hp V-6, which provides plenty of power whether or not the spacious bed is loaded. What the interior lacks in style it makes up for in functionality. We liked this truck so much that it won our recent small truck comparison test.
2019 Honda Ridgeline – $31,085
If you want a truck that doesn’t quite feel like a truck, this could be your pick. Basically a Pilot with a bed and a longer wheelbase, the unibody Ridgeline doesn’t suffer from the same jitters as many compact trucks. It boasts a smooth ride and car-like handling, although towing capacity can be low compared to other small pickup trucks. The bed proves practical for carrying gear, and we’re impressed with the truck’s cargo bay under the bedliner. So while it may not be the best choice for serious hauling, it strikes a nice balance between work and play. It earned second place in our small truck comparison.
2020 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 – $42,495
The Colorado ZR2 is the most capable off-road small pickup on the market. Just like the regular Colorado, the ZR2 is exceptionally versatile. Whether on or off the road, the ride remains compliant. Our ZR2 tester with the Bison package proved capable crawling on rocks and on high-speed desert runs, with Multimatic DSSV shock absorbers ensuring good body control. Taking into account everything it offers, and for a very reasonable price, this truck was the winner of our recent off-road small truck comparison test.
2020 Jeep Gladiator – $35,040
Starting at more than $35,000, the Gladiator isn’t cheap. But as you’d expect, much like its Wrangler sibling, the Gladiator impresses off the beaten path. It also has exceptional towing capability: up to 7,650 pounds with a max tow package. Although the Gladiator isn’t particularly quick, it delivers power smoothly through an available eight-speed automatic. This master rock-crawler finished second place in our comparison of off-road small pickup trucks.
2020 GMC Canyon – $30,195
With exceptional engines and satisfying steering, the GMC Canyon shares the same DNA that makes the Chevrolet Colorado such a stellar competitor in this space. But there are a few things that set it apart from its sibling, including its exterior design and a luxurious Denali model. If you’re willing to pay the price, this is the ultimate luxury small truck with heated and ventilated front seats, leather-appointed upholstery, chrome steps, and other upgrades.
2020 Toyota Tacoma – $27,145
It may be the best-seller in its segment, but the Toyota Tacoma just doesn’t measure up to the competition when put to the test. In addition to a cramped cabin and narrow bed, the Tacoma features a punishing ride and overly sensitive brakes. In our recent small truck comparison, where the Tacoma took last place, we wrote that the engine and transmission “work in tandem about as well as a pack of cats and dogs.”
2019 Nissan Frontier – $20,135
At this point, the Frontier is almost an afterthought. It was last fully redesigned for the 2005 model year, making it ancient in automotive years, even truck years. It suffers from cheap interior materials, an old media system, and poor fuel economy. Keep in mind a new Nissan Frontier is expected to hit dealerships sometime in 2020 as a 2021 model. In the meantime, the 2019 Frontier may be an option if you’re looking for a no-frills pickup. It’s a relative bargain with a starting price of just over $20,000.
2019 Ford Ranger – $25,495
Opposite of the Honda Ridgeline, Ford’s small truck performs best on the job. The Ranger has the right amount of power to haul, and towing capacity maxes out at an impressive 7,500 pounds. Ride quality improves with some weight in the bed; otherwise, the ride is particularly harsh. This truck placed third in our comparison of compact trucks.