The right combination of ruggedness and style.

7 Best Small Trucks | CarMax

A pickup truck is a practical vehicle option for many drivers. At the same time, larger pickup trucks can sometimes be a little "over-the-top" for basic hauling, towing, and cargo needs. This is where shopping for small pickup trucks can be a wise option. With a smaller sized or midsize pickup truck, you can still enjoy substantial towing capacity and cargo storage—along with greater fuel economy and maneuverability in even the smallest of urban spaces. In many ways, small pickup trucks offer the best of both worlds!

Looking for some help in narrowing down your options when it comes to a small truck purchase? We've already taken care of some of the research for you. This list of seven top small trucks was developed based on vehicle type and CarMax sales data from September 29, 2017 through March 29, 2018.

Here are our findings:

  1. Ford Explorer Sport Trac
  2. Honda Ridgeline
  3. Ford Ranger
  4. GMC Canyon
  5. Chevrolet Colorado
  6. Nissan Frontier
  7. Toyota Tacoma


Ford Explorer Sport Trac

7 Best Small Trucks: Ford Explorer Sport Trac | CarMax
First created in 2001 as an offshoot of the popular Ford Explorer SUV, the Ford Explorer Sport Trac is similar in body style to the Explorer SUV with the addition of a small pickup bed in the back. And while this particular vehicle was only manufactured until 2010 (with a year off in 2006), it reached peak popularity in the small truck market due to its innovation (especially for its time) and functionality. If you're feeling a little torn between an SUV and a pickup truck for your next vehicle, the Sport Trac might be a good compromise for you. And despite the fact that it hasn't been in production in awhile, you can generally still find used Sport Tracs on the market, particularly in the 2007 through 2010 model years.

Honda Ridgeline

7 Best Small Trucks: Honda Ridgeline | CarMax

If you're intrigued by the idea of an SUV/pickup crossover but are looking for something with more recent production, the Honda Ridgeline is definitely worth a test drive. The 2017 version of this vehicle boasts a unique two-way tailgate that is even wider and longer than that of most midsize pickup trucks. It also comes standard with a powerful 3.5 liter V6 engine, though upgraded engine options are available as you move up in trim level. Speaking of trim options, the 2017 Ridgeline is available in an impressive range of seven trims, including the base RT, Sport, RTL-E, and premium Black Edition. Standard features across all trim levels include a rearview camera, tow hitch, and 18-inch wheels.


Ford Ranger

7 Best Small Trucks: Ford Ranger | CarMax

Originally manufactured from 1983 through 2011, the Ford Ranger consistently topped lists for best-selling small pickup trucks. In 2019, Ford will bring back the Ranger with a brand new redesign that many are eagerly anticipating. In the meantime, you can still find used Ford Rangers on the market, such as the popular 2011 Ranger. This small pickup truck is available in both a regular and extended cab, known as the SuperCab, for additional passenger leg room. The 2011 Ranger also comes in both a six-foot and seven-foot bed option to suit your hauling needs, and is available in three trim levels: the XL, XLT, and Sport. A 2.3 liter, 143-horsepower engine comes standard, though an upgraded V6 is an option on the XLT and Sport trims.


GMC Canyon

7 Best Small Trucks: GMC Canyon | CarMax
Looking for a pickup truck with a little more cabin space than some of these smaller pickups on the market? If so, then the GMC Canyon is a great midsize pickup option worth your consideration. The 2017 version of this truck is available in your choice of two-, four-, or -five-seater options, as well as two different bed lengths and five trim options to choose from: the base SL, Canyon, SLE, SLT, and premium Denali. Standard features across all trim levels include a 2.5 liter, four cylinder engine, rearview camera, and 4.2-inch color display. And in its upgraded V6 engine, you'll enjoy a maximum towing capacity of 7,000 pounds (versus 3,500 pounds with the standard engine).


Chevrolet Colorado

7 Best Small Trucks: Chevrolet Colorado | CarMax

Another excellent midsize pickup truck to consider is the Chevrolet Colorado. This truck has been one of the best-selling pickups on the market for many years, and for good reason. The 2017 Colorado boasts impressive maneuverability and handling, especially when compared to its full-size counterpart (the Silverado). It is also available with a wide range of customization options that buyers will love, including three engine choices, several different bed configurations, two bed lengths, and a whopping five trim levels. In the Base trim, drivers will enjoy an extended cab, rearview camera, and 2.5 liter engine. Upgrade to the LT trim, however, and you'll also enjoy an available 4G Wi-Fi hot spot!


Nissan Frontier

7 Best Small Trucks: Nissan Frontier | CarMax

When it comes to midsize pickup trucks that are both practical and affordable, the Nissan Frontier is a strong contender. While it may not be loaded with standard features, the 2017 Frontier is a rugged work truck that will serve many drivers well. Offered in both a crew cab and extended cab, as well as a 5-foot or 6.1-foot bed length, this Frontier comes in your choice of five trim levels. Standard on the base S trim are rear privacy glass, Bluetooth® connectivity, and 15-inch wheels. In order to upgrade from the base four cylinder engine (and 3,500-pound towing capacity, when properly equipped1), however, you'll need to select the SV or higher trim (which comes with a V6 capable of towing nearly double that when the vehicle is properly equipped).


Toyota Tacoma

7 Best Small Trucks: Toyota Tacoma | CarMax

Topping our list of best small pickup trucks is the Toyota Tacoma. Looking at the 2017 Tacoma, drivers love its high profile and abundant standard features, which include a durable composite bed (no liner needed!), a backup camera, and even a built-in GoPro® mount on the windshield for easy recording. These ample features, combined with its towing capacity of nearly 7,000 pounds (when properly equipped1) and incredibly smooth ride, make the Tacoma a top-seller in smaller pickups.

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Whether you're looking for a bare-bones work truck or something loaded with features, one of these small trucks is sure to appeal to you! Now, browse CarMax to find your top picks for sale near you and start scheduling some test drives!

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1Various factors may impact towing capacity, including weight of passengers, cargo, and options/accessories.
Unless otherwise noted, information related to these featured vehicles comes from third-party sources, including manufacturer information. Product and company names may be trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of third-party entities. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by these entities.