Big utility without the big footprint.

7 Best Small Trucks | CarMax

Pickup-trucks are among the most popular vehicles on the road and despite their size, small trucks might pack just the right amount of punch you're looking for. Small trucks provide the towing options, hauling, and off-road capabilities that you want from a truck with a smaller size that makes them easier to park and navigate tight areas.

To help you on your search, we've compiled a list of the seven best small trucks for 2020 shoppers, based on CarMax sales data from August 1, 2019, through January 31, 2020.

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


Ford Explorer Sport Trac

Best Small Trucks: Ford Explorer Sport Trac | CarMax

The Ford Explorer Sport Trac may have ended its production in 2010 but it still remains a solid choice if you want a small truck with plenty of capability. And while there may not be many left on our lots, it is solid choice if you need a serious people-mover. The Sport Trac marries the driving manners of a mid-size SUV with the utility of a truck by having a bed with a standard locking tonneau cover. Offering seating for you and four other passengers as well as 37.5 cubic feet of cargo space in the bed, the Ford Explorer Sport Trac is ready to help you get your adventure on. Two engine options are available on 2005–2010 Sport Tracs: a 210-hp 4.0L V6 and, on Limited trims, an available 4.6L V8 producing 292 hp with four-wheel drive also available as an option. If you need to tow, the 2010 V8 is the engine for you as it can tow an estimated 7,160 lbs. when properly equipped.1

The 2010 Explorer Sport Trac Limited comes standard with:

  • 18-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels
  • Chrome roof side rails and step-bar accents
  • Leather-trimmed seating with heated front bucket seats
  • 10-way power driver seat and four-way manual passenger seat
  • Locking hard tonneau cover


Ford Ranger

Best Small Trucks: Ford Ranger Lariat | CarMax

The Ranger may have taken a hiatus after the 2011 model year but it returned in 2019 with a completely new design and loaded with all the latest tech. With three available trim levels for 2019 (XL, XLT, and Lariat), there is a Ford Ranger for almost every lifestyle—yours included. All 2019 and 2020 Ford Rangers are powered by a smooth 2.3L four-cylinder turbocharged engine and backed by a slick-shifting ten-speed automatic transmission. In addition, when properly equipped it can tow an estimated 7,500 lbs. and carry a max payload of 1,860 lbs. (2019–2020 models with the 2.3L engine).1 Four-wheel drive is also available if you're looking for a truck with some extra off-road versatility.

For 2019, the Ranger XL comes standard with:

  • Black front tow hooks (4x4 models)
  • Cloth upholstery
  • Rearview camera with Dynamic Hitch Assist
  • 4.2-inch display with SYNC® voice-recognition communication and entertainment system
  • Rear under-seat storage


Honda Ridgeline

Best Small Trucks: Honda Ridgeline | CarMax

Redesigned in 2017, the Ridgeline is a unique entry in the small truck segment and has a lot of features uncommon for its segment, such as a tailgate that can either open in the traditional fold-down way or can swing open on a hinge like a normal car door. Also unique to the Ridgeline is an underfloor storage compartment in the bed that adds some extra cargo capacity. 20172019 Honda Ridgelines are powered by a robust 3.5L V6 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission while all-wheel drive is also available as an option—standard on the RTL-E and Black Edition trims. 2020 models benefit from a new nine-speed automatic transmission that replaces the six-speed available for 2017–2019 models. When all-wheel drive is not equipped, the Honda Ridgeline comes standard with front-wheel drive.

The 2020 Honda Ridgeline RTL also comes standard with the following features:

  • Leather-trimmed interior
  • Power moonroof
  • Heated front seats
  • Ten-way power driver seat


GMC Canyon

Best Small Trucks: GMC Canyon | CarMax

Next on our list of best small trucks for 2020 is the classy GMC Canyon. If you're after a smooth and comfortable ride, an upscale interior, and impressive towing capacity, the Canyon might be the small truck for you. Three engine options are available on 2017–2020 models: starting with the base 2.5L four-cylinder that outputs 200 hp, the 308-hp 3.6L V6, and the 2.8L turbodiesel four-cylinder. If luxury is what you want, be sure to check out the Denali trim (2017–2020) as it includes upscale features like navigation, wireless charging capabilities, and heated and ventilated seats. Four-wheel drive is optional across the board and all 2019 models received an updated infotainment system and a high-definition rearview camera. With the 2.8L turbodiesel engine and two-wheel drive, and when properly equipped, the crew-cab GMC Canyon has a maximum towing capacity of 7,700 lbs. and a payload capacity of 1,605 lbs.

The 2018 GMC Canyon SLT comes standard with:

  • Eighteen-inch alloy wheels
  • Automatic climate control
  • Heated front seats
  • Sliding rear window


Chevrolet Colorado

Best Small Trucks: Chevrolet Colorado | CarMax

If you're looking for a jack of all trades, be sure to consider the Chevrolet Colorado. With its current generation starting in 2015, the Colorado has been a longtime player in the small truck segment. From 2015 to 2020, the Colorado is available in a number of different configurations, from long beds to short beds and extended cabs to crew cabs. In addition to having either a 2.5L four-cylinder or 3.6L V6 engine under the hood, 2016-to-present Colorados can also be optioned with a 2.8L turbodiesel four-cylinder engine, so make sure to keep your eye out when you shop around. From extreme off-roading to commuting to camping, the Chevrolet Colorado is ready to meet almost any scenario you can think of.

The 2018 Chevrolet Colorado comes standard with the following features:

  • Seventeen-inch alloy wheels
  • Eight-inch color touchscreen infotainment system
  • Keyless entry
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Power-adjustable driver seat


Nissan Frontier

Best Small Trucks: Nissan Frontier | CarMax

The Nissan Frontier carries a lot of the same charm it first had from its debut in 2005 and remains a great choice if you're after a rugged and traditional truck. Also, 2020 models offer you an all-new powertrain, benefiting from a powerful 3.8L V6 engine that produces 310 hp. If you're looking for a small truck that works as hard as you do then you'll love getting behind the wheel inside the Frontier's no-nonsense interior. The new 3.8L V6 is the only engine option for 2020 models while 2005–2019 models are available with either a 2.5L four-cylinder engine or 4.0L V6. Check out the Pro-4X model if you want something with a bit more off-road prowess.

The 2019 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X comes standard with:

  • Four-wheel drive
  • Automatic headlights
  • Heated front seats
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Ten-speaker Rockford Fosgate® audio system


Toyota Tacoma

Best Small Trucks: Toyota Tacoma | CarMax

Topping our list is the Toyota Tacoma. If you want a small truck that'll help you blaze new paths off-road, haul gear to campsites, and transport you and your loved ones to new vistas, then the Tacoma is the truck for you. And 2017-to-present Tacomas are as rugged as ever, able to tow an estimated 6,800 lbs. with the 3.5L V6 engine and automatic transmission, when properly equipped. 1Toyota's suite of driver aids also comes standard on all Tacomas starting with 2018 models, adding features such as forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control.

For 2019, the Toyota Tacoma SR5 comes standard with the following features:

  • Leather-trimmed steering wheel
  • Keyless entry
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • SiriusXM® satellite radio

Small trucks are versatile and rugged enough to get the job done without sacrificing desirable driving manners. Towing options, hauling, off-roading, and general transportation with style are just some of the ways small trucks work hard to make your life better.

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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.

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