Big utility without the big footprint.

7 Best Small Trucks | CarMax

Are you ready to try a truck or upgrade your existing one? A great option for your active lifestyle, a compact pickup truck offers the versatility and practicality you need. Many small trucks offer cabins that are plush and roomy, with plenty of tech features, too. These trucks are super practical, but they're also a whole lot of fun to drive. This elevated-in-every-sense vehicle is an excellent choice.

To help you on your search, we've compiled a list of the 6 best small trucks for 2020 shoppers, based on CarMax sales data from November 1, 2019 through April 30, 2020.

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


Honda Ridgeline

Best Small Trucks: Honda Ridgeline | CarMax

On hiatus since 2014, the Honda Ridgeline reappeared in 2017 with a redesigned model that hits the spot for ride comfort and everyday functionality. With a roomy cabin boasting excellent rear seat dimensions, the 2017-2019 Ridgeline feels fully adjustable, offering supportive seats for all passengers and a tilt-and-telescope steering wheel for your comfort.

The pickup bed has a variable open tailgate, a lockable 7.3 cubic feet under-bed trunk, and an available AC outlet (2017 models). When properly equipped, the 2017-2019 Ridgeline with available all-wheel drive can tow up to an estimated 5,000 lbs. with the standard V6.1

Available in six trims (2018-2019), the mid-range tech-focused Ridgeline trim (RTL-T) offers an eight-inch touchscreen, four USB ports, and Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay® functionality.

The 2018-2019 Honda Ridgeline base RT trim features:

  • 3.5L V6 engine
  • Seven-speaker sound system
  • Front-wheel drive
  • Rearview camera
  • Tow hitch


Ford Ranger

Best Small Trucks: Ford Ranger | CarMax

The Ford Ranger drove into 2019 with fanfare. Originally retired in 2011, this bold redesign is impressive, with great trims, plenty of option packages, and two cabin configurations. The 2019 Ranger SuperCab seats four and accommodates cargo on a six-foot truck bed. For a roomier second row, choose the five-seat 2019 Ranger SuperCrew, which has a five-foot bed. When properly equipped, all 2019 Rangers can tow up to an estimated 7,500 lbs. with the 2.3L engine.1

The 2019 Ranger has three trims (XL, XLT, Lariat), two cabin configurations, and an extensive roster of style, tech, and utility packages—so you can find the right Ranger for your lifestyle. For off-road capability, choose available four-wheel drive with the FX4 Off-Road package (2019). It adds off-road-tuned suspension, a terrain management system, and crawl control.

The 2019 Ford Ranger XL has the following standard features:

  • 2.3L four-cylinder turbocharged engine
  • 10-speed automatic transmission
  • Ford MyKey® secondary driver monitoring system
  • Available Wi-Fi hotspot2
  • Rearview camera and pre-collision system


GMC Canyon

Best Small Trucks: GMC Canyon | CarMax

The midsize GMC Canyon pickup features comfort and flexibility across its five trims. The Canyon offers a peaceful, insulated interior with storage solutions and thoughtful tech touches over two cabin sizes. Given its size and elevation, visibility is excellent; still, all 2017-2019 models include a rearview camera for the angles you can't reach. The 2017-2019 Canyon offers two bed lengths and three engine choices, including an available 2.8L turbodiesel (SLE and SLT trims) with a towing capacity of an estimated 7,700 lbs., when properly equipped.1 This is a practical, well-equipped choice.

The 2018 mid-range GMC Canyon short-body SLE features:

  • Rear-wheel drive
  • 17-inch wheels
  • Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto capability
  • Four USB ports
  • Split-folding rear seat back


Chevrolet Colorado

Best Small Trucks: Chevrolet Colorado | CarMax

An attractive compact performance truck, the Chevrolet Colorado is a pickup for all seasons, whether you're looking for a two-seat work truck or a five-seat daily driver. The Colorado offers a good choice of cabin configurations, short or long cargo beds, and three drivetrains, making it easy to find something to fit your needs.

2017-2019 models with the available Duramax turbodiesel engine boast an estimated maximum towing capacity of 7,700 lbs., when properly equipped.1 There are plenty of nice touches at the base trim level, including plush front-row bucket seats and a six-speaker sound system (2017-2019 models). Additional in-cabin comforts can be found standard on higher trims or via the Colorado's extensive package offering.

The 2017 mid-range Chevrolet Colorado LT has these standard features:

  • Teen driver monitoring tech
  • Cruise control
  • Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  • 10 exterior paint colors
  • Heated seats


Nissan Frontier

Best Small Trucks: Nissan Frontier | CarMax

The Nissan Frontier is an excellent choice for new and seasoned pickup drivers alike. The 2017-2019 Frontier offers two options: The King Cab is a four-person, long-bed ride, and the Crew Cab is a five-seater with a long or short bed.

The 2017-2019 Frontier boasts five trim levels and some attractive packages that open up options and specialist equipment. Planning to off-road? The Desert Runner and Pro-4X trims add a V6 engine and Bilstein® off-road performance shocks (2017-2019 models). The 2018 model year adds a rearview camera and Bluetooth capability as standard features of the Frontier.

The 2018 Nissan Frontier SV in its five-seat, short-bed configuration includes:

  • Rear privacy glass
  • Steering wheel audio controls
  • Six-cylinder, 4.0L engine with five-speed manual transmission
  • 1,450 lbs. of maximum payload, when properly equipped
  • Stability control


Toyota Tacoma

Best Small Trucks: Toyota Tacoma | CarMax

The Tacoma can suit almost anyone. The Access Cab body style fits singles, couples, and young families (it's a two-door with a smaller second row), while the larger Double Cab is a four-door, five-seater—ideal for go-hard work and play lifestyles. Both the short and long cargo bed options feature a locking tailgate and tie-down cleats. 2017-2019 models have six trim levels, with plenty of engine upgrades, tech enhancements, and comfort configuration packages.

All 2018 Toyota Tacomas feature:

  • 6.1-inch touchscreen
  • Split-folding rear seats
  • Standard RWD or available 4WD
  • Automatic high beams
  • Forward-collision warning and adaptive cruise control

Compact trucks are some of the most versatile vehicles on the road. Get ready to take your driving experience to new heights with one of these small trucks.

Looking to learn more? Check out these related articles:

1Various factors may impact towing capacity, including weight of passengers, cargo, and options/accessories.
2Wi-Fi hotspots require a data plan to activate and may also require a compatible device. See the owner's manual or manufacturer website for more information
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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