We are in the midst of a compact-truck renaissance, and keeping track of what trucks are here now, which are due for a major refresh, and which are coming soon can be a headache. How is a buyer to know whether he or she should pull the trigger on a truck that’s on the market now or stay patient for just a little while longer to get something that might be even better?
Keep reading for a quick rundown of what’s available now and what’s not far down the road.
The Tacoma has been a staple in the U.S. compact-truck market. A Toyota compact truck has been a constant presence on the roads since the late 1970s, and the newest version could truly make a case for itself as the best midsize pickup the U.S. has ever seen.
A new 3.5-liter V6 engine is more powerful and efficient than ever, and the suspension has been tuned for a better ride with more off-road capability. Buying a Tacoma, regardless of what else is on the market, is a wise decision.
The CarGurus review sums up the Frontier well:
If there’s something to be said for consistency, you might say it about the 2016 Nissan Frontier. This midsize pickup has been available in its current form since 2004, offering a unique look, solid hauling and towing capabilities, and a robust V6 engine.
If you’re waiting for something new from Nissan, keep an eye on the Navara, pictured here, which could preview the next-generation Frontier.
Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon
This is where things start to get interesting. The Colorado and Canyon twins have the well-established Tacoma quivering in its boots. Until recently, the Tacoma and Frontier were the only game in town, but the hot-selling GM trucks have kick-started the entire market. They are more powerful and generate more torque than their Japanese brethren and, even better, they have diesel versions arriving at dealers now.
Your GM dealer will happily show you where to sign.
This one should have truck buyers really excited. We went into detail on what to expect when the 2017 Ridgeline hits the market, and it’s everything a compact truck owner should want or need. The only question is whether it’ll be taken seriously as a pickup or dismissed as a wannabe.
I’ll say it now: This is a truck that should be taken seriously.
Jeep Wrangler truck
You’ll have to wait a while for this one, as the Wrangler-based pickup should hit the market in 2019. Jeep’s owner, FCA, recently said it would discontinue some cars in order to focus on trucks and SUVs, and a long-awaited Jeep truck will be one of the first to arrive after that decision takes effect.
Ford hasn’t sold a new Ranger in the U.S. since 2011, but rumors are flying that a new one could arrive in the next few years. As prices of the F-150 rise, Ford sees an opportunity to fit the Ranger in below it without taking sales from the full-size rig.
The Ranger is sold in nearly every market outside the United States. Ford knows it is missing out on sales each day this truck isn’t on the market here, but it could be 2018 or 2019 before it’s finally on showroom floors.
Maybe, Possibly, Coming Eventually
This is pure speculation here, but since FCA is dead-set on selling more trucks and fewer cars, the return of the Dakota would make perfect sense. Base it on the European Fiat Strada, put a Ram logo on it, and you’ve got a compact truck. In fact, you’d have the most compact of all the compact trucks. I think Americans are ready for that.
Which of these compact trucks would you most like to take on a test drive?
Find Certified Pre-Owned Cars and Used Cars in your area at CarGurus.
Bring CarGurus’ mobile app when you go car shopping to help check prices, find good deals, and research cars on your smartphone.
Used Toyota Tacoma
Used Nissan Frontier
Used Chevrolet Colorado
Used GMC Canyon
Used Honda Ridgeline
Used Jeep Wrangler
Used Ford Ranger
Used Ford F-150
Used Dodge Dakota