Buying a mid-size car is popular in 2023. Many people buy these minivans because they are versatile, capable and drivable. For many, a large truck is too much, taking up a lot of space and offering terrible fuel economy. Mid-size models are the perfect solution, as owners get the capability of trucks, such as towing and hauling, while maintaining the smooth ride and luxury of a large SUV. However, first-time pickup buyers may have difficulty finding the perfect model. Three of them are perfect if you’re considering a pickup for the first time, the 2023 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E, Toyota Tacoma SR5, and Ford Ranger XLT.
2023 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E
The perfect mid-size truck for first-time pickup buyers. Being the most popular of the Ridgeline lineup, it’s got a lot going for it. All Ridgelines are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine, capable of producing 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. In addition, it has a payload capacity of 1,583 pounds and a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds. The Ridgeline can do enough for the vast majority of buyers, like towing a small trailer.
, which is a big step up from lower models, such as RTL. Although the lower trim has a sunroof, heated mirrors, and leather upholstery, the RTL-E receives several upgrades. For example, wireless charging for smartphones, front/rear parking sensors, a heated steering wheel, truck audio with six drivers inside the bed to use as bed speakers, LED truck bed lights, in-bed outlets, and more.
The Ridgeline RTL-E perfectly combines innovative features with the quality and capability of a truck, and is excellent for the first-time pickup buyer.
2023 Toyota Tacoma SR5
Next up, America’s most popular mid-size truck is. As a result, it’s not surprising that one of its trims is ideal for first-time pickup buyers. Although most base Tacoma models use a less powerful 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 159 hp and 180 lb-ft, an optional engine is available. Buyers can get a 3.5-liter V6, capable of producing up to 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque. We recommend getting a more efficient unit. With that said, Tacoma owners can tow 6,800 pounds.
Choosing the SR5 over the base model or more expensive options is easy for several reasons. First, it costs $31,265, just $2,000 more than the base model. However, it does gain an 8-inch touchscreen and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, among other things. However, the real advantage comes from the optional packages, three of which open with the SR5.
With the V6 Double Cab, owners have access to the Dynamic Navigation, Technology and Trail Edition packages. These provide premium features like navigation, rear parking sensors (great for first-time pickup buyers), blind spot monitor, and unique styling cues.
2023 Ford Ranger XLT
Finally, it is one of the most popular midsize trucks for a reason. All versions use the same turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder producing 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. On top of that, it can tow up to 7,500 pounds and tow 1,905 pounds in the cargo box. It’s the perfect choice for first-time pickup buyers looking to get more out of their new truck.
Moreover, the XLT model is the top-of-the-line option in the Ranger lineup. For $33,915, the most popular Ford Ranger adds to the list of features, similar to the Tacoma SR5. On the XL model, you only gain 17-inch alloy wheels, an 8-inch touchscreen, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. However, only the XLT trim can get the following optional packages: 301A, 302A, and Technology.
Within these packages are valuable amenities. For example, rear parking sensors, remote ignition, electric/heated mirrors, front parking sensors, navigation, and adaptive cruise control.
Midsize trucks ideal for first time pickup buyers
In conclusion, the 2023 squad is competitive. Many options are available, but few are better for the first-time pickup buyer. If you’re driving a larger vehicle for the first time, features like parking sensors and blind spot monitors are a must. However, truck buyers may miss out on luxury amenities, which is why things like heated seats, wireless smartphone charging, and navigation are also crucial. Buyers can have it all with the 2023 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E, Toyota Tacoma SR5, and Ford Ranger XLT. This includes the ability to tow and tow, which is a possible reason for moving to a new pickup truck.