The hotly contested and turbulent compact pickup segment continues to evolve. Once upon a time, traditional compact pickup trucks, such as Chevrolet’s, were like shrunken versions of full-size companies. Over the past few decades, compact unibody trucks, such as the Honda Ridgeline, have climbed to the top without a full-size role model, and relative newcomers, such as Ford, have rolled over the previous top-rated models as the old guard falls to a bottom. The Ford truck vs. Chevy truck debate began in 1918 when the first Chevrolet truck joined Ford in the consumer market, and the battle for the truck continues to this day.
2023 Ford Maverick
The 2023 Ford Maverick was fourth on the list of nine “Best Compact Pickup Trucks of 2022 and 2023.” The Maverick starts at about $22,000 for the front-wheel-drive (FWD) XL SuperCrew Cab. Upgraded trims include, with all three models featuring an AWD option, and the XLT and Lariat add an advanced AWD option.
The 2022 Chevy Colorado starts at $26,135 for the base Work Truck model with two-wheel drive, an extended cab, and a 128-inch wheelbase. Other models include the LT, Z71, and ZR2 in two- or four-wheel drive variants, extended cab or crew cab, and 128- or 141-inch wheelbases. Unlike the Maverick’s monocoque design, the Chevy Colorado has a body-on-frame design.
US News praised the 2022 Colorado for its towing ability, smooth ride with plentiful comfortable seats, precise handling, and an easy-to-use infotainment system. However, the truck’s poor-quality cabin materials, weak base engine, and absence of some driver-assistance features made it low on the list. The Colorado’s engines range from a 181-hp turbodiesel to a 308-hp V6, but the base engine is a 200-hp four-cylinder. Gasoline engines get an estimated 19 mpg city and 25 mpg highway with the four-cylinder and 18/25 mpg combined with the V6, while the turbodiesel gets 20 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. the gallon on the highway with diesel being the most affordable fuel. Opting for all-wheel drive drops the ratings by about 1 mpg across the board.
While the Chevy Colorado’s interior is comfortable, it’s not as pretty as the Maverick. However, when towing a trailer. The Colorado ZR2 also features locking front and rear differentials, hill descent control, and a heavy-duty suspension to enhance its off-road capability. Plus, the appropriately equipped Colorado boasts a towing capacity of 7,700 pounds with a turbo diesel engine.
Best compact pickup truck
The 2023 Honda Ridgeline tops the US newsletter starting at $38,800. The Ridgeline’s higher price includes AWD, a 280-horsepower V6, and a roomy, upscale interior with “SUV-like comfort.” Of course, for the price, you can buy an SUV with more comfort and better fuel economy or a full-size truck with more towing capacity and more interior space. However, as a compact truck, the Ridgeline is good in every way without being great in any category.