The Top 3 Best Compact Pickup Trucks on U.S. News Is a Really Solid Trio

The compact pickup strip features a red lettered year. Models like this are seeing massive success, proving that the market is hungry for a pickup comeback. While most publications don’t always agree on what would make up the top three compact pickups, it’s pretty hard to argue with US News’ list.

2023 Jeep Gladiator | pocket

What are the best pickup trucks?

All 2023 compact pickup trucks I tested rated. The top three pickups are the 2023 Honda Ridgeline, 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz, and the dark horse. This listing presents a very wide range of pickup trucks. The Hyundai Santa Cruz couldn’t be too far behind the Jeep Gladiator, and the Honda Ridgeline is still one of the weirdest pickups on the market. Let’s take a closer look at what sets these trucks apart.

The number one compact pickup truck. Despite Honda’s struggles with popularity, the Ridgeline is undeniably a great truck. Sure, it may lack power, but it’s reliable, comfortable, friendly, and fast.

The Honda Ridgeline comes standard with a 3.5-liter V6 making 280 horsepower and all-wheel drive. While it only tows 5,000 pounds, that’s plenty for most people. And when you’re not towing, you’re not paying for the ability to tow. The Honda Ridgeline pulls in 24 mpg highway.

The Honda Ridgeline may not be what most truck owners think of when they go truck shopping, but it’s a model that’s hard to deny. The practicality, reliability and comfort of the Ridgeline allow it to go toe-to-toe with, and win, any comparable pickup in its class.

2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz

Midsize truck
2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz Night | Hyundai

Hyundai’s new pickup truck is a huge departure from Hyundai’s regular offerings. Like the Ridgeline, the Santa Cruz won’t blow you away with its strength or durability. Instead, Hyundai has set the smart pickup truck loose, hoping it will bring some sophistication to the truck world.

Trade in bed space for a spacious and comfortable interior filled with new amenities and technologies. US News states that Honda and Hyundai are almost identical. Both offer the same kind of experience, but Honda does it better.

The Hyundai Santa Cruz comes standard with a four-pot rated at 191 hp. For a little extra bread, you can get by with the turbocharged version with 281 hp. Even in AWD and with the turbo engine, the Santa Cruz can still tow a maximum of 5,000 pounds, and when not towing, it gets 27 mpg highway.

2023 Jeep Gladiator

Red 2023 Jeep Gladiator parked outdoors.
2023 Jeep Gladiator | stellants

Makes this list weird but also fun. The Gladiator is a truck that’s hard to rate well if you’re completely objective. However, Jeeps don’t play by the same rules as the rest of the auto market.

Whereas these other compact pickups are small, light, efficient, nimble and comfortable, the Gladiator is wild, noisy, bouncy, powerful and ill-mannered. This is because this is the way of the pocket. It didn’t make the pocket gladiator soft and damp; Its purpose is conquest and joy.

US News says the Gladiator offers all the “perks” of a Wrangler but with the added practicality of a five-foot bed. Unlike the others in the top three, the Jeep Gladiator is a real off-road vehicle. AWD won’t cut it when you need to jump over rocks. Gladiator also has a decent diesel option. Hell, the roof came off.

US News listed the Gladiator as one of the best compact pickup trucks on the market because it is; You have to understand that “best” doesn’t always mean the same thing. The Gladiator is a unique Jeep, and that’s nothing idle.

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