Best Compact & Midsize Trucks [2021 Edition]
Midsize trucks, including small-size and compact trucks, offer some towing and hauling capabilities and great daily driving.
Some popular models include the Ford Ranger, Honda Ridgeline, and GMC Canyon.
Midsize trucks have a good balance of fuel efficiency and power.
Below we highlight some of the advantages and disadvantages of owning a midsize truck.
Looking for a dependable truck? Check out our top picks for the most reliable trucks to buy right now.
Table of Contents
Our Picks for the Best Compact & Midsize Trucks
Here are our picks for the best midsize trucks for 2021.
#2 Pick: 2021 Honda Ridgeline
EPA Mileage: 18/24/21MPG
Standard Engine: 3.5L V6, Automatic
Available Cab Sizes: Crew Cab
Available Bed Sizes: 5 feet 4 inches
Maximum Towing Capacity: 5,000 lb
Maximum Payload Capacity: 1,580 lb
#4 Pick: 2021 Chevrolet Colorado
EPA Mileage: 18/25/21 MPG
Standard Engine: 2.5L V4, Automatic
Available Cab Sizes: Crew Cab, Extended Cab
Available Bed Sizes: 5 feet 2 inches, 6 feet 2 inches
Maximum Towing Capacity: 7,700 lb
Maximum Payload Capacity: 1,578 lb
Check out our picks for other truck sizes:
What to Look for in a Midsize Truck
When shopping for a small-size truck that suits your lifestyle, you must consider the following:
- Towing Capacity. What do you plan to tow with your truck? Even with small trucks, towing capacity can vary immensely. Consider your towing needs and select a truck that suits them.
- Usage. How do you plan to use your truck? Make sure that your intended usage aligns with the capabilities of your compact truck.
- Passengers. Will you be driving alone or lugging around kids and pets? If you plan to have passengers frequently, choose a small truck with four doors and enough space in the back.
- Gas Mileage. Compared to cars and even small SUVs, trucks are known for having terrible gas mileage. Small trucks have a range of fuel efficiency, so if you plan to drive long distances or have a lot of commuting, choose a model with better gas mileage.
Advantages of a Midsize Truck
- Maneuverability. Small and midsized trucks are easier to maneuver. This makes it much easier to navigate parking lots, some off-road situations, and city streets.
- Access. Easier to get in and out of the cab.
- Fuel Efficient. More fuel-efficient than larger trucks.
- Higher Speed. Small trucks may be able to reach higher speeds.
- More Powerful. Greater loading power than a car.
- Cargo. Can still move bulky items.
- Price. Less expensive than larger trucks.
Disadvantages of a Midsize Truck
- Less Towing. Unable to tow as much as larger trucks.
- Less Roomy. Small trucks typically have less legroom, especially for the back row of seats.
- Smaller Cargo. Minimal cargo weights.
- Not a Work Truck. Not suitable for use as a work truck (construction or pulling heavy trailers).
Midsize Truck Towing and Payload Capacity
According to the GVWR truck classes, a small-sized truck is in “Class 1” and can tow up to 6,000lbs. Small-size trucks have a payload capacity ranging from about 1,400 to 2,200 lbs. For example, the Ford Ranger payload is 1,609 to 1,860 lbs, whereas the GMC Canyon's payload is 1,445 to 1,605 lbs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who are midsize trucks for?
Midsize trucks are great for people looking for a vehicle that can handle towing and loading of everyday items like furniture, a small trailer, yard waste, etc. but still want a manageable vehicle with decent gas mileage.
What are some advantages of a midsize truck?
Some advantages of a compact or midsize truck are that they are easier to maneuver, more fuel-efficient, and less expensive than larger trucks.
What are some disadvantages of a midsize truck?
Some disadvantages of a compact or midsize truck are that they have smaller cargo weights, are less roomy, and have a lower towing capacity than larger trucks.
Who should not buy a small pickup truck?
They are not for heavy towers, so anyone needing to transport very heavy loads consistently should not get a compact truck.
What is Ford’s smallest truck?
Right now, Ford’s smallest truck is the Ranger. However, they will soon release a “trucklet” compact truck. The small pickup is set to go on sale in 2021 and will start under $20,000.
What is a good midsize pickup truck?
According to the CarMax sales data from 2020, the top three small pickup trucks are the Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, and Chevrolet Colorado.
What is the towing capacity of a midsize truck?
According to the GVWR truck classes, a midsize truck is in “Class 1” and can tow up to 6,000lbs. Midsize trucks have a payload capacity ranging from about 1,400 to 2,200 lbs.