With full-size pickup trucks, you always know you’re getting a few perks, including a large cargo bed, expansive payload and towing capacity, and impressive ground clearance for off-roading. However, by virtue of their overall body size, compact trucks often don’t get as high as their full-size counterparts. As such, those who want a compact body style with their vehicle but still want to travel off-road will have to be a little picky. Here are three compact pickup trucks with the most amount of ground clearance.
The 2022 Nissan Frontier
The manufacturer puts the starting price for the 2022 Nissan Frontier compact pickup truck at $28,690. All trims have a 3.8 L V6 engine capable of producing 310 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque. With that, the vehicle features 6,720 lbs towing capacity and a 1,600 lbs maximum payload capacity. It also posted a competitive 7.5-second 0-60 mph acceleration time on the Consumer Reports testing facility.
The engine is coupled with a nine-speed automatic transmission, and while 4WD is an option, the base model’s drivetrain is RWD. Buyers also have the option of a King Cab or a Crew Cab body design. The latter features a typical pickup interior with five seats and front-hinged doors. The former takes a more unconventional approach with seats for four and pillarless, rear-swinging doors.
Both Crew Cab and King Cab variations feature storage space under the rear seats. Other unusual perks in the truck include a 120V outlet on the center console and Rear Door Alert for when you’ve left something on the rear seat. With the King Cab S, which is the base trim, drivers get 9.4 inches of ground clearance, according to Nissan.
The 2022 Toyota Tacoma
With its $27,150 starting price, Toyota’s compact truck offering, the Tacoma, is available with two engine options. The base variant comes with a 2.7 L inline-four engine outputting 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque, according to Edmunds. That said, you can also get it with a 3.5 L V6 with 278 hp and 265 lb-ft as its performance figures.
Versions of the truck come with the engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission or six-speed manual, and you get to pick between RWD and 4WD. Additionally, Consumer Reports notes that the 4WD system is driver-selectable, and you’ll have to choose when it’s necessary and when it’s not.
Notably, the payload and towing capacities vary widely depending on the package you pick. Nonetheless, the highest you can get is a 1,685 lbs payload capacity and 6,800 lbs towing capacity. The perks also vary just as widely, with lots of variations to pick from.
Like the Nissan Frontier, the Toyota Tacoma‘s ground clearance stands at 9.4 inches.
The 2022 Jeep Gladiator
Lastly, the 2022 Jeep Gladiator is significantly more expensive than its Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier counterparts. Pricing starts at $37,565, and the truck is primarily available with a 3.6 L V6 gas engine, although opting for a 3.0 L diesel V6 is also an option. According to Jeep, the gas option’s capabilities include a maximum 7,650 lbs towing capacity and a 1,700 lbs payload capacity.
As for the transmission and drivetrain, they include either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic combined with 4WD. Like most other Jeep vehicles, the Gladiator is off-road capable with features like a dedicated button to optimize performance while rock crawling or driving through the desert. It also has the ground clearance to match.
Edmunds even asserts that for the base trim, there are 10 inches of separation between the underside of the vehicle and the ground.
Lastly, it’s worth noting that some of these compact trucks offer more ground clearance with upgraded trims and packages. However, the 9.4 inches for the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma, in addition to the 10 inches for the Gladiator, are what you get with the base trims.