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“Your truck looks so tiny!” I stuck my head out the door to see why my girlfriend was laughing. She had arrived with her 2020 Ford Ranger rental and parked it next to my 1988 F-150. I had to admit that the new Ranger was bigger in almost every dimension. But, as much as the Ranger impressed me that weekend, it did not drive or park like the 1980s compact trucks I grew up with. So I was unsurprised when Ford slotted the Maverick in below the Ranger: Compact trucks are the perfect tool for tons of jobs. Here are four of the best new, true compact trucks.

The 2022 Ford Maverick: Perfect Compact Truck For Commuters

2022 Ford Maverick 2L-EcoBoost AWD Lariat. Preproduction vehicle with optional equipment shown. Available fall 2021. This is one of the true compact trucks coming to the market.
2022 Ford Maverick 2L-EcoBoost AWD Lariat | Ford

The base model Ford Maverick is a hybrid that gets an estimated 40 mph and can cruise for 500 miles between fill-ups. That is going to enable a truck lifestyle for many people who could not afford it otherwise. The Ford Maverick’s bed is only 54.4 inches long, but its four tie-downs double as bottle openers so your friends will not tease you for long. This bed also comes wired for 12-volt power, and you can option it with 100-volt outlets.

If you need to tow with your Maverick, you can upgrade to the 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4, AWD, and the tow package. The turbo engine makes 250 horsepower and 277 lb-ft. of torque, and an equipped Maverick can tow 4,000 lbs. 

The 2021 Honda Ridgeline Won Consumer Report’s Truck Of The Year

This is a publicity photo of a red 2021 Ridgeline Sport with HPD Package towing a side-by-side. The Ridgeline is one of the true compact trucks on the market.
2021 Ridgeline Sport with HPD Package | Honda

If you have not looked at a Honda Ridgeline recently, look again. Honda completely redesigned its unibody truck for 2021. The styling is aggressive up front and comes with a dual exhaust out back. In addition, the bed is now 63.6-inches long. 

The Ridgeline’s 3.5-liter V6 engine makes 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft. of torque. That is enough to embarass a Tacoma. Every Ridgeline features a nine-speed automatic transmission and AWD. The EPA rated this truck at 18 city/24 highway mpg (21 combined). Base-trim Ridgelines can only tow 3,500 pounds. But equipped Ridgelines are rated for 5,000 pounds.

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Is A Compact Truck With A Tool For Everything

This is a publicity photo of a sand colored 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz parked in Santa Cruz, California. This is one of the true compact trucks coming to the market.
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

Hyundai’s coming in hot with its 2022 Santa Cruz. It seems like the automaker has thought of everything: The bed is only 52.1-inches long, making it the smallest truck bed available. But it also has an underfloor storage area that doubles as a cooler. Cool. It also features two side cubbies (about the size of a truck battery) on either side of the bed. This bed comes with a lockable cover, and Hyundai engineered it to hold a homemade 2×4 rack if you want to shelve it out. This bed has LED lights, available power outlets, and a C-channel rail system for adjustable tie-downs.

The base engine, a naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter I4, only makes 191 horsepower. But the turbocharged 2.5-liter option can produce 281 horsepower and 311 lb-ft. of torque. The bigger engine can tow up to 4,000 pounds. Even equipped with the turbo and optional AWD, the Santa Cruz is rated for 19 city/27 highway mpg (22 combined).

Alpha Motor’s WOLF Is An Electric Truck

This is a prototype of the new Alpha Motors WOLF EV, a true compact truck, EV.
Alpha Motors WOLF EV | Alpha Motors

The prototype for the Alpha Motor’s WOLF is one of the most retro new trucks around. Alpha Motors also intends to make their vehicles easy to work on, standardizing components across models and making even engineering the electronics in the cab around “replaceability.” Every truck manufacturer should take a page out of their book.

The WOLF has a 65-inch bed in addition to a lockable front trunk. One of the most compact things about the WOLF is its height. One a skateboard chassis, this truck is low, 4-inches shorter than 2WD “compacts” such as the Ranger and Tacoma.

With maximum torque at 0 RPMs, electric drivetrains are perfect for towing. The WOLF is no exception. Alpha has engineered it to tow 6,724 pounds. When not towing, its maximum range will be 275 miles. 


Compact trucks are one of the most versatile and useful vehicles around. It is good to see the return of the true compact truck. It is great to see that even with an electric future looming, this vehicle class is going stronger than ever. 

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