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Pickup trucks are quite expensive vehicles these days. Full-size examples now begin north of $40,000, and four-wheel drive capability costs even more. Moreover, full-size pickup trucks are inconvenient to use if owners live in urban, built-up areas where parking is at a premium. Fortunately, the midsize truck segment has expanded in recent years, giving potential buyers a smaller utilitarian option.

TrueCar recently put together its list of the best-value midsize trucks. Although the top-of-the-line trim levels with all the bells and whistles may cost near the MSRP of a full-size truck, plenty start below $30,000. 

#1: Ford Maverick

midsize truck
2022 Ford Maverick Lariat | Ford

Its spartan base model begins just above $24,000, which features front-wheel drive and a 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid engine. The XL SuperCrew is the first of three trim levels, and its 191-horsepower powerplant offers 40 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. The 250-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-four will drop fuel economy but adds a surprising amount of performance. All-wheel drive is only available on the upper trim levels, but each Ford Maverick is easy to drive and maneuver in tight spaces. Moreover, the 4.5-foot bed will hold 4×8 sheets of drywall and plywood, and towing is rated at 2,000 in the base, which jumps to 4,000 with the optional tow package.

#2: Hyundai Santa Cruz

midsize truck
2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz Night | Hyundai

Based on the Hyundai Tucson crossover, the Santa Cruz sports sedan-like performance with its 281-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder. While 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway isn’t the best, the Santa Cruz is plenty fast. Moreover, it has a useful covered bed with a locking storage compartment underneath. Maximum towing capacity is 1,650 pounds in the base SE starting at $25,700, the lowest of five trim levels. However, when equipped with all-wheel drive and optional trailer brakes, the Santa Cruz can tow 5,000 pounds.

#3: Nissan Frontier

midsize truck
2023 Nissan Fronter | Nissan

Although it’s more expensive at $30,485, the Nissan Frontier brings updated styling, upgraded tech, and safety improvements. The four-seater comes in 4 trim levels, in both King and Crew cab configurations, and five or six-foot beds. A 310-horsepower 3.8-liter V6 mated to a nine-speed auto will power the rear wheels, and optional four-wheel drive is available. Fuel efficiency is 17 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway, which increases slightly in rear-wheel drive-only variants. The Frontier’s towing capacity maxes out at 6,720 pounds, which is better than the unibody Maverick and Santa Cruz. However, it falls short of traditional body-on-frame midsize trucks.

#4: Ford Ranger

midsize truck
2022 Ford Ranger Tremor Lariat | Ford

Sitting between the Maverick and the F-150, the Ford Ranger stands out with its substantial value, muscular power, and enjoyable driving experience. Yet, the ride is a tad on the firm side. Potential buyers can step into a 270-horsepower Ranger with a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder for just under $30,000. But the four-wheel drive version of the lowest of three trim levels is more. Nevertheless, 20 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway isn’t bad for such a capable off-road-ready truck. Base Rangers have a 3,500-pound towing capacity, but equipped properly, 7,500 pounds can be pulled.

#5: Chevrolet Colorado

midsize truck
2023 Chevrolet Colorado LT | Chevrolet

The Chevrolet Colorado seats four people and comes in four trim levels, with a five-foot-two-inch or six-foot-two-inch box. Its turbocharged 2.7-liter inline-four will provide 237 horsepower, as well as 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. However, the range-topping ZR2’s 3.6-liter V6 will offer 310 horsepower and a midsize truck segment best 430 pounds-feet of torque. While the base WT trim comes in just over $30,000, the top two of the four trim levels are in the mid to upper $40,000 range. While the base engine in the WT and LT trims manages just 3,500 pounds of pull, the Z71 and Trail Boss packages push that to 7,700 pounds. That’s more than any example in the midsize pickup truck segment. Yet, that number drops to 6,000 pounds for the off-road-centric ZR2.

What’s the top-rated vehicle among the best-value midsize trucks?

Given its wild popularity and lack of competitors, the Ford Maverick is an excellent pick as a midsize truck, even though it’s technically a compact. It offers a diverse range of trim levels, from its economic base model to the tech-heavy Lariat. For those who seek practicality in confined spaces, there’s little that can beat the Maverick.

On the other hand, if space and size aren’t a concern, the Ford Ranger is noteworthy. It offers a wide range of trim levels, cab configurations, potent engines, and considerable off-road performance. The Ranger’s 10-speed automatic transmission is also perfectly tuned, delivering excellent response and better fuel economy than many rivals.


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