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The Toyota Tacoma has long dominated the midsize pickup truck segment — earning the top spot as the highest-selling model. The Ford Ranger is a solid choice, too. However, the best new midsize truck isn’t either of these models. It’s the 2023 Honda Ridgeline, a vehicle that’s hated by many pickup enthusiast traditionalists — but loved by automotive critics.

The 2023 Honda Ridgeline is the best new midsize pickup truck

The primary reason why the Honda Ridgeline is derided by pickup truck traditionalists is its unconventional unibody design. Most trucks have a body-on-frame structure, which is good for durability and off-road use. With its unibody design, many enthusiasts, though, don’t consider the Ridgeline to be a “real” truck.

However, this doesn’t stop automotive critics from heaping praise on the unconventional truck. Multiple sites rank the 2023 Honda Ridgeline as the best new midsize truck, including Car and Driver, U.S. News, and Edmunds.

In the Car and Driver rankings, here are the best new midsize trucks in 2023:

  1. 2023 Honda Ridgeline
  2. 2023 Chevy Colorado
  3. 2023 GMC Canyon
  4. 2023 Jeep Gladiator
  5. 2023 Nissan Frontier
  6. 2023 Ford Ranger
  7. 2023 Toyota Tacoma

As you can see, the 2023 Ford Ranger and the 2023 Toyota Tacoma are at the bottom of the list of best midsize trucks. However, both models have a redesign for the 2024 model year, so we’ll have to see how this list shakes out next year.

Excellent driving dynamics propel the Honda Ridgeline to the top rank

Rear angle view of the gray 2023 Honda Ridgeline, the best new midsize truck, not Toyota Tacoma or Ford Ranger
2023 Honda Ridgeline | Honda

While some people dislike the 2023 Honda Ridgeline for its unconventional unibody design, it’s a factor that helps with one of its strengths: excellent driving dynamics. The best midsize truck drives like a smooth-riding SUV. 

The unibody design provides more stiffness, which enables the truck to utilize softer springs. This results in superior ride quality. Also, the suspension does a good job of soaking up road imperfections. Plus, there’s less noise and vibration, which results in a quiet ride. 

Additionally, the 3.5-liter V-6 engine provides plenty of power, with an output of 280 hp. Also, the handling is responsive, and the Ridgeline is surprisingly agile for a truck. From inside the cabin, it doesn’t even seem like you’re driving one. It’s a far cry from the rough-riding pickups of yesterday. Furthermore, for confident traction, all-wheel drive is standard for all trim levels. 

Another highlight for the best new midsize truck is the roomy cabin. It’s one of the most spacious in the segment, with a total passenger volume of 110 cubic feet and a generous amount of headroom and legroom. The cabin is also one of the most upscale for a midsize truck, with high-quality craftsmanship and a luxurious look and feel.

The 2023 Ridgeline offers useful pickup bed features

An additional element in the 2023 Honda Ridgeline’s favor is its pickup bed, which offers unique features for enhanced utility and versatility. This includes secure storage via the lockable in-bed truck. There’s also a dual-action tailgate. It can be lowered like a normal truck tailgate — or for easier access, it can be swung open like a door. 

Other pickup bed features include eight tie-down cleats, cargo bed lights, and a power outlet. And for blasting out the tunes outside, there’s a truck bed audio system.

The 2023 Honda Ridgeline is the best new midsize truck, ranked the highest by multiple automotive critics. It tops all other models in the segment, including the Toyota Tacoma and the Ford Ranger.


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