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If you’re interested in a small truck, the Ford Maverick is one of the most popular options. Although it isn’t a luxury pickup, nor can it tow immense amounts of weight, it does other things very well. For example, its standard hybrid powertrain makes it the most fuel-efficient truck available. Furthermore, the main draw of the Maverick is its incredibly affordable starting price. Customers who aren’t interested in the Ford compact truck can get a slightly more expensive model. Here are the cheapest small trucks that aren’t a Ford Maverick: Hyundai Santa Cruz, Toyota Tacoma, and Ford Ranger.

1. 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz

Front angle view of blue 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup truck
2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

If you find the Ford Maverick desirable but would prefer an alternative, check out the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz. As the only other genuinely “compact” truck, it’s the closest Maverick competitor. Moreover, it’s priced just slightly higher than the cheapest Maverick trims. According to Edmunds, the Santa Cruz SE base model starts at $26,745. That’s roughly $4,000 more than the base model for its rival from the Blue Oval. Additionally, one more trim in the Santa Cruz lineup is among the cheapest small trucks, the SEL model at $29,085.

However, there are pros and cons to buying a more costly Hyundai over the Ford small truck. For example, the standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine isn’t quite as fuel-efficient as the standard Maverick hybrid. It makes 191 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque and is good for 22 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. That’s a far cry from the top-rated 42/33 offered with the cheapest version of its rival.

2. The 2023 Toyota Tacoma is cheaper than most midsize trucks

A 2023 Toyota Tacoma is the next cheapest pickup after the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz small pickups.
2023 Toyota Tacoma Trail Edition | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Next, we must move into the midsize truck category to find more small pickups. According to Edmunds, the lowest starting price of any model goes to the 2023 Toyota Tacoma. Customers will pay $29,415 with fees for the SR base model, making it one of the few to fall under $30,000. Of course, adding options will increase the price over this point. However, the cheapest Tacoma provides some excellent value, making it one of the cheapest small trucks worth a look.

Like the Santa Cruz, pickup owners seeking fuel economy shouldn’t expect much. The standard 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine makes 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque but only averages 20 city/23 highway mpg. Although the Tacoma is capable of more “trucky” things than its smaller competitors, right from the start. The cheapest Tacoma comes with a tough composite bed, moveable bed cleats, forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and a 3,500-pound towing capacity.

3. Another Ford is one of the cheapest small trucks

Although very different from the Ford Maverick, another of the cheapest small trucks is the 2023 Ford Ranger. Edmunds says the XL base model starts at $30,080, making it just slightly more expensive than the base Tacoma. At about $8,000 more than its little brother, the Ranger is a bit more powerful but not quite as fuel-efficient. All models use the same turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, good for 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. This base engine might be the best value in the small truck category for potency.

Unfortunately, like other models, it falls far short of the Maverick for fuel economy. The Ranger averages 20 city/24 highway mpg on average with AWD. Fortunately, it does pickup truck things better, just like Toyota’s offering. The Ranger can tow up to 3,500 pounds and haul 1,905 pounds without the optional towing package but can tow 7,500 pounds with it. Also standard are excellent features like a Wi-Fi hotspot, USB port, forward collision mitigation, and a manually locking tailgate.

Cheapest small trucks

In conclusion, the cheapest small trucks that aren’t a Ford Maverick are the Hyundai Santa Cruz, Toyota Tacoma, and Ford Ranger. The Tacoma and Ranger are excellent options if you’re searching for a more well-rounded model than the Maverick. Additionally, the Santa Cruz is an excellent alternative if you’re not a fan of the standard hybrid powertrain. Considering Maverick alternatives might be a good idea because the small pickup is still challenging to purchase. Preorders are constantly pushed back and immediately sold out when they become available.


3 Midsize Trucks Perfect For First-Time Pickup Buyers