Consumer Reports Says Avoid these 2021 Compact Pickup Trucks

When it comes to buying a new compact pickup truck, there are more options now than there were just a few short years ago. So how do you choose? A lot will depend on the intended purpose, but we can use sources like Consumer Reports as a reference. According to that data, there is one compact pickup truck that you may want to avoid.

A black 2021 Chevy Colorado Diesel LT driving down a highway road
The 2021 Chevy Colorado LT 4WD in action | Chevrolet

The 2021 Chevrolet Colorado and its corporate twin the 2021 GMC Canyon didn’t earn high enough ratings. Consumer Reports suggests avoiding this 2021 compact pickup truck. It also gives some suggestions for other trucks to turn to if you decide the 2021 Chevrolet Colorado or GMC Canyon aren’t the right truck for you.

The 2021 Chevrolet Colorado and 2021 GMC Canyon have redeeming qualities

First off, the 2.8-liter four-cylinder diesel engine is unique to the 2021 GMC Canyon and 2021 Chevrolet Colorado. These are the only compact pickup trucks that boast this spec. Equipped with a diesel engine these compact pickup trucks boast a towing capacity of 7,700. Plus, you’ll get other towing goodies like an integrated trailer braking system.

Bottom line is that (while Consumer Reports doesn’t recommend this pickup) if you want a small truck and you plan on doing a lot of towing this is probably a good choice for your specific needs. The diesel powertrain also provides a 24 mpg average. That makes this the most fuel-efficient option in the class. The diesel engine option might be a redeeming quality for these small GM trucks, but there is more to the story.

Consumer Reports recommends avoiding these compact pickup trucks

There are some low points that Consumer Reports highlights for these trucks as well. For many shoppers in the small truck segment, these issues will turn them away from the 2021 GMC Canyon and the 2021 Chevrolet Colorado. First up? Reliability.

2021 GMC Canyon sales have jumped thanks to this AT4 Off-Road- Performance Edition
2021 GMC Canyon AT4 Off-Road performance Edition | GMC

RELATED: Is the 2021 Subaru WRX Still an Impreza?

Each of these compact pickup trucks rated only 2 out of 5 for predicted reliability. When other trucks in the class like the Toyota Tacoma, Honda Ridgeline, and Jeep Gladiator boast higher reliability numbers it’s easy to see why the small GM trucks are being left behind.

In addition to low reliability scores, the 2021 Chevrolet Colorado and 2021 GMC Canyon have other downsides. Consumer Reports notes that the driving position in these small GM trucks is pretty awkward. Also, if you do opt for the diesel powertrain it’s pretty loud. In addition, with the low cost of a basic full-size truck with the available buying incentives out there it often makes more sense for someone looking at the Canyon or Colorado to just spring for the larger GM counterparts instead.

An image of a red 2021 Chevrolet Silverado on a dirt road.
2021 Chevrolet Silverado LT Trail Boss | Chevrolet

RELATED: The Best Used Diesel Pickup Trucks Are Worth Hunting For

Which truck should you buy instead?

If you want towing power, a full-size option like the Toyota Tundra or the Ram 1500 is likely a smarter buy. These two full-size options are ranked best in their class by Consumer Reports for the 2021 Model year. There are also some alternative options Consumer Reports suggests.

2021 Ridgeline Sport with HPD Package parked in the mountains
2021 Ridgeline Sport with HPD Package. | Honda

RELATED: Least Reliable 2021 Ford Models According to Consumer Reports

First off, the class-leader in the Consumer Reports rankings is the 2021 Honda Ridgeline. This compact pickup truck is the best daily driver for people who want a nice truck, but don’t plan on actually doing any extreme heavy lifting. It’s refined, has recently updated style tweaks, and comes with standard all-wheel-drive on every model.

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator is a great choice, too. Like the Toyota Tacoma, this truck is best for those that plan to venture off-road. The 2021 Jeep Gladiator also received a perfect score for predicted reliability. It definitely has a bit of a love-it-or-hate-it design vibe going on, but it’s the perfect ruck for the right buyers.

2021 Jeep® Gladiator Rubicon parked on rocks
2021 Jeep® Gladiator Rubicon | Stellantis

RELATED: The Most Common ATV Problems