In case you hadn’t noticed, compact trucks are back and better than ever. These options from Ford, Hyundai, and Chevrolet get the most truck for your buck under $30,000. In the history of pickup trucks, the prospects below offer budget-friendly vehicles that will inspire other automakers. Compact, cheap, and cooler than ever – the Maverick, Santa Cruz, and Chevrolet check all of the boxes.
The Ford Maverick XL gets you the most truck for your buck under $30,000
For an affordable compact truck, Forbes says the 2022 Ford Maverick XL is a good deal. Even though the XL is the base trim, it comes with a 37 mpg EPA combined fuel economy rating (33 mpg highway and 42 mpg city). The base 2.5L four-cylinder based hybrid powertrain is excellent, though some might want to upgrade to the turbo 2.0L gas engine.
Forward collision warning with automatic braking come standard on the 2022 Ford Maverick XL, but not much else. Blind-spot monitoring and lane-keep assist are an additional $650. Ford’s Maverick has room for five, a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot, and power locks/windows.
2022 Ford Maverick XL MSRP: $21,490 (including $1495 destination fee)
Hyundai’s Santa Cruz SE gets a lot of truck for your buck
Since the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz SE is the brand’s first foray into trucks, it had to get everything right. Including the destination fee, the SE comes out to $25,175. Cruise control, power locks, and an eight-inch touchscreen come on all trim levels. The Santa Cruz also gets a six-speaker audio system and USB ports.
Hyundai’s compact truck gets forward collision assist with pedestrian detection, and lane keep assist for safety features. You’ll have to add on some packages for more driver assistance features, but overall, the Santa Cruz is a good deal. The 2.5L four-cylinder paired with front-wheel drive gets 23 mpg combined (21 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway).
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz SE MSRP: $25,175 (including the $1245 destination fee)
Don’t overlook the budget-friendly 2021 Chevrolet Colorado WT
For the 2021 Chevrolet Colorado WT (Work Truck), a 2.5L four-cylinder engine gets 200 hp combined with rear-wheel drive. This isn’t going to be the safest truck on the list, thanks to its bare-bones safety offerings. Neither forward collision alert nor lane departure are included or even available.
Adding the $530 Work Truck Convenience Package gets you remote keyless entry, cruise control, and a remote locking tailgate. It can also tow 3,500 pounds pretty easily. The Colorado gets 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. For under $27,000, Chevy’s Colorado gets the most truck for your buck.
2021 Chevrolet Colorado WT MSRP: $26,630 (including a $1995 destination charge)
Depending on how you plan to use your new truck, these options should get you started. If you need more safety features, you can add a package or two to increase the safety situation. Otherwise, celebrate that you got the most truck for your buck under $30,000 and spend the rest on an oil change in six months.