The 2 Best 2021 Compact Pickup Trucks Are Also the Most Expensive

For the 2021 model year, the 2021 Honda Ridgeline was named No. 1 in its class. Second place goes to the 2021 Jeep Gladiator. The two best 2021 compact pickup trucks are also the most expensive.

2021 Jeep Gladiator driving through the mountains
2021 Jeep® Gladiator Rubicon | Jeep

Sometimes it’s worth it to spend a bit more for a higher quality product. But what is it about the Ridgeline and the Gladiator? Here’s why Consumer Reports says they are the best 2021 compact pickup trucks.

The 2021 Honda Ridgeline is a ‘smart truck’

This truck gets praise from Consumer Reports for its civilized composure. While it’s no heavy duty work truck, the 2021 Honda Ridgeline remains a versatile vehicle. It’s a comfortable daily driver and easy to maneuver on city streets.

2021 Honda Ridgeline driving on dirt road
2021 Honda Ridgeline | Honda

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“With the Ridgeline, Honda has evolved the concept of the pickup, creating a smart truck aimed squarely at the actual needs of most pickup owners.”

Consumer Reports

This truck defines practicality with its tough composite bed. Plus, there is a weathertight trunk built-in. The trunk is actually large enough to hold additional gear compared to a traditional toolbox. Another cool feature is a rear gate that can swing open in either direction. Yet the rear gate keeps its ability to fold down normally as well.

The 2021 Honda Ridgeline is the only unibody truck in its class. That combined with it’s independent front and rear suspension also give this compact pickup truck the smoothest ride in its class. Its quiet cabin lends an upscale tweak to the overall driving experience. It’s also fuel-efficient for a gas-powered pickup truck.

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator has a ‘unique character’

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator is rated No. 2 among all the compact pickup trucks Consumer Reports reviewed. This truck combines elements from both the Jeep Wrangler and the Ram 1500. It’s a quirky truck with stellar off-road capability.

2021 Jeep Gladiator towing an RV
2021 Jeep Gladiator | Jeep

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“…where the Wrangler falls short of modern SUV standards, the Gladiator pulls it off as a competitive small truck with a unique character.”

Consumer Reports

As one of the best 2021 compact pickup trucks, the 2021 Jeep Gladiator is an interesting competitor in an arena of basic competitors. Consumer Reports even goes so far as to say that its “class dominated by lackluster competitors” contributes to its high ranking. Especially with its smooth, Ram 1500-borrowed suspension.

The Gladiator offers more powertrain options than the Ridgeline. The options include a diesel engine as well. While the 2021 Honda Ridgeline features available AWD, the Jeep Gladiator is a husky off-roader with as much capability as a Wrangler.

The best 2021 compact pickup trucks are also the most expensive

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator has a starting range from $33,565 – $43,895. The Honda Ridgeline costs between $33,900 – $43,520. Compare that with the Toyota Tacoma, Ford Ranger, and Chevy Colorado. Each of these compact pickup trucks starts around $25 grand.

2021 Honda Ridgeline driving through water
2021 Honda Ridgeline | Honda

Is it worth the extra dollar? For thousands of buyers each year, the answer is yes. Either way, the truth of the matter is that if you are shopping for a compact pickup truck these models are worth testing. Both of the two best compact pickup trucks earn a 5 out of 5 for consumer satisfaction. So owners that chose the Gladiator or Ridgeline don’t seem to regret their choice.