The 5 Best Trucks for the Money

For now, the best value in trucks seems to be small and mid-size trucks that get the job done, yet don’t break the bank. While full-sized truck prices are climbing through the roof, today’s mid-sized trucks show that you can still buy a lot of capability and not break the bank. That’s why all of the trucks on this new list are all mid-sized or smaller trucks. What are the five trucks that offer the most for the money?

Is there going to be a 2023 Ford Maverick?

A white 2023 Ford Maverick in the desert.
2023 Ford Maverick | Ford

It probably isn’t much of a surprise that the Ford Maverick is first on the list from TrueCar. Though for 2023 its base price is a bit higher than 2022 owners paid, it’s still the least expensive pickup you can buy in America. But it comes well equipped, especially in the higher trim Lariat versions. This truck gets amazing gas mileage, thanks to its base hybrid engine. 

For 2022, the Ford Maverick won MotorBiscuit’s Truck of the Year award for many of the same reasons. New for 2023, you can order it in an off-road Tremor package that adds an all-wheel drive system and a suspension lift.

Will Hyundai make a 2023 Santa Cruz?

Truecar says the 2023 Santa Cruz is the No. 2 truck for the money, and for many of the same reasons that the Maverick took the top spot. The Santa Cruz doesn’t offer a hybrid version, but it does have a 191-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder and all-wheel drive. Like the Maverick, it is built on a unibody chassis, which means that while it may drive more like a car, it can’t tow and haul as much as a full-sized truck. But, for the truck stuff that most of us do, that’s just fine.

The Santa Cruz starts at $24,450. If you step up to the Night trim, for $35,810, you can get a 281-horsepower turbocharged engine. But every Santa Cruz comes with niceties like wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Is the Nissan Frontier worth buying?

2023 Nissan Frontier in the desert
2023 Nissan Frontier | Nissan

The Nissan Frontier was all new a couple of years ago and, finally, Nissan made a midsize truck that can compete with the Ford Ranger, the Chevy Colorado, and others. The Nissan’s big advantage is its V6 engine that makes 310 horsepower and allows this small truck to work like the bigger trucks. It has a 6,720-pound towing capacity and it has a 1,600-pound payload capacity.  

The Frontier starts at $29,190, but the version most people want is the S version for $34,875. Cleverly, the Nissan can still be ordered with a long bed in a 2.5-door version. Off-road fans will appreciate the two-wheel drive Pro-X and four-wheel-drive Pro-4X versions that give this truck mountain goat abilities in the wild.

How much will a 2023 Ranger cost?

Front angle view of red 2023 Ford Ranger pickup truck
2023 Ford Ranger | Ford

The Ford Ranger is all-new for 2023. Sure, it’s a bit smaller than the full-size rigs preferred by most contractors, but can do serious work. It can tow up to 7,500 pounds, which puts it close to full-size rig territory, but in an easier-to-park package. The order banks are now open for the all-new 2023 Ford Ranger. The new truck will come with Ford’s new 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 270 horsepower.

It comes in several trim levels, starting with the base work truck at about $27,000. The XLT adds most of the accessories and options that you want, for about $32,000 and a real four-wheel drive package is optional. If you’re really looking to dive into the off-road world, look for the new Ranger Raptor which has too many off-road upgrades to list. Though the Ranger may be a good deal now, it’s getting a full refresh for 2024.

What will the 2023 Colorado look like?

Related What’s the Best Pickup Truck for the Money?

What’s the Best Pickup Truck for the Money?

For the 2023 model year, the Chevrolet Colorado got a complete refresh. Unfortunately, these all-new trucks have not started showing up at local dealers yet. The new truck basically throws out the old truck’s everything. Chevy started with a new, longer, frame that is designed to tow and haul more as well as handle off-road duties. For the new 2023 Colorado Chevy made an interesting engine choice: the diesel, and larger V6 are gone. Instead you can only order it with GM’s new turbo four-cylinder engines that make from 237 horsepower to 310 horsepower. 

The midsize truck wars are heating up, and the best values are these small and mid-size trucks. While full-sized trucks are great, these may actually do all of the truck stuff you could ever need.