The Most Reliable Midsize Pickup Trucks Might Surprise You
Editor’s note: This article was updated on 05/18/2023.
The midsize pickup truck segment has long been dominated by the reliable Toyota Tacoma. But it looks like the king has finally been dethroned. Reviewers ranking the reliability of every midsize pickup truck disagree on whether the Ford Ranger or the Nissan Frontier comes in first place. But none put the Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, or Jeep Gladiator on that pedestal.
J.D. Power named the Ford Ranger the most reliable midsize 2023 pickup truck
Ford introduced resurrected its midsize Ranger pickup truck for the 2019 model year. Every Ranger features a 2.3-liter turbocharged EcoBoost I4 that makes 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque, as well as a 10-speed automatic transmission. Its Tremor trim makes it an especially good off-road truck.
The experts at J.D. Power gave this truck an 86/100 for combined quality and reliability. The Ranger won an overall score of 83/100, which means it tied with the Chevrolet Colorado, Nissan Frontier, and Jeep Gladiator for first place overall. But none of the competition could touch its reliability score.
J.D. Power polled owners to find out the Ford Ranger’s strong points. Drivers said they liked the high power rating and the audio system’s sound quality. The second-row seats are also especially comfortable for the midsize segment. Owners complained about the brakes, the limited cabin storage spaces, and even the sound the doors make while closing.
Repair Pal named the Nissan Frontier the most reliable 2023 midsize pickup truck
The Nissan Frontier has long lagged behind the Tacoma in ratings and sales. But Nissan updated its midsize pickup truck’s styling for the 2022 year and managed to double the Frontier’s sales. Buyers weren’t the only ones who loved it, the analysts at Repair Pal rated it the most reliable 2023 midsize truck.
Repair Pal compiles owner reviews and reports of problems with vehicles. Then it ranks the most common problems by cost, frequency, and severity. It uses this data to rank the reliability of each vehicle against its segment.
The Nissan Frontier is not without issues. A check engine light caused by a faulty fuel level sensor affected 277 people. Excessive engine noise was reported by 154. The engine stalling or not even starting plagued 149 people. And finally, a failed EVAP canister throwing a check engine light troubled 145 owners.
But these problems were relatively rare: while the average vehicle owner has to go into a repair shop 0.4 times yearly, the average Nissan Frontier requires repair just 0.24 times yearly. Only 12% of Nissan Frontier issues qualify as “severe.” Finally, the truck’s annual repair costs average $470, vs. $652 for the average vehicle.
Because of this, the Nissan Frontier earned the title of most reliable midsize pickup truck. Second place went to the GMC Canyon, followed by the Ford Ranger, Chevrolet Colorado, and finally, the Toyota Tacoma. It seems Repair Pal has yet to collect enough repair data on the Jeep Gladiator to rank it.
What’s the most reliable midsize pickup truck?
Repair Pal found that while the Ford Ranger is in the shop just 0.16 times a year to the Nissan Frontier’s 0.24. But when the Ranger is in the shop, it costs $615 in average annual repair costs while the Frontier will run you just $470.
J.D. Power argued that the Ranger had an 86/100 for quaility and reliability (to the Frontier’s 83). It also earned a 95/100 for resale and an 83/100 overall. But it suffered with an 68/100 for driving experience. The Frontier only had an 86/100 for resale but can claim a 79/100 for driving experience.
So which midsize pickup truck is right for you? That depends on your priorities.
Next, see if midsize pickup trucks are actually cheaper than full-size trucks, or watch the Toyota Tacoma and Chevrolet Colorado go head-to-head in the video below: