Skip to main content

“One of these things doesn’t belong here, one of these things isn’t the same” comes from an old Sesame Street song. This line describes when one item doesn’t quite fit in with the rest. This is part of what we’re dealing with when looking at the worst small pickup truck in the market.

What’s considered a small truck?

The small truck world is changing, but we can look at what 2022 offers and find the trucks you might want to avoid driving. Currently, between midsize and compact trucks, we see nine different vehicles. Eventually, we’ll have more compact models to create separation, but these trucks are lumped together for now.

Compact and midsize pickups rated from worst to best

The 2022 Jeep Gladiator is the lowest-rated small truck in the market
2022 Jeep Gladiator | Jeep

It’s easy to offer a complete list with only nine models in the market for both classifications of small trucks. According to Consumer Reports, the ratings from lowest to highest are:

  • Jeep Gladiator
  • GMC Canyon
  • Chevrolet Colorado
  • Toyota Tacoma
  • Nissan Frontier
  • Hyundai Santa Cruz
  • Ford Ranger
  • Ford Maverick
  • Honda Ridgeline

We find similar results if we look at another expert publication, U. S. News and World Report. The pickups that US News has tested are ranked from worst to best as follows:

  • Toyota Tacoma
  • Ford Ranger
  • GMC Canyon
  • Chevrolet Colorado
  • Honda Ridgeline

The other four trucks in this classification have not been tested by US News yet. Even so, we can assume the Jeep Gladiator will likely end up at the bottom of the list for a few reasons.

Why is the Jeep Gladiator the worst small truck you can buy?

The 2022 Gladiator receives a very low score from Consumer Reports. Let’s dig in and see where this truck fell short of an average score. These areas are:

  • Predicted Reliability
  • Emergency Handling
  • Noise
  • Fuel Economy
  • Greenhouse Gas
  • Value

These areas are the red flags that make it the worst truck in this class for you to buy, but it does come with some redeeming qualities.

Can the Gladiator be a good model for some consumers?

Yes, even though this midsize pickup from Jeep hits the bottom of the rankings, it does work well as an off-roader that can tow a heavy load. Every model of the Gladiator includes standard 4WD, an off-road package that can tackle every trail, and impressive towing, which reaches 7,650 pounds. Only the Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon models with the diesel powertrain can tow more at 7,700 pounds.

Why is the Jeep the subject of the Sesame Street song?

Not only does the Gladiator show up at the bottom of this list, but it’s also the only pickup that is completely different from the others. The Maverick and Santa Cruz compete in the compact truck area to be small, efficient, and relatively strong trucks. Most models are smaller versions of their full-size counterparts in the midsize truck market. The Jeep Gladiator and Honda Ridgeline are the exceptions. The Ridgeline shows up at the top of both lists, but the Gladiator is on the other end of the spectrum.

Which small truck should you buy?

A red Honda Ridgeline
2021 Ridgeline Sport with HPD Package.

This is a tough question to answer based on the information provided.

The Honda Ridgeline is the obvious choice if you don’t need a high tow rating and want a unibody pickup. This midsize truck is the top-rated truck by both sources.

From there, things aren’t quite as clear.

If we only look at the trucks rated by both sources, we see the Ford Ranger rated second by Consumer Reports but fourth by US News. Similar issues arise with the Toyota Tacoma and GM pair of trucks.

When the Honda Ridgeline isn’t the right pickup for you to drive, you’ll want to consider your regular driving needs to find the right truck. It could be the Jeep Gladiator, but most likely, it will be one of the other midsize or compact truck models.

Next, check out the five best diesel trucks you can buy enjoy the ten best trucks of 2022 in the video below:

This article was updated on 8/25/2022.


What’s the Worst Full-Size Truck You Can Buy?