2023 Compact Truck: The Ultimate List

Small pickups are becoming more and more popular and we are witnessing a lot of new models arriving these days. Among them, we can notice a lot of unibody pickups, something that’s becoming a new niche in the segment. Furthermore, traditional BoF machines are getting better too, so everyone has a lot of choices, whether his priority is comfort or capabilities.

The near future will bring a lot of interesting novelties. We are about to see a couple of all-new models, completely redesigned trucks, while some of them won’t change too much (which doesn’t mean they won’t be competitive). That’s why we are presenting to you the ultimate list of the best compact trucks for 2023.

Hyundai Santa Cruz

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz N Render

This model has just arrived. It debuts as the 2022 model, so we have no doubt that the second production year won’t bring any significant changes. Instead, we count on the same layout, which puts some unusual things on the priority list. Instead of being capable and tough, it is rather comfortable and refined. We like that approach very much.

The new pickup is based on the Tucson crossover, which is instantly recognizable, due to the same front-end design. The mechanics are also pretty much the same, so this pickup offers pretty impressive ride quality, whether it’s about comfort and handling. Also, the wheelbase has been stretched, which leaves enough room for two comfortable rows of seats and a decently sized cargo bed. Finally, the interior quality is the best in the class.

Finally, there’s the powertrain. You may count on two engine options on the offer, starting from a naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter inline-four, which puts out around 190 horsepower. For more ambitious drivers, there is a 2.5-liter turbo-four, which puts out around 281 horsepower. The max towing capacity goes up to 5.000 pounds.

The base price should go around 25.000 dollars.

Nissan Frontier

2022 Nissan Frontier

Another model that will be in the second production year in 2023. Therefore, we don’t expect significant changes, but that’s the year where we could possibly see novelties regarding off-road performance and similar things. We could see more capable variants on the offer, while the base design is about to remain the same.

Therefore, you may count on a pickup that looks attractive and comes with significantly updated mechanics compared to the previous generation. The engine lineup consists of just one engine option, a 3.8-liter V6, which puts out around 310 horsepower and comes in pair with a 9-speed automatic transmission.

When properly equipped, this pickup can tow up to 6.800 pounds, which is good, but still far away from segment leaders. On the other hand, the new Frontier will continue to stand out in terms of on-road ride quality and a long list of standard and available equipment.

The base price should go around 28.000 dollars.

Honda Ridgeline

2023 Honda Ridgeline

According to the latest reports, Honda’s pickup truck will receive a full redesign in 2024, which indicates that the 2023 model year will come without bigger changes. That’s not a bad thing at all, because we are talking about the most comfortable pickup in the segment.

Thanks to its unibody platform, the ride quality is impressive, pretty much on par with any crossover of a similar size. Furthermore, this pickup offers the most spacious and most comfortable cabin in the class, which easily accommodates five adults. The list of standard and available equipment is also respectable.

Finally, there is Honda’s famous engineering. The Ridgeline will continue with the well-known 3.5-liter V6, which features a max output of 280 horsepower and offers an impressive level of refinement. The 9-speed automatic transmission also does a fine job. The only downside of this pickup is a 5.000-pound towing capacity, which is below-average for the class.

The 2023 Honda Ridgeline shouldn’t change too much regarding price, so base models should go around 37.000 dollars.

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Ford Maverick

2023 Ford Maverick

As we’ve just mentioned, more and more unibody pickups are coming, for drivers who put comfort before capability. Of course, the Blue Oval company wants its piece of the cake and as a result, the Maverick is coming. This will be a unibody pickup, based on the new Bronco Sport, with a focus on versatility and overall functionality.

The Maverick will primarily compete with the Hyundai Santa Cruz and it will stand out in many ways. It will offer attractive styling, a good-looking interior and an intuitive infotainment system and a long list of standard equipment. Finally, there is the engine lineup.

The 2023 Ford Maverick will be available in two variants. Base models will come with a 190-hp inline-four. For more demanding drivers, Ford will offer its well-known 2.0-liter turbo-four, which puts out around 250 horsepower. Both models will come in pair with 8-speed transmission.

Another strong point of this pickup will be the price, which is expected to start at around 22.000 dollars.

Toyota Tacoma

2023 Toyota Tacoma

Tacoma is an absolute class leader and that’s why the Japanese manufacturer isn’t rushing with changes. Even though the current generation has been around since 2015, the latest reports suggest that the redesign won’t occur before 2024. In other words, the 2023 Toyota Tacoma will remain the same.

So, you may count on a pickup that is strong enough in all fields. We particularly like the fact that all versions are very capable in terms of off-roading. Of course, the TRD Pro trim will continue to offer exceptional characteristics in this aspect, with some pretty serious off-road hardware.

The engine lineup will also remain the same. Base versions will use a 2.7-liter inline-four, with a max output of 159 horsepower. The upgrade comes in the form of a 3.5-liter V6, which puts out around 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. A 6-speed automatic is standard, while we also love the fact that some versions are available with a manual transmission as well.

The starting price of the current model goes around 26.000 dollars.

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Chevy Colorado

2023 Chevy Colorado Redesign

Without any doubt, the 2023 Chevy Colorado will be one of the biggest novelties for 2023. We are about to see a completely redesigned model, which will bring improvements in various aspects. From what we know so far, the new model will keep the same platform, but bring significant upgrades.

What’s going to be all-new is the styling. We count on the all-new exterior design, while the cabin should bring significant improvements as well. Just like the current model, the new one will be offered in three body styles: Extended Cab, Long Box; Crew Cab, Short Box; Crew Cab, Long Box.

Big changes are coming under the hood as well. Instead of the current, thee engines, the new one will come with just one unit under the hood. That will be a 2.7-liter turbo-four, which puts out around 310 horsepower and 348 pound-feet of torque. Will this significant torque increase improve already class-leading towing ratings, time will tell.

The base model should cost around 30.000 dollars.

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Jeep Gladiator

2023 Jeep Gladiator

Jeep tends to bring yearly updates for its pickup, so we presume that the 2023 model will come with some of them too. At this point, it’s hard to talk about details, but we can make some predictions. The first thing that comes to mind is the powertrain, and there are two possibilities for this capable pickup truck.

One of them is to see a hybrid version. Of course, that would mean the same system as in the new Wrangler PHEV. That would mean a system based on a turbo-four engine, with a total output of 375 horsepower and EV autonomy of around 30 miles.

Another possibility is to see a V8 version of the pickup. The Wrangler already debuted in such a variant, with a 6.4-liter engine and max output of 470 horsepower. How big are the chances to see this engine in Gladiator? It’s hard to tell at this point.

Expect base price of around $33.000.

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Ford Ranger

2023 Ford Ranger

The current generation of the legendary pickup has been in North America for just a couple of years but that doesn’t change the fact that we are actually talking about a decade-old design. That’s why the 2023 Ranger is about to come completely redesigned. From what we know so far, it will bring a lot of interesting novelties.

The new generation will continue to ride on the T6 platform, but this architecture will receive significant upgrades. That’s why we expect improvements in terms of ride quality, comfort etc. Of course, the styling and interior will be all-new too, and we count on a lot of inspiration taken from the new F-150. The high-performance Raptor model is expected too.

When it comes to the engine lineup, base models should come with the same 2.3-liter turbo-four, but with more power. A 2.7-liter V6 is also expected, with a max output of 325 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. In Australia, this pickup will also be available with a 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel, which puts out around 250 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque.

Base models should go around 27.000 dollars.

Ram Dakota

2023 RAM Dakota render
Image Source: Carscoops

At one point, the Dakota comeback seemed like a certain thing. However, the new Stellantis management doesn’t seem too optimistic about this pickup, so you should take this comeback with a reserve. At this point, we can only speculate.

If it arrives, the Ram Dakota will share most of its parts with Gladiator. We count on the same mechanics, while the exterior design will be adapted to Ram’s contemporary design language. We also believe that the Dakota will tend to be more affordable, so it will probably feature less off-road hardware, at least in base variants. Single cab models are expected too.

Under the hood, we presume that the 2023 Ram Dakota would come with a 3.6-liter V6, which puts out around 285 horsepower. Some form of electrification sounds possible too.